“My name is Ajime Moses. I come from the Northwest Province of Cameroon. I count it a privilege to let you know how I came to know the Lord Jesus; to let you know how, for many years, I lived in sin, thinking that I was a Christian.
I will just hint you very briefly on something about my family background. I come from a polygamous family. My father had eight wives, and he made one of the greatest mistakes of his life by bringing in another one. This new wife was brought to him by his brother. She had been married to a certain court clerk, and I do not know what happened, but they got divorced. When my father’s brother heard about this woman, he went and got her for my father, as a challenge, so that my father might marry the wife of an educated man. She was illiterate herself.
When this woman came into the compound, everything changed. My father’s heart went to her and she was the one in command. My father started driving away his other wives, one after the other. My mother was the first to be sent out. She left when I was four or five years old. When I think of it now, I remember how painful it was every day to see my mother being insulted. She just had to leave, and my father drove her away, and after that, the next woman. Finally, two women were left and the last woman chased the other one away. Since the children of this other woman were already big, she went and lived with them. Now I had to live with my father’s last wife. She never had a child of her own. Living with her was hell on earth.
Another thing to mention is that I grew up at a time when there was a lot of food. But there were times I could go for three days without food. Often I lived by cracking and eating palm kernels. My mother’s relatives did everything to take me away from my father so that I could live well. My father also encouraged me to go and stay with some aunt, but I refused. I decided to stay and die with my father. I loved him and knew that if I left him, I was going to lose something in life. So, in spite of all the suffering, I stayed with him. He himself got so frustrated that he took to drinking. He and this last wife fought every week. I am not exaggerating, it was every week. The woman came back from the market drunk, every week, waiting to fight with my father. In my frustration, I, too, started looking for company.
One thing in a polygamous family is that people are in camps. My mother had only one child, me because all her other children had died. I had an elder step-brother who, each time everybody went to the farm and we were left with him, he subjected us to his own discipline. He initiated us into sexual immorality very early. In fact, we were too young to know what it was.
In the afternoons he would take girls, lay them down, and put us lying face down on them. We would stay there and start crying. Then he would come and beat us up. Things went on in this manner for a long time. We did not even know what he wanted of us. With time, however, we got initiated.
When I was about six years old, now in the primary school, I got into a very embarrassing situation. My village was a route-way to the big Bali market, and there was a stream running through it. Women used to come and take their bath in this stream on their way to the market. One day, my elder step-brother took me to that stream. When these women came and saw us, children, they did not think there was anything the matter, so they undressed and began to bathe.
There was a lady who was particularly pretty. So I turned to my elder step-brother in the vernacular and told him, “How I wish I were given this one.” These were women from the neighboring village, so this particular woman heard what I had said. She jumped out of the water and gave me the beating of my life.
I have just said this to show you some of the difficulties I had, without a mother at home and with no care. But somehow, by the grace of God, the chief of the village arranged that I should go to the palace. In the palace, I was a very obedient child, very close to the chief, and carrying water to place in the special place where he bathed.
The chief had a sorcerer who came regularly and, as I was close to the chief, there was a time I could even interpret in sorcery. But with all this, I was never absent from Church. One of the reasons why we went to Church was because we were sure to have some clothes on Sunday. This is because we grew up at a time when there were not many clothes. You barely covered your nakedness, and the rest of the body remained bare. But on Sundays, you found a woman who could give you some loin cloth to put on for that day, and give it back to her. This encouraged me to go to Church. Also, in Church, I found some company.
I went on in this way and, by the grace of God, I found myself in secondary school. When I got to secondary school, I intensified my religious life. In college there were the rules; you could not go out when you liked, etc. So I got very active with the Sunday school movement, so as to have a way to go out on Sundays. Some of us chose Sunday schools that were very far away from school. By virtue of belonging to a Sunday school team, we often had very special permission to go out on Saturday, sleep and come back on Sunday evening. The missionaries believed that we were there for Sunday school. But then we went for bottle-dance on Saturday night, and then Church in the morning.
When I look back, it was quite a pitiful sight. I remember that in Church there was somebody with a stick who used to wake up people who were sleeping. When you slept, he woke you up with the stick. And, people slept! Of course, we had been for bottle-dance in the night. This kind of life continued for a good length of time.
