My name is Oscar. I was born into a religious family in Zambia. As a child, I went to Christian meetings with my parents. I was very keen to follow the rituals I saw my parents doing. I did not know then that Jesus Christ loves me and wants to be my friend and helper. I thought all religion was about doing rituals and good things to try to please God, and this was the way to make God love me.
Who should I please?
At the same time, whenever I went to visit my grandmother, I followed another kind of religion. I went with her to shrines in the villages. She was a witch-doctor and taught me to worship bad spirits who did not love me. I grew up confused in my mind. Where was the right way to go? What should I believe?
Which god must I please?
I was so confused that I stopped trying to be religious. Instead, I started to drink strong drink and go to bad parties. I often ended up in fights. I thought. "Maybe this is the way to find peace and a good life."
But I soon found that these things did not satisfy me. Everything got worse for me, not better. It was a very bad time in my life. I needed someone to help me and save me from my confusion.
I needed someone to save me
My sister lived just a few kilometres from us. One day she invited me to a Christian meeting in her town. I went with her. The leader of the meeting told us about Jesus Christ, the only one who can forgive all our wrong-doing (sin). He said that God loves us very much. He sent his son, Jesus, into the world to die, to take the punishment for sin for everyone in the world. This leader told us, "If we say we are truly sorry to God for all we have done wrong, and want to change, God will forgive us and we will know Jesus as our friend. When we die we will go to be with Jesus in heaven."
I thought about this – a friend that I would be with for ever! All my past wrong-doings came into my mind. I realised that I needed a 'saviour' – someone who would clean up my life and give me the power to make new start. I wanted to be saved from the confusion that had led me to do so many wrong things. At once I said, “Jesus, I need you. I am sorry for all I have done wrong. Please be my saviour."
I also asked God to forgive me for trying to please him in wrong ways, especially for worshipping bad spirits. Jesus was a real saviour to me. I know he forgave me and became my friend. I felt clean inside for the first time.
A new start
I started to go to Christian meetings. They were very different from the ones I went to when I was a child. There were no rituals that we had to follow. I began to read the Bible. It helped me to know Jesus, my saviour, more and more. I know that things would have got worse for me, if I had not become a follower of Jesus. But now I have been saved from that, everything has changed for the better. I was the only man in my family who was a true follower of Jesus. Others in my family were very angry with me. They did not like my new way of life and began to do all they could to make me change my mind. They believed that I had brought shame to the whole family. But Jesus helped me at this difficult time in my life. I knew I must always follow him.
Now I am married with three children. I tell other people how Jesus can be their saviour and friend too. I know he always helps us, even when things are difficult.