Emmanuel escaped from a life of crime in a witchcraft gang to a relationship with Jesus thanks to the Good Samaritan programme.
Holding a venomous snake, chanting strange prayers while the gang cuts his arms to make him strong – this was Emmanuel’s initiation into a witchcraft gang.
Aged just nine years old, his mother sent him to live in an orphanage after she became too sick from AIDS to look after him.
Vulnerable and alone, Emmanuel looked for a place to belong. He was lured into a witchcraft gang with the promise of magic powers and super strength through mantras and spells.
Soon after his initiation learning these mantras turned into learning to pickpocket and steal from street stalls. He began drinking and fighting – he’d beat up anyone if they had a disagreement.
But then our team arrived at the orphanage to run our Good Samaritan programme. The programme teaches young people social values and how to be a loving caring citizen through a series of interactive workshops all based on the Biblical parable.
Sceptical and wary, Emmanuel sat at the back listening but not participating in the activities. Gradually, as the weeks went by, he heard more about Jesus and slowly started joining in until his life was profoundly changed.
“Now my life is very different,” says 16-year-old Emmanuel.
“I went to a pastor and talked to him about the things I had been doing. I started praying and reading my Bible.”
Emmanuel is no longer violent and he cut his ties with the gang, choosing instead to pray for them.
He’s the first to help out with chores around the orphanage and is now studying hard at his school work so he can become an accountant.
He even spends time with the young people in the orphanage, teaching them football skills and mentoring them.