28 November 2017

We were all cramped in a one-room shack

For 10 years, Nonhlanhla and her family of six lived in a cramped one-room shack.

"There was no hope of us owning a house, even though my husband worked, because he used his money to buy alcohol. There was no privacy with all of us sleeping in one room. Our four children slept on the floor while we slept with the youngest daughter in our bed. I had to send my children to play outside each time I took a bath.

I sold charcoal from home and the profit I made enabled me to put food on the table for my five children. It became worse when our son turned 18 years old because we had to build him a one-room shack in the yard.  He was too old to share a room with us. Our financial situation made me believe that I was going to live in a shack for the rest of my life," she said.

To shift her focus away from her family’s financial problems, Nonhlanhla started drinking alcohol.

"I drank heavily and argued with my husband each time he came home from work. We sometimes went for days without talking to each other.  My husband started spending time at the tavern to avoid the fights at home. He sometimes drank the whole night and only came back home in the morning. I neglected my responsibilities as a wife and a mother," said Nonhlanhla.

When she was invited to the Universal Church in 2005, Nonhlanhla did not hesitate to attend the services because she knew she needed a way out of her mounting problems.

She took part in the chains of prayer on Mondays and asked God to bless their finances.

"I learned how to use my faith to change my situation. I applied the teachings of faith in my life because I was desperate for a change. My charcoal business starting growing and I made good profit. The following year we were able to save money and we built a two-bedroomed house. My husband bought a Toyota bakkie that we also use for the business," said Nonhlanhla.

As she continued coming to the church, Nonhlanhla understood that she needed to build a relationship with God. She attended the services on Wednesdays for her spiritual development.

"I was able to quit alcohol. I became a responsible mother and wife. I took care of my family and I stopped arguing with my husband.  He started coming straight back home from work because I stopped nagging.

When my husband saw the change in me, he started coming to church with me, and God changed his life as well. He stopped drinking and we have grown much closer.  My life is blessed in an amazing way. I now have a house, something I thought would never happen. I am happy in my marriage, and can afford everything my family needs. God has given me gladness and peace on all sides," said Nonhlanhla.