Old school Easter eggs.
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TESTIMONY OF APOSTLE MICHAEL HOWARD. MY DAMASCUS ROAD EXPERIENCE. FROM THE GUTTERMOST TO THE UTTERMOST.


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TESTIMONY : Years ago before I came to know my Saviour, Jesus Christ I was living a totally wicked, self centred and ungodly life.If somebody asked me if I believed in God I always said yes and in my own twisted mind I actually believed that if I had died I would go to heaven.Through another persons influence I started drinking alcohol. That was about 1978-80 and I was hooked.From then on I didn't care about whether I went out drinking with anybody,I was so addicted by then that I would be at the bar before they opened and be the last one out.I would get drunk and by late afternoon I was sober again and then I would get drunk all over again.One time i went with my older brother to drink and got drunk and ended up going to playland or pleasureland as they call it.We got onto the swings but instead of putting my arms around the ropes or chains I put my arms through and I didn't pull the safety chain down around my waist and as the swing was moving I pulled the person on the swing in front of me and kicked the swing forward but I went flying out with the swing hanging on for dear life but my one arm came loose and I turned around and as I did so the one swing came flying past me and smacked me on the side of the face and also hooking the side of my left eye open.I was hit out and fell to the ground and when I came to i was full of blood and the swings had stopped and everyone was staring at me including my brother.When i got up i was covered in blood.All. the girls that saw me were screaming snd running.I thought it was funny and chased them.My brother grabbed me and said are you crazy,we need to get you to hospital. I could put 2 fingers inside the hole under my eye.But my eye was still there by some miracle. So we ended up at the hospital and they put me in ward for the night after cleaning my face and said they would do something in the morning.My brother said he would go stay by a friend in the meantime. I got up through the night and started weeing in the waste paper basket.The nurse came running and asking ,what are you doing ad the urine was running on the floor and down the passage.So I said your toilet is broken and full of holes.She said to me,you're crazy.Then I just passed out and the next morning they wheeled me out to be stitched up.I remember the doctor saying to the nurse I was lucky and that this is very delicate thing he was busy with.He injected me and started stitching and also had to shave my eyebrow off in order to stitch there.As he was stitching he said to me , ' somebody up there loves you' .Probably because I still had an eye in my socket. By the time I got home that afternoon I was so swollen it looked as if a cricket ball was lodged into my head.The doctor had also put a patch on my eye,the one with the elastic around.My mom was in shock thinking I had just lost my eye.A few weeks later the swelling went down but at least I could see.It was just scarred.And eventually I could pull the stitches out.I started suffering from depression and I decided to end it all.I asked my work colleague to buy me a box of sleeping capsules as I couldn't sleep at night.,That's what I told him.I gave him the money to buy it for me and I said he could go on lunch.After I took the capsules I started hallucinating so I decided I need to get to the doctor,suddenly I decided I rather wanted to live.When I got to the doctor I was shaking and my nervous system was so messed up that I couldn't even pick up a glass of water. So the receptionist said I must rather wait in the doctors office.But once in there I was forcing myself to stay awake and all the streets and buildings were red when i looked out of the window and suddenly 2 workers came in and started pulling different coloured electric wires out from under the doctors desk and they were piling up to the ceiling and when I got up they disappeared and then suddenly the doctor came in and asked me whats wrong and when I started speaking he also disappeared. It was like a nightmare.I was losing my mind i thought and when I ended up in hospital I couldn't remember much and at the hospital I saw spiders chasing caterpillars up the wall and i tried hitting the spiders and people in the waiting room naturally thought I was crazy.Within minutes a nurse was injecting me and I remember waking up a week later not being able to move my arms.But I recovered eventually and was put into a normal ward and a week later i was strong enough to go home.But my depression remained and all I thought off was suicide.I still drank even heavier and in 1982 was called up for my national service of 2 years.Fortunately for me I was very fit as I loved running marathons in spite of my crazy life I even joined a boxing club and played club rugby before I went to army.So I was prepared.So naturally I enjoyed my training and was a model soldier and I was the one everybody wanted to beat esp in the 2,4 km.I ended up on the border for 18 months eventually going on 5 border trips.But in spite of all that the drinking got worse and whiskey and brandy was drank neat out of bottles esp as we made friends with the koevoet and everything was available there and I also started smoking while on the border. Now I was addicted to alcohol and nicotine.There were times I woke up with swollen and bleeding hands not knowing what had happened.After all the blood and bodies I was BOSSIES as they say.But I survived and finished my 2 years.But many camps awaited.I was working but i was now smoking 60 cigarettes a day,still getting drunk every day ,taking 3 hours lunch and struggling back to work and passing out .I had a Muslim manager where I worked and he told me I have a problem,I said no I don' t.He was good to me and allowed me to sleep in the office when I got back from the bar and never reported me to the boss.So I always kept my job. After work I never went home as I ended up passing out in the streets and sleeping in the bush and under cardboards. Sometimes waking up in the pouring rain and being soaked and in the meantime my dad would be driving around PE's streets looking for me thinking I was injured or in hospital. Or worse in the morgue. But somehow I survived. By this time I had met a gangster and we became good buddies riding all over together going to the dyke on Saturdays to watch soccer and drink a bottle of OB's and after that meeting friends.At that time I got into smoking mandrax and dagga in glass bottle necks. I was out of control and yet wherever I went I felt untouchable Now I was into all night parties, mandrax,dagga,alcohol and cigarettes.I would sometimes go home to eat and change and get home at 2 in the morning waking up the whole house and threatening my mom that if she didn't warm my food up I would smash up the TV. After eating I would go to my room and open my windows waking up the whole neighborhood with my loud music blaring out .They would be swearing and i would hang out the window swearing back at them with my mom banging on the door threatening to call the police. I would party every night and after coming out of the clubs and swearing at anybody in the street and insulting them,they would cone back with friends and smack me until i bled but not really troubling me in my drunken state, I would chase some of them and they would throw me with bricks.I felt invincible.The devil had me now fully in his clutches.My dad passed away in February 1986 a day before my birthday.Now I was more angry and frustrated and got drunk on the day of the funeral.I was by now doing army camps and had become a section leader.I was still training and doing roadwork in spite of this crazy life.I was a very fit addict.In the time my dad had died my work colleague who I'd also drank with and smoked dagga with had got born again.I was clueless as to what this was.He started preaching to me and bringing his gospel music to work.I thought he was crazy and would soon get over this madness. I told him to stop preaching to me and was swearing at him and it didn't seem to bother him.I wanted to kick his 'church music' as I called it off the cupboard but he grabbed his cassette player just in time and asked me am I crazy.I said no I'm feeling sick and it's a Monday.I said church is for Sundays.One day he said to me let's make a deal. He said to me if you go with me to one church service then I won't preach to you or bring in my music to work .I thought that sounds great.That weekend they were celebrating their anniversary at the church from the Friday to Sunday.So we ended up going to the Saturday afternoon service after work from 3 - 5 pm.When we got there it was 3.30pm so I thought it was too late as I thought church was only 1 hour long and we had already missed 30 minutes,but my friend said ,no it's fine.So when we got into the hall and I thought well no one seemed to care that we were late.We sat down but I was already bored thinking this is not my cup of tea. 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So anyway as I said I was bored. And as they stood up to sing I thought they were like little children including my friend/colleague and his wife.They were clapping and lifting their hands up to God but I thought they were all Looney.And I was the only normal person there so I thought with my arms folded.While the service was on one of the deacons,at that time I didn't know who he was,I thought he was a bouncer.He came walking around the back of us so I thought he was sizing me up. I thought,buddy I'm not scared of you in spite of your size I'll take you on.But if you get the better of me I can run.All that madness was going through my mind.Well when he went back to the front I assumed he was wary of me.So anyway after the service there was eats and I thought this is more like my cup of tea. After all that ended we left for home.I was'nt sure what my friend was thinking. But he obviously thought I was harder than he had imagined.Not even a Holy Ghost service had even touched or moved me.Well at that time it really had'nt.I couldn't wait by now to get home and change into more casual clothing and get down to the beach front to go party,celebrate and get drunk as now I wouldn't be preached to anymore at work and no more church music.I was overjoyed and I had kept my side of the bargain by going to a service.


