Olakemi, from Nigeria, was like many teenagers. He wanted to live his life in his way and please himself in everything he did.
“The only thing I told myself never to do was to steal.” says Olakemi. “Anything else, however bad, was OK. My parents taught me how to worship idols when I was a child. As soon as I got my first job, I spent all that I earned buying charms. I wanted to become a witch-doctor and teach others how to worship idols.” Everyone who knew Olakemi began to fear him. If he became a witch-doctor, he would be very powerful. One day a follower of Jesus from the same village, called Joshua, gave Olakemi another idea for his life. He could study the Bible. Olakemi laughed. “This is the biggest joke of the year,” he said. “Joshua is mad! I want to please myself, not follow someone else’s plan.” He had never read the Bible before, or heard the good news about Jesus Christ.
The story was for me!
But Joshua and Olakemi did begin to study the Bible together. In it, they read about a follower of Jesus, called Paul, who visited the city of Athens in Greece. It was a place full of idol worshippers who did not know about Jesus Christ. “I felt as though this story was written just for me. Something inside me was telling me to leave my idols and charms, and follow Jesus, just as Paul told the people in Athens to do,” says Olakemi. He realised for the first time that God’s power is greater than all the idols and charms in the world, stronger than all the witch-doctors. “Joshua taught me that all my wrong ideas and actions, however bad, are not too big for Jesus Christ to forgive. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus Christ to the earth to die for each one of us. He took the punishment (death) that should have been ours, for all our wrong. Jesus will forgive our wrong-doings and take away the shame that we feel inside. He gives a wonderful new life and a place with him in heaven to all who ask him and are truly sorry for the things they have done.
“Joshua showed me what it really means to be a follower of Jesus. I asked Jesus to forgive me. We burned all my charms and idols. I no longer wanted to be a witch-doctor. All I wanted was to tell other people about Jesus and all he did for me.”