Friday, January 14, 2011

Africa- A View of the Locals: Richard

For 36 years Richard has been walking the Ugandan roads. If you have the patience and interest, I'll tell you a little bit about this guy. If not, then get outta here and watch some Youtube clips or something. This post is part one of a continuing 'series' of posts about the local brothers and sisters. So to start us off, let me kick off with Richard! As I said, I'll do my best to tell you some about him, but don't expect it to be completely chronological. :] (Big word for a Canadian. And no, I'm not Canadian)

Richard (I forgot his last name. Something with a K. And an A. And maybe an N)

Richard was born in the capital, Kampala. He was not yet in the Truth. When he was about 18 he moved to West Nile, which I believe is a village somewhere north of Kampala. Over the years he moved back into Kampala, and then to Jinja (sp?), and then BACK to Kampala. So he was all over.
As he moved about, he worked a few jobs, including professional boxing and working as a security guard. Now he works as a grass cutter, which they call a 'slasher'. Scary name for a very unscary job.
He sometimes makes jokes about his previous work, saying things like 'I'll box him!' when someone rejects him in the field.
Eventually he was contacted by the Witnesses. Richard studied for 4 years before taking more of an active role in the Truth. Before and during his studying the bible, he had a poor choice of friends, poor choice of women, and many hardships. He says that he made much more money in his previous jobs, but because of his life style he was constantly in debt and depressed. He tried many things, but could never set things straight with his life. He also got in a lot of fights, and many of his friends were untrustworthy.
Now, Richard is one of the kindest people I've met. He is meek, humble, and loyal to friend and his Father, Jehovah. He has been baptized for only one year, but is serving as a pioneer in his congregation, and has the mind of a veteran in the truth. If you were to meet him, you would never guess he had dedicated his life only a year ago. To see his face and to hear his words when he talks about the Truth in his heart is something that makes you feel his zeal in your heart. He laughs constantly, and is always smiling. Just a few moments with Richard proves that he has found a much happier life than what he had.

According to Richard, his personality was starkly different than it is now. He told me of a time before his personality changed, while serving as a security guard. One of his superiors bossed him around, and he didn't so much appreciate it. In fact, this was while Richard was studying the bible, and the disagreement was about whether he would be allowed to attend the meeting that night or not. Richard's superior refused to allow him to go and was rude and degrading about it. Richard refused to obey, and stormed out, heading for the meeting. On his way there, he kept thinking about it and getting more and more upset about it. So he decided to turn around and 'box' his superior to teach him a lesson, no matter the consequences. In case any of you were wondering what that means, Richard was planning to beat the tar out of this guy for trying to refuse from allowing him to go to the meeting. Sort of ironic, isn't it?
So as he made his way back, he was encouraging himself further and further of his choice. When he arrived back at his work, he saw the guy, but suddenly felt different. He looked at his superior and saw an old man, one who wasn't learning the wonderful truth that he was. He also understood that his new friend, Jehovah, would never want him getting violent and acting so unloving. So he softened his face, calmed his mind, and left.
Later, that man who tried to keep Richard from the meetings approached him. Richard thought it was to further harass him for his new found belief, but it turns out that the man asked Richard how the meeting went. Then he asked if he could meet at Richard's house so he could go to the meetings. Although a bit skeptical at first, he agreed. The next meeting, the man went, dressed up and all. The meeting after, he went again, this time bringing his family. Eventually, the man that almost got his face beat in for keeping a new bible study from the meetings was regular at meetings himself and studying the bible with our brothers.

Richard has been a wonderful example of how Jehovah can make shine the good in people, and do away with the anger, violence, and sense of being lost. The truth is such a part of Richard's life and personality now that you would never imagine what sort of person he used to be. I for one count it a blessing to have gotten to know Richard, and I look forward to when I can be even half an example of faithfulness and trust in my Father, Jehovah God.


  1. I for two consider it a blessing just to have gotten to know about him just this little bit and hope to someday be even just half an example in this kind of expression of love, and appreciation to Jehovah! Thanks Aniki-kun for telling us a little of his story!
    I can't wait to hear the other stories!

  2. From a boxer to a slasher, eh? Haha! What a great experience! It's amazing what changes Jehovah can make in a person when the heart is right! I really like the part of his story where he was so close to 'boxing' his boss... only for his conscience to kick in (perhaps with the help of Jehovah)and he is able to experience the rewards. So cool.

    Please let Richard know his experience is so encouraging! Surely he is one who has endeared himself to Jehovah's heart. It has been a pleasure to know him better... now we can attach a story to all the photos! Who do we get to meet next? :-D

  3. Looking at this post is just another reminder that we are all one brotherhood in the truth. While I was reading the post I thought to myself that this could be anywhere in the world not just Uganda. It shows how all over the world Jehovah draws people from all walks of life and there so many examples of faith to imitate. It really is great to see that worldwide brotherhood and it get me excited to meet all the others serving Jehovah and getting to know them whether in this system or the next. Thanks for the post Trevor and keep it up.