In college, some people came to preach. Sometimes I was quite embarrassed when somebody came, zealous to preach, and was asking that people should confess their sins in public. I used to wonder, asking myself, “Is he God? Why should he be asking that we confess our sins in public?” But as students, we just stayed quiet.
Then I went to High School, and from there to Ecole Normale Supérieure to train as a teacher. There we had a scholarship. In a sense, we were paid to go to school. We each received thirty-five thousand CFA francs every month. It was then that we just launched into sexual immorality, wasting our lives. By the grace of God, I was posted to Yaoundé and, for the first time, in the Church where we were going, I heard somebody seriously preach the Gospel.
But before that, we went to the same Church with a lady called Prisca Fomum. Each time I went to visit her, she asked whether I was saved. I got very angry. We were in the same Church, and she had the guts to ask me if I was saved, saying that she was saved. I had myself preached very many sermons before.
While in High School I had preached, saying that it was on the last day, that God would separate the sheep from the goats and that the Bible said all of us had sinned and so nobody could know in advance, whether he was saved or not. Each time this lady asked me whether I was saved, I was very troubled. But somehow I would brush it off.
In April 1977, I heard the Gospel. I heard the preacher preaching, naming the sins I had been living in. He said that if a man had not repented of his sins and invited Jesus Christ into his life, and received assurance, he was sure to go to hell. It put a question mark to my own Christianity. For somebody who had been baptised and was taking the holy communion, it was troubling. I had left High School with a good testimonial, recommending me to other Churches. But that day when I heard the Gospel, I could not resist. I decided that same day to confess my sins, all the sins that I knew. Somebody came to counsel me. I prayed with the person and invited Jesus Christ into my own life.
It happened as if it was a joke. Soon, I started enjoying what was difficult to describe. For the first time, within three months, I decided to read my Bible so as to know what was inside. I read the Bible through and discovered that many of the sermons I had preached were not in the Bible. There was a statement I often quoted, believing with all my heart that it was in the Bible. It was that God helps those who help themselves. I had also heard my own pastors preach and say so. But I was shocked that I did not see it in the Bible. In my reading of the Bible, I had a number of things I wanted to find out whether they were in the Bible, but I did not see them.
I was enjoying my Christian life. There were many other people who had been saved before me. These were helping me and I was enjoying the whole thing. But suddenly the preacher changed the tone of the preaching. We usually went for Bible teaching, and at that time he was teaching on what he called Restitution. I do not want to get into the doctrine of it, but he asked that those who were serious and wanted to take God seriously were to go back home and confess their past sexual activities to their wives, in detail. I was embarrassed. I was already enjoying my Christian life, and suddenly this bomb came.
Very many questions came into my mind. I told myself I had believed and God knew that it was true. So I left, making up my mind not to come back. The assignment was too difficult, taking into account my past sexual involvement. But on the way, as I was going home, I was asking myself – “Do I really want to become a Christian? If so, what am I then wanting to hide?” The preacher made it very clear that you cannot say that you have Jesus in your heart and keep sitting on a chair that you stole, or sleeping on a stolen mattress or on stolen sheets, or keep wearing a shirt that you stole. He said all those things had to go. It required stark honesty.
So I got home, and that day I could not do the assignment. I tried in the night, wanting to wake my wife up to confess to her. But I feared what would happen. So I left it. The days were going, and the day of the next Bible teaching was coming. The other thing is that I loved these Bible lessons very much because they were helping me a lot. I began to be troubled, and I took a decision and told myself, “I have decided to be a Christian and whatever it will cost me, I will go the full way.”
That night, I allowed my wife to sleep. In the night I woke her up and, to her shock, I called familiar names as my sex partners. If I were calling the names of too distant women, she would have been less shocked. But then, a good number of the women were her friends. I trembled, and then said, “Well, God, it is You who said these confessions should be made, so I will make them.” I took time and told her everything, everything about my sexual life. I did not hide anything from her. Then I left the consequences to God.
That was not the end. When we went again to the teaching, there was still the teaching that one should not keep any stolen thing in one’s home, and that those of us who had girlfriends had to give back their pictures. The women I could find near, I gave their pictures directly, accompanied by a Christian evangelistic tract. For the others who were not in town, I wrote letters, enveloped them with their pictures and Christian evangelistic tracts, and sent to them. Those I could not find, I just burnt the pictures. I kept no trace. We had been asked to keep no traces.
