One young man shares how his good, Christian upbringing couldn’t save him from addiction and wild living; only Christ in the center of his life could transform him.
World Challenge’s partners in Eswatini run a recovery center, helping men and women find healing from addictions and discover new life in Christ. One young man in their program shared his story of redemption with us.
My name is Simangaliso, and I was born in the Manzini region of Eswatini. I was raised by a Christian family, and my father is a pastor of one of the churches in Manzini. I was introduced to the Christian life at a very early age.
Life was good at home. My parents were able to afford everything that we needed, and that developed some pride in me. I could tell that most of my peers were envying me when they looked at my life, which made me even more prideful.
Although I am a pastor’s child, raised in church, I never really thought God was real. My classmates introduced me to cigarettes and alcohol in 10th grade, and I started regularly indulging in these bad habits. At first, I thought I had everything under control, but soon the habit took control of me.
As the habit grew, my relationship with my father grew cold. My father was stricter than my mother; and with my addiction in control of me, we could not get along well.
After finishing high school, I decided to take a gap year to focus on my music classes. I successfully did production and mixing, but at that time I began to have mysterious dreams, and I did not understand what was happening. I was terrified, not knowing what to do or who to talk to. Even though, in the back of my mind, I knew that drugs were never the answer to my frustrations, every time I took some, I felt relieved for a while. My drug problem grew even worse.
One night in my sleep, I heard a voice suggesting that I should go to a rehabilitation center. I had never shared my mysterious dreams with my family before, but I did share this particular dream with them. Fortunately, my mother was aware of my drug problems and immediately sought help from Teen Challenge Ministries for me. God made a way for me to be admitted quickly at their Men’s Center.
At first, I ignored the teachings about God while at the center. I only focused on cutting my drug addiction. However, the procedures and routines — quiet time, chapel, character training and classes — made it almost impossible for me to ignore God’s Word. Slowly, I began to give in, and my interest in knowing more about God grew. As I reflected on my past experiences with drugs and the disturbing dreams, I realized that I needed Jesus to protect me and keep me from going back to my old lifestyle.
Finally, I made the personal choice to give my life to Jesus, and since I made this decision, I have seen God’s faithfulness in my life. My negative mentality towards God is completely gone, and I am seeing myself developing a different, Christ-like attitude. My mysterious dreams are also gone, and now I look forward to new experiences with the Lord.
Life with Christ is not easy, but I know and believe that with him I can do all things. My hope is to daily stick to his unfailing love.