Hi, my name is Jerryson Kitoto Ananaga and this is my conversion story.
I grew up in a Christian family. Many of my friends and others around me were Christians. We went to church every Sunday, and I was even part of the choir team for a short while. But when I look back to those days, I can see that there was nothing to it. All of it was just out of cultural habit.
Even so, I cultivated a habit of prayer at the age of 10. Every evening before going to sleep, I would pray. I remember this one time I prayed specifically for a Gameboy, and to my surprise, I got it the next morning. It is my earliest experience with God. Back then my overall image of God was more like Santa Clause. He was only there to give me my heart desires, especially material things.
Though I didn’t quite get the whole Christianity thing, I had elements of Christian values (though I wasn’t aware of it), which is probably why my conversion to Christ was easier than I thought.
As time went on, I started noticing that there was little to no difference in the things the people of God were pursuing and none Christians were pursuing. Even when it came to their character and integrity, there seemed to be no difference. Romans 12:2 ‘Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I didn’t take time to read the Bible around that time, so I believed that the people of God were simply doing what the Word of God taught them. I ended up putting all Christians and God in the same bag. What ended up pulling me away from Christianity.
Shortly after that, I started having an interest in Africa and its history and culture. My research in that made me believe that Christianity was nothing more than western religion. Being black, I couldn’t identify myself with Christianity any more, so I started digging into the African religions. Colossians 2:8 ‘Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
My family, friends, and others around me tried to bring me back to Christianity for a long time but failed every time. But instead, I used the little knowledge I gained about the African religions to pull other Africans away from the Christian faith. Palms 119:176 ‘I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.’
Though I never thought that I would ever come back to the Christian faith, I knew deep down that, if anything like that would happen, it would have to be through my future wife. What is exactly what happened.
About a year later I met a Christian girl, who ended up becoming a very good friend of mine. Though we were very close, she never tried to force her believes on me, and neither did I. The way she practiced her faith was very different from what I had seen up to that time, which caught my attention. But my heart was still closed towards God. Or rather, God might have kept my heart closed.
Sometime later, I wanted to become more than friends, but she said it could only be on one condition. I had to become a Christian. After giving it some thought, I decided to give God a chance and started learning about the Christian faith. Ezekiel 36:26 ‘And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
It was around that time, that I heard a sermon on the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 ‘But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, … As I read those words, I realized that the values that I held so dear, came from the Bible. Also after reading Galatians 3:28 ‘There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus, showed me how universal scriptures actually was. Because of that, I could start to identify myself with the Christian faith again.
I learned about the Gospel (the good news) after I started to actually read scriptures. The Gospel made me realize how deep the Father’s love is for us. Without Jesus Christ, I wouldn’t have a way to have a relationship with God the Father. Jesus is the way.