THE BIBLE CHANGES LIVES
“I Am No Longer a Cruel Man”
Year Born: 1973
Country of Origin: Uganda
History: Violent and immoral drunkard
I was born in Uganda in the district of Gomba. Most people there were very poor. Our town had no electricity, so at night we used portable fuel lamps.
My parents, who were farmers, had moved to Uganda from Rwanda. They cultivated coffee and bananas, and from the bananas they made a popular liquor called waragi. My parents also raised chickens, goats, pigs, and cows. My culture and upbringing led me to believe that a wife must be obedient to her husband at all times and never express her opinion.
When I was 23 years old, I moved to Rwanda, where I went to dance clubs with others my age. I visited one so often that the management gave me a card that allowed me to enter free of charge. I also enjoyed movies that featured fighting and graphic violence. My environment and entertainment influenced me to become a violent and immoral drunkard.
In 2000, I started living with a young woman named Skolastique Kabagwira, and we had three children. As I had learned when I was younger, I expected her to kneel before me when she greeted me or made a request. I also claimed that all our family’s belongings were my personal property, to do with as I wished. I often went out at night and returned about three in the morning, usually drunk. I would knock on the door, and if Skolastique took too long to open it, I beat her.
At that time, I was working as a supervisor for a private security company, and I earned a good salary. At home, Skolastique tried to persuade me to join her Pentecostal church, no doubt thinking that this would change me. But I was not interested. Instead, I developed a romantic relationship with another woman. As a result of my cruel and immoral behavior, Skolastique took our three children and moved in with her parents.
An elderly friend of ours spoke to me about my way of life. He encouraged me to return to Skolastique. He said that my beautiful children did not deserve to be separated from their father. So in 2005, I stopped drinking, left the other woman, and returned to Skolastique. In 2006 we were married. However, I was still violent and abusive toward my wife.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE
In 2008, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses named Joël called at our home, and I listened to his message. For several months he and another Witness, Bonaventure, visited me regularly, and we had intense Bible discussions. I asked many questions, particularly about the book of Revelation. I was actually trying to prove the Witnesses wrong. For instance, I asked how they could claim that the “great crowd” mentioned at Revelation 7:9 would live on earth, when the verse says that they were “standing before the throne [of God] and before the Lamb,” Jesus Christ. Joël patiently answered my questions. For example, he showed me Isaiah 66:1, where God calls the earth his “footstool.” So the great crowd are actually standing on earth before God’s throne. And I read Psalm 37:29, which says that the righteous will live forever on earth.
Eventually, I agreed to a Bible study. So Bonaventure studied with Skolastique and me. As we studied the Bible, I gained the motivation to make changes in my life. I learned to treat my wife with respect. I no longer wanted her to kneel before me when she greeted me or made a request, and I stopped claiming that everything my family owned belonged to me personally. I also stopped watching violent films. Making these changes was hard and required great self-control and humility.
A few years earlier, I had taken my eldest child, Christian, to live with relatives in Uganda. But after reading Deuteronomy 6:4-7, I realized that my wife and I are responsible before God to care for our children, which includes teaching them godly principles. How happy we and our son were when we brought him home!
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED
I learned that Jehovah is a merciful God, and I have faith that he has forgiven me for my past attitude and conduct. I am delighted that Skolastique joined me in the Bible study. We dedicated our lives to Jehovah and were baptized together on December 4, 2010. Now we trust each other, and we enjoy applying Bible principles in our family. My wife is very happy that I come straight home after work. She also appreciates that I treat her with dignity and respect, that I made a personal decision to abstain from alcohol, and that I am no longer a cruel man. In 2015, I was appointed as an elder to help shepherd our congregation. Of our five children, three are baptized.
When I began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I did not blindly accept what they taught me. But I was impressed that they used the Bible to answer my questions. Skolastique and I grew to appreciate that those who claim to serve the true God should live in harmony with his standards, not water them down. I am most grateful that Jehovah drew me and that I am now part of his spiritual family. Looking back on my life, I am convinced that with God’s help, any sincere person can make the needed changes to please him.