Jackson, a young Deaf man from Tanzania, was expelled from his school when he was only in fourth grade. He was constantly getting into trouble, quarreling with others and becoming physically violent with his classmates and teachers. When the teachers called his parents in to deal with him, Jackson turned his fists upon them.
After being expelled, he started working at bus stations, offering to carry luggage for travelers for a few cents or even a shilling if he was lucky. In his downtime, he was idle, frequently getting into trouble with the police and being thrown in jail as a result.
As Jackson grew older, the situation deteriorated. He made so many enemies that some of them threatened to kill him. One day, he met the Tanzanian 2-by-2 teams, and the truth they shared with him changed his life.
Here is Jackson’s story.
“I felt rejected by my family. I am the only child from my parents’ marriage. They divorced when I was nine years old. Shortly afterwards, my father’s mistress—the reason for my parents’ divorce—moved in with us. She brought their child (my half sister) with her. They eventually married.
“My stepmother didn’t like me. She mistreated me, and gave me chores to do before and after school. When I tried to tell my father about the abuse I was experiencing, he sided with my stepmother and started to verbally abuse me. The negative comments I received from him filled my head with bad thoughts and lowered my self-esteem.
“I started coming home late to avoid my family and to avoid my chores. My half- sister had no chores to do, which I thought was unfair. When my stepmother noticed I was avoiding the chores, she stopped feeding me and forced me to go to bed hungry. I became a bully at school, releasing my pent-up anger on anyone who crossed my path. One day in fourth grade, I beat one of my classmates to the point where she had to be admitted to the hospital. That was when they expelled me.”
“On the day I went to see the 2-by-2 team talk about the Bible, I had nothing else to do,” reflected Jackson. “I was bored, and I had no idea how much it would change my life. I was there to fellowship with other Deaf people and just have fun.”
But something changed…
“I felt like I was able to relax and be myself there. So I continued to go, and the Deaf 2-by-2 leaders allowed me to talk to them about everything that was happening in my life. They listened to me, and that had a big impact on me.
“They told me about forgiveness using the parable of the unmerciful servant. And for the first time in my life, I felt loved. I remember asking the Lord, ‘Can You forgive me for all of my sins, including my enmity with my parents and others?’
Jackson accepted Christ without hesitation, and eventually was able to mend his relationship with his father, stepmother, and others from his school. He is now going to vocational school to learn how to weld and work in metal fabrication, a field he loves. Jackson credits his healed relationships to the forgiveness he experienced through Christ, and is grateful for the day he was first introduced to the gospel.
“With Christ in my life, I feel empowered to pursue my dreams.”