Once scattered, now tied together by the love of Christ:
In Kome Island, a place which for a long time has been described as a “lost island” of Lake Victoria, lives a man named Bahati Thomas. His life was in crisis, moving from one problem to another, and the villagers nicknamed him “cha pombe” the drunkard. He has been addicted to alcohol and has been into it literally 24/7. “…since I am involved in fishing activities, most of the time we work in the nights, and therefore in the morning I would rest for two hours then wake up and join a couple of friends at a ‘kilabu’ – local bar. I would do nothing more than drinking the whole day, then later in the night catch a boat for fishing…I had no time for my wife or my family. My home was just like a camp where I go to change clothes or take a nap. I earned some reasonable amount of money to run my life and that of my people, but on the contrary, I had a lot of debts. As time went on, debts were piling up…” Bahati narrates.
Bahati’s wife was troubled by this sort of life. She says, “For more than ten years, I have never enjoyed life in marriage, beatings and insults were a routine. I tried to ask for a divorce three times, but I did not get any support from family and friends.” She points out that her husband’s behavior of fighting was not only at home, but affected almost the entire village, “I don’t remember if a week would pass without hearing cases of my husband fighting with his friends and mates. I would be summoned at the Village Chairman’s office for reconciliations or to his pay fines…”. She says their children did not get any education because of the family financial situation and relationship challenges, therefore she was compelled to start making traditional alcohol famously known on the Island as “gongo”, and turned her home into a bar, just to earn some money to meet her needs and support her children who were growing up.
Though she got the money she wanted, the situation worsened since her home now was a meeting place of drunkards – fighting, insults, noises, and very unclean environments became part and parcel of their living. Their health deteriorated because of alcoholism, leave alone the self-made economic hardships, marriage crisis, and problems with their neighbors and the society at large.
“Back in June, I met some “wazungu” – white people, and their Tanzanian friends…” Bahati recalls. He goes on to admit that he did not understand any point they were trying to make because he was drunk. He does not exactly remember the entire incidence either, all he can tell is that he felt a deep desire for joy and peace; and he knew in his heart that it was the right moment for his desires to be met – the end of his miserable life.
That day Bahati accepted Jesus as his Lord and personal savior and right on the spot he started experiencing the U-turn of his life. He felt something like a cold shower over his whole body, and the desire for alcohol vanished right away, for good. Bahati shared the experience to his wife and asked her if she was ready to pray to accept Jesus. His wife was very skeptical; she did not want to believe quickly. “I will believe in Jesus after seeing a true change in your life” she insisted. Bahati joined a local church in Lukumbi village led by our church planter, Pastor Emmanuel. He became very devoted to Bible study and prayer sessions which made his growth so evident to the extent that people in the village, his mates and friends could not doubt any longer. It is true that Bahati is changed by Jesus and he has started a new journey of life in Christ!
Last month, his wife was wholeheartedly convinced that Jesus can transform people and change lives. She says,
“…it was as if I am living with a new person – the first husband died and now I have new husband… Unbelievable! One Sunday morning, I asked my husband if I could join him at church, I wanted a new life”.
She also prayed to accept Jesus at the church, and now they are both a new creation in Christ. They both testify that; God has helped them in rebuilding their marriage and family. Reconciling with their children and neighbors. Bahati can now get involved in fishing and the money earned has tangible effects in the family. Through them, Bahati’s sister who lives with them has also surrendered her life to Jesus.
Had it not been God’s intervention in this couple’s life, where would they be as individuals? Where would their marriage end up like? Where would the children be? Where would their friendship and social relations with other people be? … Glory to Jesus who saves! Thank you so much for sending us, thank you so much for standing with us through your prayers and finances as we take the good news of Jesus to the remotest parts of this world.