A Sinner Turns to Christ: A Testimony
My name is Noumsi Salomon. Noumsi means “All in the hands of God.” I am from the Western Province, specifically from Bafoussam, Cameroon.
Bafoussam is a main stay of tradition and as you can imagine, my parents are strong believers in tradition. They were strong believers in tradition and so it was not easy for me when it came to believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am a hotel manager which means that I was used to a certain type of life-style; night clubs, eating houses, restaurants etc. Having been used to this type of life, it was not easy for me to believe.
In my village there is a certain traditional dance. By the time a boy is between five and seven years old, he is taken to the forest for initiation rites. He is undressed, a pit is dug, some concoction is made with raffia palm-wine. Then the child goes inside and looks forward, a living cock is taken, it is pierced, the heart taken out and put in that pit. The child swallows it and then is knocked from behind and he moves forward. This is meant to confer to him the strength of a lion. That is what was done to me.
I could run continuously for very many kilometres without feeling that I had done any running. And, it was forbidden to say anything about the rites as I am saying it today. And we were told that whoever dared to unveil what was done was going to die. I can say it out loud now and expose this secret because Jesus Christ is alive. Those who did it without Jesus Christ suffered for it.
I can remember, the day I went to do this dance, I painted myself, was naked, some with whom I went were without pants and were not ashamed.
After that initiation dance that evening, we went to take a bath in a river. Below us in the river, there were people who were washing clothes and some of them drank this water. They fell sick. Because after doing this dance, one is dangerous. Immediately, these persons who drank this water and fell sick were rushed to the chief’s palace and some treatment was done for them.
After having done this ritual, if your mother dies, you are not supposed to go near her grave, same for your father if you have done it. With all this, it was not easy for me to give my life to Christ.
I was living in Mvog-Ada with my family. At the time, I was struggling to be a member of a Protestant church that was in the next quarter, Essos. I had to follow catechism classes. A test was given to us, I had thirteen. At the end we had to go to the bar with the pastor who was teaching us. He was drinking big Guinness. I saw others giving him this big Guinness. I was wondering why, but I still continue d to go to church.
There was a lame man who lived by us in Mvog-Ada at the time. A brother called Jean-Pierre Kembou organised an evangelistic campaign a few meters from my house, in the home of this lame person. I heard people singing and I left and went away.
When I came back home my wife told me that she was humming a Christian song and those people who were in that meeting called her and talked to her about Jesus Christ. I told her, look, be very careful. You know that you are already a Christian. You are already baptised, and you go to church. So, if you go with them, don’t make any commitment. But, well, if you can go and have them pray for you so that you can have a job, fine. Only that far may you go. She had just concluded her studies at the university and was unemployed.
At the same time we were being visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses. They came home from time to time, and they would preach. They had a very nice, tender gospel. They did not insist on sin. So I preferred that tender gospel.
As a hotel manager, I had girlfriends. I was a champion in drinking Castel beer. It is when I had taken four or five Castel beer bottles that I felt that I had begun drinking. These people preached the gospel and never talked about any such thing. I could listen to their gospel and continue with my alcohol.
At the end of that campaign, a certain brother, André Nduika met my wife and they decided to organise visits at my house every evening. I was listening to them and sometimes when they were there talking to us, Jehovah’s witnesses would come along as well. It was very tensed. Very often they argued so hard that it was like boiling over to a quarrel.
Then one day, these Jehovah’s witnesses began a very fierce argument with Bro. Jean-Pierre Kembou and another brother, Jolly Belinga. Finally the Jehovah witnesses left.
My wife continued to go listen to Bro. Jean-Pierre Kembou at Essos. I had warned her not to make any commitment because when I listened to Brother Jean-Pierre preach, I knew that if I committed myself:
I will not drink Castel beer any more,
I will no more go to these eating houses or these restaurants where I ate chicken,
I will no more go to night clubs. I did not like it.
