A young man in South Sudan has spoken about the horror of day after day passing dead bodies in the streets as he walked to and from his home in the city of Juba.
“During last year’s fighting, when many people died, dead bodies were left on streets near our houses for many days”, Joseph Kharim says.
This left children and young people deeply traumatised and without hope.
“I, too, was struggling with my emotions, and as a youth leader in my local church I knew there were many other young people with the same problem”.
Through his university studies, Joseph came into contact with African Enterprise and the Peace-building, Reconciliation and Leadership Development program AE was running in Juba.
He sighed up and says the program’s trauma-healing forums have not only helped him deal with the horrors of war, but also taught him skills which he says are enabling him to serve his community more effectively.
“I wanted to become a champion of peace and reconciliation, as well as learning how to counsel and support those who’ve gone through the same traumatic experiences I have”.
Joseph is now ministering to a growing number of students in schools and at Juba Christian University, helping them to make wise decisions with the choice of careers and with the lifestyle temptations they face – joining gangs, petty crime, sex, drug-taking and alcohol
“I thank God because so far I have witnessed many young people choosing to follow Christ and live meaningful lives free of drugs and other vices”, he says.
“And I want to thank God for AE and their ministry in Juba and hope that through AE more young people will get empowered to live better meaningful lives, helping to build a more peaceful South Sudan”.
Story written by Mike Heard, AE Volunteer.
Geshon had always promised himself that he would make a better life for his children than the one that was afforded to him. Having been raised in a slum in Lusaka, Zambia, Geshon’s parents could not afford to send him to school. As he watched his friends pass by every day on their way to school, he was painfully aware that he would never be able to improve his position in life.
In spite of his lack of education, Geshon tried his hands at many small businesses but none worked out as he’d hoped. He eventually met and married Jane and together they agreed that education would be a priority for their children. Several years on with five new mouths to feed they were struggling to even provide the basic necessities, let alone an education.
The little shop they had started to try to earn more money was not doing well and Geshon was growing discouraged.
I felt like a failure, Geshon said. I couldn’t understand why I’ve struggled so much. I felt the value of my life slowly being replaced with heartache. Eventually, I felt it would be better if I were dead.”
“I felt the value of my life slowly being replaced with heartache. Eventually, I felt it would be better if I were dead.”
Geshon soon began to plan his suicide deciding to buy poison and go into the Bush to drink it so his family would not have the burden of paying for his burial.
When the fateful day had arrived he walked to the shop to buy the poison and was surprised to find that the cost of it left him with no money to leave the area. On his way home, he took a different route than usual and stumbled upon a screening of the Jesus Film as an outreach of the Lusaka Leadership Initiative. He stood curiously watching the film to the end and then left to carry out his plan.
As Geshon opened the bottle of poison, he was struck by the meaning of the film he had just seen. He felt a conviction to go back where the film had been shown and speak with someone. All thoughts of suicide forgotten, he rushed back to speak to the ministers. As they prayed with, he surrenedered his life to Christ and he handed over his bottle of poison.
The following day, the mission evangelists visited him in his home to counsel him in his new faith. Jane was moved by seeing
such a change in her husband and decided to dedicate her life to Christ as well.
“I’m thankful that God prompted me to turn back before it was too late.” Geshon said. “I feel like a heavy burden has been lifted from my life and I am grateful that I took a new path in the nick of time. I believe that was God’s way of calling me to Himself and showing me that He loves me.”
“I feel like a heavy burden has been lifted from my life and I am grateful that I took a new path in the nick of time.”
The couple is optimistic about the future and are thankful for their new knowledge of Christ. Geshon was so enthusiastic about his new-found faith that he joined the mission team in the following days and helped them assemble equipment for The Jesus Film screening. He also shared his testimony. “I want others to be transformed in the same way I have been.”
Please pray for Geshon and Jane as they begin their new lives in Christ. The AE team have introduced them to a local church where they will attend discipleship courses. Pray that God provides for their every need and that their hearts remain strong in the knowledge of God’s love.
