MICHAEL ATTANOR QUANSAH, ACCRA, GHANA firstname.lastname@example.org
My story began when I was seven years old. Due to the pressure of work on both parents, my mother left me with a woman in our neighborhood as it were to take care of me till they closed from work. This caretaker woman had a delinquent son who happened to be my friend as well. As circumstances will have it, he appeared to be the only person around each time I closed from school so it was not surprising our interactions led to a strong bond of friendship. He was twelve years old at that time. His behavior and attitude was that of a good boy when his parents were around but worst when we were together. Through his bad influence, we made additional friends in the neighborhood and constituted ourselves into a group that could only be noted for our notoriety and stubbornness. We played football together, walked long distances aimlessly to the refuse dumps in residential areas, especially close to the Kotoka International Airport, apparently to seek for discarded wrist watches and leftovers of food, set traps for birds and rodents in isolated bush areas and play football with other competitor groups. One time, a friend in our group narrated how he found a wrist watch while searching through a portion of the pile of refuse. He showed this to us and that motivated us to continue searching through ‘mountains’ of refuse deceptively thinking we could be fortunate enough to chance on such items which in our time and naively were treasures to us. To be well accepted and respected in this group of ours, one had to show more notoriety and aggressiveness by engaging in street brawling, being disrespectful to parents and the elderly in society; all these activities when undertaken received a loud applause from group members each time we met as friends. I remember one time, an uncle of mine from the village visited our home and brought the family some foodstuffs which were kept in the bedroom. I was then on vacation and was barely eight and half years old. Our group leader mooted the idea that for the members to enjoy lunch, I was to go and steal some of the foodstuffs (cocoyam and plantain) and then pass them over to another member of the group behind our bedroom window. I accepted to do this because that was to project me as a versatile and a good facilitator when it comes to the execution of group plans. Whilst my mother sat quietly in the sitting room conversing with my visiting uncle, I sneaked quietly and innocently into the bedroom as if to pick up my dress and managed to pass on quite a number of the foodstuffs. Later on, close to about midday, my mother, wanting to prepare food noticed with grave surprise the reduced quantity of foodstuffs available. She readily suspected that of the three of us (who had capacity to do the untoward) in the room (my kid sister was then about three years old by then), I was the only one who could explain the shortfall. Well, I denied for fear of being beaten although my uncle still insisted a lot of foodstuffs were initially available. I was reported to my father and being the strict disciplinarian as he was had to lay several strokes of cane on my back and buttocks. I began getting into more trouble often times with the group and each time a report was made to my father, either by my mother or a concerned neighbor, I was not spared but severely punished. On one of the occasions, I came home tired after a football section and mummy was busily preparing dinner. I was asked to fan the coal pot. I remember my mother was frying fish. Unfortunately, while fanning, I briefly dozed off and unknowingly headed for the hot oil. Before, mummy realized it, my face was in the oil. With screams, I jumped off having suffered from some serious burns. Miraculously, my right eye which should have been blinded by the hot oil was spared by God’s invisible hand. The oil left a visible trace of burn running from my right eyebrow as a narrow path and spreading on my right cheek with smaller burns on the left cheek as well. At this moment, I still continue to thank God for saving me from this terrible domestic accident which could have blinded my right eye for life and distorted my facial beauty or framework.
At the age of nine, my parents, based on the recommendation of a friend, changed my school and got another school where french was the main medium of communication. I attended the school with my kid sister who was then six years old by then. The teachers taught with confusing antics that made understanding of the subjects very difficult for us. On the basis of this, I convinced my kid sister for us to abstain from attending school. Every morning, from Monday to Friday, we took our feeding fee from my father but would lurk around another school about one kilometer from our substantive school until late afternoon when school was supposed to be closing and then we would go home. This continued for a space of two months, until somebody reported us to my father of our indiscipline. Upon interrogation, my sister gave me out as the main architect of the plan. I complained I did not understand what the teachers taught hence my decision for staying away from school. My reason and plea for leniency were not taken and I was severally punished at home and also publicly at the school’s assembly. On the resumption of a new academic year, my father changed our school to the Newtown Elementary Institute, a private primary school which taught all the subjects in the curriculum in english except for french where english was combined with the french language to aid understanding.
In this new school, I was did very well with my academics and passed my Common Entrance examination to the secondary school. In the elementary school, I was sober and serious with my studies. Although my parents did not attend any church all this while, I decided to join my uncle to worship with the Maamobi Methodist Church. I was engaged in bible studies, Sunday school lessons and many bible quizzes. All these built me up but Christ had not been introduced to me as the Savior of the world. To me, I was just a good person being shaped by the tenets of christianity. I was no more engaged in any notoriety and was completely cut off from my bad group because I decided I wanted to study to become somebody great in future.
I attended Oda Secondary School, from the primary school, where by God’s grace, I excelled academically but was also very active in the Scripture Union (SU). My keenness, enthusiasm and passion for the Christ caused the leaders of the SU to select me as one of the leaders against the historical norm; the selection was before time for our batch (or year group) of students. I became the only one of all the junior students to become a leader. In Form 4, I became the only person of all the students in our year group to be appointed as the Chapel Prefect of the School.
In one of my interactions with a friend at the SU, he mentioned that, one could be born into a church but could still not be a Christian. He further intimated that, to be a Christian required one to publicly confess and accept the LORD JESUS CHRIST, as their savior as indicated in Romans 10:8-10. Immediately, I heard that, I asked him to lead me to Christ; something he gladly did.
During the long vacation to end the form 4 academic calendar, exactly in September 1991, I attended a revival section at a local Assemblies of God church at Accra Newtown and for the first time, I felt the bible explained in a more revelatory manner which truly reflected the reality of JESUS. My passion to know God’s Word by revelation and strictly live by the Word, made me change church to join the visiting pastor’s church. By God’s grace, I have graduated from being a Junior Pastor at the Jesus Generation Ministries to a Senior Pastor and is now a very close associate of the man of God, Rt. Rev. Dr. Nana Anyani Boadum. Currently, he happens to be the Treasurer for the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches (GPCC) in Ghana. By God’s grace, I still continue to learn from other men of God notably Bishop Zormelo, who is a mentor when it comes to strict Christian discipline and operation by the Spirit. I have a great opportunity to expand not only my knowledge in Christian evangelism but also to expand the evangelism drive by involving many passionate youth members and willing elders.
Thank God for His unsurpassable mercies and how far He has brought me. Amen
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