The Conversion Testimony of Njamen Dieudonné
Praise the Lord! I am called Njamen Dieudonné. I would like to tell you what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for me.
First of all, I will want to bless the Lord. And may God’s Name be blessed, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for all His goodness towards me, and His abundant and superabundant grace towards me. He displayed that towards me and He saved me.
I would them like to pray that the Lord will give me the words and the sentences that I need, that I will use them as I ought so that the entire truth may come forth; and that all the glory be given to Him. Amen.
I was born in a family where my father was a nobleman in our village, a small village in the Nde Division called Bazou. When I was still very young, my elder sister usually took me to the Catholic Church because she was attending St. Albert’s School of Bazou. And for her it was compulsory to attend mass every Sunday morning. Many times she told us she was punished because she was absent from mass on Sunday. So she usually took me along. But there is a very great age difference between the sister whom I follow and I. So she got married and went away when I was only in Class 4. And so I stopped going to Church.
But I was all the time with my father. He built his house such that he had a private apartment for himself with a parlour, his room and another room opposite that one. Normally, since he was a polygamist with 6 wives, the children slept with their mothers. But he took me and I slept in that other room which was in his private apartment. I didn’t know why he chose me to stay there and he never told me why. The only thing I know is that there were some things that he told me and when I told them to my brothers, they were surprised. And all these things concerned tradition – the worship of skulls, and the sacred forest, …. He told me his genealogy, all the powers that were in the family of his fathers, all that he was capable of doing. He told me all those things. He even told me how he once went to Church and he abandoned going to Church because his father died and he had to go back to the village to be his father’s successor. Sometimes on his traditional guitar, he even used to sing choir songs. That’s how I grew up with my father.
But when I got to Form 4, that was in ’85, I don’t know where it came from in my heart, I don’t know what circumstances prompted me to begin thinking about God. So on my own, I decided to attend Catechumen classes. I did not even tell my father. So I now went back to the small Catholic Church where my sister used to take me when I was much younger. When the Catechist saw that I was a bit older than the others who were there, because I was already 15 years old, and that I was very intelligent since I could easily recite the whole doctrine, he decided that I was going to do just one year of the Catechumen classes, and not 2. And that year, I really passed. I was in Form 4. And I was told that I had to be baptised. In the same year, during Easter I received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop André Wouking.
But it was still in that same year, while I was in Form 4, that some classmates said that to be tough in the Sciences, you needed to smoke. Or otherwise, since I was good in Mathematics and Technology, I had to smoke. I began by cigarette buds, (just the ends). So somebody would smoke and leave the tail end, which I would take and draw from 3 times. That’s how I began to smoke. It was still in that same year that I also began, along with the other boys in our neighbourhood, to run after girls. We would sit down together and discuss the girls in the neighbourhood, and amongst ourselves we would share them out – the same year that I was baptised and confirmed.
Nevertheless, I continued to do the same things with my father. Whenever he was occupied, when someone came from town to carry out sacrifices, he would send me with that person and say, “Go and show him how to do it.”
Very many times I witnessed the fact that skulls have power. And I knew how my father had to talk to them in order to put people in trouble. He would just move into the house of skulls and complain there against someone. And he would pour oil or carry out some sacrifice. And the person would have an accident or fall seriously ill. There are many examples like that concerning my step-brothers; such that if anybody came to the village and had a disagreement with my father and wanted to go back to his home, I felt sorry for him. I usually ran after him to catch up with him and tell him, “Please, don’t joke. You had better go back and reconcile very quickly with our father.” One of my elder brothers who studied Medicine in France, he came home and he had a quarrel with Papa. He himself was a very irritable person. Whatever the case, he just resembled my father. When he was about to go back, I went and begged him. He didn’t listen. He left. I could already tell what our father was going to do. And his wife was pregnant. And she gave birth to a baby that was neither a child nor an animal. I went on holidays to Douala and talked to him. I told him, “Go back and see our father. Don’t just think that it is over.” This is just one among many examples.
