Misery and sorrow seemed to follow Sabelo Mduli everywhere from childhood all the way to college, and it seemed clear to him that only Christians had the joy he wanted.
As a child growing up in Swaziland, he remembers, "My parents spent money on witchdoctors trying to find help for my sick mother.
"My siblings and I wondered who will help us because sometimes she had to leave for a long time with our father."
While they were still young, some high school students encouraged Sabelo and his siblings to attend Sunday school classes.
"My three brothers, one sister, and I were taught that there is a God in heaven who created heaven and earth, who does not lie or do anything wrong; He punishes those who lie and steal and rebel against Him by sending them to hell."
As a teen, Sabelo stopped attending Sunday school because he feared calling on God and instead turned to sport to find happiness.
"I practised bad habits such as lying and stealing amongst others, because of the influence of my peers.
"As a result there was a general emptiness in my heart and sometimes I drank liquor with my friends to fill it, but that never helped."
Following high school, Sabelo's older brother died suddenly and mysteriously.
"I asked myself again, who can protect my family? Has my brother gone to heaven or hell?"
A friend named Homcebo, a born-again Christian, would tell Sabelo about the good news of Jesus Christ.
"She took good care of me, but I could not decide whether to follow Jesus Christ."
He went away to college for some years, and it was in his final year when Sabelo remembers sitting in his room contemplating life while his roommates were away for the weekend.
"I thought about my future on earth and after death. It was like a video tape began in my mind from my Sunday school days, and the only voice I could hear was my own. All the Christian meetings I attended and the sermons I had heard came back fresh to my mind.
"In all this I realised the fullness of God's love and mercy on my life. I realised that God has a purpose with my life to keep me alive. This humbled me to want to make a confession of faith to Jesus."
Sabelo recalls praying, "Jesus come into my life, rule it forever."
After saying those words sincerely, he remembers, "I felt peace and joy in my heart."
This peace even extended to stopping a headache that had troubled him for a long time.
When his roommates returned many of them noticed he no longer acted the same.
"I told them that there is someone new who is commanding my heart. They thought I was joking."
Back home, Sabelo told his parents about the peace and joy Jesus had brought.
"After a year my mother trusted in Jesus, followed by my father. Soon after that my father died and went to be with Jesus in heaven."
Sabelo says that most of his family are born-again Christians now.
"I have shared the peace I have with my Lord with my family," he says.
One particular time he remembers God protected his house from catching alight from a lightning bolt.
"In December of 2000, my wife and I were in the sitting room with our children when lightning struck our house. Praise God, the house did not catch fire, only the floor by the entrance and a wall in another room cracked. I saw God's hand over us," Sabelo shares joyfully. •