ZTF: The Testimony of Conversion

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I think back to my own early hunger after God.  In 1952 when I was seven years old, I remember my father preaching a message on the new birth.  He said that as the wind blew and no one knew from where it came and to where it went, so was a person born of the Holy Spirit. I longed to be born again.

 That afternoon I went to the field and walked round and round, trying to start and go in a direction which no one could tell. I wanted to enter into the experience but I could not ask my father. I was not satisfied. I asked another pastor’s son, Peter Ekwoge, who was older than I how I could be sure that I would go to heaven when I died.  He told me that when I died God would immediately show me two lists.  On one would be written all the sins I had committed and on the other would be written all the good things that I had done.  The list that was longer would decide where I would go.  If my sins were more than my good deeds, I would go to hell, but if my good deeds were more, I would go to heaven.  So for the next years I tried to do as much good as possible and as little evil as possible and, thereby, hoped that I would make it to heaven.  This continued until 1955 when I was ten years old.  My father, who used to receive and distribute tracts that were produced in America, one day gave me a tract entitled, “Some One Died for You.” This tract explained that Jesus had died for me and that I should receive Him and be saved. I followed the three steps outlined in that tract and invited Jesus into my life.  Joy filled my heart and I immediately ran to the village one mile away to tell my friend (Reuben Unota) that Jesus had died for him.  A hunger to read God’s Word was born in my heart and by the time I went to the Secondary School in January, 1960, I had read the entire Bible twice over.  There were times when I read the Word up to 2 a.m. I used to take my father’s old Bible and underline the verses that he had underlined in his Bible in mine.  In the Secondary School, I prayed and carried out many religious and Christian activities. I was living for the Lord in part, but I lived mainly for myself. I wanted to be famous.  I wanted to earn a doctorate’s degree.  My heart was divided. I had no assurance of salvation. I lied and would have liked to commit fornication.  The only thing that kept me back was the fear that such a thing would bring terrible shame to my beloved Daddy whom I loved and idolised.  So, although there was not much outward sin, my heart was rotten.  When I got to the University, I saw the rottenness of my heart, turned radically to Jesus, gave Him the master-key of my life and dedicated myself to love and serve Him, and I have never withdrawn from that surrender.  Immediately after that commitment, I knew for the first time that I was indeed a child of God, that my sins were washed away permanently and that my name was written in the book of life once and for all.

As I look back, I know that if I had been helped on that day in 1952 when I first heard that sermon on the new birth, I would have been born again then and, if I had been led into an assurance of salvation, I would have loved the Lord and lived for Him from the age of seven.  Oh ! How much time would have been gained from the service of Satan and self for the service of the Lord Jesus and the Gospel!

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