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Father’s Day 2017: Read Dr. Tony Rapu’s Letter to a Fatherless Son



In celebration of Father’s Day, Dr. Tony Rapu, has written a letter to 11 year old Shanawole, a child rescued from the streets during a recent God Bless Nigeria/Freedom Foundation rehabilitation mission. Shanawole is now under the care and counsel of Dr. Rapu.

Dear Shanawole,

It’s another Father’s Day, but I know that until now, this day has not held much meaning for you.

For you, the concept of a father has been a fuzzy one, perhaps nothing more than a term used to describe an older man. You grew up on the streets, never knowing the warmth of a hug from a natural father, never experiencing that strong voice of protection and direction that a father brings into the life of his son. There have been no words of caution to steady you when the adrenaline is pumping through your veins, causing that strong temptation to do what you know is wrong.

When other children your age recount the joy of a dad teaching them a game, watching them play, and rejoicing or commiserating with them afterwards, to you their stories only exacerbate the painful void that exists within you.

This is the same feeling that often tugs at the heart of the girl who never knew her dad. She feels a pang of pain perhaps when she imagines not having her father there to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. Even some of our single mums live daily with the stigma and feeling of loss that comes from raising a ‘fatherless’ child.

Tony Rapu

My dear Shanawole, it’s easy to take the downward slide into drugs, violence and rebellion as you have done. It can be very tempting to revolt against a world that has been cold and unloving towards you. And that has been your journey. You have rebelled against society, you have until now counted yourself out of life’s best, imagining that a home, a loving family and valuable contributions to society are beyond your reach, something only a privileged few attain to.

I know the odds seem stacked against you; I know many have counted you out and spoken harsh words to you. I am aware that life often seems unfair. I know the pain you’ve encountered at the hands of those who should have protected you. The only words you may have heard are words of rejection and negativity. You have been told to your face that you will never amount to anything and that your life has little value. Yet, I want you to know that not everyone takes the downward spiral. Some with even seemingly worse circumstances have broken free from the cycle of failure.

Life is about choices. Nothing stays broken forever, unless you want it to- not a life, not a career, family, body, finance, nothing! You can escape, you can choose to leave the pain behind, you can fill that black hole left by someone’s abandonment. You can be the answer to someone’s prayers, you can find that love you need to move forward, you can change your family history forever.

I know you have been conditioned to view the circumstances of your birth and upbringing as a handicap or disadvantage. You have come to believe that your abandonment has to do with who you are, a confirmation of your worthlessness as a person. But let me tell you a secret – you are not a freak of nature, a mistake, or an error of judgment. Regardless of how you came about, God saw all your talents and possibilities and in His wisdom, He decided that your peculiar circumstance was the place for the display of those unique gifts and possibilities. You were born for such a time like this, in a country like this, because hidden in all the seeming disadvantages and troubles are great opportunities and abilities.

The only challenge now is whether you hear and respond to His call, or choose to lament like those who have no hope. It’s all about you and the choices you make. You can win when others lose. You can rise when others sink. You can be a winner in a world of losers and failures. The circumstances of your birth and your surrounding issues do not determine whether you win or lose. You decide! Take David for example, the great King David. It was a day like any other when he took a decision to fight Goliath. The problem is that you are waiting for a time when everyone will support you, when you’ll get a great applause and have success delivered to you on a platter of gold. But who gave David any of that? No one. Yet, he ran towards the enemy and against all odds, he won!
Tony Rapu

Just like you too will win. But to win, you must choose to be different. First, change your mindset, how you think, and how you respond to things. Stop spewing all that negativity, stop blaming the circumstances of your birth for your current condition. Maybe until now you blamed your absent father, but from today you have to take responsibility for your life. Take ownership of your destiny. I want you to realize that God is counting on you, Nigeria is counting on you and most importantly, you – the real you hidden beneath all the negativity you’ve carried for so long – are counting on you!

You can make it; you can make a difference. Challenges are not meant to destroy you or lead you into destructive behavior. Challenges only remind us that we’re human and that we need God. My son, you can rise to the top, you can be everything you were created to be. You can contribute your quota to national development and be one of those to take Nigeria into an enviable future. In this orphaned generation, you are the great son everyone is waiting for.

I believe in you. Happy Father’s Day!
Much love,

Your spiritual Dad


  1. Ekwu

    June 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you pastor

  2. o

    June 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Saw the video of the boy’s story on IG. Was so sad. Thank you Pst Tony.

  3. adeanon

    June 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    so many Shanowales. We need to help these boys. My heart just bleeds knowing I have an 11 year old as well. Thank you PT

  4. kkay

    June 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    This is a glimpse of the beauty of God’s heart towards us.
    God bless you Pastor Tony Rapu. The first time I heard about you was several years ago (your message -“Remember Lot’s Wife”). Please, how do I get this message?