I had my small Renault 18, and very often I drove out with my wife and would drive to a bar. She drank some beer, I have forgotten what it was called. But from the moment she began following Brother Jean-Pierre to those meetings, she stopped drinking.
Some time later, I had an accident in Ngoul Makong and broke my head. I had a friend at Royal Hotel who could give me some money for my treatment. I sent my wife to go and see this man and to lie that I was bedridden, lying in a hospital, so that he would give this money quickly. More so, we didn’t have any food to eat at home at the time. She refused that she could not go. That she would not tell a lie. It began to annoy me. I told her, if that is what it means, you will stop going to those people. But she used to deceive me and go there, to the extent that she got baptised and I did not even know about it. She wouldn’t accompany me to drink in the bar. When we met with my friends, each one was with his wife, I was there single, no wife.
I told her, what is all this? I am the one who brought you to Yaounde. It is not Jesus. What is all this? I will put an end to all of it. It was very difficult. When she went to those meetings and came back, I thrashed her. I forbade my children to ever follow her. But they would tell me that they were going to Sister Monique’s house, but after they go to Sister Monique’s house, they would go somewhere else. Finally I got to know. I told that Monique, Monique Tayou never to come to my house any more. And my children, each time they went to her, they came back to lie down for a thrashing.
One day I told my wife - you will leave. I sent her away. She went to the village. And she spent nearly a week there. My father called for me to come. My in-laws had a family meeting, it started from seven to one o’clock, with no headway. They needed to find a solution and, she had to abandon Jesus Christ. She was saying that she would not abandon Jesus Christ. I was besides myself, did not know what to do. Finally my father called for me, and said, “look, you have five children, you want her to go, what will you do with the five children? Give her at least one day, even on Sunday, let her go and follow her Jesus Christ.” I could not disappoint my father, so I took my wife back home.
I bore with it for a number of months and then it began to bother me again. I told her, you will not go there any more. She went and saw Brother Joseph Gado, one of the pastors. She told him the whole story. He came to the house.
In this situation we were miserable. There was no money. I can remember that by the time Brother Joseph Gado was leaving, he put 5.000 francs into my hands. I took the five thousands. So I continued to bear along for some time again. But the fact that I was virtually without a woman, having been used to the life out there, I said No! This time it is the end, it is finished. Whenever she would go and come back, I would thrash her. She would jump out through the window, and she would go.
After a certain time, we did not even have money to pay our rents. Our landlady came and locked up our house. Again, it was Brother Gado who came and paid. It bothered me - but I was still very hard. Because I knew that if I followed these people, from my understanding of the gospel that they preached, it meant that I will have to abandon my girl friends, night clubs, Castel beer.
In the long run, I said to myself; since my father is a sorcerer I will go seek a solution from him the sorcery way. So I went to Bafoussam. I told my father, this matter has beaten me. He told me, this is what we are going to do. Write down her name as on the birth certificate. I wrote out the name of my wife.
Then my father carried out various magical practices. I want to remind you that my father was very deeply rooted in occultism. From his house, he had sent fire to his neighbour’s house and it burnt his entire room. So I was sure that my father was going to succeed. He did all the magic and sorcery and I came back to Yaounde. I got to my home.
At the time, we were living in Nkol-Ndongo. Apparently our landlady was a sorceress. One day, soon after I returned from my father, there was heavy noise in the roof, like rats, or I do not know what. My wife woke up and said, “In the name of Jesus I destroy you, in the name of Jesus...” And it stopped.
And, the next day, she still went to the church. I then understood that all that my father had done was powerless. I recruited a bouncer, a strong boy, who was my neighbour. I told him, look:
we will go to their church, to their centre,
we will catch the pastor himself and
We will beat him up.
