Samkelo Khumalo is one of the many lives who has been transformed at our Teen Challenge Centre by the love and goodness of God.
Currently 29 years old, he is the 8th child out of 9 children – growing up he wanted his own way and to do his own thing so he made bad choices at the dawn of his youth that caused him much pain and robbed him of his formative years. This rebellious path eventually led to him becoming addicted to drugs and he lost his way completely. What he was doing was leading him to an early death but he was not willing to change. Despite this addiction he still had dreams to get an education but because of his drug habit he was rejected at every university he applied to. His peers were being accepted into Universities and the constant rejection he received from where he applied only led him deeper into drugs to cope with the rejection.
He eventually managed to get a job but his addiction caused many problems and when he finally lost his job he found himself completely alone and without any hope or help. He had no source of income or way to look after his basic needs. He had withdrawn from his family over the years and become estranged from them because of his poor choices and wrong behaviour. In desperation he had to put his pride aside and went back to his family to ask for help. Like the prodigal son they welcomed him home and in love they encouraged him to seek help at the Teen Challenge Centre run by Challenge Ministries Swaziland.
So in 2013 he was accepted into the program, his life was falling apart from years of drug abuse and he felt as if there was no hope for his future, but admitting this was the start of his recovery. Through submitting to the tough love system he slowly began to change. The process of change is a painful one and so this was not an easy road for him. But through the staff at the centre, who carried God’s heart of love, who listened to His voice and obeyed His instructions, Samkelo began to change from the inside out. He had to learn to take the advice he was given about his life and his character which was very difficult to do. By taking correction and being willing to listen it helped him to change his character and restore his relationships with family.
His advice to those caught in addiction is to be willing to listen to advice they are given and to allow their character to be changed. Most importantly he has learnt that the only answer to addiction is Jesus Christ. You cannot get rid of the addiction and what drove you into the addiction without Him. Continue giving your life to God, respect yourselves, respect your authority and be willing to change and to learn from the inside out. Surrender to the moulding and direction that God has for you and things will fall into place. Once you know God is on your side you will always conquer.
Some advice to families who have children who are addicted to drugs is to spend time with them, they are very lonely people. Never give up, never lose hope for them. Never stop loving them, do not push them away or judge them, you will only push them further into drugs if you do. Continue to show them love and respect as people even if their behaviour does not deserve it. Embrace them in whatever state they are in and this will eventually get through to them. Encourage them to seek help at a centre like the Teen Challenge program where the people are able to teach them and point them towards the right choices with the help of God’s love.
The scripture that got him through and encouraged him while he was in the program was:
Proverbs 16:3 – Commit all your ways to the Lord and your plans will be successful.
After a year he was successful and he graduated from the program!
Graduation was a very special day for him, it gave him hope that he can still be the person he grew up wishing he could be. When he has difficult days he looks back at his graduation and remembers that he can overcome anything he faces. All he needs to do is humble himself and be willing to learn.
Samkelo came onto staff at the Teen Challenge Centre, as in intern after his graduation and then after time as a full staff member. As a living testimony of the success of the program he is able to assist the students who are still finding their way back into wholeness and restoration.
His dream to go to University had never died and this year God demonstrated his goodness to him when he received sponsorship to study at University and his application was accepted. He will continue to work at the centre and will go to lectures on Saturdays. He is doing a 4 year bachelor of Education degree in Adult Education, this will enable him to be better equipped to help the men and boys who come to the centre and need help to learn.
Samkelo is so grateful to the ministry for being there when he came knocking and seeking help. We are thankful he came and grateful to God for the work He has done in Samkelo’s life. We would like to thank all those who have sowed into the work of Challenge Ministries with prayer, finances and time to make stories of transformation, like Samkelo’s, possible. Thank you for being a part of his story!