When I was a child, my family lived near the Adventist church in our town in northern Namibia. Mother took us to church, though we weren’t Adventists. I liked church. On Sabbath afternoon, we’d go to Himba villages to sing and talk to them about God. Then when I was 8 years old, we moved away, and I couldn’t go to church anymore.
As I grew up I began bullying other kids at school. I knew it was wrong, but I enjoyed the power. My parents kept me busy selling things in the market so I would stay out of trouble. One Saturday I slipped away from work to play soccer. I saw the Adventist church near the field and watched the children walking to church. They were dressed nicely and seemed so happy. I wished I could be more like those kids.
I left the soccer field and walked to the church. I recognized a few of the kids who went to my school. I expected these kids to treat me badly, but they didn’t. They welcomed me into their group. When church started, they invited me to join them. I was embarrassed. My clothes were old, and I didn’t have shoes. But no one cared.
During church one of the leaders announced that the new Pathfinder Club needed more members. I didn’t know what Pathfinders was, but it sounded like fun, so I asked to join. The leader invited me to the meeting that same afternoon.
I told my mother that I had attended church and wanted to go back. She nodded. In time I took my younger sisters with me. Then I invited my cousin. She started attending Pathfinders and eventually came to church.
I gave my life to God. Mother sees how God is changing me, and she’s glad. Others have noticed too. I’m done bullying people. God has showed me how the kids I had bullied felt when I treated them badly. Now I try to be kind to others, and encourage other kids.
God has given me a great job! I help record and edit Bible stories for the Himba people, most of whom can’t read. I’m happy that God is letting me help make a difference other people’s lives. My mother is Himba, and I want to help teach the Himba that Jesus loves them and wants them to live with Him forever.
A recent Thirteenth Sabbath Offering is helping us record more stories reach the Himba in a way they can understand and respond to. Thank you!
Willem Hifikepunye is a student serving God in Opuwo in northern Namibia.