“We, however, are citizens of heaven, and we eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven” (Phil. 3:20).
In May 2017, I wrote about a man named Ansumana, a husband and father of six children who seemed to care very little about his family. Please allow me to reintroduce Ansumana to you, because he is a changed man.
Some time ago, Ansumana came to our church service one Sabbath and said he wanted to talk with me in private. He began to shed tears, and I wondered if something terrible had happened to him or his family. He began confessing all his evil deeds—how he was a thief, a drunkard, and a womanizer. “Would God ever forgive me?” he asked. I told him that Adam and Eve did not even ask for forgiveness, but God forgave them. That is why God sent His only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life. I sensed true repentance in this young man, and I asked the church to pray and fast for him.
The first sign we noticed in Ansumana was that he started coming to church regularly. His wife and the other members were surprised to see him attending, and we all felt encouraged to continue praying for him. Next, we asked the Lord to help Ansumana get rid of alcohol. He tried so many times to quit smoking and drinking, but he always fell back. The group continued to support him spiritually and physically. We saw the great controversy playing out in Ansumana’s life. We encouraged him to be firm, and we showed him much love and respect. He was deeply moved and expressed his desire to be baptized. However, I was not sure about his commitment, so I prepared a particular class to help him quit smoking and alcohol. My wife treated him with a hot-and-cold contrast bath. As Ansumana struggled with his addictions, we prayed that God would see him through. We studied the six classic lessons of salvation. Before the lessons ended, he was free from tobacco and alcohol. Praise God!
Ansumana was eager to move ahead with baptism, but I sensed that he still had some hurdles to cross. Testing his patience, I told him to legalize his relationship with his wife. He replied that they had married in the traditional way. “That is fine,” I said, “but you need to have a civil and religious wedding, too.” Since Ansumana could not afford the cost of a wedding, I rallied the church to help. In two weeks we came up with a substantial amount of money. Overcome by the church’s generosity and care, Ansumana and his wife burst into tears.
I see the transforming hand of God upon Ansumana. He has created some boundaries for his former friends who pressured him to do wrong. When they accused him of breaking their friendship, he told them, “No, we are still friends, but I am done with the activities we used to do together. I am born again, and I encourage you to give your lives to Christ as well.” About a month ago after an evangelistic series, Ansumana and his wife were baptized. Please continue to pray for his family as they now have new identities as citizens of heaven.