Loss, pain and loneliness
Dealing with the passing of his sister and living far from his mother was the worst pain that Athule went through from the age of seven years.
"A few months after we buried my sister, who was three years younger than me, my mother found a job and relocated to another city. I was left to be raised by my grandmother. My mother and my sister were the only people I knew to be my own family because I did not know who my father was. I found it difficult to adjust to a new life without them around me. Even though my mother visited me every month, I had a void inside that felt greater each year. I sometimes thought it would be better for me if I knew my father and had a relationship with him. I always wished I had someone with whom I could share the pain and loneliness I suffered," he said.
When he completed his matric in 2013, Athule moved to Johannesburg to look for a job.
That same year he walked past the Universal Church and was invited in for a prayer. He attended the services and prayed for a job. "I later took part in the chains of prayer on Mondays for my finances and on Wednesdays for my spiritual development.
In the church I learned to trust in God and be faithful to Him. As I continued attending the church services, I understood that only God was able to fill the emptiness I felt and heal the loss of my sister.
The presence of God in my life gave me the comfort and healing I longed for. I was able to accept my sister was no more and that my mother had to leave me with my grandmother because she wanted to provide for me financially.
That gave me peace, something I did not have for many years. My father was given my phone number and called me. I met him for the first time when I was 21 years old and we started building a relationship.
God continued to bless my life. Last year, I started a marketing company and my business is doing well. I am able to provide for myself now. I also have the love of a family even though my parents are not living together, but we all have a strong bond," said Athule.