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Anthony is a SOON reader from Nigeria. This is the story of his life.

I was born an orphan in 1992. You may think, 'How can someone be born without any parents?' My father died before I was born and my mother died at my birth.

The midwife at the hospital took me to a home for babies whose mothers had died. A husband and wife who had no children soon took me to their own home. They did more than care for me. They treated me as if I were their own child, giving me everything I needed. But when I was seven years old, the wife became pregnant and had a baby boy of her own. From that time, the couple began to treat me badly and use me as their house-boy. One day they called me into the sitting room and told me, "Go and get to work!"

I obeyed them, but I cried all the time I was working. The wife asked, "Why are you crying?"

I said nothing even when she began to hit me so hard that I thought she would kill me.

Hit by a car

I could not live there any longer, so I decided to run away. As I was running along the road, a car came from behind me. I did not see or hear it because I was thinking about my troubles. I ran out in front of the car and the next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed. Next to me were a man and a doctor. The doctor told me, "This is the man who drove the car that hit you."

The man had already paid my hospital bill, now he wanted to know about my family and where I came from. I told him the story of my life. He listened carefully. He was sorry for me and wanted to help.

A new start

When I was well enough, the man took me to his home. He was a Christian and told me about Jesus Christ, his friend and helper. I believed the words he told me:

He told me that Jesus loves us so much, he wants us to be free from our wrong-doing (sin) and the feelings of shame that we have. I learned that God sent Jesus into the world 2,000 years ago. Jesus lived in a poor home and became a carpenter. But when he was about 30 years old, he began teaching people about God's love. He healed many people who were ill or disabled. The religious leaders at that time did not like the things that Jesus said, so they had him killed by hanging him on a wooden cross. This was the punishment given to bad criminals at that time, but Jesus had done nothing wrong.

No more shame

It was God who planned that this would happen to Jesus. He loves us so much that he wants us to be free from our sin and shame. But the punishment for sin is death. So Jesus died to take that punishment for us. This was the wonderful news that the man told me, but there was even better news to come! Three days after Jesus died on the cross, he came alive again. He is alive now, even though we cannot see him. He wants to be our friend and helper.

When I heard all this from the kind man, I asked Jesus Christ to take away my sin and shame. It was a new start in life for me. Jesus has made me what I am today. Now the man has taken me as his own son. I go to school and I know that Jesus will always be with me to help me in everything I do.