When 15-year-old Elifas Chituku was shot during the Zimbabwean war of independence and had to have his leg amputated, he struggled to accept his disability and was filled with bitterness towards white people.
"I was very down and isolated myself from everyone. I struggled to forgive – even hating the little children who used to stare at me," he remembers.
Two years later, while he was bathing in a river, a man told him the story of Jesus Christ's life and death and how Jesus could set Elifas free from his sin and burdens.
"I cried bitterly and I accepted that I was a sinner. I cried the whole night. I had not known there was someone [Jesus] who loved me the way I was. Joy just came and I found myself accepting others and starting to enjoy life," Elifas enthuses.
"I hadn't thought I could be happy again, or live a normal life, but Jesus has been the key to turning my life around. Jesus IS my life!"
Elifas recalls that at that time in Zimbabwe the hospitals did not give you crutches when you were released. "From 1977 – 1985 I had no crutches and I was hopping around like a bird, but who am I to hold grudges?" he says. "In 1986 my brother, who was a teacher, bought me some wooden crutches and things started to change for me."
Then a white doctor bought Elifas some metal crutches, which he uses to this day, and in 1994 another white Christian bought him an artificial leg.
However, ten years later the artificial leg broke and Elifas again felt ho peless. He recalled though that Jesus had promised to provide for His followers like He provides food for the birds of the air and flowers to clothe the fields. (Matthew 6:25-27.)
By this stage Elifas was a married pastor with three daughters and he attended a seminar run by Multi-Ministries in Chiredzi, who were equipping and encouraging Zimbabwean pastors.
At that conference, a Pastor Bartholomew pledged to buy Elifas another artificial leg, which Elifas was in South Africa to collect when he shared his story with Challenge News.
"The grace of God is always taking care of me," declares Elifas. "I thank Pastor Bartholomew for showing me practical love. I am seeing God in action. All my burdens are taken away by Jesus Christ.
"No one else can give freedom but Jesus. No one else can forgive sins. My future is in Christ and it is brighter than yesterday."•