By Faith Ato, A Christian Blogger who attends Phaneroo
“If you want to know someone who has been to the grave and back, you are looking at him.”
I first saw Victor at the New Year Phaneroo cross over service from 2018 to 2019 when he was called up by Apostle Grace to testify about what the Lord had done in his life.
In the middle of his narration, he broke down and started to weep.
Beloved reader, I was so deeply moved, I had to meet him before he journeyed back to Kenya, his home, after the service.
A jolly young man who intermittently breaks out into a hearty laugh, Victor shared his journey from the pit of drug addiction to the saving arms of God’s grace.
It all began in High School when he was introduced to drugs and alcohol by a fellow student, at the impressionable age of about fifteen years.
Victor did it all: he smoked cigarettes, got senselessly drunk, took drugs and was also a dealer in these very drugs. He developed his own string of clientele. What he made from drug sales, he used for alcohol and more drugs.
“You see my lips?” Victor asks, “They are just starting to change back to normal. They were completely red.”
The drugs infested his life like a malignant cancer intent on robbing this young ambitious man of a future worth looking forward to and set him on a course of utter self-destruction.
His addiction demanded to be fed.
With regret, his tone sombre, he narrated just how much.
“The only way I could be normal was when I was under these drugs. If I did not have them, I would do anything to have them. I begged for sips in bars, I got a job just to make money so I could buy drugs and I was also a robber.”
I sucked in a deep breath at this confession, aware of the dangers that might have pursued him. His very life must have been at stake! And indeed it was. He went on to recount.
“One of my friends with whom we used to do this was killed, he was stoned to death at campus through mob justice. I was also on a wanted list.”
At this point, I was thinking to myself, “Dear God!”
The enemy seemed to have been digging this young man’s grave every day while he was still alive.
Like addictions go, his did not leave him unscarred.
His schooling was greatly devastated.
The youngest in a family of eleven, he was despised and labelled, “useless,” by those closest to him.
He took it all as his due and sunk deeper in the murky waters of self-condemnation and hatred.
Counselling failed. Rehab failed
But beloved reader, no one is beyond hope!
God had a plan to bring Victor from these great depths of personal sabotage.
One of his sisters who had started to listen to the Phaneroo teachings encouraged him to listen to the word.
“I believe in you. I know that you are capable of more than this” she told him.
It was like water to a thirsty man in a dry and barren land. No one had reached out to him with love before. All he had heard thus far was condemnation and ridicule. He was drawn in by this love. He had found a confidante and a friend amidst the many that had branded him as worthless.
She spent time with him and continuously played the sermons for him so he could feed on the Word.
His life started to change.
Indeed, addiction would rear its ugly head but the Word was working its great magic in Victor’s life, draining his desire for alcohol and stirring in him a deeper desire for the presence of God.
Eventually, Victor started to attend the live stream of the Phaneroo services in Kenya.
The first sermon he attended was titled “Epignosis: Our Inheritance.”
He vividly remembers what drew him so greatly to this message, “Apostle taught on faith unto Christ and love unto the saints.”
His eyes were opened and hope for a better future soared. He started to see value in himself where before, all he could see was bleakness.
When his sister invited him for the New Year cross over from 2017 to 2018, it was inevitable for him to say “yes”.
“How could I miss out the opportunity to see such a man who is very fervent in the Word?” he asks.
And so, it was then that he decided to travel to Uganda for the “In His Presence” New Year service. This service left an indelible mark on his spirit.
After the service, he went to see Apostle. The meeting was brief but with resounding and life changing effects.
When Apostle Grace greeted him he simply asked, “How is Kenya? I hope to see you soon.”
Victor describes this as a total turning point.
Any last dregs of desire for drugs died that day; any thoughts of indulging his addiction, even slightly, disappeared.
He had been making a steady climb from the pits of addiction but a hand shake and simple greeting hauled him up completely never to return.
“When I returned from that meeting, I felt an absolute and total change. Even though I had started to listen to the word, I used to find myself drinking but secretly. After I met Apostle, it stopped completely. Completely.”
His family regards him as a wonder and his relationship with them has been restored.
Victor is now in his final year at the University of Nairobi and will be graduating in September of this year.
“All I want to do is serve God. I can do anything for the gospel. It brought me from death to life.”
Victor’s story reminds us that no one can fall too far for the saving arm of grace; no pit is too deep for the outstretched hand of love and it is only by this love that we win men to God.