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Tudor answers call to serve God

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

Tudor answers call to serve God

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HIS LATE FATHER’S reputation as a comedian was often ascribed to him as the son. And today, even as Johnny Tudor trumpets the transformation in his life, he confronts the naysayers who mockingly suggest the well known Barbadian could only be making sport when he says he is now a preacher.

But Tudor, an ordained minister who recently announced his new mission to preach the Word of God and save souls, is as serious about that work as he was about recovering from the heart attack he suffered soon after his ordination.

“You get a lot of disappointment in your life and sometimes you feel that you have not achieved all of what you have to achieve, and there is an awareness that comes upon you that you want to do what is right and you want to help other people to be righteous.”

That time has come for Tudor.

Last year he was ordained a minister in the Signs And Wonders International Ministries, a Pentecostal Evangelical Assembly.

“I did a study of several different faiths because I wanted to have a clear understanding of purpose – why we are here. I did all sorts of studies and it led me to be involved in the Pentecostal evangelical movement, which I absolutely enjoy,” Tudor explained.

He considers the step he has taken as natural and inevitable.

“From the time I was very young I was accustomed to being in church morning, noon and night. Between the Anglican church, the Methodist church and having so many Tudors that would preach, and the funeral home [Tudor’s Funeral Home which was run by his late uncle], church was everything to the Tudor family.”

He remembers the enjoyment derived from being in church as a young boy as well as the sense of service he developed, seeing his father doing good deeds for friends and neighbours.

“My father, Joe Tudor, at the age of 21 was given a home in Government Hill, which was a mansion house, by his father in 1944 and he had a job with his father as a managing director of J. O. Tudor in Roebuck Street. He also had luxuries and he set about his life to give to others and to help other people enjoy the luxuries he had. His life was about bringing joy and comfort to several people around Barbados.

“That had a tremendous influence on my life in that I grew up to be a giver and to help provide a higher quality of life for people around me.”

He bemoans the fact that people more familiar with the comedic side of Joe Tudor did not expect either him or his son to exhibit any goodly traits.

“My father was a charismatic man and people loved him. Women loved him, and even before I could walk well, I was branded as a charismatic guy who would have a hundred women and drink as much rum as I liked and smoke as much cigarettes as I liked.

“The truth is I don’t smoke and I don’t drink alcohol at all.”

The twice married, now single Tudor admitted: “I absolutely love women.”

However, he added that “once you are immersing yourself in the Holy Spirit, there are laws that govern your behaviour, so obviously you have to adjust your behaviour”.

“God wants all of us to behave in accordance to His Word. Some of us do it when we are young; some of us do in middle age and some of us late in life.”

The father of six falls into the latter category and becomes agitated at the thought that turning around his life is being mocked by some. And it hurts more when this scepticism comes from members of his family.

Clearly disturbed by his siblings’ reaction to his new life, the former parliamentarian dismissed his family’s response as “silly”.

“Even your siblings do not respect the fact that there comes a time in your life when you want to be right with God and that you are performing things that are in the interest of the public as a whole.”

Is Tudor suggesting his new lifestyle is not sitting well with some of the people closest to him?

“I have to be honest and I have to say no. If it is one thing that is really needed and where respect is due, it is from your own family because it is within that family – a very decent and very respectful family – that I grew up,” he responded.

“My own siblings question why I would want to be a priest,” he added.

But he is satisfied he is at a place in his life where he recognises that: “God gave us two wills. He gave us our own free will and a righteous will that He would like us to pursue and there comes a time in life that you have to think bout this.

“I have lived. I would have been a sinner and I know that all of us are not pure but I also know we have very good reason to repent of our iniquities because God sent His Son on Earth to save us. I decided I would like to serve God and present the Word of God to as many people as I can.”

It is a different kind of service from that rendered when he was involved in the trade union movement or during his long stint as a parliamentarian, or even when he worked  in the airline industry.

The new passion to serve in the name of Jesus Christ is fuelled by his realisation that he wants “to help other people to be righteous”.

What’s more, he says the material things in life are no longer as important as they once were. The stark reality of their meaninglessness came home last year when he was stricken with a heart attack just 12 days after being ordained.

The excruciating chest pains early that morning forced him to get into his BMW and head for the hospital’s emergency room.

“When I was at the hospital, I had to put down the keys to my BMW. I had to take off my jewellery and I had to write a note saying this is what will happen after I have departed because I was two hours away from death.

“It became very clear to me that I was about to leave this Earth but I would be leaving with nothing that I had acquired. When you are hurting and in pain and you are about to leave this Earth, it is only God you can turn to and it brings you to the sharp reality, ‘What am I doing rushing off every day trying to acquire all sort of things’.”

Although he has now set his heart on God, he has not turned his back on the political state of affairs in Barbados.

“I am a political person,” he insisted, and was not bashful in declaring his support for Opposition Leader Mia Mottley in the general election due next year.

“You are going to hear a lot about me in the next election because I will be fully behind Mia Mottley . . . . There are certain things I am going to speak about,” declared the former Democratic Labour Party member, who served with that administration but with whom there was an eventual falling-out that resulted in his departure from the party.

Still, zeal and fervour are behind Tudor’s quest to lead the life of a committed Christian.

“It is a calling that has come upon me and I feel very comfortable,” he said.