We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching
the Bible and understanding our time in
the light of Bible prophecy
All is indeed vanity.
“It is a curse to put one’s trust in man and make flesh one’s strength, instead
of trusting in God, the Creator of all things.”
I enjoyed a happy childhood, with my father having been the first Congolese football
player in the Belgian professional championship in the early sixties. He played
for CS Verviétois, where he became the best national scorer in 1962-63; and later
was part of the Congolese national team that won the 1968 African Nations Cup Final
(Kinshasa v Ghana).
My father was a celebrity in sport, receiving many awards both as an excellent football
player and a manager (once managing the national team). At the time, the country
was so prosperous that 1 Congolese currency unit was exchanged against $2. Looking
back today, I realise that, surely, it is not of any profit to a man if he gains
the whole world, and loses his own soul.
In 1986, whilst still living in Congo - Kinshasa (formerly Zaire), my father died
and the whole family went suddenly through a miserable life. “All is indeed vanity”!
A few months after my father died, we were evicted from the company’s accommodation.
My mother was sick and had no income whatsoever. Often some good Samaritans would
visit us and provide some help. The family’s life became one of total desperation
I was the eldest male child in the household at that time, and I had just obtained
my GCSE equivalent. It is needless to say that, in my country, this qualification
would not get you any substantial job. In fact, without a strong recommendation
you would not even get an admission at the university either. This support I totally
lacked. Thus the family’s reputation fell from its high public profile to mockery
and complete nothingness. My father’s past glories were now useless; his important
friends he once had would hardly remember that he left a family. Later on, I was
able to understand why it is a curse to put one’s trust in man and make flesh one’s
strength, instead of trusting in God, the Creator of all things.
From Dust to New Hope
Then my father’s younger brother, who was working as an international worker in the
neighbouring Burundi, decided to finance my higher education studies. This is how
I got to Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, leaving my mother and my little sisters
and brothers behind in tears – my mother died while I was studying in Burundi.
I enrolled at the Burundi National University and was living on the campus, 120 km
from my uncle’s home, where I met with people from different backgrounds. Then I
started drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes; and I would take pleasure in doing
the wrong things that I had never done before.
Fear of death
The one particular thing that disturbed my life constantly was the fear of death.
Thus drinking and smoking acted as a scapegoat to masquerade my constant fear of
death. I knew that my lifestyle was wrong and I wanted to live otherwise; but I
simply could not. I can recall attending churches occasionally, hoping to gain some
peace of mind. Unfortunately, I returned to my usual way of living afterwards, only
to increase my fear of death.
In April 1993, a Christian (who has now gone to be with the Lord) invited me to a
4-day annual convention for students and offered to pay the fee for me. During that
time, I had an opportunity to truly understand what God’s joy and peace meant to
the believers. For four days, I (still unsaved) was waking up early in the morning
for prayer and Bible teaching with other Christians. During the first two days,
nothing happened to me. I recall asking God for a visible sign, if I ought to be
convinced that I was truly saved. I actually feared that even if I had made a public
commitment of my life to the Lord, I would certainly not be able to get delivered
from alcohol and smoking: this seemed an impossible thing to imagine.
“This is his day!”
It was on that blessed April 5th 1993, around 11:00 am, at that students’ convention
that a Ugandan Evangelist was teaching on the urgency of surrendering one’s life
to Jesus Christ, including things that were impossible to overcome. At the end of
his teaching, the Evangelist launched a call to those who were both ready and willing
to surrender their lives to the Lord. I was among the tens of people who stepped
forward and knelt down. As we knelt and were praying, asking God to forgive our
sins, I did not realise that, not only was I all in tears, but that everyone else
had already returned to their seats. I was the only one left, kneeling down, in
tears, praying to the Lord. There were about 250 people in that room and the Evangelist
actually asked for all the people present in that room to stand, lift their hands
up and pray for me. He said, “This is his day!” Yes - that was my day of salvation
and, on that very day, I was born again and forgiven.
As I knelt down and repented from my sins, all in tears, I was also filled with the
Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave me utterance.
My “chains fell off”! From that day on, I never smoked again and God has delivered
me from alcohol and promiscuity. I joined a fellowship, and then followed a baptism
course for ten months in my local church. On February 25th 1994, I was baptised (fully
immersed) publicly in the great Tanganyika Lake in Burundi, along with hundreds of
other new believers.
The most convincing sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my new life in Christ
was the instant love for the brethren and the love for God’s word. The Holy Spirit
has always been there to uphold me and correct me. By the grace of the Lord, I have
enjoyed true fellowship with the brethren from different countries, and I have benefited
from the counsels of faithful servants of the Lord. Because Jesus Christ lives,
I can face tomorrow without fear. I know that whatever happens to me, my life is
now in Jesus’ hands. The security of His faithfulness has supported me all the way
through to this day.
I now “fight the good fight” along with other fellow believers until the Lord Jesus
Christ returns to take us up into heaven, where we will be forever with Him. I long
for that blessed day, and that is my only sure hope: the heaven of Jesus Christ;
where God will wipe away every tear from every believer’s eyes; where there shall
be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former
things will have passed away. Now I know that God has a plan for every man. He
raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them
among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.