When a young man receives his own Bible in prison, his life is changed forever.
My father took one look at my report card and threw it on the ground. “I cannot keep wasting my resources on an academic dunderhead,” he said with squinted eyes. “I am tired of your low scores in school.”
My heart raced. What would my father do to me this time? Surprisingly, he did not whip me as usual—but he did refuse to pay any further school fees. Only an elementary student, I became a dropout.
It had all started when my peers lured me into alcoholism and immorality, which we called “Okurya ensi” (eating the world). Gradually, I lost my ability to concentrate on academics. Instead, I hung out with my peers and tried to escape real life. When I left school, life seemed sweet. Now I could do whatever my heart desired! Nobody rebuked me, and nobody criticized me.
The enjoyment did not last long, however. Soon an unbearable bitterness overwhelmed me. One day I was loitering with friends in a suburb of Bushenyi, when suddenly we saw police officers jump out of a pickup and start arresting people nearby! At first we thought they had come for specific suspects, but then we realized that they were taking almost all the youth our age.
“Let us flee!” my friends suggested.
I will just wait and see what happens, I thought. In fleeing from the police, two of my comrades tried to bolt across the busy street. Tragically, one of them was hit and killed. The other, like me, ended up arrested. We were convicted of idle and disorderly conduct and sentenced to one year in prison.
In prison, we slept on a hard, cold floor, worked long hours in the sun and ate unpleasant food. Worst of all, we had no access to our former pleasures. “Let us escape,” my friend suggested. Again, I decided to wait it out and endure. The following day, my friend attempted his escape. Guards shot him in the leg, causing permanent disability.
Towards the end of my year in prison, I fell sick, but still the guards forced me to the field to work. My heart was in an agony, I wished for someone who could help me. Before the COVID-19 lockdown, preachers used to visit us in the prison—but now they could no longer come. The world seemed as small as a box.
About that time, the officer in charge of our prison brought in Bibles to distribute, and I received one. It was my first time to open the Bible, and my eyes landed on Matthew 11:28. “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I felt that the invitation was for me, but I did not know who was inviting me.
“It is Jesus Christ,” one of my fellow inmates told me. That day, we began studying the Bible together in groups using the study guides which had been given to us with our Bibles. When I discovered Jesus’ love and grace for me, I decided to accept Him.
The back cover of the Bible study guides had an inscription: “Seventh-day Adventist Church.” From all I had learned, I realized that this church had the best teachings. After my release from prison, I found a Seventh-day Adventist Church and I was baptized. My life has radically changed. I worship with the Adventist family in my neighborhood every Sabbath, and I am ready to walk with Christ until the end of my life.
Pastor John Kaganzi (narrated by Andrew Kizinda). Pastor Kaganzi is a district pastor in the Ruhandagazi area in Uganda.
How You Can Help
Pray for Andrew as he begins a new life in Christ! Pray that he will be able to reach his peers with his newfound faith.
Give to the work in Uganda. Needs include church buildings for new congregations, training and support for church planters. Send your gifts marked “Uganda Evangelism” or “Uganda Churches” to:
Mission Projects International
PO Box 151
Inchelium, WA 99138
To give online, visit: