When the ToF challenge was birthed I could only see as far as my testimony: and even though I remain expectant that many others will have the courage to share their story, each time I hear one, I feel humble and really excited that others are actively denouncing the shame and guilt of the past . Below is the movig story of one of the regulars on this site – Single NigerianMan, shares the hurt and pain of his past. I hope it encourages you as it has me…
Testimony of Faith Challenge
I’ve come across some amazing people in my time. Every one of them have awe-inspiring stories most especially those who gave their lives to Christ.
That said I’ve also met some people who are still ashamed of their past and are shackled to the guilt and memories of their past. Despite experiencing grace and mercy to overcome them, for some reason they stay ashamed and wouldn’t share their testimony of faith.
I can relate to the fear of being labelled by past errors and the fear of high expectations to be righteous and ‘good’.
But I’ve come to realise, not sharing testimony binds me to my past and hinders me from really embracing the possibilities of the future.
I learnt recently that sharing your testimony is the very same thing as evangelizing. All you’re doing is telling people what God has done for you and sharing the experience. In many ways, you’re proof that Jesus is real and given hope to someone who is still in despair.
Many Christians forget that the single most important task of their existence is to share their testimony or evangelise. You could get caught up with needs and wants, hopes and aspirations but if none of those things are drawing people to Christ’s feet so he can unburden and save them then dare I say it’s all vanity.
So here’s the challenge;
If you are not ashamed of what Christ has done for you, Do a video recording of your testimony of faith.
To help you can answer the following questions;
- what was life-like before you became a christian
- why did you become a Christian
- how did you become a Christian
- or how/why did you “back slide” i.e stop living as a Christian and how did you get back on track.
- at the tail end of the video, please declare that “Jesus is Lord and his power is here and real in my life!”
It’s important to say here that simply put, a Christian is someone who has made a conscious decision to accept Christ as their everything and has chosen to live according to His will.
After recording the video email it to Msluffa@gmail.com and I’ll post it on YouTube where your story can touch the lives of others. Call it 21st century evangelism if you like.
Once it’s uploaded I’ll send you a link so you can view ad share as you please. I’d also advise you to subscribe to the channel so you be touched by the testimonies of others.
For those who don’t like to do something for nothing, well your reward for doing this is knowing you’ve obeyed Jesus instruction to spread the good news that he’s alive and he saves.
Here’s a link to the YouTube channel, view, subscribe and submit your video. http://t.co/MAOB13cy
Hope to hear from you soon.
From the moment she knew I existed in her womb, she’d been raising prayers to her God on my behalf , “God let this pregnancy be smooth. God let this Child be healthy. God let your plans for this child’s life prevail. Lord don’t let this child suffer. God this… God that…”
When she set eyes on me, her prayers didn’t stop, they intensified, “let this child eat properly, don’t let this child be sick, let her start crawling, help her to walk, help her to talk.”
With a gobby attitude i started pushing boundaries with back chat and smart comments, yet she didn’t stop praying.
“lord let this child accept the discipline I give her, Lord let this child know right from wrong, lord let this child know when I smack her it’s because I love her. “
In my school days I’d bring friends home. She’d smile at me and go back on her knees and pray away the godless friends. And when i discovered the back bitting, and cheating, after they deserted me when i needed them most, Mama was there to wipe the tears away, praying, “Lord let her know she’s not alone, Lord strengthen her character so she doesn’t compromise her faith or herself for anyone, Lord bring godly people into her life, those that will lead her to you.”
When I wore mini skirts and painted my face, as she wrestled the rags off me, she prayed, “Jehovah! What kind of thing is this, my child is not a prostitute, banish every promiscuous spirit from her life, bring to remembrance the modesty and decorum you taught her through me!”
And when the boys strated darkening our doorstep, the prayers intensified, ” Elshaddai! Don’t let her be prey to beats and wolves, this one looks like a womanizer, please expose him for what he is. The other one looks like a freeloader, my God end this affair, that one’s family is deeply rooted in occultism -Jesus! You know that is not her portion! Dont let her be sacrificed to idols! Holy Ghost fire burn their plans, throw confusion into the enemies camp. Let her find her own Adam, remove these wolves from her life.” and remove he did, as I mourned relationships that we’re never meant to be, hurt by the one who was cheating on me, the one who stole from and the one who simply disappeared, she went to her God thanking and praising Him.
And when Mr.Right turned up, she went back in prayer singing praises and offering thanks, still petitioning for a fruitful and sanctified marriage.
When her grandchild was conceived, I found myself, praying like life depended on it. Her prayers and mine reached the heavens convinced God hears the heart cry of praying mothers.
When the life of my unborn child was threatened, He heard our Geary petitions. And when he was born very early, Both mum and I sat at side, while his frail tiny body lay in an incubator, praying and praising. Even when the doctors said he’s be slow and behind his peers, we prayed and praised when we saw him race far ahead of his mates, defying the odds and being a living testimony.
