Whenever my family and I head into Kampala, we stop at Café Javas. It was there, over coffee, that I first met Abdul. Abdul and I would chat about life and family as he was making my coffee. He always loved our girls and would give them free cookies when they greeted him. I still remember the first time I invited him to come to church if he ever visited Jinja. He replied, “But my friend, for me, I am a Muslim.” I replied, “That’s okay. Jesus loves Muslims too! Jesus died to save even you.” He assured me that one day he would visit me in Jinja, and perhaps he might even come visit Jinja Town Church. I continued to visit with Abdul over the weeks until one day he was no longer there. That was about 8 months ago. I had not spoken with him since, until I recently received a message from him on Facebook. I learned that his given name was actually Mwiti. He asked if he could come to church on Sunday, and wanted to know if we could talk.

After service on Sunday we sat down together and he began to tell me his story. My friend had been through a difficult few months. His entire life was falling apart around him. He had sought council from some of his Muslim brothers; most had nothing to offer him. Only one prayed for him one of their Muslim prayers. Mwiti said that as his friend prayed for him he felt no impact. He said, “When the prayer was finished I just felt empty, as if I was dead inside.” What he said next changed the entire tone of the conversation.

“I felt like I didn’t have any reason to go on living. Please forgive me. On Wednesday night, I decided that I was going kill myself. But suddenly I thought about you and how you said you were my friend. I felt as if God was telling me not to commit suicide but to find you instead.”

I looked across the room and noticed my wife in deep prayer. This was a divine appointment, and the presence of the Holy Spirit felt strong in that place. I told him that this was not about Islam versus another religion. This was about Jesus versus everything else! Here in Uganda we have a large population of people who are Christian in name only. They are Christians because they believe in “God” and not “Allah.” I told him that Jesus is the pivotal figure. Without him, everything else is just a useless system. I don’t care whether you’re a Muslim, a Christian, or a pagan. Without Jesus, it’s all pointless!

“The reason you cannot find the thing to satisfy your emptiness is because the ‘thing’ you’re looking for isn’t a thing, it’s a person. There is a reason you feel dead inside. You are! Scripture teaches us that without Christ, your spirit inside of you is dead. When you give your life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes inside you and raises your dead spirit back to life! That’s why we call it being born again. I don’t believe it simply because I’ve read it in Scripture. I know it is true because I have experienced it myself. And right now, you know it’s true. You understand the truth of what I’m telling you in way you never have before!”

It was in this moment that Mwiti began to weep uncontrollably. I knew that the Holy Spirit had him in His grip and wouldn’t let go. As Kelly continued praying, Mwiti put his hands in mine and, in one of the most powerful and glorious moments of my life, he put his faith and trust in Jesus. Through the tears, he begged for Jesus to save him, to fill the emptiness inside, and to give him life.

Afterward, I gave him a Bible and we talked for sometime about future plans, finding a church family, etc. When he left, you would have sworn that it was a different person leaving than the one who had come earlier. He arrived as a dead man who wanted to end the life he had. He left as man fully alive for the first time. He has dropped the name Abdul and prefers to be called Mwiti instead.

– Smooth