That 1985, I passed the BEPC and went to Government High School, Bangangte. I stopped going to Church. And there I continued in my sins – fornication, sexual immorality in many forms, lies-telling. When I was in Upper Sixth, some man came to school and asked for permission from the Principal to preach to us. Permission was granted him to preach. The only time I listened to this man, the man projected a film to us on Life after Death. And there were many testimonies which could be divided into 2 groups – some who said that they had died and found themselves in hell, after which, by the grace of God, they came back to life and they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; others testified that they were already Believers and they died and they actually saw a great Light. At the end, I carried out a fierce discussion with this man. First of all, I told him, “Look, all those who gave those testimonies are white. There is no black person there. It means that the God you are talking about is the God of the Whites because there was no Black there who bore testimony that he also saw that same Light.” And I asked him, “How do you know whether it is not God Himself who has chosen that the ‘Bamis’ should worship their gods through their ancestors?” And we argued; we argued. He left. He tried by all means to convince me using Bible verses. I could even read in his eyes that he was sorry for me. He was looking for how to convince me. And we stayed back at school till very late that day, he and I. That was the only time I attended that Meeting. And I never went back anymore.
In ’88, I passed the A’ Level GCE and came to Yaounde. And I continued in the same sins. The younger sister of my mother is a Jehovah’s Witness. I usually went to visit her in Douala and preached to them consistently on the doctrine of skulls. And I can assure you that skulls caught her husband because he was supposed to be his father’s successor. And he ran into many accidents. And sometimes he would sit in his house and would see a snake which nobody else would see. Going along the road one day, there was a loaded truck near which he passed and some large load fell on him all by itself. And the whole family was saying that it was all because he had refused to go to the village and be his father’s successor. So I went there every time during the holidays to convince them.
In 1991, in the month of November, I was waiting for Maîtrise classes to begin at the University. Somebody gave me an invitation. It was not even typed. It was handwritten and photocopied. He told me that there was an Evangelistic Campaign in Melen. I said, “Well, since I don’t have anything to do in the evening, I will come.” And the Campaign went on for one week, every evening from 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. The first Monday I went there, I sat down and the person preached. He preached. I was attentive, I listened. The first thing that struck me was that he said God loves me so much and He proved His love in that Jesus came and died for me; and that salvation was therefore free of charge because Jesus had already paid the price. And he said the only problem is sin. After the preaching, he asked, “Who here wants to repent of his sin and give his life to the Lord Jesus Christ and have eternal life?” I was sitting down. I began to think. I said, “But one really had to be a fool to refuse such a great and free salvation.” Really, that was the first time I heard it said that way. When I thought that way, I stood up. But the man was very hard.
He said, “If you have just one sin that you do not want to abandon, sit down.” He said, “God is looking at your heart. You cannot deceive us. If you have many sins and you want to keep just one, sit down.” And he insisted. He spent at least 5 minutes only on that - that he was waiting for those who didn’t want to be serious to sit down. He told us, “This is not confession where you can go and see the priest or the pastor and inform him of your sins.” When he explained what repentance was, I understood because in our village this is how I understood what repentance is. When a child does something that is not good, he is beaten; a piece of stick is broken and given to him. He is told, “Scrape your tongue and throw it behind your back to say that ‘I will never do it again.’” So when this man explained what repentance is, that is how I understood it. I was still standing up. I had 2 problems. For the other sins, lying, cheating at the University I had repented and I had decided not to go back to them. But I had 2 problems left. The first problem was fornication. I was 22 and was living in an immoral relationship with a young girl. While I was standing up, I was thinking; and then suddenly a proverb from my father’s village came to my mind that said, “You must be a fool to love shoes more than your feet.” I said, “Ah-ah! So I am being a fool. How can a person go to hell just because of a girl?” So I said, “O.K. Lord, I repent.” I had yet one problem remaining – the problem of idolatry. I was standing up. I don’t know whether or not the man was looking at me. He kept on insisting. At a certain point, I said, “Even though I don’t yet understand where the power of skulls comes from ….” During his preaching, he had said, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” (Mark 8:36). He also had said, “You should rather fear He who after killing the body can throw the soul into hell.” (Matthew 10:28b). So I said, “O.K., even though I know that skulls can kill me,” because I had seen that they were very powerful, “God, I then choose You. If I have to die, I therefore prefer to choose that One who can take care of my soul.” (Applause). So I repented of those 2 sins which were difficult for me to abandon. And he asked us to pray and invite the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts and into our lives; which I did.