The months have turned to years and the prayers haven’t ceased and for that we’ve seen miracle after miracle…
So my dears, Never underestimate the power of a praying mother, it could change a life and save generations.
Do you have any testimonies of a praying mother?
Imagine being good at only one thing – failing.
You’re so average at everything that the only way to describe the results of your mediocrity is as a failure. There’s nothing outstanding about you.
Or is there?
I’m certain there’s something unique about us all, but for some reason we’re determined to fit a mould and blend in.
As they say, stars don’t struggle to shine – they just do it. And I know it’s that simple for you and I to shine and excel in the things we do.
But first we’ve got to be doing what we’re made to. There’s lots of gifts and talents lying dormant in us that we’re just a shadow of ourselves.
Mediocrity becomes the order of the day until we devote the time and effort to mastering our gifts, because one day we’ll be called to use them.
So chaps if you’re feeling average and barely there, God is calling you to Search your heart and unearth that special thing in you that makes you unique so you can go and suck no more.
… Be cool with that.
When you’re thriving and doing well, there’ll be folks who look at you and say you didn’t get there by merit.
When you’re struggling and down in the dumps, there’ll be people who’ll trample on you and want to keep you down.
When you’re confused and not sure which way to turn there’ll be those who’ll confuse you, tell you a bunch of lies and come across like
They’re trying to help, and won’t be satisfied until you’ve made one bad decision after the other and reaping suffering the consequences.
When you’re alone and vulnerable, there’ll be folks poised to give you poisons, drugs, drinks everything that’ll make you more aware of yourself and blur your vision of your ever present help, comfort and advocate.
When you’re broke, there’s those wanting to take even the clothes of your back and the skin off your nose.
Yet… You’ve got to know your enemy and be cool with the fact that some people are just going to hate you.
In spite of their advances and challenges you have to keep your eyes focused on the prize and be the light that you are and show love regardless.
Following on from a somewhat personal post yesterday, I'd like to confess that I've got skeletons in my cupboard. We all do if we are being honest with ourselves. There is an old man who was crucified with Christ and his skeleton is still in my cupboard.
Sometimes the enemy likes to remind me of how full of skeletons my cupboard actually is.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this without fully understanding what it is. For instance one day after work, Jasmine and her mate choose the nearest pub by their office. The guy at the bar, who was pretty cute said, “if you become a member you get 30% off.” so Jasmine signs on the dotted line, gives some personal details and gets shed loads of discounted drinks, putting it all down to a fun night out.
Next day she looks in her purse and sees a card that pronounced her membership of the Freemasons club. Not really sure who they are and what they stand for, she didn’t really think anything of it, but was pleased with herself for getting bargain drinks.
Over dinner as she told me about this, I told her the little I know of the conspiracy theories around Freemasonry. Here’s a link to a video called About Freemasons, you should have a watch and come to your personal conclusions.
Jasmine wasn’t really bothered by any of it, she doesn’t believe in heaven, hell, Satan or God. She believes in a greater good and man’s ability to do good. In fact she found the whole thing pretty funny and thought perhaps she may be pretty lucky and get a break in her career.
I respect that she’s a grown woman and very intelligent, but personally, i struggle to live a life so spiritually carefree and insecure that literally anything goes…
So for the more cautious and spiritually alert i say wise up, know your enemy.
A Facebook conversation I was privy too has got me thinking a lot today and it’ll be really helpful to know your thoughts on this.
Ok so a friend of mine points out the importance of dressing modestly and not baring all for the world to see. And someone responds, that you can dress immodestly but still be immoral, or you could dress immodestly because that’s what your husband, boyfriend or whatever likes.
As someone who’s been there and done the low-cut top, skin-tight dress and mini-skirt slit up to my waist fashion and got the t-shirt that practically says, I’m not a ho, but I dress like one, I think I’ve not only heard all the excuses there are out there for dressing like one is allergic to clothes, in fact I think I’ve dished a few out myself.
Most of these excuses were more ludicrous to say than they were to hear. One of the daftest excuses for dressing promiscuously is doing it to please one’s partner. Now I should be clear its insane for a Christian woman to say, she’s exposing her boobs and her buttocks because that’s how her husband likes to see her dress.
Errrm, how about dress that way at home and be decent in public – set an example please! Besides, I think the fact that your husband likes that sort of thing means you seriously need to pray for him. Some women dress the part for fear they’ll loose their man to one of the million and one women out there without scruples.
Fact is, in the battle to stay modest and decent, men have a strong role to play. And their part is mainly self control. No doubt men are moved by what they see, but dare I say if you heart is pure, your desires will be pure too.
I know men who are revolted by display of flesh in a woman in a public place, these are men that are sincerely attracted to wholesomeness and I admire these men, because I reckon they have a deeper appreciation for beauty and they realise that when it’s all out on display, an insecurity and self consciousness is on display.
