THE GOD OF MIRACLES!

-This is a true account of my life-

KEN OWUSU-AKYAW


I was born on August 18, 1948 in Ghana, a small country on the west coast of Africa, with a population of 18 million. My parents were peasant farmers who had no formal education, but were interested in giving me the best form of education they could, even though that meant almost always having to borrow money to pay my school fees.

We lived in a small forest village in the central part of Ghana. But I never experienced the normal joy of family life as my mother and fatherlived in separate villages, and I had to live with my mother, occasionally visiting my father. Things became worse when at the age of10 my parents divorced. I continued to live with my mother who brought me up until I entered high school in 1962. The government's fee-free education policy at that time helped me through primary school.

Before I come to the main point of this article, let me tell you a little more of my childhood. In Ghana, we don't have the four seasons Japan has. The temperature is ideal throughout the year, like mid-May or September in Japan. Those days, my village had no electricity or pipe-borne water supply. Our source of drinking water was a well and a small river. Now, it's different, though. But as a child, I had to wake up around 5 o'clock to fetch water from the wells. The earlier one went, the better one's chances of avoiding a long queue at the wells. Drinking water was boiled and kept in a clay pot which cooled it before use. Water for other purposes didn't have to be boiled.

Small kerosene lamps (lanterns: I saw one in Harajuku, Tokyo recently!) provided light at night. The kerosene was bought from mobile trucks which visited the village once a week, on market days. My mother had only one lantern which she used to see her way to the kitchen, outside and into our room. It was the same light I had to use to study or do my homework. Most of the time, my evening studies were interrupted by a lack of light, and I was lucky if I could use the light for one hour a night. When my mother was in a good mood, she would give the light to me early (around 9 p.m.). But the domestic chores would have taken their toll on me by that time, and she would often come to see me dozing over my books -- a good reason to be denied the use of the light for the next few days.

School ran for two sessions -- morning from 8:00 to 12 noon, and afternoon session from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. I usually went home at lunch time to find my mother away to the farm, with no food for me to eat. It wasn't her fault; she loved me so much, and would often sacrifice her own breakfast to ensure that I always had enough to eat for school. So I understood the situation when there was nothing to eat. Her main (and usually only) meal for the day was after her return from the farm.

But there was one thing she had in abundance, FAITH in God, and this she passed on to me. Even though my father was not a committed Christian, my mother was. In fact, my grandfather (mother's father) was the one who introduced the Presbyterian church into our village. I learned most of the Bible verses I still live by from my mother. She taught me to pray and how to commit myself to the protection of God by reading Psalms 27 & 91 before going to bed every night. If there is anything I am most grateful to my 90-year-old blind mother for, it is the Christian virtue she imbued in me, and the need to trust God for everything.

1962 marked a major turning point in my life. I passed the entrance examination for secondary school (high school). But in a country whose educational system was modeled at that time along that of Britain (former colonizers), I had to enter the boarding house which cost a lot of money. My father wasn't earning enough from his cocoa farm to see me through and had to resort to borrowing throughout the seven years I was in secondary (high) school. I remember that he had to sell some personal effects to pay my first school fees. The fact that I made it through high school was one of the many miracles I would experience in my life.

I survived through the grace of God who gave me the brains to learn hard and pass all the major examinations. Cutting classes to go home for fees became a regular feature of my high school days. The worst experience was when I was sent home for fees two weeks before my final examinations. And all the money I owed was 14 Ghanaian cedis (theequivalent of ONE yen!). Could you believe it? Of course, I don't have to mention that I went through school without most basic necessities -- not even textbooks, which I relied on friends for. The three years I spent in university were no better. An old school friend who had been lucky to win a scholarship to study in the U.S.A. saved me by sending 30 dollars to pay for my final examination fees on the very day registration was closing. And as if that was not enough, I spent two of the last four weeks before the final examination in hospital, fighting a serious bout of malarial fever.

These early years of my life may seem gloomy and difficult. But I believe God, through these difficulties, wanted to show me how much He loved me, and how He had set me apart for His work. Of course, my life has seen its bright days, too, and better days are still ahead of me, I believe. The way I passed all the exams I took at school, majoring in English at the university, and rising after graduation to become the national director of culture in Ghana before leaving for Japan in 1991 -- all these are ample testimony that God has ordained that I be successful in life. And that same God has given me the best wife in the world, a woman who had to work hard to pay for my tuition in the university when my parents could not cope any longer.

Kess and I were formally married in 1972. At this stage, I thought I was a Christian, going to church regularly, but I was yet to be born again. In fact, it took two burglaries of our house in late 1992 and early 1993 for us to rededicate ourselves to Jesus. And since then, I have had a personal experience with this man I have accepted and worship as my Savior.

Four years into our marriage, we were still without a child. In our part of the world, that was unthinkable, and enough grounds for my parents to insist on a divorce. My wife became a laughing stock in our church for her "bareness". She had volunteered to teach (free of charge) at the church kindergarten. But many parents scorned her, asking how someone who had never given birth be able to take good care of their kids. It was so emotionally draining that she cried through most nights. In spite of our dedicated services to the church and God, and our commitment to Christianity, we were still unhappy without a child.

