“My life was terrible."
These are the words of Esther Kipchoge, whose story of overcoming addictions and anger and ultimately finding hope and healing is an inspiration.
Esther spoke to Challenge about some of the things she used to struggle with: "I was addicted to anger, lying, pride and sexual immorality," she said. "I was also a very ungrateful person."
It wasn't as though Esther didn't know better. In fact, the 40-year-old prison officer knew very well there was a better, happier way to live.
After all, she had been brought up in a Christian family and had heard about God since her childhood, but still a life of joy eluded her.
It was not till years later, when dissatisfaction with her own life became overwhelming that she seriously considered becoming a Christian. She was 19.
"It was the year 1990," she remembered. "I was in high school. In my village, I heard the good news of Jesus Christ dying to save us from our sins. I heard the Word of God preached on that day and I decided to receive Jesus as my personal Saviour. I decided that I wanted to be a Christian and to be God's child and to inherit His kingdom."
Esther explained what happened, "First of all, I raised my hand. Then, I got up, walked to the front of the church and kneeled down as the pastor prayed a prayer of salvation with me.
"I was filled with the Holy Spirit [the invisible presence of God] *and from that moment on I loved the Lord very much," she said *with a smile. "I started spreading *the Gospel of Jesus Christ and haven't stopped since."
One of Esther's favourite Bible verses is Matthew 11:28: "Come to me [Jesus], all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." It is an accurate reflection of how she felt the day she turned her burdens over to Jesus.
Today, Esther can talk about the miraculous change that has occurred in her life.
"Since that day when I became a Christian, my life has completely changed," she said. "I pray diligently for others and for myself so I can keep growing in my faith."
Esther also enjoys singing and teaching Sunday school at her church.
Esther's job in the prison requires her to work in the midst of darkness and depravity yet she is still able to preach the Gospel boldly and without shame. "I love serving the Lord and loving others," she said.
In a way, it is the best place for her to show others in great need of what God can do in a life once filled with anger. It is the best place for her to share this message: "Receive Christ and He will bring you rest and an abundant life."•