By Christine Amato
Gift grew up with his parents, two sisters and brother in Lusaka, Zambia. Though his family went to church, he had not understood that God desires a personal relationship with every person. So as a young boy, he lived as a believer without experiencing being close to Him.
God’s Provision in Tragedy
This changed in October 2014, when Gift was involved in a car accident. He remembers: “A truck hit me on my chest, squeezing me into a van that almost broke my ribs. I felt like it wanted to burst my heart. I asked God if it was His will for me to die and that His will should be done. But I survived.”
“That car crash made me come to know who God really is as I started to believe that Christ is personally by my side. Even the doctors, seeing my x-rays, were surprised that I didn’t die. That’s when I thought that God might have a purpose for my life.”
During his eight-day stay in the hospital, Gift lay in a room with three others involved in the collision. All of them died within the few days of the crash. “I felt like death was chasing me! And I asked myself: Is now the time where I will die? But no, again, I made it through.”
The Miracle of God’s Grace
The driver who had helped Gift at the scene of the accident reminded him that it was by God’s grace that he survived.
A year later, Gift was working as a mechanical engineer assistant when the car he was in was hit from behind and pushed into a wall. Again, Gift was carried into the hospital. And again, he survived without long-term injuries.
Having just gotten over the effects of that accident, Gift lost his mother the following year due to health issues. That tragic loss is something he is still coming to terms with. Sometime after, Gift decided to be more intentional with his life so he went back to school. He pursued his dream of an education, after leaving some years earlier to earn money.
Three years later, Gift then lost his father after he had a stroke. “He died when I was in class. I didn’t have a last chance to go and see him in his last breath. I felt so broken. But God gave me the strength to go through the pain. He showed me His faithfulness by surrounding me with friends who cared and encouraged me.”
It was in September 2020 that the Zambian completed high school.
Joining the ship
When Gift asked God about his next steps after graduating, God showed him the possibility of serving onboard OM’s ship, Logos Hope. Gift is a passionate football player and involved in sports ministry. He was encouraged and supported by his coach and mentor throughout the application process.
The 27-year-old joined Logos Hope in November 2021 in Sierra Leone. He was one of 42 Jesus followers from Africa to participate in the short-term exposure program (STEP) for three months. Participants work five days a week, have a day to serve the local community, and a rest day. They also attend training sessions to help the STEP participants in their personal growth and relationship with God, as well as be better equipped for future service.
Living in such a multicultural environment for the first time, Gift explains: “I am learning a lot about new cultures and how different people are and think. I believe that everyone has something to share that can be a motivation and encouragement for others.”
Gift not only wants to share his testimony but also his passion for football. Alongside another crewmember, he wants to organise a Logos Hope football tournament in which crewmembers from different nationalities play against each other. His hope is that teams not only have a good time, but also show that competition in a loving way is possible.
Bringing Hope through Books
Serving on board as part of the bookfair department, Gift says: “The bookfair is a very important place to me. It is a place where you talk to visitors with different backgrounds, beliefs and languages. I just love to talk to all of them, and I am always eager to share my own personal story when they ask me about my journey to the ship. I also like to put on the costume of the Logos Hope mascot ‘El Capitano’ and delight children visiting the ship.”
Life on board is a unique experience but can also be challenging, as Gift realised when the ship went into lockdown due to the coronavirus. He says: “I didn’t understand why this was happening. But I kept trusting that God wanted me to be here for this season and that He is always in control. When I had to be in isolation because one of my eight cabinmates got infected, God reminded me that I came on board for Him in the first place and that He is still with me in this difficult time. So I stopped being worried and felt peace.”
The journey continues
Gift decided to extend his commitment and stay on board till February 2023. “I will have the opportunity to experience more countries, more people, and have more time to share my faith and support the communities in which we will serve,” says Gift. “I understand that God not only helped me survive two life-threatening accidents so that I could live but so that I can use it to encourage others to seek God and His unique plans for everyone.”
This article originally appeared on OM Australia and has been reproduced with permission.