Truth be told, when I used to bare all, I did it for many reasons, to fit in, to get attention, to look sexy, to feel special. Unfortunately, I felt rotten for doing it. It was clear that I was hanging with the wrong crowd; there was an unspoken competition on who was brave enough to bare the most. Even worse I was successful in drawing attention, but it was not the time that I wanted – I wanted a decent guy, but I was pulling perverts.
This brings me to another excuse, I used to give which I still hear from young women today – I’m not promiscuous, but I like dressing this way, its fashion. To me that sounds like, ‘I’m not a ho, just dressing like one.’ Imagine someone who isn’t a surgeon donning the surgical scrubs in an operating room, it could be tragic if you’re called to perform duties you’re not able to do. It does not make any sense.
So guys, what do you think? Do you like girls dressing provocatively, if so would you want your wife, sister or mother to dress this way in public?
Ladies, what’s the deal with baring all? Is revealing ones private parts really sexy, or rather perverted?
The current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson addressed almost 70,000 christians at the Festival of Life late last Friday – on the other hand his opponent in the race for the mayoral election, Ken Livingstone, who I must add has been Mayor before, spoke at one of the most controversial mosques in London – Finsbury Park Mosque.
This mosque was formerly controlled by the terrorist recruiter Abu Hamza who was removed, however, it is now deemed to be under the control of the Islamist Association of Britain which has been linked to the banned terror group, Hamas.
I wasnt there but, i used to listen to LBC radio, (Ken used to host a show on the station) and i know Ken can get rather carried away and his mouth gets trigger happy shooting off all manner of things, however, on this occasion, I can only imagine some researcher must have skimmed through Muhammad’s last speech and drawn some lines out of context and includedin his speech, coupled with Ken’s verbosity, it was a speech almost insighting religious intolerance, not to mention it unwittingly endorsed the application of Sharia Law. You can read more here.
Besides promising to make the lives of muslims easier, he actually described Muhammad’s words in his sermon as an agenda for all humanity and, he pledged to ‘educate the mass of Londoners ‘ in Islam. He added, ‘that will help to cement our city as a beacon that demonstrates the meaning of the words of the prophet.’ it’s a shame he didn’t read the speech in context, as it refers to Islam as the only true faith and includes the mandatory implementation of Sharia, according to Mr Dye, the head pastor of Kensington Temple who wrote a damning letter to the Mayor.
Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this, something highly irresponsible with Ken manipulating religious words for the sake of votes… but then I wonder, is that all he’s doing, or does Ken truly have a hidden agenda. Afterall, in 2010, he abandoned his party nominee in Tower Hamlets and backed an independent candidate Lutfur Rahman who had been previously rejected by Labour on grounds of being linked to an extremist group – Islamic Forum of Europe.
Someone’s probably done the maths and come up with the solution that Muslims are have more political clout at the polls in London than Christians. All Ken has to do is win the muslim votes in some tactical parts of London and he’s home free. So, I wonder is he an evil genius or is he just irresponsible? somehow, I get the sense all this is for the sake of votes.
It’s at times like these that the words of Paul to Timothy ring true, he gave an urgent advise to the young man calling him to pray for leaders and those in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.(1Timothy 2:2-3)
If this was Nigeria or Mali where terrorist groups like Boko Haram are violently pushing for a Sharia state, such statements would not only change the course of the nation, but potentially lead to the loss of many lives.
I watch with bated breath to see who will wear the crown of the Mayoral election. All we can do is pray that a man/woman who will be useful to God will fill the post. The last thing London needs now, is religious segregation and favouritism in political spheres.
So this is a shout out to the Christians out there wailing on God for Louboutins and a few extra zeros in their pay checks, look at the big picture and pray for your leaders. And o! Get out and vote!
I believe people are in our lives for a season, a reason or for a lifetime. This is why there is wisdom in knowing when a relationship is over and being careful not to keep a relationship that has passed its expiration date could be disastrous.
Sometimes God gives us a heads up, so we know when to quit a relationship on a good note. I had a dream months ago about a friend, it was very vivid and I still remember most of the details. I thought it was something I could change with a few words of prayers, but now I know it was a heads up on what was bound to happen – for my benefit, so I’m not emotionally wounded when it does.
Today I had a conversation with my friend and my heart broke as it dawned on me that or relationship had gone sour because I’d held on to it longer than I should have. Things that had never been an issue before had led to guilt, disappointment, unnecessary insults – things totally out of character for us both. It almost seemed like we don’t know each other and the situation had brought out the worst in us. I’m currently mourning that relationship with a broken heart.
While I was at uni, I thought a lot of people in my life were keepers. We were so close and we had such a bond and such a huge impact on one another’s lives I really thought we’d be friends forever (cheese alert. BFF sturves) Looks like God had plans for each of us and our paths did not converge. We’re still friends now, but more like special life moment friends, weddings, funerals, the birth of our children etc. as opposed to everyday people. And you know what that’s cool. We still love each other but the season of our closeness is over.
