A drug user and alcoholic turns to God and becomes a respected member of his church and community.
A Hard Crash
Francis was a renowned weed smoker, drug supplier and drunkard in his Ugandan village.
…“members of the community didn’t like me because of my habitual drinking and smoking,” said Francis. “I was always involved in bar fights and gambling, and I sold marijuana in the village. Parents didn’t want me near their children for fear I would recruit them into this devilish behavior.”
He confessed that alcohol and marijuana also drove him to harass his wife on a daily basis. Painfully, he recalled one fateful evening when he stumbled home after getting extremely drunk and began beating his wife.
When he woke the next morning, Francis discovered that his wife had nearly died the night before. He was badly shaken by the realization of what he’d almost done.
Ashamed and frightened, he went to a local church for help.
Alfred Omara, pastor of one of World Challenge’s partner churches, sat down with Francis to hear what had happened. After listening to Francis’ story, he explained how Christ is the restorer of peace and life, and he also began counseling Francis about his general behavior and life style.
Francis accepted Christ shortly after.
Healing Through the Spirit
Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, Francis asked for all his marijuana to be taken away and destroyed, and he gave up drinking.
“There was so much anger and frustration in my life, a bitterness that led me to drinking. After receiving Christ, though, a peace of mind that had been lacking in my life began to grow,“ Francis explained. “Little did I know before how the spirit of God could heal and restore a hurting soul like mine this way.”
He started regularly attending Pastor Alfred’s church, participating in morning and evening fellowships and a weekly Bible study.
When he was invited to a development class from World Challenge trainers, he leaped at the chance to bring his family out of poverty. Selling marijuana had been a lucrative business, but it was one that Francis refused to return to, so he and his family were struggling to make ends meet.
The classes met, and Francis was struck by the concept that spiritual health could overflow into other areas.
Already in his own life he had seen evidence of this fact. Now that he was no longer addicted to drugs and alcohol, his physical health had greatly improved and his relationships with his wife and children were recovering and much happier.
Blessings From God
Francis started a small business of making mandazi, a delicious fried bread, to sell. He and his wife also planted banana, pineapple, and pawpaw trees around their house. The last plant, in particular, was an important addition.
The pawpaw is actually native to the eastern half of North America. It’s sweet, custard-like fruits are highly nutritious, a rich source of vitamin C, magnesium and vitamin A, as well as having more protein than most fruits. The leaves of the tree are a natural insecticide, and its tough, fibrous bark can be used to make mats or rope.
This unusual fruit tree and the rest of his crops were not only helping Francis keep his family well fed but also giving them an additional source of income.
In fact, these gardens turned out to be so successful that Francis was able to open a local grocery shop. He and his wife were able to send all their children to school, and they are now respected in the community.
Francis enjoyed being able to take the lessons he’d learned and share them with his neighbors.
Five years after accepting Christ, Francis is an elder in the church as well as a respected community evangelist. His life is now a far cry from the desperate drug runner whom his neighbors avoided.
“I couldn’t have ever imagined all the things God would do for me after surrendering my life to Him,” he said.
As he looks to the future, Francis is planning to sell a portion of his family land so he can also start a chicken farm like his friend Robert Moro. His investment in a pineapple plantation looks as if it will pay off nicely with an estimated 1,700 plants that will soon ready for harvest.
He hopes to be able to send his children to better schools and build a better home for his family. Most of all, he sees his life as a continual blessing from God and a call to walk faithfully with a transformed heart.