"When I got up to speak … I sensed an evil presence surrounding me," says Enoch Echemendia. (Karen Taylor Glassford)

Testimony

I Am Only 16, but I See God Changing Lives in Rwanda

The three men yelled nonsense at my evangelistic meeting. One scooped dirt into a huge pile while babbling.

My name is Enoch, and I am a 16-year-old homeschooler from the U.S. state of North Carolina.

I am the youngest in my group of 11 GYC preachers in Rwanda. But I love Jesus with all my heart and am thrilled to be among the speakers participating in a two-week evangelistic series at more than 2,200 sites across this country. I have a passion for missions and want to be a missionary some day.

The other night I was preaching on the topic of the state of the dead to a crowd of about 500 people at my site in Musumba, a village about 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the capital, Kigali.

When I got up to speak, I felt a bit unnerved because I sensed an evil presence surrounding me. It seemed like a heavy fog of oppression. I stood up to preach and began experiencing something that has never happened to me before. I began to stutter and got all tongue tied.

So I stopped and took about 30 seconds to pray.

Immediately, the stuttering stopped. Instead of the demonic atmosphere, I sensed the companionship of Jesus and His angels surrounding me. I felt safe and protected.

Perhaps God allows these things to happen so we can be reminded that a dark side exists. The Bible says, “For we wrestle not with flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). But God is more powerful than all the legions of demons.

That night, I experienced such freedom in preaching. It was the most powerful sermon that I have ever preached. But the devil wasn’t done with my site.

For the first time, three men came to interrupt the meeting. Two of the men may have been mentally deranged or demon possessed. The third appeared to be intoxicated. They yelled nonsense. One began scooping dirt into a huge pile while babbling and acting as a major distraction to the other attendees.

Once again God intervened, this time through church elders who managed to regain control of the situation and led the men away.

When it was time for the appeal, 25 new people, including my first teenager, came forward. They had tears in their eyes. So did I.

Later, my interpreter told me that the meetings were helping him. When he was a 9-year-old boy, his father had been brutally killed in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. As a young boy, he had to hide in the jungle, and he didn’t find his own mother again until after the genocide ended. I ached for him as he told me his story. I’m very thankful that God is using the truths of His Word to heal my interpreter’s heart through the very sermons that he is interpreting.

I may be only 16. But I can see clearly that God is in the business of transforming lives, of calling people out of darkness into His light. He is the restorer of wasted years, broken relationships, and shattered hearts.

I'm so thankful to have a small part in reaching others with the good news of a God who accepts us just the way we are but loves us too much to leave us that way. My life will never be the same again.


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