I think of amazing people in my life, and I know for a fact that our friendship – close as it is, has a short shelf life. I know I’m in their lives for a reason, some are there as a sort of test of faith, others are an assignment, and others are there to teach me important things I need to learn for the season ahead. It’s sad knowing my time with them is up, but I’m ready for the farewell and as much as I love them I know it’s best to let them go than to risk making a sweet thing go sour.
It’s tragic when you make permanent something that should be temporary. And even more depressing the other way round. Imagine cutting a sister or parent out of your life! They weren’t taken away, you rejected them.
It’s unfortunate that most times it hurts more when one is offended by a family member, but it should also be easier to love and forgive them. I’ve seen and heard of family members thinking the worst of one another and doing things against one another in spite of the love they feel. Yet these are relationships that should last forever, but they are incredibly difficult to manage.
Family members are easy to take for granted, but sometimes we miss the best of one another because we don’t invest enough in these relationships. I’m determined to love my family more.
Relationships that should last a lifetime are the most delicate yet the most neglected. I’ve always wondered why? Who stands to gain from broken homes, failed marriages and strained relationships between siblings, or between children and their parents?
Today I told the truth and I feel so good about it. I wrote a letter (more like email) to my dear sister about the horrid past, revealing six-year-old secrets I could have taken to the grave.
It’s crazy how, your family are the people who know you least and who you think you know, but really, you’d be shocked by the individual truths. I hate that I don’t really know my siblings. I hate that, people I don’t know even exist know them a lot better than I do. And I don’t understand why that is.
Deane, a girl I love was telling me the other day of how she’s considering not being her sister’s maid of honour because her sister disapproves of her new bisexual lifestyle. There’s a rift between both sisters now since Deane decided to move to Timbuktu with her girlfriend. For a long time she kept the whole thing a secret because she was scared of being judged by her sister, and the more she told me about it, I realised that she’s a totally different person around her sister. The person that she’s grown up to be is far removed from the person her sister thinks she is. Sad thing though is that her sister is convinced she knows Deane so well!
This really made me think. How do you stay true to the person you are now around people who see you the way you were? I’m not entirely sure about this, but I think my sister has this protective love for me and when she sees me, she probably still sees me as a rug rat, 4 /5 years old, playing with my bald-headed dolls, running amok in the house and being a tomboy. I don’t blame her though. It’s almost like I went from that to wife and mother, and she wasn’t really privy to everything that happened in between – the things that have led me to be the woman I am today.
I feel terrible that I’ve been part of the problem in my family. I’ve been secretive and worse still I haven’t taken a keen enough interest in the lives of my siblings, so effectively they are strangers I love. But that’s it though, with family you just know you’ll love them regardless, but sometimes i wonder if that’s what makes it so difficult when you find out something horrible, there’s this sharp pain of disappointment and it’s almost inevitable to be prejudiced.
I find that because your family want the best for you always, they can’t help but get too involved so much so it’s more of a repellant than a bonding glue and many families keep up appearances and manage the status quo, than really get deep into issues. And when they do… all hell breaks loose.
I have to say at this point though, that no matter what I discover about them, I know I’ll love them regardless… no one need fear judgement from me.
I dare not get all hoity toity with anyone, imagine a worm thinking it’s better than a slug…I’ve learnt that judging people is a very slippery slope. In God’s eyes we’re all the same. This song humbles me every time I hear it and reminds me of the power of forgiveness, and my dependence on grace.
What’s it like with you guys? What’s your relationship with family like? Would you say your family really know you?
Girls, who get knocked up by their boyfriends and contemplate abortion, please spare a thought for Amina Filali a young Morrocan who was forced to marry her rapist. The thought of enduring life with her rapist troubled her so much she chose to commit suicide.
Now I know these are totally different things, but there’s one huge similarity – the loss of life and a sense of finality, the pressure to make a decision that could alter lives forever.
When I read this story on Al Jazeera, (which is fast becoming my preferred source of news) I was horrified and heart-broken. It made me think of those parents who force their children to get married to save face of having a child out-of-wedlock. It makes me really think of how incredibly difficult it is to be a parent – you’re responsible for bringing this person into the world and moulding them to be the best God wants them to be.
Somewhere along the line, parents forget this; they take on the role of gods in their children’s lives and enforce decisions that terminate their children’s destiny.
I’m a strong believer that ‘all things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28). Something positive has come out of the death of Amina – the nation is forced to sit up and pay attention to the horrors faced by child brides and rape.
If I could speak to her parents, I’d ask them, ‘why did you think to gift your daughter to her attacker?’, ‘How much did she mean to you that you thought this was the best way to preserve her dignity?’, ‘What images of happiness did you picture of her future? Did the rape seem ok to you? I’d ask her mother, ‘have you ever been loved?’, ‘How many times were you raped?’, ‘Do you know what happiness is?’
