My school mate led me to God
Matthew was in grade eight when he made friends with mischievous boys who hung around on street corners and drank alcohol in taverns.
"We sat on street corners and smoked cigarettes. It later became a habit that I could not control as I even smoked inside the school premises," said Matthew.
In that same year, Matthew started smoking dagga as well.
"I didn’t focus much on my school work because my street life was already taking over my life. On weekends, I would wash people’s cars and do gardening in my neighbourhood in order to earn money to buy dagga and alcohol. I also became rude at home and sometimes raised my voice to my mother when she corrected me. I bunked classes and smoked dagga in the school toilets. As a result, I failed most of my subjects during my mid-year exams," he said.
The good behaviour of one of his school mates who excelled in his subjects and was respected at school motivated Matthew to accept an invitation to the Universal Church.
"He was a member of the church and constantly invited me to attend the youth meeting with him, but I thought going to church was boring. One day I was sitting in class alone, lost in my thoughts and I realised how I envied my school mate’s life. I thought that if going to the church was what made him respected by everybody at school, I would also attend the church services," he said.
"I went to him and asked him to wait for me when he went to the church. I also attended YPG meetings with him. I noticed how happy and free other children were in the presence of God while I had to stress about finding money in order to buy dagga and alcohol. I was also offered counselling at church. A few weeks later, I stopped smoking dagga and cigarettes. I read the Bible and the books of the church and no longer had time to sit on the street corners. Coming to the church gave me the excitement and fulfilment that I thought I could only find in alcohol and dagga. I engaged in the chain of prayers on Fridays and God delivered me from alcohol addiction. I focused on my studies at school and my marks improved," he said.
As Matthew continued coming to the church he developed the desire to serve God with his life.
"I now live a clean life and I’m at peace with my mother as I give her the respect she deserves. God took me out of a dark hole and I will live my days pleasing Him with my life," he said.