    We need that simple, pure gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ – love in action.
    Years of materialism and extorting God’s people all in the guise of prosperity-preaching and miracle-chasing has eroded the faith of the Church. Help us Lord!

  5. Mummybobo

    June 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I grew up with both my parents but I never felt the love of a father only my mum. It really affected me especially my love life towards male figures. My dad only realised his mistakes to wards us but he was old and couldn’t do much. God bless his soul though, rest in peace daddy.

  6. Mummybobo

    June 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    God bless u sir

  7. Mummybobo

    June 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I grew up with both my parents but I never felt the love of a father only my mum. It really affected me especially my love life towards male figures. My dad only realised his mistakes to wards us but he was old and couldn’t do much. God bless his soul though, rest in peace daddy.

  8. Nikki

    June 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you so much Pastor Tony, God bless you sir. Very proud of you and the work that God is doing through you! Wow…this is speaks not only to the fatherless son, but to everyone..especially taking decisions and going for success,rather than waiting for it to be handed to me on a platter of gold. It’s a great encouragement. I’ve seen the video/story of Shanowole, it tells me that in a seemingly dark situation, God uses us, our lives and experiences, as a backdrop to tell a beautiful story of light and transformation, and of course the entrance of light, brings the end of darkness…we are the SALT&LIGHT of the world!

  9. Ify

    June 18, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    This really is what Christianity is truly about. Love and empathy for the downtrodden. We so much need more of this in Nigeria – homeless shelters, food and cloth banks, concern for the less privileged and much more.

  10. Dr.N

    June 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    I had heard of this eiye fraternity where children are trained as assassins
    So shocking to see how real it is
    Lord may his deliverance be permanent. May he also become a saviour

  11. Me

    June 18, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Bella naija please post the video of the story of Shanawole. It is available on Pastor Rapu’s Instagram. It is heartbreaking! God help us.

  12. jokobaba

    June 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    For all my criticism of religion, Tony Rapu never ceases to melt my heart with his quest for social justice.

  13. Scheherazade

    June 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm


  14. Irma Goode

    June 18, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    God bless all the real stand up father’s, A real father is one that will be there no matter what his role is the most important one of all …when dad is missing a boy looses his identity to become a man he is lost until he gives his life to Christ .a girl first date is with he dad she patterns her life on what she sees in her dad if he is absent she looks for the image of her dad in her mind all of days before long so many men have gone through her and she’s stuck with multiple children with different dads and still looking for dad and he’s not found until she give her life to Christ. So stand up father’s May your father’s day be a bless one and to the father’s that’s not May this message be a bless to you because it’s never too late,

  15. Tincan

    June 18, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Oh my God. I can’t believe what I just watched. An 11 year old child? A child. The heart of man, oh the heart of man! Lord God, I pray Shanawole and that entire clan are rehabilitated and shown your love in Jesus name. Amen.

  16. Tamales

    June 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Oh God…. I have not been myself since I watched the video earlier today. This is an 11 year old boy for christs sake. How did this happen? People need to stop having kids they can’t care for. Lord please restore the soul of this young boy. I know there’s good in him. Just look at those eyes…. they tell a story.He has see enough to last a life time.

  17. Babor Egeregor

    June 19, 2017 at 12:05 am

    To them who are in darkness a great LIGHT has come.Let our lights so shine and let the world see and give glory to The Father.
    We exalt God in church;but HE (God) seeks to be exalted amongst the heathen.
    PT’s love & sightedness is what the message of the kingdom is about.Preachers,Pastors go and understudy this Apostle of this generation .Thank you Sir.

  18. Symbee

    June 19, 2017 at 3:02 am

    God bless you Pastor Tony Rapu. I hope that like you, we all shift away from being just religious to being socially responsible

  19. Ewa Ali

    June 19, 2017 at 4:53 am

    In a world where religion has been commercialized,
    Tony Rapu bring a fresh example of humility, deep commitment to our nation. As someone that has lost faith completely in our churches.

    My first encounter with with Mr Rapu was when he went up North to help our brothers and sisters there. I have never seen that kind of connection with our super star daddies in the lord with the people of the communities they have visited or impacted people’s lives..

    My God bless his missions through you, I am usually very stoic when I see our pastors in “gushi” this and Burberrying on a Yatch “evangi-instagraming” for social validation.

    We also have a lot to do for our communities, let’s love more and help our society get better.


  20. Ewa Ali

    June 19, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Sorry for the typo…typo editors?

  21. Kemi

    June 19, 2017 at 7:36 am

    People who never enjoyed fatherly love and who grew up with so much negativity around them can easily relate . God bless you sir . Can’t forget Pastor Adeboye’s statement about you recently , it just validate who you really are. More grace and strength. May brotherly love continue in our midst.

  22. Dame

    June 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Pastor Tony……I never regret worshiping in This present House whenever am in Lagos.


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