I can only imagine that people who perpetuate or condone evil are people who have not truly experienced love and forgiveness. It may seem too late for them, as they’ve lost their daughter, but I really think what the Filalis need is to be shown true love. They need to be shown what their daughter missed.
What do you think about this story? Can you empathise with the parents? Do parents still ask their daughters to get married when they get pregnant before marriage, or is that really as old school as it sounds.
A friend of mine has a very trying relationship with her mother in law. The woman is one of those who like to stick her oar in everything, including those things that don’t concern her. She’s very critical about everything and rarely has anything good to say about people.
My friend – Leila, is very feisty and sharp tongued. On many occasions she’s spoken from her heart and told her mother in law off. As you can imagine this has caused a lot of embarrassment and increased tensions between the couple not to mention other members of the extended family.
In a bid to patch things up, Richard, Leila’s husband invites his parents and his in-laws over for dinner. His wife didn’t have to do the cooking, he’d ordered food in, all they had to do was sit and talk. Richard braced himself to be a referee, and prepared himself for a sling match. And that’s exactly what happened.
What was most shocking wasn’t so much that there was an argument; it was what was being said. Leila was quick to say Richard could have turned out a better and more successful person if his mother wasn’t a controlling busy body. Her mother in law was quick to retort that her sharp tongue and bitter heart is the reason why her womb has been closed and she isn’t a mother after six years of trying to get pregnant.
As Leila relayed the horrors of that night to me, I couldn’t help but conclude there’s so much bitterness between the women that they’re blinded to its impact on the rest of the family. Each one is holding on tightly to a grudge, refusing to let go of past hurts.
It’s so true that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Everything in the heart bubbles up to the fore in our actions and our words. Sometimes we think things are dead and buried and we’ve forgiven and forgotten, but we haven’t, all it takes is a look or a word from someone of the sight of them to stir something bitter up, and it all comes rushing out.
Thankfully I’ve got the best mother-in-law in the world, so I can’t say I know how Leila feels, however, I know what it’s like to really despise someone and what I hated most was being shackled by the hatred, being restricted to a place of discomfort, pain and aggression as opposed to being free, happy, confident and open.
I’ve been learning to truly love people, especially those really hard to love. I discovered that the things they say and do won’t really hurt me if I look past their actions and consider the reasons why they are acting that way. Many people behave like victims of their past and present circumstances, and knowing that helps with being patient with their shortcomings and their flaws.
Many things spill out of the heart through our mouths that sometimes surprise us. A good friend of mine doesn’t believe that silly thing people do where they say something nasty and then say, ‘I’m only joking.’ Nah, as far as she’s concerned, it aint no joke, it’s something the heart has been harbouring for a long time. I know someone that gets in trouble a lot because of what she says “jokingly” turns out her jokes are rather expensive and very hurtful. I can’t help but think, there are some dark clouds looming on that heart that unleash a torrent of pain and hurt.
I remember once during a minor spat with an ex-boyfriend I wasn’t happy with, I blurted out, ‘I think we should go on a break.’ Needless to say once the genie was let out of the bottle there was no putting it back in. That was it, that relationship died an untimely death. At the time I didn’t know how bored I was with him until I was relieved it was over.
Have you blurted out something that surprised you or revealed how you really feel?
Have you ever had those days when it seems like your life isn’t your own and you’re a bystander watching a car crash and not being able to stop it? Have you ever felt like things just happen and you’ve got no control of them at all and you’re just going with the flow? I used to feel that way.
As I write you today, I’ve come a very long way from the girl that used to fall out of the club scantily clad, drunk to a stupor. I’m no longer that person who knew the best dealer for the most potent weed. I’m far from the lying, cheating, stealing and conniving person I used to be. Looking back now, I cringe at those moments when I’ve knowingly made the wrong decisions. No other reason than, ‘just because’. I remember dating someone I had no business being with, why? Just because I wanted to. It was like walking straight into quick sand, ignoring all the warning signs, totally blanking all the people yelling at you to back away. It’s crazy, I know I’m a smart person, but my life experiences, show a high level of foolishness.
Having said that, I’ve learnt from my lessons and I’ve learnt to learn from the mistakes of others. Life is too short and needless mistakes are colossal waste of time. I thought I knew what was going on in my life; I thought I knew what direction I was heading. There was a plan; I had a five year plan and even 10 year goals. They were all written down, typed up – there for me to see, cross check and evaluate my progress. But you know what; it seems God has other plans for me. He’s taken me from a place of security, pulled the rug from under my feet so I feel the bare ground. He’s placed me at the edge of the mountain and pushed me so I can discover by ability to soar and reach great heights.
Reader, I have changed. And the frustrating thing is I don’t think I can fully explain to you how and in what ways. I’ve gone from being the average person, to discovering the supernatural side of me and the things that make more exceptional. I’m not living my life the way I’m expected to anymore!!! Wohoo!!! I’m super excited and I feel extremely liberated! One thing I can say for sure is that, I’m now on the best path of my life and God himself is monitoring my progress.
