Sunday, April 10, 2011

Eddy's Story

I was born in Cameroon and my mom died when I was just a child, and my dad died many years later .We were a big family and things seldom ran smoothly.  I was really missing my mother, which created a vacuum in my young heart and mind, which turned into real pain and I soon began pondering the whole question of my existence.

I obtained in those early days a vague understanding of who He really was.  He, however, did not want me to remain in ignorance .My deep thoughts and reflections always put me in a position that constantly made me inquire into religious affairs.  I started seeing dreams and visions of Biblical proportions that I did not understand at the time.  Now I do.

When I reached school-going age, the vacuum in my heart grew ever larger.  I attended a Christian primary school where I learned the elementary things of God, and the foundation of my faith in Jesus Christ was built and I began to understand more of Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Many things happened that made me realize that God had many things in store for me including sharing His Good News with others.  For a long time I wondered why I was the only one in such a large family who had some enlightenment in the things pertaining to God.  Perhaps my innate yearning and longing for answers to some basic life questions played a big role.  I remember some people being religious and believing in God in their own ways and traditions.  One thing I know for sure is that God created each one of us with a vacuum that only He can fill, if people invite Him into their lives.  If we pause for just a moment (even as children) to seek Him, He will reach out to us.  No one exactly introduced me to God.  He reached out to me because I sought Him as a child.
My experience with God in my early years helped me in no small way.  But my relationship with God began to wane when I started going to a public school.  I became stubborn and did my own thing.  I was largely influenced by my non-Christian friends.  But the seed of God’s Word remained in me.  Church became a boring routine fraught with ritualistic liturgies.  My rebellion resulted in me becoming more distressed and empty. The vacuum I had experienced before returned and grew even larger. But God still had me in mind.

I was preparing for university and at the same time I was preparing for broken-heartedness.  My dad was a coffee farmer and when global coffee prices fell, my country was hard-hit as over eighty percent of the people in Cameroon base their livelihood on agriculture.  This global market failure triggered an economic crisis the scale of which we had never seen before.  Life was never the same again for us.  Consequently, people could not care for their basic needs, let alone afford a college education in a big family like mine.

God, however, had plans I did not know of.  I found an administrative job and while there, a door of business opportunity opened and I made a fortune.  The manner in which this happened convinced me without any shadow of a doubt that this was a direct intervention from God.  Even though I had drifted far from God, He still held me close.  My sense of God’s active presence in my life began to return slowly but surely.  It was hard, but I determined not to forget my God.
As things increasingly became unbearable in Cameroon, popular unrest ensued.  There were students rioting and other political upheavals of all sorts.  I was frightened and my insecurity grew as lawlessness and corruption became the order of the day. I thought I was going to lose even the little I had saved if I continued in the system. Many people carried the same conviction and began to leave the country. I was part of this mass exodus.
Since I was financially equipped, it was not as difficult to make plans to leave the country. I therefore set out to acquire the appropriate paperwork.  I met a middleman who said he would facilitate things and make it happen in no time.  Little did I know that he was using my money for his own ends.  He too wanted to take flight.  I nearly melted with grief and anguish, and thought I would tear him in pieces if I caught him.  This fellow vanished with my passport and money worth thousands of U.S. dollars.

Instead of turning to God, I resorted to mediums for assistance in the recovery of the cash.  What a mistake that was!  Thank God this is a dead practice in my life today.  Finally, I remembered God again and stopped all traditional and legal pursuits against this person whose trace I could not even find.
Then God blessed me again .My business partner unexpectedly dispatched someone to rescue me financially without her knowing my plight.  This was another direct intervention from God. My travel plans were therefore only hindered and not permanently thwarted.

Quickly, I hastened to obtain any readily available visa I could lay hands on.  This time I was successful and obtained a Russian student visa.  I left for Russia with very limited cash in my pocket.  While in Russia, I quickly discovered life as a student would be unbearable.  There was nothing to do to replenish your pocket with cash if you ran out of funds.  With the fear of the Russian cold which was fast approaching, I hurriedly made plans to leave. Russia in the first place was not my final destination. Finally, in September of 1997, I left Russia after nearly four months.
I arrived in Greece in the same year and wanted to continue with my studies.  I thought I would find a job and go to school at the same time.  However, things were not that easy. I soon discovered I had to learn the language, which was very difficult. Thus, I settled for menial jobs in order to survive.  Without any real sense of direction, I almost despaired. As a matter of fact I was dejected after just a little while in hard circumstances.

Suddenly, my sense of God revived again in me a new spirit.  I prayed and implored God on a regular basis.  Soon I made some Christian friends who decided to help me get started with life afresh. I was later introduced to a church with whom I fellowshipped for seven years.  While there I took some basic Christian training courses for one year.  My Biblical view of God became clearer  and Jesus Christ truly became my Lord and Saviour.  As my spiritual hunger increased, I decided to go a step further.  I enrolled in a Bible School and successfully finished my one year training course (1999-2000).
It was in this Bible School that I first heard about Helping Hands. Even though I was touched by what I heard about this organization and wanted to join and be a part of it, I did not do so immediately.  Many years passed and I decided to finally put an end to procrastination in 2003.
When I first came to Greece, I had dreams and aspirations nobody could talk me out of. I tried hard to create a world of my fantasies. But the more I tried, the more frustration I felt.  I even enrolled in the university to boost my standing. I thought I could satisfy a restless part of me by simply acquiring more knowledge.  This effort too failed. It is clear I needed wisdom from God and not a mundane knowledge that usually puffs up (THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH EDUCATION!!!!!!!).  Without letting God at the forefront of my life, I had made plans which did not really reflect the plans He had for me.

When God begins to fill the hollow in our hearts, we begin to feel fulfillment.  My interaction with refugees who come to Helping Hands and are almost “hoping against hope” reminds me of my own state without God.  Sharing the love of Christ with other Christians and with people that have hardly heard of the love of God ushers in a joy indescribable.  Many times we fail because we do not allow God to mould us into the shape that best fits us.

I want to be like the Apostle Paul who boldly confessed he was lacked on many occasions. These were not I started volunteering for this body and have been there ever since with some intermittent breaks which came in because I have had to work in some summers.only physical or material lack. At times he would desire more of God in order to grasp certain spiritual truths into the things that pertain to Him.  Even though life is not easy to live, it is worth living it for God.
I would like to thank the entire staff of International Teams in Athens who have been a good example for my emulation. My gratitude is extended as well to all those who have made invaluable inputs into my life in this country. Thanks be to God and to Jesus Christ our Saviour.


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