The spiritual life of a young student is a challenge to us all not to become stale.
When I asked the 20-year-old man sitting in front of me, “What do you like to do for fun?” I had expected to hear responses such as, “I like to play soccer,” or “I like to hang out with friends." Or maybe something such as, “I like to listen to music.” Instead, I stood in silence for several moments without blinking as my brain processed his response: “The thing I like most in my life is praying.”
William Amadu Mtika, of Ntaja, Malawi, loves to pray. Before he goes to sleep, he prays. In the morning, before he does anything, he prays. He even explains that if he wakes up in the night he prays for protection, for his family and for fellow Christians.
Born into a family of two brothers and one sister, William is the third born. He lost his father when he was two and his mother when he was nine. William grew up in a Muslim family and regularly attended services at the mosque. He sang in the choir and attended Islam classes.
In 2007 William was invited to attend an Easter service at a church that his sister attended. Their grandmother, whom she lived with, raised her as a Christian (in Africa, due to economic struggles, children often are split up to live with grandparents and other relatives). That fateful day the preacher read Matthew 11:28 where Jesus states, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (NIV). The Holy Spirit convicted William. During the service he evaluated his heart and his life and felt, “I’m not pleasing God.” He decided to become a Christian by placing his faith in Jesus Christ.
Before becoming a Christian he explains that he “did a lot of bad things,” including disrespecting his family and elders, getting into fights and even stealing. After becoming a Christian, he explained that his heart changed and that he no longer has a desire to commit these sins.
Currently, William is trying to complete his last year of high school. Muhandu Muhandu, the field leader of OM Malawi, has befriended William and disciples him. One of the goals of OM Malawi is to develop the future leaders of Malawi. William credits much of his spiritual growth and knowledge of the Bible to Muhandu taking the time to teach him. He exclaims that it is this growth and knowledge that has “given me the confidence to preach to others.”
Preaching to others: that’s William’s second favourite thing to do. Though the future is uncertain, it is William’s desire following high school to become an evangelist and preach to people in Malawi, and eventually to the entire world.
He declares, “There are so many people here who are in darkness, and I was one of them. But the grace of God was upon me [and] that’s why I came out of the darkness. For that I thank God.”
William explains that the Lord knows our hearts and our desires. He believes the Lord will help him, for God knows his heart, which he describes as being very ambitious. William’s heart is a challenge to us all to passionately pursue the Lord.