Samuel – Restored and Refocused

He was the son of one of the African Church’s local evangelists. He attended the church primary school, regularly attended church, went through the catechism classes and was baptized. After all, he was the evangelist’s son and it was expected of him.

When it came time for him to attend Middle School, he chose a boarding school quite a distance from home. That way, he figured, he could get away from his father and the religious pressures exerted on him. Though still young, he threw away any semblance of being a Christian. His next school, Secondary School, was even farther away. Now he could really live the way he wanted.

And he did. While he excelled in his studies, any evidence of a relationship to the Lord was missing and he lived a very wanton life. Because he was in the higher percentage of students when it came to studies, he was selected to go on to University.

While still at the University, walking across the campus one day after classes, he heard the sound of singing coming from one of the classrooms. And, the songs? They sounded just like the ones he had learned back when he was still living in his evangelist father’s home.

Surely there were no Christians on a University campus. This was “modern day” Tanzania. African Socialism, which stressed a break from religion and community disciplines, held sway. University was the place where protests were held and where new ideas and actions were formed. Surely “today’s” Tanzania would have no place for any idea of God – or god – or any religion.

He was drawn in by the singing and went to see what it was all about. He saw a room full of students, with some of them standing up front leading in the singing. Looking around, he could see no “old white-haired” preacher, African or foreigner, present. How could this be? Someone had to be forcing them to meet and sing.

This happened week after week. And week after week found him observing. Finally, he decided to join with the group and find out what it was all about. And he found that there were students who were Christians and who were not shy about their faith. And, suddenly, his heart was touched and he himself was saved – or, like the prodigal, “returned to his Father”. His whole attitude and actions and life was changed and now he too, there on the University campus, became a vibrant testimony for the Lord.

Skip forward a number of years. He graduated from University with a doctorate in Psychiatry; went overseas for a number of years for further specialized training; came back to Tanzania to work for the government in the big hospital in the town in which we were living.

And, he continued to be a real witness for the Lord. Because of his experiences in Secondary School and University and how he found the Lord under those unusual circumstances, he was well received by the secondary school students in our town. He was always ready to help with student ministry; his testimony and messages always had a tremendous impact.

Fast forward again. His goal of having a good job, a house that didn’t have a grass roof and to have a car were now realized. His job was well-paying, he had a cement house with glass windows and a tile roof, his car was a Mercedes.
But work seemed to be secondary to him. He helped Africa Enterprise in its revival meetings as well as helping us with the local student ministry. Gradually the Lord “tugged” on his heart to enter full-time Christian ministry. He gave up his good-paying government job, he sold his house and his Mercedes (and bought an old Fiat) and became a full-time evangelist for Africa Enterprise.

God’s grace was extended to him and his family in many ways and for years they have had satisfaction in ministry – all because of a heart that, in spite of deliberate hardness and wandering, was open to God’s calling.

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