PROGRESS OF MY WORDS FOR 2014
First, I’d like to thank Almighty God for the pleasure of gifting me a brand new year that I am enjoying immensely. I am very thankful to Him for all the blessings and challenges, the ups and downs that He brought my way in 2014. It generally was a brilliant year and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I was blessed with. It was full of joy and happiness and although it brought many ups and downs, Linda and I made the best of each moment. I’ve seen God’s wonder through wonderful people and amazing places I’ve visited.
We had the pleasure of visiting Judy in Las Vegas in March for my birthday. It was one of my best holidays ever. Judy made our stay very memorable, made us really wonderful food (secret: her meatloaf is to die for!!!), arranged for us visit some wonderful places, and introduced us to her church, Liberty Baptist church which was definitely the highlight of our visit. That was because on the 30th March 2014, with Linda and Judy by my side, I received Jesus as my personal saviour. I started a journey walking with the Lord, which has been the best thing to ever happen to me. It’s been wonderful knowing Jesus personally and am trying the best I can to live according to his teachings. Spending time with Judy and her family was a true blessing.
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
2014 brought big news on a health front. I had surgery in November 2013 to remove a swollen salivary gland from underneath my left ear which healed nicely by February. Unfortunately the doctors dropped a bombshell. The salivary gland that had been removed was fond to be malignant. I had to undergo biopsy tests and have scans to ensure the cancer had not spread elsewhere. Even though the medics told me that the prognosis was good, and that the chances of spreading were negligible, the very thought that I had cancer was more than I could bear. But through the power of prayer, support from loved ones and willpower, I got through all the tests and six weeks of radiotherapy which ensued. I am now in remission and back to full health. Praise be to God!!!
We were also very blessed to go to The Big Church Day Out, a Christian music festival. We sang and praised in the rain and mud, and we were very blessed to see artists like Matt Maher, Third Day, Matt Redman among others. It was lovely seeing a multitude of people all gathered to praise God.
|Big Church Day Out festival|
|Praising God in the sun|
Linda bought me tickets to visit Wimbledon for tennis quarter finals although I think she enjoyed it more than I did, being a huge Novak Djokovic fan. We also went to Rome for a few days and were very thrilled to visit the Vatican, some wonderful churches, ancient Roman ruins and as usual, Linda got to do her usual spot of shopping.
|The Colosseum in Rome|
|Piazza Venetia in Rome|
|The church of Saint Ignazio of Loyola|
When I set out this year promising to live by the words I had chosen, I did not anticipate how much of a challenge and thrill it was going to be. I threw myself wholeheartedly into the challenge. I knew self-discipline would be more of a challenge so I started jotting down all the reminders, to-do things and accomplishments in my diary. I had a habit of going longer periods of time without calling my parents and siblings in Africa, so I made sure Linda reminded me every week to call them. I also started messaging my brother and sisters a lot more. This greatly improved me psychologically. I can happily say I’ve kept it going and I can say that was a major success.
I also set out doing my devotions and reading the bible a lot more than I used to. There was also a bible plan on my Bible app that I started following. Judy also mentioned that she enjoyed reading Proverbs, and I followed her advice and studied it too. It was such a wonderful experience. Spending time with God made me realize what a wonderful life I’ve been blessed with. So much so that in March when we went to visit Judy in Las Vegas, I got saved and received Jesus. As a born again Christian, I am enjoying life and even though I’ve gone through other difficult times, I’m still very cheerful because I’ve got Jesus by my side. What a friend I have in Jesus!!!
I also decided that I have to start looking after myself a lot more physically, especially after my operation and cancer diagnosis. I started going out for runs and jogs, and was totally committed to doing 2-3 runs a week and was running up to 5 miles by the time my radiotherapy started in July. Sadly the doctors recommended that I stopped for a few months to help me with the recovery. I was also a bit more conscious of the foods I was eating, making sure I cut out some of the junk, ate more fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and olives which I had never ever tried before. My colleagues at work also bought me a Nutribullet, which I used a lot to make nutritious juices.
I also decided to give up a bit of my time to help the less fortunate. I contacted Age UK, which is a charitable organization that helps the older members of our society, and they introduced me to an elder gentleman, whose name coincidentally was Michael. He suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. I started taking him out for a couple of hours every fortnight, to give his wife who was caring for him some free time. Michael enjoyed the outdoors a lot so we went out for long walks along the river, went to visit the arboretum, and some wonderful places around Oxford. We would then share a cup of coffee where he would tell me about his life and his family, and although he told me the same story repeatedly, due to his loss of memory, he seemed to enjoy every moment.
When it comes to gratitude, I am especially thankful to the Lord for blessing me with his greatest gift; salvation. Since the 30th March, I’ve been living a life knowing that God is by my side and I have a special relationship with him, someone to help me through every single day of my life, someone to watch over me, a guiding light, a protector, a companion.
I am also very thankful to God for blessing me with a wonderful upbringing. I have the most loving parents, who did the best job bringing us up, making sure we were loved but making sure what was right and what was wrong. They made sacrifices, but expected us to do the right things. We were taught to appreciate the little things in life and respected people. I’ve learnt to be grateful for even the little things that we normally take for granted. As humans, we don’t often realize how blessed we are for the privileges we enjoy. Breath of air in our lungs, good health, freedom, family, friends amongst others. More so this year, I have developed an attitude of gratitude, showing more appreciation by showing gratitude to the little things in life and counting my blessings. Some people are praying for the things I have taken for granted.
Going through 6 weeks of radiotherapy took a lot out of me, physically and mentally. I had to concentrate on getting better and that took my eyes off the ball. I also had to go back to work before I fully recovered and that didn’t help one bit. By the end of the year though, am slowly getting back to some sort of normality and although its still far from what I would refer to as success, I have come a long way since January 2014. I`ll endeavour to work hard and make the necessary improvements to put me on the road to be the kind of man God expects me to be.
Acts of Apostles 20;32 Now am turning you over to God, our marvellous God whose gracious word can make you into what he wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need..