By the Power of Their Testimony (6)

God had other plans.

There was another side to this, and that is while darkness was working its way in my life, God was shining light into it as well. There was a girl who was interested in me and there was a girl I was interested in. Both of them were Godly ladies. There was no way that I was going to take them down this road I was going down so that kept me from doing nonsense right away. I still wanted to portray a goodish image for their sakes. Especially the one I was interested in.

There was also Sabbath school. For some reason, the Sabbath School teacher (Andrew Malunga) picked me to teach the class on a Saturday when the guys were planning to go out again for the weekend. I went along with on the Friday afternoon (dressed the part)

baggy-pants

but I said I had to be back on campus to teach the Sabbath school and my pal was like no problem.

But then he wanted to stay out and I was like, well drop me off at school then. He did drop me off after trying to delay for a while but I really wanted to fulfill my word on teaching Sabbath School. Plus, they were going to notice I was gone if I didn’t show at church.

That night he returned to the township after dropping me off at the campus. I felt like he was going to be mad but at that moment it did not bother me as much and I spent that evening in my room and I think I got ready for the Sabbath school lesson from the quarterly lesson guide.

I actually found that I enjoyed teaching the lesson. I was probably the youngest in the class. I was nervous, really nervous.
“What if someone asked a question I did not know the answer to?”
“It’s a class, you don’t have to have all the answers.”

And the current teacher helped me out. The class went well. The LORD blessed. But as for the rest of that Sabbath I can’t really remember. But I do remember going to sleep that evening and my pal was not back on campus. He had not returned. Then I got a message in the middle of the night.

He had been in an accident in his car. Head-on collision.

Photo cred: clarawu.wordpress.com

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By the Power of Their Testimony (5)

The LORD is good….He satisfies the longing soul.

Turning back to God
So then I got weeded or withdrawn (weeded) from the University of Malawi at a time when that seemingly spelled career suicide. If I did not get my degree from University of Malawi what else was going to happen with me? Actually, my dad later told me that he had no idea what to do with me, then. I still had not told them about stealing the money. So that guilt still weighed on me.

Then my uncle suggested I go to Malawi Adventist University. I just said “yeah” because,,, well… what else was I going to do?

By the way, that was when the University was not yet accredited by the Malawi government, the institution was going under a change of affiliation from Solusi to Baraton and infrastructure was still being built. Let’s just say that the new intake, which I was a part of all agreed that this place was good for studying…. and almost nothing else.

And like all institutions, you have this great controversy playing out. You have the good crowd and you have the bad crowd. And for some reason I automatically found it easy to fit in the bad crowd. Again, I did not smoke, drink or sleep around but the people I gravitated towards were from that crowd. And to be honest I got so close to adopting that lifestyle. Like deliberately.

I was tired of being sort of good and having certain boundaries. I now think that I was trying to bury the guilt and the thought that maybe I deserved to go to school in the middle of nowhere. I went out with the guys one night and prostitutes were picked up, they were all drunk, clubs were gone to…. well, I should actually say bars/pubs.

There was this guy, my best pal in the group and at the university who made sure I did not drink any alcohol, that I was supplied for. I came out that night thinking I could get used to this. I did none of what they did. But that I could adjust slowly and be like them, with no boundaries….

But God had other plans….

By the Power of Their Testimony (4)

I didn’t bring it up before. Years before I didn’t know that the magazines and images I had been looking at (by the way, after a while I found the video stash) had started to confuse me. I did not know why, but I felt like I had to prove that I was not gay. All the guys were interested in these girls and were saying so but I was more reserved, which made me subject to a lot of teasing. And some how that translated to me having to say to myself, I am not gay. When I was with Christ, thank God I got over the point of having to prove that I like the opposite sex. But now I had walked away from God…
And here I was. I already had the filthy mind and now the thought came back.

“Are you sure you like women?”

And I was like, “Of course.”

“Oh yeah? Well you might want to make sure.”

“But how can I be sure?”
“Well, you could sleep with a girl….But no, you know that’s bad. You don’t hurt people.
But you could watch a few movies. You won’t harm anyone else.”

Let it be enough to say that slowly, eventually. I went back to watching porn as long as I couldn’t get caught. I tried looking to see if it was wrong because there was this strong guilt that came over me. I know now that that was God telling me that this was wrong. Yes, it was not adultery as I saw it, but it was adultery in God’s eyes.

And so I went away from home to finish my diploma and then on to college. It is amazing that I did not end up getting into drinking, or sleeping around, or smoking because this is the kind of influence I was around all the time. I believe God’s word when He says train up a child in the right way and he will not depart from it. Or that He hedges us round about. Because, even though I had convinced myself that I was out of God’s reach or the feeling of guilt, God kept me. /kept me around lesser evil, didn’t give me over to a desire to drink. His training kept me and he kept me in homes where the bad I wanted to do was not given outright opportunity.

O! God is good.

But I did steal money from my mother and older brother. Imagine, that. I had become a thief, like the con who stole my friend’s phone…. They left for India and I was left with their ATM cards. I wanted a laptop and my father said I did not need one. But I really wanted that laptop and I reasoned that they had the money so I bought the laptop. And not long after that I fell in a drain full of water on a heavily raining day. And the weight of that guilt… That weight.

The Power of Their Testimony (3)

I started being a good boy. I did what I was told. I tried to never lie. I started being careful about what I watched and what I listened to… or at least thought twice about it.