That day I left that place. I was walking alone. Generally, when I had a problem, I preferred to walk alone just to think. I was going back home alone. And I had a question that was bothering me; not because I did not want to follow God anymore, but because I wanted to understand. I began asking God the question, “God, how come skulls have so much power?” But the person who had preached that day had advised us to read the Bible, to read the Bible abundantly. As God would have it, something had happened to my roommate, the friend with whom I lived. Just the week before, he had come back home with a Bible saying that it was his elder sister who worked at the Post Office who had offered it to him. Where did the Bible come from? Somebody had come to the Post Office to pay customs duty for a carton of Bibles which had arrived, and had made a gift of one those Bibles to his elder sister. This elder sister got home and did not want to keep the Bible in her home because it disturbed her. And my roommate took the Bible and brought it home. So I was very happy to have a Bible. God had sent me a Bible. I began reading It.
The same question was in my heart every day. I knew that nobody else could answer that question. I used to ask the question to God, “Where do skulls get their powers from?” And I was reading my Bible. And I read my Bible abundantly. One day, I got to Ecclesiastes Chapter 12 (verses 6 and 7). And there the Bible says, “Before the silver cord is broken and that the spirit goes back to God who created it, and the flesh goes back to the earth where it was taken from.” It is as if light shone into my spirit. I stopped. I said, “But this means death. So death means that a man’s spirit goes back to God who created it, and that his flesh goes back to the earth.” On that day I understood the first thing which is that in skulls it is not the power of ancestors that is at work. It is not even their spirits. Their spirits have gone back to God who created them, and it is their flesh which has gone back to the earth. So I decided that now I was going to get some confirmation. I was going to ask my father, “When a person dies, for how long can you continue to see his spirit, his human spirit?” because I had already heard that even in the spirit world, there is a clear difference between the human spirit and the other spirits. And that you could clearly distinguish that, “This is somebody and this is a spirit.” The answer was that after a person dies, you do not know where his spirit goes. I began to understand something but I continued questioning God, “God, where then do the spirits behind skulls come from?” So they are therefore not the spirits of the ancestors whom we think we are worshipping. I continued reading the Bible. I got to the Gospels. And I again came across that verse which that man had read that day. “Do not fear those who can kill the body but can do nothing to the soul. Rather fear Him who after killing the body has the power to throw the soul into hell.” That day again, I decided to believe anew. I had many tracts at home: “God Loves You,” “Too Late?” I took both, I looked at them. I said, “This title ‘Too Late?’ is very dangerous. I prefer ‘God Loves You.’” And I took “God Loves You.” I read it again. And I gave my life to the Lord again. And I said, “God, even though I know that skulls are very powerful, I know that they can do nothing to my soul. Lord Jesus Christ, I give my life to You.” And I continued reading my Bible. I came again to another passage in I Corinthians 10 (verse 20). It says, “Whatever is sacrificed is sacrificed to demons and not to God.” When I read that verse, I put the Bible aside, I leaned back. I was thinking. And then it was as if I was receiving some message directly from above. I began to understand. I said, “So all these sacrifices we make, they are not to ancestors, since I have already understood that when a person dies his spirit does not come back to live in his skull. So we are worshipping demons.” As I was thinking, 2 examples came to my mind.
I had a maternal grandfather who loved me very much. If were still alive today, at the beginning of the school year, he would have sold the only cock in his compound to give me money to send his grandchildren to school. And I asked myself, “How is it that after death, if it was still him, at the beginning of the school year, he would break the leg of my child so that I should give him a cock?” I put aside this first example. I took the second example. In the village, our neighbour in the next compound was a sorcerer. It was said that he had killed his wife and some of his children; and everybody had abandoned him in his compound alone. Whenever he fell ill, nobody went there because it was said that if you went, you would die in his place and he would live again. And I again asked myself, “This man, though so wicked while alive, when he dies, 3 or 5 years after, they will come and dig out his skull and begin to carry out sacrifices and pray to him saying, ‘Give us power.’ This man who when alive can give power to nobody, and does no good to anyone, is it after death that his spirit will become so good to the extent that people will pray to him and he will answer?” That day again, I understood better.