During the long break from Msluffa.wordpress.com so much happened and the bottom line of it all has been change and renewal. I feel like I’ve had a heart transplant and inevitably I feel differently about things and people and I’m moved to do different things.
I write these words, knowing you won’t understand, but also wishing that you’d continue to tolerate me. So far you’ve been so good to me, you’ve read, you’ve commented and you’ve shared so much of yourself. And for that I’m grateful. I beg, rather unashamedly, that your loyalty continues as I dare to share my new weird and wonderful life. Hopefully each post will make more sense. We’re not that different you and me. We’re both on a journey; l’m sharing mine, and I hope you’d share yours too.
Kidney functions – those were the words emblazoned on a computer screen in bright red.
Peering through gold rimmed spectacles was a young man with a red hoody over his head and white earphones with loud hip hop music blasting through to his brain.
He plucks them out of his ears and asks me, “if the train is going forward does that mean we’ll fall backward?”
Not quite sure what he was asking me, I asked him to explain himself.
Before I knew he’d swapped seats and he was telling me about himself and how he wants to do things to help people.
Not long afterwards he asked if i’d listen to his music – he’s a budding artist, you see, with 200 tracks to his name.
Intrigued by this young man, I had his ear phones in my ear listening to his music interrupted only by stories of his life and plans for his future.
He wanted to know what I thought about his music. I had to be honest, it would sell but it won’t help that many people – the music did not represent the person.
Before me sat a medical student desperate to help people and eager to be famous. He hinted at a troubled past and fractured relationships. In 10 minutes i gathered he’s in a music band that will be splitting up, he’s had to repeat his final year and he’s dating an unavailable woman. I imagine his got wealthy parents and is from a political family in Nigeria well connected to those in authority and he may be seen as a ‘successor’ to power.
As the train pulled to a station he asked me, ‘now you’ve listened to my music, what do you think I should do? Follow the path of medical science, become a consultant, and hopefully go into politics and become a successful politician in Nigeria or follow my music and become a super star… ? “
As I sat there stunned by the weight of his question knowing I’ll never see him again in my life, I asked the Holy Spirit to speak…
He hurriedly packed his things, just before he left the train he looked back and asked me, ‘ what should I do?”
“just help people…” was all I managed to say… He smiled, mouthed the words and waved good bye…
Have you had a random conversation with a stranger? Tell me about it…
News reports tell us there are about 4000 immigrants released from jail who haven’t been or will not be deported. Most of them are living in limbo – free to roam the streets and re- offend.
Mr Vine – the Chief Inspector of the Border Agency discovered that, as of May this year, there were 3,775 foreign criminals who had been released from prison but had not been deported. Nine in ten had been granted bail by the courts.
Of those at large, 87 had committed crimes in the “most serious” offence category which includes murder, rape and paedophilia. More than 400 were in the “more serious” category such as serious violence or other sexual offences. Another 1,600 have finished their sentences but remain either in prison or immigration detention awaiting deportation because they pose a high risk. A further 12 are missing after either being released directly from court or referred incorrectly, he said.
I find the justice system a curious thing. Some of these offenders who will be deported will most likely re-offend and commit heinous crimes in their country of origin. The self-preservation of the justice system is very blatant as it reflects its jurisdiction to preserve and protect human life but only British citizens and not humanity in general. So it’s ok for the UK to release a SriLankan serial rapist done for GBH back to Sri Lanka. Who cares what he’ll do in Sri Lanka, so long as Brits are rid of him hey?
I’m sure in developed countries something is done with the information and a deported criminal isn’t just let loose on the streets, but what about those less developed nations where corruption is rife and justice goes to the highest bidder? Places where more people live in fear for their safety on a daily basis – who’s looking out for the little guy?
While we’re considering what the Border Agency has revealed, it’s difficult to ignore the ongoing immigration scandal it is embroiled in? Early this week Migration Watch revealed findings from a survey which revealed that 8 in 10 Brits feel the UK is over crowded – shocking news! Right? Wrong.
Whether the UK is overcrowded or not is beside the point, we all know what popular perception is about immigration, having the stats to prove it only helps to raise fears and cause confusion about it, the result – knee jerk reactions by the Border Agency.
Which makes it the worst time for news reports to reveal immigration officers have waved people through the gates without checks - I’m sure a lot of Nigerian travellers can not identify with the complaints that not enough passport checks are being made at border control – thousands of potential terrorists may have been welcomed in, but I get the sense even if immigration officers were directly instructed by the Prime Minister to wave everyone through, they’d still stop and check Nigerians and give them the third degree.
