Typically, as the youngest of your siblings (“last born”), especially in Ghana, you are pampered, and you get everything you want. I grew up thinking life would be easy since my mum, who was a strong Christian and a woman of faith, did her best to provide for all my needs. However, the realities of life eventually caught up with me and have taught me many lessons.
My battles started in university. I got my first taste of freedom. I was a man. My mother was not around to remind me to pray or encourage me to fast. Since my faith was very much wrapped up in my mother’s and not my own, with every challenge I faced, I lost hope. These were the hardest times of my life, while I was the youngest child, my dad had another family and he could not provide for all of us.
I studied IT in university and, through that, made some friends who introduced me to making money online. They showed me how to use what I was learning to break into systems and hack valuable information, which got me money to relieve the pressures. Gradually, with more money, I fell into alcohol and drug abuse. This means of making money quickly became addictive, even though my conscience continued to niggle at me. I was robbing people of money they had worked hard to earn. It was still hard for me to let go.
Recently, I came across James 4:17 and realized that what was happening was described there: “so whoever knows the right thing to do and does it not, to him it’s a sin”
I had been calling myself a child of God, but this was not evidenced in my character. While partying out in Osu and enjoying the night life, I made new friends who were in the same dilemma as me, but also did not know how to get out. The attraction of the quick money was very strong, though we knew we were doing wrong. It was these new friends who introduced me to Hope City Church Accra. They told me I could come as myself, and when I did, I was welcomed.
When I joined Hope City Church Accra, I knew I could not serve God and keep doing what I did. The community and the love I experienced woke me up to the reality that I could not keep harming my neighbor and claim to love God, too. I began to feel a strong conviction to stop and serve in church and let God take the wheel.
My friends from university soon realized that there was a change and let me know that I was making the wrong choice. It did not make sense to them that I would leave a means of making quick, good money for a life at church, where I was at peace with God and myself. Church quickly became my favorite place, and I took every opportunity to get involved and to serve.
For me, it wasn’t easy at all. In moments when I was short on cash, I would lapse back into my old habits. It was a cycle of lapsing and getting back up, until my laptop – fortunately or unfortunately – broke down. I was convicted by Proverbs 10:2 (NLT), “Tainted wealth has no value,but right living can save your life.” I had no means to get online, and I took advantage of the situation and decided to not fix it or buy another one in order to abstain completely.
After university, I was posted as a teacher to a remote village for national service. Teaching kids who were going through tough challenges changed my perspective and gave me purpose. I fell in love with children, particularly those in hard situations. I wanted to help fix their challenges because I could relate to going through tough times.
I returned to Accra to volunteer with City Hearts (Hope City’s education program) after national service. My national service experience helped me relate to the kids I was teaching at City Hearts. I volunteered for 2 years, and through that, finally found one of my passions.
Currently, I have been working with City Hearts for a year and a half. In this time, I have learned new skills and helped realize impactful initiatives like the ‘Pack A Backpack’ and ‘Storehouse’ projects, which are all targeted at providing physical supplies to people who need them.
In addition, I have met the love of my life who came in God’s own perfect time. She loves the things of God and loves children even more than I do.
Today, I can confidently say that no one is ever too far from God to receive his grace. God is good. If you put your trust in Him, He will not forsake you. It does not mean things will always be smooth, but in the hard times just remember to put him first and all else will fall in place.