But that was not all. There was another case, a more serious one. I used to go out with somebody’s wife. I had to write a letter to the man, give the details and make sure that the letter reached him. I did not know what would happen. But I had made up my mind, that either I would be a complete Christian or I would be none. I wrote the letter, begging the man to forgive me. And, as God would arrange things, the man himself had believed. So he took it prayerfully. But it was a shock to him. He could not believe that I had had such dealings with his wife, behind his back.
That was not the end of the story. Before I graduated from High School, one of the librarians, who was a relative of mine had called me and said, “Take advantage of my presence to take along some books.” So he arranged it all, and during his turn in the library, I went and selected good books in biology, physics, etc, and carried them away. But with this teaching, I had no choice. I had to take those books back to the High School. I did so and wrote an open letter to the principal about what had happened to me, and begged him to forgive me. I told him not to make the letter a confidential matter, and that he was free to put it up on the notice board. As you can see, it was expensive, but I had made up my mind. Either I was a Christian or I was not. I wanted nothing to stand on my way. After that I went on in my Christian life.
In the Civil Service, I had been appointed a Provincial Chief of Service, but now as a Christian, when I took up service, I traced back some money that had to be paid to the state coffers some fifteen years back. I think it was about eleven million five hundred thousand CFA francs. I wrote a letter and had it signed by my boss, asking the people to pay the money. The people were shocked. They had been thinking it was a forgotten thing. The file had been closed. They tried to arrange with me, but I said, “No.”
When the money was ready, I went and got it myself and brought it to my boss. He thanked me for the work done. Then he said to me, “This money is ours. Where shall we put it? There are no records anymore. We shall own this money.” He removed two million and gave me. I knew that it was wrong, but I had some needs at the time. So I took the money, used it, and came to Yaoundé. One day during Bible teaching, the message came out talking about Civil Servants who were thieves. The teacher even specified that some of those civil servants were sitting right there in the hall. It hit me to the heart.
Then the preacher said all such should stand up. This was another blow for me. Fortunately, as God would have it, I had some money. I was prepared to sell everything I had. I went and looked for the money and went to Bamenda, where my boss was still working. I begged him to forgive me because I had not told him the truth. I knew the government account where the money ought to have been paid. I told him I was going to pay back my share of the deal. I told him that I wanted to be right with God and that I was sorry I had led him to error. He encouraged me and told me to pray for him. But he told me his conscience was clear because it was nobody’s money.
I went and put this money into the government account and made a photocopy of the receipt. I still have it. Then I wrote a letter, attached it to it and sent it to my boss’ office. This leads us to the last restitution I carried out.
At one time having found out that I was an only child, I had encouraged my mother to go out with other men so that I might at least have a younger brother or sister. That was before I believed. When I believed, I wrote to my father in repentance, and told him all the things I had done. The apostolic pastor in the village used the letter and led my father to the Lord. In the last part of his life, my father was a believer in the Lord Jesus. He was a genuine believer and was persecuted by his family. His last wife persecuted him most especially.
My father used to do three-day fasts. The people of the village were angry, saying it was not possible for an old man to go for three days without food. They said during those three days he was surely eating people.
The point I am making is that when I became a Christian, I decided that nothing was going to stand on my way. To the best of my knowledge, I do not know anybody’s thing I am keeping. As God will continue to reveal to me, I will get the things out. It is one way ahead. I am not turning back.”
Jesus has the power to save. He has the power to change lives. He can change your own life. Maybe you are telling yourself that you have done so much evil that you can no more hope to change. Jesus changes lives. He is the One who changes lives. You may think that your restitutions are too many and too difficult to carry out. Cast yourself unto Jesus, then go and carry out the restitution you must carry out.
How wonderful to abandon fornication and adultery, and to follow Jesus! How wonderful, to abandon sorcery and witchcraft and to follow Jesus! How wonderful to abandon the world and its offers of money and to follow Jesus! How wonderful to have your sins forgiven, and to have peace with God and with yourself! Yes, turn to Jesus.