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Hyacinthe from Senegal in West Africa, tells his story

When I was a child, I learned how to offer sacrifices of chickens and animals to spirits. My family all believed that if we did this, no bad things would happen to us. I used lucky charms too. I thought they would keep me safe wherever I was, and give me success in my studies.

Sacrifices did not work!

But when I tried to study, I felt bad spirits around me, so that I could not concentrate. Sometimes they stopped me from sleeping. The sacrifices did no good. They only brought me fear and trouble. When I was old enough to get a job, I became a house-boy for two women who were followers of Jesus. They told me how I could follow Jesus, and that he could stop the bad spirits from troubling me. But I did not listen to what the women said to me.

I hid it under my bed

Some years later, one of the women paid for me to travel across Senegal to go to a Christian youth camp. I agreed to go, but took my charm (a goat’s horn) with me. I put it on a stone under my bed. Each morning and evening I poured strong drink over it. I thought this would make the spirits do good things for me. While at the camp, a follower of Jesus read some words from the Bible (the Christians’ holy book). These are some of the words: “If God is on our side, who can be against us?” * Then he told us about Jesus and how he came down to earth and was killed, even though he had done nothing wrong. He loved us so much, he paid the penalty that should have been ours because of all our wrongdoing. This punishment was death. He showed that he is much greater than bad spirits who are against us and bring us trouble. Jesus was stronger than death. He came back to life and now he will never die again. He has life that goes on for ever, with God, his father in heaven.

Something left my body

As I heard these words, I began to understand things for the first time. It was as though someone opened my eyes. Later that day, I asked Jesus to forgive all my wrongdoing and I thanked him for dying for me. After this, I felt something heavy leave my body. At last I was at peace. This was just the beginning of all that Jesus has done for me. When I got home, I took all my charms and threw them into the river because Jesus had become my new master.