I have to say though, this is probably not the best time for Nigerians to be under the immigration spotlight. News of bribes for visas by Nigerians not only worried me, it made me feel ashamed. Like it wasn’t difficult enough being Nigerian, here’s one more thing that would cause extra attention at passport control. Reading about the visa corruption just made me shake my head. I can just imagine it. Someone decides they’d like to travel to London and then a friend of a friend tells them they know this guy that can arrange the ‘pali’ but it’ll cost them. It goes without saying that there will be repercussions for this and a lot of genuine travellers will be affected, somehow i get the sense this would have huge financial repercussions, it always does.
Anyway… thanks for enduring my immigration rant… needed to get that off my chest… next post!
Why is it that those who have in abundance are the least likely to give. Or when they give they are extremely frugal. I’m not a millionaire and I don’t know what I’ll be like if I were one, but I’m increasingly shocked by how people are driven and controlled by materialism. This is probably poverty mentality on my part, call it what you like but I’ve noticed most generous givers, give from little. I guess I’m thinking more about the attitude of giving rather than the gift itself.
For instance. I know a girl – B- who owns a house. Her close friend – M- is homeless – in the sofa-surfing-kind of way and B’s property is free, it’s a three bedroom house in the centre of town, a very easy commute for M. There’s been a lot of hinting, out right asking and begging even to the point of grovelling for a temporary stay in the apartment – B said ‘no’ on the principle of not mixing friendship and business – ‘naturally’ there would have to be a contract and rents drawn up etc. instead she’s been helping M contact agents.
You may totally agree with B which is cool, but … spare a thought for Matema, who grudgingly loaned her sister some money for a visa application and has been hounding her for it from the moment the application was sent. Matema earns well over £59k a year yet she makes a note ( I don’t think it’s a mental one because she’s always very accurate) on how much her unemployed sister owes her, from the odd tenner to top up her oyster to the few pennies spent towards a co-signed birthday card to their mother. What is up with that?
I once heard that rich people seem stingy because they’ve worked hard to earn their money and they are very cautious of not frittering it away, especially on things with no investment value charitable giving.
No doubt a lot of wealthy people make sizeable donations to charity but to an extent there’s something in it for them, recognition like buildings named in their honour or access to other rich people or to a service ( enough rich people donate to certain establishments so their kids can be admitted into schools, clubs etc) there’s something in it. But try to stop them on the road and ask for a buck – you don’t even get acknowledged.
I hope I’m wrong about this, no doubt there are many reasons why people don’t give to vagrants on the street – but hardly ever do you see folks strutting out of Selfridges or Harrods hand out a fiver – or is it that rich people don’t ever have spare change – fine, how about at least acknowledging the fellow human being and stop acting like there’s a stench up your nose.
Can you tell I really get irritated by the greed and arrogance that comes with wealth ( forgive the generalisation) . I don’t get why it requires so much thought, planning and grovelling? *Sigh* I don’t even know why this bothers me to be honest. I don’t think i’ve thought this through…
But i wonder, if you’ve ever won the lottery would you be more of a giver, a spender or a hoarder ( ok, saver? )
The Daily Telegraph has learnt that plans to enshrine in law that a child has a “meaningful relationship with both parents” are likely to be dropped. The recommendation is understood to have been left out of a report on family justice by the former pensions regulator and civil servant, David Norgrove.
It said: “If parents share care fully before separation they are more likely to do successfully after separation. But where the converse applies, legislation cannot change that fact. “
It is such heart breaking news that law makers have chosen to take the easy way out when they had an opportunity to make legislation that would ameliorate the emotional and psychological impact of a divorce.
The chauvinistic, approach which assumes only the mother is needed to raise a child is very damaging to society as a whole and more importantly to the children involved.
I’m mother, a wife an Aunty, a sister and a daughter and my without the support I get from my father and husband, i’m not sure where I’d be today.
The timing of Dr Norgrove’s report is so off as well. At a time when voluntary and statutory organisations are doing more to make sure young men have positive role models, the law is making sure Fathers will be totally cut out of a child’s life, the fact that they have difficulty deciding on how much time each parent should spend with each child is besides the point.
Divorce is rampant but it does not mean it is right. No one in their right mind gets married with the intention to get divorced – especially when children are involved. So why is more being done to tolerate and manage divorce?
The statistics are horrendous - 300,000 children to 200,000 single fathers, and now legislation allows the fathers to be excluded from the child’s life? I don’t think I need to say more about the importance of family life for the society – I assume everyone knows this. The more fragmented families are the more Broken Britain will be ( right on Cameron) I know some single parents do an amazing job raising their children, but it’s not the ideal choice is it. It’s also not the best for a child when they can be with both parents (here’s the clause) who can provide a loving and safe environment for the child.
The fact that parents can’t work a marriage does not necessarily mean they can not be successful as parents, or at least encouraged to do so. I haven’t got a legal degree or any experience, but it doesn’t take a genius to know the judge can order parents to spend more time with their child(ren) or at least take parenting classes £5million is being invested to teach parents how to parent – say what you want about the nanny state, but surely it has its benefits if it means more children will not be neglected emotionally and physically and if it offers the slightest hope that families will get the support they need to thrive.
