Khamisi Kwela’s father was a strong Muslim believer who took his 8 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 our 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.

This all changed one Sunday, when he went to pick something up from one of his brothers at his 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 were 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 leant 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 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.

The light of Christ still shines brightly within him despite these difficulties. 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.”