If you’re ever going to trust in God make sure that you do it right first time. This will help you a lot in tackling all future challenges. Faith in God or believing in God, whichever way you chose to look at it must always be done right or else it does not work. When you do this, the very first thing you realize is how much you have been trusting in other things that took away all your ability to trust in the unseen God. First let me give you a background of where I come from then you will better understand these articles. In one of my previous posts I related how I belonged to a ‘gangster’ like group that gave me so much security that they had literally become my fortress in the township. During that era in the late seventies there were quite a lot of those both formal and informal criminal groups that you could not live without, that is if you really meant business with the township life. Some were simply for those needing to ‘just’ belong to a group and others were for those who were ‘more serious’ about belonging.
The one I belonged to was called ‘The Lion life club’. It was a ‘stokvel’ group that was formed by an assembly of bottle store employees. The South African Breweries were concerned that their Lion Lager brand was not selling well so we decided that we were going to help them to promote the brand by buying it from them at below cost and selling it as the only brand in our gatherings which were hosted by a different person weekly held from Friday to Monday, and this is how it started. As you may imagine there is no way you can have a group of people drinking and have no trouble. These gatherings began to attract undesirable characters from around Soweto and soon we were faced with the challenge of having to administer discipline using some of the grossest methods available. These methods included amongst others stabbings, running some over with cars and shootings. We never imagined that these gatherings and the so called ‘brand promotion’ was slowly becoming a gangster.
Six months down the line we were the most powerful and most elite organized gangster group in Soweto and slowly getting into trouble with both the law and other small groups. So we had to concede that we were no longer just a group of employees trying to promote a beer brand but were unofficially a gangster group. Our ‘bashes’ as we called them grew fast and soon we had well over 200 ‘party animals’ in attendance in each gathering. My life began to slowly revolve around these meetings, I did not drink alcohol at all so I became an obvious choice for keeping order and becoming the dee-jay. I found myself losing grip over every thing else and living for the stokvel. (Stokvel is a term used in South Africa for formal groups that save money together) it is also oftentimes misinterpreted altogether and used for any other drinking spree.
In my previous posts I also mentioned how closely knit we were in the group and how we defended each other no matter what it took. One day I had a misunderstanding with Joyce’s relatives; it was on Christmas Eve 1982. This led to physical confrontation; I fought with about 4 men and a number of women. Some neighbours came and intervened but these guys were not happy and they went and got one man who came with a gun. I drove to our Stokvel headquarters and found some of the guys drinking there and they did not waste time in organizing themselves. We drove back to where I fought with Joyce's relative with a convoy of about ten cars and no less than thirty guys all armed with guns. More than 100 random shots were fired and the guy with the gun was nowhere to be seen. What I’m trying to reveal here is how secure it was to be part of this group.
Now back then when someone spoke about protection; to me there was no better protection than this. The Stokvel was more than one could ever ask for in life at that time. The hardest decision I have ever made in my life was when I had to bid them farewell and become a member of the Church. Now this is how I found Church to be like. It was made up of people who ‘had left all to follow Him’ according to me these guys had literally lost touch with reality and they were trusting in methods that did not make sense at all. God’s protection was not tangible to me because I came from the background I have just described. I needed something more tangible. Something I could not only believe in but also be able to explain. My situation was so desperate because in my books there was no protection whatsoever in the Church. How was I going to handle all those enemies we had created? The men I saw in the Church were totally given to God and were in no way going to be of any help.
I started to talk to God about my concerns. I wanted some kind of commitment from His side if I was going to hang around Church and become a full time Christian. Otherwise I did not see myself going all the way and putting my life at risk. To be continued. MVK