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Kyimba Joseph is from Uganda. He tells the story of how his trouble turned to joy.

When war came to our part of Uganda in 1981, everything we owned was destroyed. All my hopes and dreams for the future vanished. I began to search for answers to life. I wanted to find truth. Then came another disaster. In 1989, my parents died. I could think about nothing except my terrible troubles. I left our home village and went to live with my grandmother in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. I was not happy sharing a flat with my grandmother. My whole future looked bad. My grandmother was a follower of Jesus. She told me about him, but it did not mean anything to me.

I wanted to make fun of them

One day, after I had lived with my grandmother for two years, I heard a lot of noise coming from a shelter made with papyrus mat. Followers of Jesus had built it near our flat for some meetings. I thought, “I will go and shout, and make fun of those people.” I went to the meeting, ready to start shouting and making trouble. Then a man called Tom began to speak about Jesus Christ. Tom told us that Jesus wants to be our friend and give us a hope for the future. He explained that Jesus came into the world to pay the price for our wrong-doing. That price is death. He died when men hung him on a cross made of wood – the punishment at that time for people who had done very bad crimes. But Jesus never did anything wrong. Instead he paid the price for each one of us. Now we can ask God to forgive us for what we have done wrong. We can be followers of Jesus and one day be with him in heaven.

“Why should I cry?”

As I heard all that Tom was saying, I found that I did not want to shout out or make fun of him. Then Tom began to pray (talk to God). I realised he really knew God and was close to him. I wanted to know God too. Straight away I asked God to forgive me and change my life. The words that came into my mind were, “There is joy, why should I cry?” My sadness turned into joy. The problems I had were still there, but I was not worried any more. I knew I was no longer alone because Jesus was with me – this was the truth for which I had been searching.

Before I became a follower of Jesus, I was an orphan and a school drop-out. Then someone paid for me to go back to school. I went on to study at university and get a good job. Now I help orphans and other needy people by paying their school fees. God has helped me, so I want to help other people.