I took the bus as far as the Norwich Bus station in Port Elizabeth.I had missed the last bus home by then so I had to walk the rest of the way home uphill and past the graveyard and then the last stretch and I would be home.I couldn't walk fast enough.The strangest thing of all was that I didn't drink that day yet as i had this firm belief that 'church people' didn't drink or smoke or go clubbing.Or so I thought and if I saw a so called christian doing that I thought that person was a hypocrite and not a Christian and lost total respect for that person and rightly so.I never ever went to church at that time as I didn't agree to living 2 lives.I just thought well this is me and that is them.I never mixed the 2.So anyway as I was walking I lit a cigarette as I turned the long stretch past the grave yard. It was 8.45 pm by now but in that world I was living in that was still very early.As I was walking I was jolted. I heard a clear strong audible voice right next to me as if there was somebody walking next to me.I heard the voice clearly call my name,Michael. I started walking faster and threw my cigarette away thinking what was that?I heard the voice again calling my name,Michael.The voice stayed next to me.I thought no man,what's that ?I was irritated.For the third time the voice said ,Michael. Then I heard the voice say, 'you're evil' and then the voice spoke the fifth time and said , ' you're a sinner'. I half started running by now but I heard no more.Don't ask me why but I thought to myself at the time that this was not what I wanted to experience.Somehow I thought does this mean changing the way way I live or what? I was enjoying the life I was living and now this.


