I gambled to earn a living
In an effort to help his unemployed grandmother to put food on the table, Erose started gambling on the streets with cards from the age of 15.
Erose had to live with his grandmother and his four cousins after his mother married. His father worked, but did not provide for Erose.
"My grandmother struggled to provide for the five of us. My aunt would send us money for food, but it was not enough to last the whole month. We sometimes slept on empty stomachs. I did not have the nice clothes my friends had and they had to lend me theirs," said Erose.
He then started playing cards on the streets, buying food with the money he won.
"I made enough money to buy food for my family, clothes for myself and school stationery. I soon became so addicted to gambling that I even gambled in the morning before I went to school. I left home very early so I could get enough time to play cards before I got to school. On weekends, I left the house early in the morning and spent the whole day playing cards," said Erose.
His gambling friends introduced him to alcohol and dagga when he was 17 years old.
"It took me less than a month to become addicted to alcohol and dagga. I could not go for a day without smoking dagga because the cravings gave me stomach cramps. I also had to smoke before I could eat anything. My addiction worsened after I completed my matric and I battled to find a job for seven years. I then lived for gambling, alcohol and dagga," she said.
A friend who was a member of the Universal Church invited Erose to the church because he was concerned about his addictions.
"My friend assured me that God had the power to change my life. Desperate to see what my friend told me, I started coming to the church with him. On my first day in the church I received a warm welcome, something I did not expect because I thought no one in the church wanted to sit next to an addict. At the end of the service, I spoke to a pastor who advised me to take part in the chains of prayer on Fridays to pray for my deliverance. I learned to trust God as the only provider in my life and I was able to stop gambling.
I realised that dagga and alcohol were not good for my health and spiritual life and I stopped smoking and drinking after three months in the church. I saw God as my provider when I found a job at a restaurant after being in the church for a year. I was able to provide for my family. God continued to bless me as I later found a well-paid job. I now lack nothing and have my own place to stay. The true sacrifice I made was to completely surrender my life to God and allow Him to change me," said Erose.