Khamisi Kwela’s father was a strong Muslim believer who took his eight children to the mosque and made sure they attended weekly Islamic classes.
“My dad was very strict when it came to religious matters,” Khamisi said. “There was only one religion allowed in our family.”
But when Khamisi was 10, his dad died and the family lost their way.
“We became completely financially incapacitated,” Khamisi said. “My older siblings and mum worked hard to ensure we had food, but we struggled to put a meal on the table. Poverty was part of us.”
It was a hard life. But it was also brought a little freedom to Khamisi’s mother and she started going to church.
“My mum had wanted to know Christ for a long time, but due to the restrictions of our dad, she would not have even dared,” Khamisi remembered.
Soon Khamisi’s mother and older brothers all started going to church and soon became Christians. But Khamisi and one of his younger brothers didn’t
“We wanted to maintain the religion of our father,” he said, “so we continued to attend mosque.”
Khamisi knew about Christianity from his friends at school and from the Christian Religious Education classes there. But still, he lived in darkness for five years after his father’s death.
“I FELT AS IF SOMETHING WAS BURNING WITHIN ME. I WAS GLUED TO MY SEAT AND LISTENED ATTENTIVELY TO THE WORD OF GOD AS IF THAT IS WHAT I HAD COME TO DO.”
Until one Sunday when he went to pick something up from one of his brother’s at church. When he arrived the church service was still going.
“I sat in the last row, waiting for the service to end. As the worship was going on, I felt as if something was burning within me,” he said. “I was glued to my seat and listened attentively to the Word of God as if that is what I had come to do.”
When the pastor asked if anyone wanted to come forward and become a Christian, Khamisi couldn’t resist.
“Whatever was burning within me became stronger,” he said. “I was pulled to the altar by the power of Holy Spirit and for the first time in my life, I felt the need for Jesus.”
The pastor prayed for him and his family was overjoyed.
Khamisi joined the discipleship class and was mentored by the senior pastor to help him grow in his new faith.
“Today I call him my spiritual dad,” Khamisi said. “When he learned about my story, he took over paying my school fees. I went to a school in Malindi town, which even in my dreams I never thought I would do! I had never seen such demonstration of love.”
Khamisi read his Bible with an undying fervor and did all he could to learn about prayer and ministry in the church. In his last year of high school, he became a leader of the Christian Union, sharing his testimony with as many people as he could.
But in 2017, tragedy struck his family again.
“The death of our mum last year was the lowest moment of my life after salvation,” Khamisi said. “Her sickness took her when we needed her most.”
He and his siblings have struggled with this loss but are leaning on the love of their church community.
He joined the AE Kenya Foxfires this year after seeing last year’s team minister at his school during the Malindi Mission.
“I look forward reaching out to young people with the Word of God in 2018. Through our interactions, I want them to know and experience the love of God as I have.”
Because of you, Khamisi and many others have joined the Foxfire programme as an outlet for ministry and personal growth in 2018. Without your support, this programme would cease to exist. Please consider giving to this programme. To find out more, visit out Foxfires page here.
From Addict to Ambassador
At sixteen, Dan was addicted to social media. He spent all his free time online and struggled to get through a week without looking at pornography. He didn’t realise he had a problem, until the African Enterprise Foxfires came to speak to the young people at his school.
“When the Foxfires shared with us the various dangers of cyber addiction, I realised what I was doing,” Dan said.
He spoke to the Foxfires about his problems and asked God to save him from his addictions.
“I received Jesus in one of the sessions with the Foxfires,” he said, “and I now feel a calmness of heart and great peace away from guilt and addiction.”
But it was not an easy decision and Dan has struggled already.
“Many of my friends laughed at me having being saved,” he said. “But I never look back.”
He has held on to his new faith and wants to be an ambassador for overcoming addictions, helping other young men and women who are struggling with pornography.
“Out of the continued encouragement I got from the Foxfires team, I stood firm in loving God and choosing to do what is right,” Dan said. “Thank you Foxfires!’’
A prodigal daughter finds her way to God
Fourteen years old and in her first year of high school, Melissa enjoyed what she thought was the freedom of youth.
“I would sneak away from school and go to clubs,” she admitted.
School work and the future seemed unimportant. Melissa made decisions on a whim, doing whatever made her happy, following wherever her group of friends would lead.
When the AE Foxfires started visiting her school, she was intrigued.
“They were young like me,” she said, “and they really taught me how to live this life as a young person.”
As the months went on, and the Foxfire visits continued, Melissa started making better decisions about how she spent her time. She overcame the peer pressure that had marked her life before. And then one day, when the Foxfires asked if anyone wanted to become a Christian, Melissa said yes.
“Once I knew about God and his saving grace, I accepted him and He changed me,” she said.
God was looking after Melissa even before she became a Christian, and she now knows the danger she was in.
“I thank God that even in those times, when I was misbehaving, my life was preserved,” she said. “I didn’t end up dropping out of school because of pregnancy or drug abuse issues. God really has a better plan for me and I am now part of the Christian Union at school. I owe this to the Foxfires and also to God for having mercy on me.’’
Struggling through poverty
Benjamin has always resented his family’s poverty.
“My family background is quite humble,” he said, “and I really hated the fact that I was born into that family.”
By his third year of high school in Kenya, Benjamin was a quiet and sullen teenager who struggled to relate to his family. Then earlier this year, when the Foxfires visited his school, Benjamin decided to give his life to Christ.
“Since March this year, when I received Christ as my personal Saviour, my life has changed drastically,” he said. “It is the best it has ever been. I never thought things could be like this.”
Over the last few months, his performance has improved, his anger has subsided and his relationship with his family has started to change.
“I have always had these big questions in my mind and wanted them to be answered by anyone who would listen,” Benjamin said. “The Foxfires were there for me and helped me understand who God is. I had never before accepted who I was in the eyes of God.”
In return for what they have done for him, Benjamin had one thing to say to the Foxfires.
“You are doing a great job,” he said. “I hope you keep going and never tire because lives are being changed by your work!”