Bro. William Okello's Testimony
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5).
These two scriptures tell us that God knew and loved us before we were born and also while we were still sinners. With this, I would like to relate a few instances in my days as unbeliever whereby the hand of God clearly protected me from disasters. Some of these could very easily have ended in death.
I very nearly did not come into the world. I was told of my mother that while she was heavily pregnant with me, a bull did administer a direct kick against her belly. If it was not for the providence of God, it could have been fatal, but I did live to tell the tale. Before I reached my teens, my friends and I enjoyed the prank of climbing tall trees or mounting precarious branches. The thrill was to have the branch break off gently under your weight with you still perched on it till it hit the ground. One day, I did climb high up a tree but failed to figure out how to come back down. In a panic, I dived from the branch I was on to a lower one. Had I missed, I would have fallen tens of feet to the ground. Another prank that could have caused me serious injury occurred while I was playing with my friends. It was again in my pre-teen years. We were on our way back home from school when we stopped at the junction of two major paths. The game involved having you on all fours and your friends to pile on top of you to see how much weight you could take. On this occasion I was at the bottom of the pile. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my arm as of a bone about to break, but just as suddenly I buckled at the joints and fell flat face down without breaking a bone.
In my late teens, my uncle and I went over to neighbouring county to attend market. The boundary between the two counties is about a mile wide swamp with numerous deep water spots. In colonial days, a road bridge provided a passageway across the swamp, but it was now fragmented though still usable on foot. After attending a social function at the market and becoming intoxicated with alcohol, we set out to return home in thick darkness for it was now nighttime. When we reached the swamp, we failed to locate the passageway. Despite the state of our minds, we knew home was on the other side of the swamp. In a panic, we began blindly and boldly to cross the swamp at any point, crashing and wading our way through the dense grass. Considering that neither of us knew how to swim, one can only wonder what the outcome would have been had we fallen into one of the deep water spots in that drunken state.
I remember the time during my secondary school days when I was going home for the school holidays. I was travelling in a fully packed public bus which tried to drive through a steep incline on the road at a high speed. Momentarily I was sure the bus was toppling over, but just as suddenly it straightened up as if by a miracle. Had it fallen on its side, the passengers and luggage in the opposite aisle would have come raining down on me, quite apart from the impact of the crash itself.
One day, while out hunting birds with a catapult, I entered the thick woods near our home. Through an opening in the foliage, I located the bird of my interest and trained the catapult on it. About two feet from my face was a small leafy branch. With my attention focussed elsewhere, I did not notice the snake that was coiled in that branch directly in front of me. But then all at once I noticed it and fled in terror.
One day, during my secondary school days, I contracted a fever which may have been malaria. I obtained malaraquine tablets and began to take a dosage which I thought was appropriate. In the process I began to have hallucinations. Believing that the hallucinations were the fever become worse, I increased the dosage of the tablets. And the hallucinations became more intense. Little did I know that these hallucinations were being caused by the quantity of malaraquine tablets that I was swallowing. I was rushed to the hospital in a very bad state. When I explained what I had done, I was made to rest without further drugs until I recovered from their effects.
While in Nairobi in Kenya where I was training to become an Air Traffic Controller, we one day flew from Nairobi to Kisumu in Western Kenya. We used a light Cessna plane. This was a privilege flight provided for us as trainee Air Traffic Controllers. When it was time to take off for the return flight to Nairobi, the plane developed engine problems. After the repairs had been carried out, we took off. About 20 minutes into the flight, high above western Kenya, the door in front of me suddenly flung open. One of my colleagues was sitting by that door. The pilot told him to grab the door, to pull it shut and to hold it tightly. We aborted the flight and turned back to Kisumu. After the door had been fixed, we finally took off for Nairobi, but the thought of a faulty engine and of a door that had nearly come off hardly provided great comfort and assurance for the return leg.
On another occasion, we took another leisurely flight. This time it was around Nairobi. Once more we were aboard a small light Cessna plane. When we entered a huge cloud, air traffic control radioed us instructing us to leave that area at once because there was a giant airliner that was flying within that vicinity. Up to that moment, the plane had been under the control of a trainee pilot, but then the flight instructor quickly took charge of the controls. He put the plane into a near vertical climb with the hope of breaking out of the cloud. When this failed, he changed direction and put it into a steep dive. I saw signs of panic on his face and I turned to the person sitting next to me and asked him if he had ever been in a similar situation. He had previously been a trainee pilot himself but had switched courses to train as an Air Traffic Controller. I just wanted some form of assurance from any source. I am not sure whether I heard his reply as I was quite nervous expecting to hit the ground any moment. Finally we did break out of the cloud and landed safely.
With this, I come to the end of my life story. Many more things could have been written. I hope you enjoyed reading it and were blessed too.