I started listening to Christian radio programs devotedly. At school I stopped wanting to cuss and I stopped being as mad at everyone. I co-founded a small prayer group at a predominately Muslim school. I was walking with God and getting to know Him.

But I made mistakes. I would lie to get out of trouble. I would not stand consistently when it came to matters of conscience. Oh and not keeping the Sabbath holy was a big one. I was not sure why we were taught one thing at church about keeping the Sabbath and I saw another thing at home. And I started getting frustrated. And the anger started to rise again.

Then came the day that I walked away.
One of my closest friends and I got conned into giving away his phone. His brand new phone. We had been told that we should be careful when going to town, that walking into town was dangerous. It was an hour’s walk from home. An hour we would enjoy. And while we did not get violently attacked in some dark corner, it was really our greed that led us into being conned. The guy offered us more money in an envelope and we took the bait and he took off with my friend’s phone. We check in the envelope, where there was once money, there was just pieces of paper.

Now when we realised we had been cheated and we were on our way back home, we decided to say we had been violently robbed. We did not want to seem silly, like naive children, and our parents were going to see us as idiots. So we lied. We roughed ourselves up a bit and we lied and said that we got attacked. But when I got home I felt the worst way about the lie. The guilt was so heavy and the devil’s lie came.

“You really can’t be good. Even when you try you fail, again, and again, and again. Lying, Sabbath breaking, disobedience. You can’t keep doing this.”

And like a fool I listened and I told God that that was all. I couldn’t do it anymore….cropped-apocalyptica_by_stefferx.jpg

Now see, I did not know that the only way I was going to get victory was in Christ and not in my good works. Yes, I was sorrowful that I had failed God but instead of clinging to God for the victory, it was pride that I gave in to. Not defiant pride but resigning or defeated pride.

I can’t do it. I can’t keep doing this to God. I can’t keep lying. I am frustrated

It still looks to self.

By The Power of Their Testimony (2)

But He satisfieth the longing soul. And so how did I come to know Christ?

Well, it was a series of events and seeds God planted to reach my heart.
There was the children’s choir and Pathfinders that our mother told us to go to. I remember the first time we went, my younger brother and I did not quite fit in because we couldn’t speak our own local language (a whole other story) but when it came to the singing, we were actually quite good.

That kept us in church and away from mischievous influences. And I believe the songs we sang planted the Word of God in our hearts.

There was also a radio program we used to listen to together as a family called Unshackled. Produced by the Pacific Garden Mission. It dramatically narrated the life testimonies of many different individuals. How they came to know Christ. And probably the way that I found out about accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour. I may not have known what that meant completely but I knew that it took the weight of the old life off of people and now they were new creatures.

And finally there was the Satellite Evangelism program. Our church set up a satellite and beamed an evangelistic series of Mark Finley in Papua New Guinea. I remember there was a night he talked about heaven and he made an appeal and I and my older brother raised our hands. When we got home I remember my older brother saying “I will be so happy to get to heaven and spend eternity with you.” And I was like “yeah”. I remember going to sleep so peacefully that night. So happy.

But there was still that anger somewhere in the background.

So my older brother got baptized. My younger brother and I went to Bible class together but we did not understand the language in class but when the time came to be baptized we wanted to be baptized. They sat us down and interviewed us. Thank God we had an understanding of our beliefs from Pathfinder classes and our earlier classes. And there was also reading through the Maxwell Bible Stories (Those were such a blessing to us). Spirit of Prophecy was not one of the beliefs we completely understood. But we got baptized.

And it went so well… For a while.

By The Power of Their Testimony

Anyone who has read thorough my blog will realise that I like using fiction to bring about real life lessons. But none of this is fiction.

Me B.C (Before Christ)

For He satisfieth the longing soul. – Psalms 107:9

I guess I could compare myself to a miniature Incredible Hulk…. Without the insane super powers. So you know what that made me? Exactly. Just plain angry.

I had so much rage bottled up inside me that I was ready to pop at the slightest nudge. And those nudges were provided at home, at school. But I had such a lack of identity or self worth that even when I did fight back it was not with any goal of protecting myself but to hurt the other person.

I grew up in a christian home and I thank God for that. At least I grew up in a home where I can remember my dad’s life being changed by Christ. And so I could see Christ growing in our home and thank God I don’t have much memory of the days my dad walked away from God.

But even with this environment there was this anger that was inside of me. And with each nudge I got angrier. I remember this one time when my older sister, my only sister, told me something at the breakfast table and I don’t remember what it was but then I remember my reaction. I tried to knock her breakfast out of her hands, the bread fell to the floor the tea spilled but stayed in her hand and I stormed off. When I was asked why I did it, I actually couldn’t explain why. It was an outburst but it came from a darker place.

From an empty place.
I tried filling that hole with many things. A lot of movies. A LOT of video games. And as I went digging into my parent’s bedroom I found pornographic magazines. I was probably 8 maybe 10 when I found those magazines. I had no idea what was happening in those magazines or what it was doing to me but I knew I liked it but I also knew it was wrong. It actually became a habit, my siblings would be watching some sing along or some innocent movie in the living room and I would disappear into my parents’ room and find that filth. That was the beginning of another problem. I had no idea just how badly that damaged my mind and what I was letting into my spirit.

But He satisfieth the longing soul. And so how did I come to know Christ?