His life is a study of providence and destiny but it is also an application of persistence and the will to overcome all odds both physical and spiritual. He is 60 years today when he was destined to die at birth; he is richer today when poverty was his great pal; a preacher man today when he paid visits to shrines and encountered spirits in the past. He is everything contrary to what life offered. He is Archbishop Duncan Williams, a powerful man of God with a voice of authority over men and spirits.
If you doubted how a gate man called Mordecai became the second in command in Susa, now present day Iran or how Joseph transitioned from a prisoner to prime minister role in Egypt in just one day, then look no further because the story of Duncan Williams in Ghana provides a perfect scene of God's providence to the see-before-we -believe Christians of today.
Many are the stories told of the sudden rise from rags to riches but only few of those stories have the protagonists battling life and death each passing day; battling spirits and voices of evil. His story, which he shared with Joy FM's Super morning Show host Kojo Yankson, is one of pain and struggle; one of adversity and betrayal, a story of attacks, disappointments and failures but it is also a story of the singleness of purpose, a steely determination and a buoyant desire to rise from the armpits of society to the echelons of power.
He was born into a broken home, to a single mother. He won his first battle at birth and it was over death. His twin brother failed to make it but that was only the beginning. He lacked many things at birth including the love and protection of a father. Food to eat was a struggle. Education was a luxury. He had little or none for all that. He pushed trucks, sold chewing gums on the streets to put food on the table.
A father's love and protection at birth are as important to a child as the affection and tender care of the mother.
Duncan Williams had to settle for one- a mother's love. He lived for 14 years before seeing his dad. His mind had been poisoned against his dad with bitterness seething through his heart.
He met him for the first time, not at home, church or a comfortable environment a son would love to meet his dad for the first time. He met him at the Borstal institute where his mum had loaned him. She got tired of taking care of a tactless youth, an adventurous boy who had destiny on his side. She wanted help but not from her husband. The Borstal Institute was her choice but that choice connected Duncan Williams Jnr to his father.
The Judge at the Institute did not understand why a politician of no mean repute at the time would have his son languishing at the Borstal Institute. He connected them and with another struggle, this time between mother and father, Jnr Duncan made a decision to stay with his father. That was the beginning of another battle. His dad had little confidence in him. To him, he was just a statistic in as many children numbering 37. Duncan Williams had a point to prove, a battle to win and a father to convince. The dream at the time for every youth was a journey to America but how do you go there when what to eat in Ghana was even a problem? He was neither qualified for a visa nor the money to apply for one. But Duncan Williams did not see problems. He saw possibilities. Stowaway was possible and he did. He went to Abidjan jumped onto a ship headed for Marseille, France. He was caught and was to be fed to the sharks in the seas of Morocco but grace found him. A man on board had a son called Nicholas and pleaded for him. They hid him in the dungeons of the ship until they got to Marseille. He disembarked safely worked at the port for a while but got caught and repatriated to Ghana because he had no papers.
That was painful enough to break the resolve of many men but Nicholas was a man of sterner stuff. Not easily broken by temporary failures life had to offer. Failures were pills of encouragement, a sunlight to a dark path of pain. His sight was set on a bigger reward.
Few weeks in Ghana, Nicholas run out of money and had to do another stowaway, this time to Israel, the land of promise. He went to Abidjan went on his knees with a fervent prayer to God asking God for a way in Israel. That, too, failed and he was repatriated again. Failure now appeared to him like a flag which he waved around.
His dream and path for success was to make it in Europe but God had other plans for him. His ways are not the ways of men. Whilst Duncan thought his breakthrough was in Europe, God had Ghana in mind for him. This was his place of destiny.
Battle with Spirits, Shrines
Of all the battles in life, the spiritual battle is easily the most significant. It is always said that before anything of worth happens in the physical, it must be settled in the spiritual. Duncan Williams settled it in the spiritual realm but sacrificed his fingers for it.
He was thirsty for success and visited a shrine for it. He was turned away. The shrine man saw a bigger spirit living in the young body. He could not help. Duncan Williams was oblivious of the power he possessed and wandered in life at the time.
At 20 something significant happened. Duncan Williams had nightmares, hallucination and heard voices at home; spiritual voices contending with the voice of truth, grace. He was captured by the spirit, instructed by it to light a candle and dip his hands into the burning flame. He obeyed without question but with pain. His lips at a point were sealed until the pain had become unbearable. His fingers darkened in the flames until they turned into ashes. His shouts attracted siblings who came and rushed him to Korle bu Hospital where he was admitted for months. That was his break. He had a spiritual encounter with God on his bed at the Korle bu teaching hospital and everything changed. When grace finds you, it doesn't matter who or where you are.
With no education, but 'pidgin English' to advertise, the young dreamer had a charismatic dream. Orthodox churches at the time were predominant. They were conventional and methodical but Duncan Williams introduced a new Church, Action Chapel International, which the youth identified with and which has become a cathedral of hope, a place of survival, a sanctuary to mend broken hearts and spirits.
In all, he was broken and betrayed many times but those were his path for success. The path to greatness is through betrayal, Archbishop Duncan Williams said. Through betrayal he has a voice; a voice of authority; his power of prayer moves mountains and holds with him an unmatched favour from God.
Today he has churches littered across the world, with membership running into several thousands; he has a Dominion university training young pastors and giving education which he barely had; he is a father to many, something he struggled to have.
As he launches his book, "Providence and destiny; the Nicholas Duncan Williams story" and celebrate 60 years of birth and 40 years of championing Charismatic mission, Myjoyonline.com wishes him a Happy Birthday.
Listen to interview:
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