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True stories

  • about what really happened

wrong-doing

  • My name is Oscar. I was born into a religious family in Zambia. As a child, I went to Christian meetings with my parents. I was very keen to follow the rituals I saw my parents doing. I did not know then that Jesus Christ loves me and wants to be my friend and helper. I thought all religion was about doing rituals and good things to try to please God, and this was the way to make God love me.

    Who should I please?

    At the same time, whenever I went to visit my grandmother, I followed another kind of religion. I went with her to shrines in the villages. She was a witch-doctor and taught me to worship bad spirits who did not love me. I grew up confused in my mind. Where was the right way to go? What should I believe?

    Which god must I please?

    I was so confused that I stopped trying to be religious. Instead, I started to drink strong drink and go to bad parties. I often ended up in fights. I thought. "Maybe this is the way to find peace and a good life."

    But I soon found that these things did not satisfy me. Everything got worse for me, not better. It was a very bad time in my life. I needed someone to help me and save me from my confusion.

    I needed someone to save me

    My sister lived just a few kilometres from us. One day she invited me to a Christian meeting in her town. I went with her. The leader of the meeting told us about Jesus Christ, the only one who can forgive all our wrong-doing (sin). He said that God loves us very much. He sent his son, Jesus, into the world to die, to take the punishment for sin for everyone in the world. This leader told us, "If we say we are truly sorry to God for all we have done wrong, and want to change, God will forgive us and we will know Jesus as our friend. When we die we will go to be with Jesus in heaven."

    I thought about this – a friend that I would be with for ever! All my past wrong-doings came into my mind. I realised that I needed a 'saviour' – someone who would clean up my life and give me the power to make new start. I wanted to be saved from the confusion that had led me to do so many wrong things. At once I said, “Jesus, I need you. I am sorry for all I have done wrong. Please be my saviour."

    I also asked God to forgive me for trying to please him in wrong ways, especially for worshipping bad spirits. Jesus was a real saviour to me. I know he forgave me and became my friend. I felt clean inside for the first time.

    A new start

    I started to go to Christian meetings. They were very different from the ones I went to when I was a child. There were no rituals that we had to follow. I began to read the Bible. It helped me to know Jesus, my saviour, more and more. I know that things would have got worse for me, if I had not become a follower of Jesus. But now I have been saved from that, everything has changed for the better. I was the only man in my family who was a true follower of Jesus. Others in my family were very angry with me. They did not like my new way of life and began to do all they could to make me change my mind. They believed that I had brought shame to the whole family. But Jesus helped me at this difficult time in my life. I knew I must always follow him.

    Now I am married with three children. I tell other people how Jesus can be their saviour and friend too. I know he always helps us, even when things are difficult.

  • Time is very important to us all. When God created the world, he made day-time and night-time. He made the sun, the moon and the seasons - hot and cold, wet and dry. These are all things that help us to measure time. From the very beginning, people needed to know about time – when to plant seeds, when the rains would come, when the crops were ready to pick. It became important also to know the time of the day. So people found ways of telling the time – these were some of the first things that people invented.

    Early ways to tell the time

    Sundials were one of the first things people used to tell the time, in Egypt and Babylon 3,500 years ago. These measure time passing by the shadow made by the sun. Each day, when the sun is shining, it seems to move across the earth from east to west. If something is in a fixed place, its shadow moves as the sun moves. So a sundial is made with a flat stone (or something else flat) that has marks for each hour of the day. Fixed in the stone is something like a thin stick, pointing up in the air. This makes a shadow that moves around as the sun moves across the sky. But the sundial cannot work if the sun is not shining, so other ways of telling the time had to be found. In many parts of the world such as China, India and Egypt, dripping water was used to measure time. Another way that people measured the hours passing, was to use sand flowing through a small hole.

    Time will end

    The Christians’ holy book, the Bible, tells us that time will end one day. Jesus Christ, God's son, came to the earth two thousand years ago. He came as a baby and lived for about 30 years, then he was killed as a criminal. Even though he never did anything wrong, he was nailed to a wooden cross – the way criminals were killed at that time. This was God's plan to rescue people from the punishment for all their wrong-doing (sin). We have all done wrong things. God's punishment for sin is death. When Jesus died on the cross, he took the punishment that should have been ours. He died to pay the price for our wrong-doing. Three days later, Jesus came alive again.

    Death was not the end. Now Jesus is alive for ever. He is in heaven. But one day, he will come back to the earth. This time he will not come as a baby, but as the king of all the earth. Suddenly, he will take all his followers to live in heaven with him. It will be a wonderful time for everyone who is a follower of Jesus. In heaven there will be no more sadness, or problems, or trouble, or fighting. Time will not be important any more. It is a place where we will be truly happy with Jesus for ever.**

    Being ready

    We do not know the hour or the day when Jesus will come again to the earth. But he tells us in the Bible, "Yes, I will come soon."

    * We do not know when that will be, but soon means it could happen at any time. We need to be ready for that time. If Jesus came back to the earth today, would you be ready? Are you one of Jesus' followers? Has he forgiven you for all your wrong-doing?