What I fear the most is that broken home lead to broken young lives. Are my fears unfounded? What do you think about the absence of legal support for fathers to see their children after a divorce? Are your parents divorced or separated? What was it like growing up? Do you ever worry what impact a divorce could have on your children?
“Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are”. An old adage that aims to describe how one is defined by the company they keep. Well, in recent weeks I have seen in the company that I keep, those who I am honoured to call “friends” show themselves to be more than just a tag.
In a matter of days, I get married to the greatest friend I have.
My life before Christ was a mess.
I lied, cheated, stole and had a series of relationships that led nowhere.
I was completely unaware of who I was, but carried on with life, based on the expectations of others.
Even though i had given my life to Christ in my early teens, i wasnt rooted in His word, and I didn’t like to pray.
Through my teenage years, especially during uni, I was completely lost. Drowning my emptiness and insecurities in alcohol and eventually getting further away from any chance of being in sound mind by living in a daze induced by marijuana.
My life was one bad decision after the other, particularly when it came to boyfriends. My irresponsibility nearly cost me my life. Even more so after terminating a pregnancy, I was depressed and made many attempts to take my life.
For many years I lived in guilt, confident that there was no point to my existence. There was a lot of pent up rage and anger in me. I despised people who seemed happy and I envied them their freedom.
It was like every bad thing I had done made me feel worthless, and that feeling made me angry and bitter. Emotionally I felt comfortable with the bitterness in me because it justified my guilt and was my excuse for being the way I was.
Even though I knew about God, I wasn’t prepared to let go of the bitterness and anger. I hated myself, I wasn’t prepared to truly embrace His love for me and I really had no love to give anyone.
Several failed suicide attempts later and what can only be God’s grace, and the diligence of my praying mother, somehow God pulled me out of the cesspit that was my life.
He surrounded me with people who truly loved and serve him. Their passion for Him was irregular and the brand of Christianity they exhibited was different from what I had seen.
God’s love through these women enticed my heart out of the darkness I had found solace in. The power of His word, shattered all the lies that had been whispered in my heart – words of guilt, shame, worthlessness and condemnation.
Going back to church was inevitable, picking up my Bible became mandatory, I felt like I had to hold on to the truth in it. I literally posted bible verses on my bedroom wall, I wanted to see those truths all the time because I couldn’t afford to entertain anymore lies.
It was almost, believing one of those lies would push me off a cliff and I’d be free-falling down a bottom less pit. I couldn’t go back to feeling that way.
Reading the word birthed a desire to pray. I felt like the prayers has to activate the Word in me.
Did I change my ways immediately? No. But I can testify that, it was only by God’s grace I stopped smoking marijuana, I wasn’t binge drinking (more recently I completely stopped drinking )
One of the most amazing miracles of all, was how God totally proved the devil a liar, by blessing me with a husband who is perfect for me. A true treasure that God himself is preserving for me. Being married to him convinces me of God’s love, His grace, mercy and forgiveness – and for that I am eternally great full.
If that was all God blessed me with I’d sing praises forever, but he’s enriched my life with a son that’s a true joy, an answer to prayers and a living testimony of God’s infinite love and divine purpose.
Despite my past, God has blessed me in so many other ways, and most humbling of all, he considers me useful in his work, of spreading his word, and interceding on behalf of others.
I can help but say, Jesus truly is Lord and his power is here and real in my life.
**you’re welcome to share your story by taking part in the Testimony of Faith challenge. You can view mine at http://www.youtube.com/mzluffa
My dad is wealthier than the wealthiest person on earth – but I’ve been lacking because I don’t ask and even when I do, I don’t really think he’ll respond so I try to sort things out myself. I usually end up getting much less than he’ll have given. Every time I’ve waited in the past he’s never disappointed me, so why am I so impatient and why do I doubt him.
I feel like I’m waking into a battle every morning. From the early seconds of consciousness, I’m whipping out the sword and fighting contenders, defending against thieves and challenging those that stand far off plotting and strategizing. It’s hard, but there’s no better way to live than as a victorious warrior.
I look at my sister and see her heavy heart. She’s been wearing difficulties, depression and even diseases like designer outfits. They hang on her shoulder, around her neck and even sit on her feet, and her wrists like shackles. Each time I see her my heart gets heavy. I could talk till I’m blue In the face, but then I realize that the freedom she needs will only come when I show her I love her. As I wash her feet, I take the shackles off, when I buy her clothes, she has a reason to take the burdens off and when I take her out, she sees how life can be.
I know he loves me, he doesn’t need to tell me so because he shows it. In the past I’ve felt in debt to him because of the love and respect I have for him. But As i’ve grow in love with God I realize what he wants for me falls short of what God wants. How do I let the man who was there when I was born know that the one who made me is taking me somewhere he knows little about and probably thinks little of? One love supersedes the other.