Bro. William Okello's Testimony
My Life Story - Part 1
This is the first of a series of articles that will appear in the current and subsequent newsletters. They will focus on my personal testimony and experiences, which I hope, will not only make interesting reading, but also be an encouragement to others in their Christian walk and service in the Lord. Occasionally I may refer to the experiences of some of the brethren whom I have known.
I was born 8th Feb 1954 at Angodingod a village some 30 miles from Soroti town in North-Eastern Uganda to a nominally Catholic family. My dad was a police officer and my mum a housewife. My mother was one of a number of wives my dad married.
In the year 1959, I was, together with my brother Charles ‘baptised’ in the Roman Catholic religion in the town of Kabale in Western Uganda where my dad was stationed at the time. My parents were not regular churchgoers, even though my dad appeared to want us (the children) to be observant. I remember one particular incident whereby he threatened to chastise me for not having attended the Sunday service, before he could execute his threats I dashed away. An older boy was ordered to give chase but I proved to be a better athlete and outran him! I did not return home until I was sure my dad’s wrath had abated.
In 1963 I was sent to a religious school during breaks in my school terms to learn the doctrines of the Catholic Church. We mastered the rosary and songs that glorified the Virgin Mary and dead human beings designated ‘saints’ in the Catholic context. These lessons were conducted at a leading mission centre located about 15 miles from our village. We were not provided with boarding, but I did have a great-aunt and great-uncle that were residents of adjacent villages and they put me up for the duration of the studies. At the end of the course I was ‘confirmed’ a Catholic. I neither loved nor loathed my experience at the mission. All I know is that I grew up a purely theoretical Catholic believer.
Sometime in 1965, at Fort Portal in Western Uganda where my dad was working, my eyes fell on a Christian book, which he owned. It was titled God’s Answers to Your Questions, by R.D.Vine, who I later came to realize, was a Seventh Day Adventist minister. I flipped through the pages of the book but did not pay much attention to its contents. It was not until 10 years later that my eyes fell on that book again. It was early 1975 and I was living in the village while awaiting university, which was due to begin in May of that year. At that time I really had nothing worthwhile to do. To while off the time I spent much of my time reading. Then I saw that book again. Somehow it had found its way from Western Uganda (some 400 miles away) to the village where I was just at the right time. It was a questions and answers book in the format of Conduct, Order and Doctrine (COD) of the message. I remember some of the topics that were dealt with such as Questions about the Bible: Questions about Jesus Christ: Questions about our destiny and so forth. The answers given to some of these questions blew away the myths and superstitions of the Catholic Church that had been ingrained in me and aroused my interest in the Bible. Is the Bible the Word of God or that of man? Yes, it is the Word of God because its message has the power to transform the life of a human being. I examined the Catholic Church, 99% of its professed followers are thieves, adulterers, drunkards, fornicators, witches, corrupt and violent men and women and such like. For sure if the Catholic religion were the true way, then it surely ought to have the finest Christians; it clearly did not.
Is the Bible the Word of God? Yes, it is because it contains something no other book has PROPHECY. Other books that claim to foretell the future (such as writings of the French mystique Nostrodamus or even those of religions that identify with God) have prophecies that could have a myriad of interpretations. The Bible however gives clear and concise prophecies that even foretell the exact times, names and places where events are to take place and these can be verified through secular history and current events.
Is the second coming of Christ near? Again by examining Bible prophecy, we realize that the world is in the exact state that the Bible says it will be in the last days; the nations, churches and human behaviour are in the precise state that the bible says they will be when the world is about to end. I found all this new knowledge compelling and I started to believe in the truth of the Bible and the need for the Saviour.
Despite all this, I still continued to live the life of the unbeliever. Strangely though, I started preaching to other Catholics about errors of some of their beliefs. I did not immediately give my life to Christ. This was to come over a year later and will be the subject in the next article.