I continued to read the Bible. Now I had a last question: “God, where then do these demons come from? Where then do these wicked spirits come from?” At a certain point, I was even angry with God that, “Why then do You allow these wicked spirits?” Towards the end of my first reading of the Bible, in Revelation it is said that Michael fought with the angels who had remained faithful to God. Satan fought with his angels too; but Satan and his angels were not strong enough. And they were thrown down to earth. And the Bible says, “Woe to you, earth, because he has come down to you in great fury.” (Revelation 12:12). That day, I stood up. First of all, I was very happy because I had understood; that I had understood all the domains in which I was questioning God. But at the same time, I was very furious. I stayed like this. I said, “But all these ‘graffi’ (grassfield) people who are looking for wisdom, they are therefore worshipping demons!” I was very angry. I stood up. Nobody could stop me.
I went to the University. I saw the Pastor, Brother Zach. I said, “Brother Zach, I need to go to the village! I need to go to the village!” He did not even ask me what I was going to do. He asked me, “You want to go to the village?” I said, “Yes, and I want tracts and I want books.” He just wrote a note. He sent me to the Gospel Centre in Mvog Ada that 100 copies of “God’s Love And Forgiveness” should be given to me and that as many tracts as I wanted should be given to me. I took them. I started at Mokolo, at the Motor Park. I was distributing my tracts there. I had only one thing to say. I did not have much to say. The only thing I told people was that, “The spirits of ancestors that you are worshipping are not found in skulls!” And that, “The spirits which are behind skulls are demons! That is why they are wicked! They are wicked spirits! But Jesus Christ can deliver you!” That is all I was saying. People were mocking at me. It meant nothing to me. We got to Makenene. The bus driver stopped so that people should eat. I got down. I continued with my one message. Whether people understood or not, whether they were interested or not, it meant nothing to me. I got to the village. My father himself had not yet known that I was converted. At 5 p.m. I went to the village square and I stood there with tracts, with books. To those who could read, I gave a copy of “God’s Love And Forgiveness.” And I stood there, and I preached what I could preach and I cited the Bible verses which I knew. But I was telling them one thing, “You are mistaken. The Devil has deceived you. It is not ancestors that are behind skulls. It is wicked spirits. Do not worship them anymore! Worship the only true God!” And I preached there and I spent a week in the village. The first day I began preaching, many people were interested. “Ah! This boy who is the successor of this nobleman, what is he saying?” It was first of all the youths who came, and towards nightfall, by 7 p.m., some sorcerers and those who were in the sects of the chief’s palace with my father, they came to the back of the crowd. They stood there and they listened to what I was saying. And I was speaking against skulls and I was speaking against the sacred forest, and I was speaking against these. Some shook their heads and said, “He will die. It is not him who should have done this. It’s not him who should do this. It is his name which is at the chief’s palace! He will die because he has come to mislead the youths of the village. He will die! He will go mad!” I preached for one week and I left.
At the same time, in ’93, ’94, Bamilekes left Yaounde in delegations to go to the village to celebrate “Kadi.” All the tribal meeting groups of the city hired buses to go to the village to carry out this celebration called “Kadi.” My father wrote to me. He said, “My son, we are drinking “kadi” in the village. Everybody is coming. It has been said that protection is being given for 10 years. And they are sanctifying the village.” I wrote to my father. I said, “Papa, as I told you last time, how do you think that a person who has a billion francs can throw it away to go and get 5 francs? I have protection for eternity!” (Applause) “You are looking for protection for 10 years!” And I took up the second point, “Papa, you say that they are sanctifying and purifying the village.” I asked him, “These wicked things that people have and which you say you are going to take away from them, is it not you people who give them? And after taking them, are you not going to sell it to them again? What then do you call purification? And even if it were purification, I am pure because Jesus Christ has purified me by His Blood!” (Applause). Then my father sent one of my step-brothers to come and convince me. In the village, even when I was still very young, I had been appointed president of an Association. My step-brother came and told me that, “It has been said that if anyone did not come to the village to drink ‘kadi’ he will no longer be considered as a son of Bazou.” I asked my brother, “And so what? Who told you that I am still from Bazou?” (Applause). I said, “I am a heavenly citizen.” And I told him, “Each time you are going to Bazou people, never say that I am a Bazou man!”
Praise the Lord! That year 1991, ’92, they had promised that since I had spoken against skulls when I was supposed to be a successor, I was going to die. Have I died?
Brother Dieudonné: They had said that I was going to become mad. Do I look like a mad man?
Brother Dieudonné: Praise the Lord!
Crowd: Amen! (Applause).