One day after church, we decided to throw a challenge to God. We believed that if He did it for Sarah, if He did it for Rebecca in the Bible, if He is still doing it for many, He could do it for us, too. I knew He loved us, and cared. So instead of crying at night, as we had been doing, we prayed all night. The next day, we started a six-day fast. We told God that if He was indeed the same yesterday, today, and will be forever, if He was the Almighty Father, the Creator, then He should put a child in my wife's womb immediately. Perhaps it was a bit arrogant to give "instructions" to God, but you see, sometimes, God likes such a challenge. It shows how much faith you have in Him.

A month after the fast and special prayer, Kess became pregnant. And when Mike finally arrived, he was called the precious miracle boy. Not only had his conception been seen as a miracle, but even the circumstances of his birth would show the power of God. Six months into the pregnancy, all laboratory tests on Kess showed she was NOT pregnant. But thank God, her doctor was a Christian who believed in miracles. Usually, a baby would be born after 9 months of pregnancy, in a few cases earlier. In Mike's case, he was born after over ten months into the pregnancy, and after three days of labor by Kess!

The best part was that we gave so much praise to God, that He decided to make our joy complete. He gave us our third child before Mike was three. In fact, in five years, we had had four children -- one boy (22), and three daughters aged 21, 19 and 17. And you only have to see them to know that they are very special, express delivery from God himself! Mike is 190 cm tall, very handsome, while my daughters are so pretty that they are often taken for models. Satan is fond of attacking God's people, especially those who are living witnesses to His love and power. Mike and the rest of the family would soon be a prime target for Satan. One Sunday morning, on Mike's 3rd birthday, we were going to church when he was hit by a car. I still don't know how it happened. But when I ran to pick him up, he was not breathing. Moments later, I was carrying in my arms the lifeless body of my precious son. Everyone around had given up, including the driver who hit him, and who, in the absence of an ambulance, was to drive us to the nearest hospital. My wife meanwhile lay prostrate in the middle of the busy street, inviting or daring the next vehicle to kill her, too. To her, life was not worth living any longer.

I screamed at the driver to drive on, then in a frenzy, started to pray. I don't remember what I said, but the driver later told me I was shouting at God that He couldn't take away my son. And He didn't. I did a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and shouted, "IN THE NAME OF JESUS, WAKE UP, MIKE!" Praise the Lord, Mike stretched the hitherto lifeless body, and called out, "Daddy!" The driver couldn't believe what had happened, nor could the doctors in the emergency room, when we finally arrived there.

A year later, the same Mike was to be given a wrong prescription that knocked him unconscious, and turned him into something undescribable, close to an animal. As he lay on the hospital bed fighting for his life, it was my wife's turn to carry on the faith. I had broken down in tears, but she kept praying. Eventually, when he recovered, the doctor and nurses who were on duty at that time decided to attend church with us, and did commit themselves to Christ. They had seen another miracle which defied their scientific knowledge. And the one who did it was the master physician himself, Jesus Christ.

At 16, Mike was diagnosed asthmatic, and had to be on medication. He was in Ghana with the rest of my children, while Kess and I were here in Japan. At an Evening Praise Service at Tokyo Union Church, where we worship, we prayed for Mike's asthma. A month later, he and his sister joined us in Tokyo. Praise God, for three years since he has been in Japan, Mike has never had any asthmatic attack. All the prescription drugs he brought from Ghana have expired, and been thrown away.

I could go on and on, narrating incident after incident that show that God really loves me, and that His miracles are still happening. The Bible says if only we believe, all things are possible. Even the way my first two children are going through college has been a miracle. With my income, there is no practical way of seeing two children through an American university in Japan, without a scholarship, in addition to two others in high school in Ghana. But Mike and Ama have already started their junior year. I very rarely talk about my problems, choosing instead to tell God directly. But He always directs His people to offer me the help I need. The latest one came from a friend this week who heard the voice of Jesus while praying somewhere, telling him to help my family go back home to spend Christmas together for the first time in 5 years. He heard it from Jesus himself, not me!

I have told you what God has done in my life, what He has meant to me and my family. I have told you of the many miracles in my life. But to me, the greatest miracle, and the most important happening in my life is that my wife and I have both accepted Jesus as our Savior. Both of us are from dysfunctional homes, and both of us had alcoholic fathers. For me to see myself now as a child of God, that is a miracle! And this miracle is yours for the taking.

I believe we serve a living God, the God who loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come to die for our us, to atone for our sins, and to reconcile us to God. Jesus is the King of the world, the Prince of peace who will bring peace and joy into your life, stability into your family. And if you think the many things He has done in my life are amazing, I tell you, He could do more than that in yours, if you allowed him.

God's offer of salvation through Jesus Christ is available for ALL, including YOU. Take it. His word assures us that He does not reject anyone who comes to Him. No matter how terrible your sins, no matter how wretched your past or present life, no matter how serious your problems, Jesus loves you, and is waiting for you. He came that you and I will have life, and have it abundantly, says the Bible.

Come to Jesus, NOW, and let Him save you, like He did for me and my family! God bless and guide you to make the most important choice in your life: to accept or reject Jesus. The choice is yours!