Stephen Kipro was filled with fear and suffered from low self-esteem because of his family's humble background. "Many things happened that caused me to hate my life and question why I was going through so much lack in my life," he says.
"During this time, I also struggled with immorality and lying."
However, even though Stephen may have felt that he was alone in his darkest times, he was surrounded by many loving influences who encouraged and uplifted him.
One of those influences was his grandmother, whose love for her grandson led her to pray for him morning and night. "She prayed for me every day," Stephen remembers. "She was the one who impacted my life the most. She sent me to Sunday school where I learned about God."
It was at Sunday school that he learned about Jesus Christ and how He died on the cross to pay the price for the sin of the world.
"I was taught by my teacher from the Bible that I was born a sinner and that the only way to heaven is by accepting Jesus as my Lord and Saviour," he says. "So I made the decision to accept Jesus into my life. I was led in a prayer of confession and committed my life to Jesus."
Although Stephen believes this was the time he became a born-again [spiritually renewed] Christian, he says that he did not become a fully committed follower of Christ until he was 17.
"I faced a lot of temptation from my friends who wanted me to go back to a sinful lifestyle," he tells Challenge. "At first, I was resistant. I even witnessed to one of my friends about Jesus and he became a Christian."
Eventually, Stephen realised that he could not keep living the lie of a double life. He decided to completely and fully surrender himself to Jesus Christ and His will for his life.
"Since then, I have appreciated life and Jesus has raised my hopes and dismissed every fear in me!" he exclaims. "I know He is the one I can trust for every issue in my life and above all He has prompted me to be His servant and to preach the good news of salvation."
Today the 39-year-old, who now serves as a chaplain, understands the struggles and questions Christians face in their daily walk with God.
"Jesus loves us so much regardless of how deep we have gone into sin," he says. "He is still ready to forgive us and make us His own."
Stephen's favourite Bible verse comes from Psalm 27:4, "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple."
"It is so sweet to find Jesus. Everyone who turns to Him finds peace and hope. Christ Jesus came to save us and to give us eternal life," he says.
"There is no sin so great that Christ cannot forgive if you chose to commit your life unto Him."•