I got home and knocked and knocked but there was no answer.I decided to walk to my sisters house thinking my mom might be there.My sister lived about 4 blocks away. When I got there I went to the back door knowing that my mom and sister would probably be in the kitchen chatting and drinking coffee as usual and my youngest siblings and nieces and nephew would be in the lounge watching TV.I was spot on and as I walking in through the open door there was my mom and sister.When they saw me they asked,' what's wrong,you're pale in your face.'I said I'm fine.My sister asked are you drunk.I said I went to church as you can see the way I'm dressed and I had'nt drank yet I said.I asked for the keys but before I left i suddenly took my cigarettes and lighter out of my pocket and put it on my sisters fridge and said you can have.She asked ,are you OK and have you got enough for you.I said I'm fine but I had no cigarettes or lighter with me or at home.I got home and instead of getting changed to go out I changed and got into bed.I clean forgot about going out partying and getting drunk.I fell asleep.I suddenly woke up and heard banging on the front door.


My mom had thought i had changed went out and forgot to bring her the key.Now how would she get in.This was about 2 and a half hours after i'd left my sisters house.My mom was surprised when i opened the door and was changed for bed.I went back to my room and climbed back into bed.Half an hour later my mom knocked on my door and asked if i was ok ,did i need sime medication. I said mom i'm fine,just trying to sleep.Remember i was never home on weekends and sometimes days at a time let alone be in bed at hone on a Saturday night. My mom thought i was sick.She knocked on my door 3 times asking me am i sure i'm fine and can she get me something.I said ,mom i'm tired and i'm trying to sleep.Shame,i couldn't blame her.Eventually i fell asleep.I woke up at about 6.30 am got up,went to the kitchen and made some coffee and a sandwich. I was amazed.I was at home on a weekend and a sunday morning making breakfast. It tasted so good.I went back to my room.I was in a daze.I stood there and i had no craving whatsoever for alcohol, a cigarette,dagga,mandrax,partying, pop music,clubbing,nothing. I suddenly realized i had no desire for anything like that of the sort
I was totally delivered overnight. It was a miracle.I stood in my bedroom and saw these pinups on my wall and felt dirty and ashamed and pulled them all off and threw them in the bin.I felt relieved Now i stood in my room feeling totally blank thinking now what? Who am i ? I was a brand new person but i was' nt sure what to do now. I got back into bed and fell asleep.
At about 9am my mom woke me up asking me if I was hungry.I said I'm fine I had eaten earlier on.She was surprised. I went back to sleep and later on ate lunch at home.Fell asleep and then ate supper.Washed and went back to bed to get ready for work the next day I had'nt felt so good in years My family didn't know what to make of this.That whole week I went to work.Went home after work.Didn't smoke smoke,drink nothing. Every craving and desire was totally gone.My work colleague /friend kept his word. No preaching or music.He was clueless as I had'nt told him.He was thinking what have I done.He had been thinking that the Holy Ghost service would change me.But nothing.Little did he know that God had met me on my Damascus Road and I was totally changed,set free and delivered A new creation.On the Friday I thought I would better talk to him as the Saturday he was off.On Friday afternoon I told him I have something to say When I told him he was overjoyed and grabbed me in tears and said God,Jesus,the Holy Spirit has spoken to you and set you free.Amen.Praise God He was excited.So I asked is it OK if I go to Church with them again.He said you asking me now.I said yes.So he said meet us on Sunday afternoon and we can go to the Sunday afternoon service.I couldn't wait.I was excited. On Sunday I was there early and on the way there the vehicle we were riding in felt like it was floating there.Everything was colourful and bright.Life was brand new like I'd never seen it before.
The service was amazing and the singing was amazing.After the message the Pastor gave the altar call.I was already changed and set free,a new creation.I was born again.It's hard to explain but I was changed and I had'nt yet accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour yet but somehow with nobody telling me i somehow just knew in my heart that i must put my hand up and make it an official thing by praying the sinners prayer publicly.That was 23 March 1986 on a Sunday evening.Praise God it will be 32 years this March 23.I asked my work colleague/friend and now brother in Christ to bring his music into work the next day.This time when I heard that gospel music it sounded awesome and amazing.I couldn't believe how I could ever have hated that very same music a few days before.Now it was a joy to listen to. And i can testify that there is no other life worth living than the life lived for Jesus Christ.Amen.And that is my short testimony of how i came to salvation through Our Father's amazing grace.The testimony of my walk with God is another testimony on it's own that i'd like to share and encourage you with and whosoever is willing to read it.Amen.God's faithfulness is truly amazing.
I want to thank everybody who took the time to read my testimony.May God bless each and every one of you and may His faithfulness be evident in each and everyone's life as it has been in mine.Shalom.Maranatha.


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