08 January 2018

I tried killing myself three times

A clash of beliefs caused strife between Jimmy and his mother who ended up resenting him.

His mother practised traditional rituals and Jimmy refused to take part in them. "I was 15 years old and I did not belong to any church at that time, but I never wanted to participate in my mother's traditional rituals. That angered her and she resented me. She felt that I was disrespecting her in her own house and decided to stop providing for me financially.

I wore torn shoes to school while my siblings had new shoes.  I sometimes walked barefoot to school. She stopped giving me money for lunch. That discouraged me from going to school and I dropped out in grade six," he said.

After he left school, Jimmy befriended boys who led flashy lifestyles.

"My friends had the latest cell phones and wore expensive clothes.  After I joined them, they told me they made money through robbery. We robbed people who walked on the streets at night and broke into houses and stole valuable belongings. I also drank alcohol and smoked, something I did not do before I met them. I made good money from stealing, but I did not have anything to show for it, because I had to finance my lifestyle," he said.

He later found a job at a construction company, but still continued with his criminal activities.

Jimmy recalls the day when he was arrested with his friends for theft.

"That day my friends hijacked someone's car while I was at work. I only met them after work and they were driving a stolen car. I also jumped into the car because we were all going to a nightclub. We were stopped by the police on our way back and arrested for driving a stolen car. I spent two months in prison before I was released, after my friend testified and that I was not with them when they stole the car.  My mother and my siblings never paid me a visit while I was in prison," he said.

Coming back home to a family that did not care about him was a painful experience for Jimmy. "I felt unwelcome in my family and tried to commit suicide three times in two weeks. I drank a packet of rat poison, but it did not kill me and I was disappointed when my plan failed. On the second attempt, I drank a whole packet of pain tablets, but still nothing happened," he said.

He tried again for the third time when he was at work.

"We were building a double storey house. I jumped off from the roof. I was unconscious for two hours and woke up in hospital. I only injured my right arm. That day I realised that God saved me and I had to change my life before it was too late," he said.

That incident challenged Jimmy to change and he accepted his girlfriend’s invitation to the Universal Church. He started attending services regularly.

"I attended services every Friday and prayed for my deliverance. I gave up my old friends and became involved in the evangelism work at the church.

 Two years later I was also able to stop drinking and smoking. I am delivered from suicidal thoughts and I understand that my soul is precious before God. God continued to bless my life. I found another job and my finances improved. Seven years later I married my girlfriend, Xolelwa. I realised that God saved me from death because He has good plans for my life. I understood that I still needed to love my mother and respect her. I now have a good relationship with her and my siblings. Giving my life to God gave me peace and satisfaction," he said.