Abnober’s changed life: “God is good to me.”
Abnober grew up in a wooden house beside a river. His family would catch fish, and go hunting in the forest to survive.
His family home wasn’t a happy one. His father drank a lot. His mother knew God, but she didn’t practice her Christian faith because of the persecution faced by believers in their indigenous tribe. Christians don’t participate in the traditional festivals and activities practiced by the tribe, which makes the community see the Christians as traitors, and fear that they will bring bad luck. Preaching is prohibited and threats to close or burn churches are constant.
Abnober started hanging out with the wrong people from an early age. He and his friends drank alcohol and used drugs when they were only 12 years old. And that continued until he was 14, when his parents decided to send him to the Children’s Centre, a school and home run by Open Doors.
After arriving at the school, Abnober quickly began to change. “For me, this place is a great blessing, because since I arrived, I have learned many things. The education in my community is not as good as it is here. I learned systems, how to work as a team, and I met people who love God. It made me grow more in the knowledge of the gospel, in my spiritual life... It is like my second home.”
After a year of studying away from his family, Abnober spent the holidays back at home. “They saw the change: in one year I was a very different person. The community recognized that I had changed a lot.”
‘God is good to me and I know that He's with me’
This change in Abnober caused a change in his family, as they saw the power of God at work in him. His mother began to live out the faith she had known about for so long, and his father came to faith too. “I thank God my family is now Christian.”
However, this also brought problems for Abnober's family. “My mom had a job as a leader in childcare, but she was dismissed because she believed in God. She started to tell little children about Jesus, but the leaders in the tribe didn't want that.”
Abnober's home is very close to one of South America’s drug routes. When his parents started following Jesus, they came out against the drug trade, which also led to persecution. “My parents started to work with a pastor in the area. They try to keep children away from the coca trade, but because of this, my father in particular is now receiving death threats. He can no longer go fishing alone, because then they might kill him, and if he wants to leave the tribe, someone else has to go with him.”
Despite all these difficulties, Abnober knows that God is taking care of him and his family. “God is good to me and I know that He's with me.”
Abnober is making plans for the future. “I'd like to have a career in computer science. God willing, I'll complete my studies next year and then I can start working as a professional, but I would also like to go on studying in a different field. If I develop further, I'll be better able to help my family and be of service to society.”
Christmas is ‘like a family reunion’
Abnober’s tribe do not celebrate Christmas. “As a tribe, we don't know about Christmas. At the end of every year, my people make a male figure that's completely stuffed and is dressed up. At midnight on the last day of the year, the figure is set on fire. This is their tradition.
“We do celebrate Christmas as a family. We get together on December 24, eat and tell stories. It's kind like a family reunion. This period is of thankfulness that God has granted me another year and that I can celebrate the birth of Jesus.
“For me, Christmas means that the King came, that he lived here as a human and died for us. This is Christmas.”
Your prayers and support helped to completely transform Abnober and his family. From a father and son who were too intoxicated to think about anyone else and a mother who was too scared to talk about faith, they are now a family who love one another, who are bold in sharing their faith in Jesus, and who will celebrate His birth together this year.
Abnober asks for your prayers:
“Pray for my people and village. Many, particularly older people, drink alcohol and I want so much for them to come to know God, too, and to experience a change in their way of life.
“Pray for my elder sister who has a child who's ill.
“Pray for me that I may achieve my goals and have a good future.”
Please also pray for those who run the Children’s Centre which helped to turn Abnober’s life around. Pray for wisdom and energy for them as they care for children from persecuted families.
Pray also for the dozens of children who live there today. Ask God to do amazing things in their lives, and that each one of them will be able to say with Abnober, “God is good to me and I know that He's with me.” Pray that they will know that especially at Christmas.
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