A SONG IN MY HEART
Revelation 12:11 says: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; …” When we tell testimonies of the Lord God’s power and saving grace on our lives, the devil slinks away tail between legs. So, let us share our amazing stories of God’s love in action and shame the evil one.
We look forward to reading your own story of faith in the coming weeks. Your well-written story should be about 800 – 1000 words. Send your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected stories will be compiled into an anthology of stories of faith.
Here is today’s story of faith told by Martin Mlilo. Enjoy! Look out for the next story of faith in two weeks.
A SONG IN MY HEART
“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted” Exodus 15:1
I love songs. My voice may not be the best, but still I love making up my own songs, especially those of praise and thanksgiving. If it were not for the Lord, I do not know where I would be. I believe I’m a living testimony. I have been hard pressed on every side, knocked down by life, in despair, but my salvation has been to make those feelings scram to the dungeon by humming a song in my heart. I remind myself that, my Lord and my God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11.
I completed my academic learning in 2006 and did very well. I looked forward to pursuing a degree course at varsity or at some other college. But I failed to get the money to pay fees. It was so disappointing to miss an opportunity to further my studies. I sat and pondered what next. Most young people were tracking to South Africa, known to many of us as eZansi. I scraped around and managed to get enough money to apply for a passport so I could head that direction. Who knows …?
It was not an easy decision to make, but I could not continue to be an extra burden to my parents. While on one hand I eagerly looked forward to getting to eZansi, the land of opportunity, my mind was also filled with trepidation as time drew near to travel. We often witnessed those in eZansi sending groceries, clothing items and money to their relatives back home. I thought it would be wonderful to get there and be able to send good things to my parents. On the other hand, stories of those who were food for crocodiles in the Limpopo River sent shivers down my spine. Some were robbed by way layers on both sides of the border. I thanked God that I had a valid passport. There were sordid stories of brutal beatings and all forms of harassment meted to foreigners. That was unsettling, but I wanted to focus on the good I had heard. Yes, I was going to seek greener pastures eZansi.
Each person was busy trying to make a living there. I was happy enough to find work as a security guard as I needed to save for fees at College. Life was not as simple as had been shared by friends. Fees were astronomic. So, I opted for a course in Welding. I was delighted that I had managed to pursue my studies. Unfortunately, my savings did not go far. I needed to have saved a lot more. I tried all ways of raising adequate fees, tried to seek loans from friends and relatives to no avail. I prayed and fasted, but all my attempts failed. I was so disappointed and discouraged. When you have no job, you become a burden even to friends and relatives. I had to eventually swallow a bitter pill by taking the decision to go back home in 2018. I did try to encourage myself with a constant song in my heart, though at times I felt like a complete failure. I had no money. But, the song in my heart seemed to pulsate and resonate deep within me saying that was not the end of life. The song assured me God would make a way for me to attend college.
Love has no bounds. I met this pretty girl that I developed a close relationship with. Unfortunately, we went a bit far and she told me she was expecting my baby. That was both exhilarating and frightening. I was struggling to make a living but had now created an extra problem. How would I protect the love of my life from the wrath of family? She had just completed her ‘A’ Level studies and was supposed to pursue further studies. I felt sore that our inability to wait was now going to affect even her life. I loved this girl very much and looked forward to the baby. I had started a project of rearing road runners or free-range chickens. The project did not bring much, but little was better than nothing. The baby came, and the responsibilities intensified. I wanted the best for mom and baby. I wanted to pay lobolo for her one day and marry her. But I was living in a dry and thirsty land. This was the climax of my suffering. The only consolation was the song in my heart that deepened.
I always attended musical shows to enjoy others’ expressions and also to learn from them. I wanted to compose and sing better songs too. It was in such a gathering at the end of July in 2019, that I met this kind old lady who enjoyed my praise music. Those who knew her well called Makhulu. It felt good chatting with Makhulu that I unburdened myself to her. What happened in the next few days still boggles my mind. Makhulu seemed to take me under her wing and recommended me to a close family friend who offered me a job as a welder. That put a new song in my heart. I soon was composing more meaningful songs. I could not believe the change that would come to my life and those I love, through this job. My songs of praise on God’s faithfulness and amazing grace bubbled within me. I seemed to compose a new song each week. Makhulu went further to link me with some good Samaritans. That was in September 2019. I could not believe my ears when they said,
“What can we do for you Martin?” Was God answering my prayer in a dramatic fashion? Was my dream for college coming true? I was short of words. I was overwhelmed with mixed emotions and stumbled over my words.
“I want to go to college to pursue a course in mechanical engineering.”
“When do you want to start?”
“During the next semester in January 2020.”
“Go on and apply then.”
Did I hear right? Unbelievable! My friends had been laughing at me and saying school was too late for me. Had I forgotten it was fourteen years since I completed my ‘A’ Level studies? Family members were also saying I should stop dreaming and work hard to look after my family. It was not easy to turn a deaf ear to such disparaging comments. The song in my heart gave me confidence. Could this then be a double blessing for me? These generous good Samaritans even wanted to sponsor me on a full-time basis, but I opted for a part time course so that I could continue working and care for my love, and for my precious baby. A job would enable me to marry her sooner.
No words can portray adequately how I feel. I have pinched myself numerous times to see whether this is just a sweet and passing dream or not. How do I thank such generous people? How do I thank God most of all?
When 2020 started, I was at work. I also started as a student at the Bulawayo Polytechnic College doing Mechanical Engineering. I attend classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. I enjoy the theory classes. On Sundays we have practical sessions, and for me that is a joy ride as I do that daily at my workplace. I hope to complete my course at the end of 2021, and after I do, I hope to open my own engineering workshop. That is the song in my heart.