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!”
Pregnant at 21 years old, Abbo *, decided she was going to abort her baby.
“I have no one to help me with the baby and no money,” she said. “The baby’s father is not financially stable, and he said he was couldn’t care for the child.”
Abbo was a Christian, and knew she had messed up, but she couldn’t see a way out.
“When I finished high school, I couldn’t do any further education,” she said. “I found myself with no money and no food, so I got into a romantic relationship with a man who got me pregnant.”
Desperate and frightened, Abbo thought the only option was to abort the baby.
Until she met a local evangelist during the Kampala mission this week. Reverend Susan, an assistant chaplain in one of Kampala’s hospitals, arranged for Abbo to visit the clinic and gain access to free pre- and post-natal care.
“I am so overwhelmed by the love I have received from fellow brethren in Christ and for Reverend Susan for her kind offer!” Abbo said.
“The AE evangelists talked to me about the love of Christ, how he forgives all sins and how He still loves me no matter what.”
Because of this reassurance of Christ’s love, and the help from her fellow Christians, Abbo has decided not to go ahead with the abortion.
Abbo and her baby have both been saved.
*name changed to protect individual’s privacy
Richard stumbles along the road in a long, tattered shirt, wearing shoes that don’t fit. At first glance, he looks like madman – dirty, unkept, muttering.
“I cannot remember the last time I had a shower,” he says. “Every time I shower, when I try sleep afterwards, I have dreams of snakes crawling over my body.”
Tortured by nightmares, avoided by other people who think he is mad, Richard feels like demons are chasing him.
But Richard is not mad. He is broken.
Richard’s wife left him and his children want nothing to do with him. He has no hope on his own.
“I feel like my life has no meaning,” he says. “I have no job, no family, I just loiter on the streets to see if I can find food.”
Having been tormented for so long and feeling pushed to the edge, Richard decides he is better off dead. He plans to go to Lake Victoria, and throw himself in the water to drown.
But then, a man approaches him and smiles. Richard blinks, tries to think if he knows the man. The man asks his name, reaches out his hand, and touches his arm. Richard is shocked into stillness.
He hears the man’s voice telling him about God, telling him that Jesus forgives all sins, no matter how great they are.
Richard finds himself crying and tells the man he wants Jesus to save him.
That day, Richard becomes a child of God, thanks to the work of an African Enterprise evangelist who reached out to a dirty, broken man on the streets of Kampala.
“I cannot express enough how grateful I am to you for praying for me,” Richard says. “Now all I want is to be reunited with my family. No more rejection! No more torment!”
Richard is broken no more.
When the Foxfires came to Paul Kiarie’s school, he thought they would be like every other dull and boring Life Skills teachers he’d had in the past. To his great surprise, they were youth – just like him!
“I could easily relate to them. They spoke on topics that that were relevant to us as young people, and shared their own life experience to get our attention.”
As the months passed, the Kenyan Foxfires visited with fresh insights into living life for Jesus each week. Paul was confused, and tried to antagonise the Foxfires.
To his great surpise, instead of anger, the Foxfires answered Paul with clear, honest answers. They realised Paul was a young man searching for answers. He wasn’t used to people taking such an interest in him.
“I am sure they knew I was playing around with their minds but they did not want me to be left behind. Their concern for me touched my heart.”
One day, one of the Foxfires asked Paul if he had ever thought about Jesus as the answer to his life questions. Paul told the Foxfire that he had never sought answers from God.
“The Foxfire took his time to explain to me why I needed Jesus in my life,” Paul said.
“Jesus is the answer for the whole of mankind and if I accept him, He would become the same in my life.”
That evening, Paul invited Jesus into his life as personal Saviour. He had finally found the answer to all his questions.
“I praise God for the African Enterprise Foxfires. God bless you for the work that you are doing among the youth of Kenya!”
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