My name is Sanelisiwe. It means contented. My parents were not satisfied until they had me, it seems. They raised me in a Christian home and taught me to pray. I must say I grew up knowing Jesus all my life. My dad was a politician and high achiever. He fostered in us a spirit of handwork and accountability whilst my mother always taught me to pray to God in order to manage tasks of life, especially concerning my school work. They were both keen on us getting an education. The belief that ‘i can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ was my super power growing up. So for a while God was to me my enabler who knew all things and helped me through all things. He proved Himself to be unwavering in His abilities and I excelled in academics, sport and everything I got involved in. I remember being in the squad for Junior preachers at my local church where I used to preach with my mum in the congregation. She was proud of me.
It was when my parents died that I started to internalise the idea of God being my father. It was easy to relate with Him as a provider and also authority over my life, as my biological dad did. Also, God requires us to be hardworking and good stewards of our talents. I was glad that I knew Him already as it made the pain of losing my parents bearable. I would continue with God as my mentor. I had also learnt a lot about the resurrection at this stage to hope for a reunion with my parents at the second coming of Christ. It was hard living without them but I thank God for my siblings and my parents’ siblings who adopted me as their own, as happens in the African culture. My siblings continued to take me to church and I enjoyed Pathfinders. I did have a lot of theology coming at me at this stage, being everyone’s child meant that I go to a lot of different churches where different things are taught as I moved from one relative’s house to another every school holiday. This ignited in me a quest for deeper bible study to know God for myself so that I have a primary knowledge of who He is and what He means to me. I did attend church faithfully wherever I was living regardless of denomination and I am grateful that my whole clan believed in God and taught me His ways. I decided to get baptised when I was doing my second year of my undergraduate studies. I had been studying Bible prophesy and my scientific brain was intrigued by evidence. A lot of hypotheses that I were either proven to accept or reject. The story of salvation and the sanctuary message shifted my paradigm. The creator loves me and He wants to help me become like Him so that we can one day reign together in His Kingdom. Reign together! Meanwhile there is an adversary who wants me to believe that I can never be like Christ; so I must choose Christ everyday and team up with Him to enable me. And to top it off, that is the reason why I am here: to fear God and give Him glory- show out His character. After learning this I did not want less. I wanted to be part of the accomplishment of this goal. Together with all my fellow humans who chose Him. This was Jesus to me.
The effects of learning all this were immense. I had to let go of a lot of things that would be in the way for sanctification. For example I had started dating this wonderful guy – kind, loving and ticked most of the boxes in my checklist. He was my best friend but I started feeling that we were not on the same page with spiritual things. I was doing a lot of street evangelism with my friends and would not have enough time to spend with this guy. The more that Christ worked on me the more I felt I was walking at tangent with this guy. See I did not want to change him over to my side for myself, I believed God would work with him for Himself. I also didn’t want him to believe for my sake but for his own salvation. I had to leave him when I did not want to. The question was ‘What if I don’t get another one like him?’ What if I cannot leave him? I had to believe that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me; which even he my boyfriend did not see it possible that I can manage to live without him. It was real. I left him crying, the only time I cried about this man. I recited the Hebrew boys’ words ‘even if He doesn’t come to save us we shall not bow down’ to say even if God does not bring me another man It’s ok, i’m doing the right thing. I am still in the fire and it’s ok, God will save me if He wills. When He wills. I would rather be in the fire than out without Him. I have tried since then to get out of the fire, that is date men who do not have the same faith but it was hard, it always takes me back to the idea that the fire is better. The fire is being single in case I lost you. It doesn’t make me happy sometimes but Joy comes from God and that brings peace. Anyway I believe God is still working with me to transform my life in many other areas.
One thing that was ignited in my heart during my street evangelism days was health ministry. Hospital visitations, reading the health message in line with the gospel all led me to pursue a career in Medicine. It was also when I was the director of health ministries at my local church that I realised the abundant opportunities we have for evangelism using the health message. This is my passion. God wants us to grow and be wholesome mentally, physically and spiritually. We need to be in our best health with sober blood in order to hear Him and make good life choices and stay energetic to share the gospel with others. I pray that God will continue to use me in that field and be a blessing to my fellow humans.
Get our next episode emailed to you
If you want us to let you know when we release our next discussion, all you have to do is give us your details and you will be notified by email.