A series of painful events
"My mother left me with my grandmother when I was six years old and moved in with her new partner.
She never visited or provided for me. It was difficult for me to get basic needs for schooling because my grandmother battled to make ends meet. I was mocked at school because I did not have the proper uniform.
That discouraged me and I started bunking classes when I was 12 years old. I stayed with older guys who introduced me to drinking. I then stole my grandmother's money to buy alcohol. When I was in grade 10, I was chased out of school because I was disrespectful towards the teachers. I continued drinking alcohol and stealing from my grandmother.
My mother came back home when I was 21 years old. That did not make my situation any better because she was sick and passed away months later. Her passing left me angry and bitter because I didn't get a chance to tell her how her rejection and abandonment had affected me. I drank even more and fought with my friends when I was drunk.
I was later arrested for assaulting one of my friends and was in jail for three weeks before the charges were dropped. To make matters worse, my grandmother passed away a month after I was released from jail.
I felt life had nothing good for me. A relative took me in and hired me as a herdsman for his livestock. Our relationship turned bad after I started stealing from him and he chased me away.
With nowhere to go to, I left my home country for South Africa. I didn’t know anyone and I lived on the streets for two months before I found a job.
I worked as a general worker in a firm and could then afford to rent a shack. I was fired after a few months because I drank on duty. I was also chased out of the shack because I did not have money to pay rent.
I was then arrested for robbery and spent a month in prison. It was when I was in prison for the second time that I reflected on my life and realised how I had contributed to some of the misfortunes I had in life. I wanted to put an end to my misery but I did not know how. After I was released from prison, I went to the Universal Church because I had heard about it.
I could not utter a word to the pastor. All I did was cry. I battled to find words to explain the pain, anger and bitterness I had inside me. He offered me a prayer and encouraged me to engage in the chain of prayers.
As I continued attending the services, I managed to stop drinking and I committed my life to God. I found a job as a painter and a decent place to stay. The people I go to church with are now my new family. The presence of God gave me the love I did not get from my mother. I also healed from the anger and bitterness I had. I was able to make peace with the passing of my mother and my grandmother, " said Phillip.