We stood up and got to the Kondengui Centre, for that is where my wife went. Brother Joseph Gado, the pastor, who lived in the church centre had gone out. We said we will postpone it, but then, let us at least talk to his wife. Sister Etiennette Gado came out. We told her, “Madame, we are warning you. If my wife sets her foot here again, we will come here with cutlasses and you will suffer.” But we saw a woman very, very calm. She allowed us to talk till we finished what we had to say. She said after listening, “that would be behaving very wildly. You cannot come into a church and behave like that. It does not happen.”
Very ashamed, we left.
A few days later there was an evangelistic campaign in Kondengui. It was to last three days. Some time before, I had taken Castel and I fell and wounded my head. They had done all in the hospital to treat my wound but it was not making any progress. For a whole month the wound remained open.
My wife told me that at the beginning of the campaign, there were many miracles. Many people were healed. “I believe that if you come there, that wound in your head will be healed.” I said “OK, I will come.” But that evening I stayed out long to drink, hoping that by the time I got back home, she would have gone. But she was at home waiting for me. Since I met her at home, I said well, since I have this pain in the head, if I go there I may be healed; let us go.
There in the meeting the gospel was preached. I listened to the gospel. The first day I refused to go but I told a friend to go with my wife. When this friend came back, he encouraged me. He told me, Mr. Noumsi, you have missed, you missed. If you had gone there, your head would have been healed, because what I saw there was wonderful. It was then on that day that I went. But I dragged my feet wanting that my wife should go alone. She told me - it is not even me who is inviting you, it is Brother Joseph Gado who is inviting you. I thought of how he had helped us, given us some money, and I said, well, let us go. So we went.
There, I listened to the gospel. Brother Zacharias Tanee Fomum was preaching. The message was powerful, but when the call was made for sinners to come up, I could not stand up. I was afraid that if I made a commitment there and then, it meant that I was going to abandon everything totally. I did not stand up.
When the time came for praying for the sick, the preacher said we should put our hands where we were sick. So I placed my hand on my wound in my head. There was first of all an intense pain. After the prayer was ended, the pain stopped, Even then I did not accept Jesus Christ that night of the 25th of December 1998. I went back home with my wife and a certain friend called Guillaume. The campaign was to continue the next day, the 26th. I came back again. I felt that since the pain was gone, the wound too was going to disappear. I listened to the gospel again. The message again was very strong.
I had a friend, an executive officer at INTELCAM. We had some dates in Bafoussam to look for girls whom I had not yet seen. We had organised this meeting with these girls by telephone. It was my friend who knew her girl friend, and it was his girl friend who looked for a girl for me. They were waiting for us in Bafoussam. I knew that if I stood up to give my life to Christ that evening, I will not be able to go to this appointment in Bafoussam. But the message was very powerful. When the alter call was made, many people stood up to give their lives to Jesus Christ. I sat down, trailing.
I was waiting for the pastor to say it was the end of the meeting, so that I will just go back home. But he went on insisting. He said, “there are still some people in this hall, who still have to give their lives to Jesus Christ, we are waiting for them.” I waited, then I saw two people come out from the back at one end. They went forward and joined all those who had come before to give their lives to Jesus Christ. I said, it is fine now, it is those two that they were waiting for. But the pastor said there are still some people sitting here who have to give their lives to the Lord Jesus. And, he took time to wait. And he was looking. As he looked round he looked at the corner by the door where I was sitting and I hid behind somebody. But he insisted. My heart was beating. I wanted to stand up, but I was very heavy. I held the bench.
Then they sang a song which today I sing with them. The time has come. The song said - when you die who will be expecting you — Jesus or Satan? I trembled as they motioned in their singing. Very quickly I weighed both lives - death and life. But what had I to choose? How can I have to think? I stood up, I moved forward. Brother Zach took my hand. He put me with the others and it was the end.
Since that day I have an experience with Jesus Christ, story, not fiction. He is not a myth. He is a reality.
I was told that if I ever release the secret of what was done in the forest, I will die. I have spoken and exposed those secrets and l am still alive, because Jesus Christ is alive.