Treading On Snakes

Treading On Snakes


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  • June 19, 2020

Testimony of Mr. Joachim Kobina Sekyi Achenie

 

As I look forward to my 70th birthday on July 12th, 2020, I can’t overemphasize how gracious God has been to me through the changing scenes of a life that began at Breman Brakwa where I was born to Opanyin Kweku Prah and Maame Adwoa Yeboah all of whom were staunch Catholics who have been called home to be with the lord. I had an eventful early life which was characterized by three main periods:

  • The Period Of Snakes
  • The Period of Goats and
  • The Period of general problems

Multiple Encounters With Snakes

In class 4, I was bitten by a snake and in class 6 whilst looking for an avocado pear fruit in the afternoon, a huge snake coiled around my leg up to the knee level and miraculously disentangled itself without harming me.

My third encounter with snakes was on a Good Friday when most Christians go to chuch on this day to commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross. I was by then in middle school form 1 and quite strangely, I served notice at home that I was going to church but mischievously  sneaked out with two of my brothers and a couple of friends to go hunting for grass cutters and rats. Armed with three dogs, we set off and unleashed the dogs to go ahead of us with the hope that a retreating grass cutter escaping the threat of the dogs would ran in our direction and we would in turn capture it. This was an old hunting tactic that had paid dividends on many occasions.

Not too far away from where I was standing, I could see the grass shaking violently and as an experienced hunter, I knew that our game plan had worked and stretched out my hand and held the cutlass high in readiness to strike the approaching game. Contrary to my expectation, the sight that greeted me was shocking: I saw the head of a huge python making its way towards my direction. I was so startled that I froze like a statue from head to toe with the cutlass raised up in my hand and stack in the air whilst my eyes were fixed on this monster of a creature. I stood in that position till the snake passed me by, then the cutlass fell from my hand and I started running towards home calling on my brothers.

The farm was not too far from our house and they came to find me panting, speechless, shaking and pointing to the farm. When my parents were told of the episode, they were very angry with me for not going to church. In her anger, my mother retorted that “you are lucky Jesus loves you”. I took that statement for granted because at the Breman Brakwa Roman Catholic Primary School where I started my education, I was very good in class, came out top of the class and had to be promoted from class 1 to 3. Incidentally, I was enrolled in class 1 at the age of 8 and rightfully earned the derogatory nick name “class 1 Papa”.  I had erroneously presumed that it was by my own might that I had accomplished all these feats but little did I know that there was an unseen hand ordering my footsteps every step along the way.

Mysterious Serial Goat Deaths

I sat for the Common Entrance examination and gained admission to St Augustines College-Cape Coast in 1965. For six consecutive terms, anytime I went home for holidays, a goat or sheep from my mother’s pen would be knocked down by a vehicle. On one occasion when I returned home from school and greeted my mother, she angrily responded that I had come home again and one her goats was going to die.  She barely finished speaking when a bus knocked down her favourite goat.

For me, it was a joyous occasion because it was an opportunity to feast on the meat. My mother’s reaction coming on the heels of the 6th animal dying under circumstances which were very similar with the previous ones set me pondering over what I could no longer treat as a mere coincidence.

I expressed my fears to my mum and after confiding in a friend he directed me to a fetish priest at Akroso near Akim Oda. After throwing some cowries on the floor, he asked me to submit some old clothes of mine for further investigations. I promised to come back the following week with the requested items but I never showed up again because I was really frightened with what he was doing. The killings however stopped after this encounter.

Even though I considered myself very religious and was a regular church attendant, I was seriously indulging in drinking akpeteshie “local gin”, smoking cigarette, chasing girls and stealing farm products with reckless abandon.

Finding My Feet

After completion of my A’levels in 1972, I applied to join the Ghana Armed Forces together with a close friend of mine. Unfortunately, my friend was selected and I was left out. I was very upset with the turnout of events but unfortunately this friend of mine was killed in one of the numerous coups in Ghana. At that point, I realized that God had His hands firmly established in my life and God started catching my attention.

I gained admission to the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to read science in 1973 and was posted to a school at Saltpond where I taught for three years after my graduation in 1976. In one of the mock examinations, I set questions from three different text books and surprisingly all the questions appeared in the GCE exams in the same order that I had presented them. At that time I thought all these achievements were solely credited to my abilities but today with the benefit of hindsight, I know that God has been leading me all the way and I regret my ingratitude to Him at that time.

From Saltpond I went to Nigeria  for six years and returned to Ghana in 1986 to teach at Swedru Secondary after which I had the chance to travel to Zambia to teach.

Mercy Ofori Boakye, a lady I dated during my national service later became my wife and we have been married since 1981 with four beautiful daughters.

I Was Blind

On a visit to a Deeper Life Church in 1995 in Botswana one Sunday at the invitation of my sister in-law who was a chorister in that church, I was confronted with an incident that really baffled me. As the choir sang that famous hymn “Amazing Grace”, the ambience in the church changed and the presence of God was so powerful and tangible and people could not control themselves but fall and roll under the anointing. On the contrary, I was very uncomfortable because I had a strong aversion for some of these spiritual gimmickries. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the secretary to the Attorney General also falling and rolling. I said to myself that “how can such a dignified person disgrace herself like that?” As they sang the line which says that “I once was BLIND…” I blacked out and in order not to “disgrace myself”, I reached for my chair and sat down. In the next five minutes that followed, my whole life in Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia was played to me in a movie where I saw myself as a blind man being led around by somebody. From that day in 1995, I abandoned my skepticism and doubts about speaking in tongues, falling under the anointing and other spiritual events that I foolishly considered as gimmickry.

Upon my return to Ghana in 1996, I noticed that I never slept well in the afternoon because each time I slept blindness engulfed me. On three occasions, a colleague tutor of mine at Swedru Secondary School by name Mr. E.K.T Osam invited me to the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International meetings but I always turned down the invitations. Upon receipt of the third card, my wife encouraged me to honour the invitation just to see what goes on there and most importantly to avoid another card.

Lord Here I Stand

Mindful of the experience I had had in Botswana, I closed my eyes during the praise and worship sessions. As the main speaker shared his testimony, I could identify myself with most of the issues he was raising and during ministration when an invitation was made for people to come forward and accept Jesus, I stepped forward as if I had been pushed by an unseen hand to receive Christ Jesus as my lord and personal saviour. That decision marked the end of my afternoon sleep crisis.

My teaching improved, I ran extra classes for free for weak non science students and during the Speech Day I won the Most Hard Working Teacher’s award at Swesco. That same year, I was nominated for the National Best Teacher Award. I was the second best in the 2nd Cycle Schools category and my award was a 6 weeks educational tour to the USA on a 5 year visa.

Declared Unfit To Work

I needed to raise an amount $6000 to sponsor my daughter who was reading French at the University to go a year abroad in France in as part of her academic program. Tried as I did to raise the money, I could only come by $600. Under the circumstance therefore, I resigned my job in Ghana left for the USA to work in order to raise the needed amount. Graciously, a relative of mine bought a ticket for me and I went to USA for a second time in February, 2004. The easiest job I could secure was Home Care. I therefore enrolled at a Home Care school for 10 days after which I submitted myself for a medical examination. I received a crude shock when the result of the medical exams indicated that my blood pressure was 210/110! This was a severe case of hypertension and for that reason I declared unfit to work. I prayed for God’s intervention and by divine providence I met a Ghanaian medical officer who was of immense help to me. He put me on medication and gave me a complimentary card to procure medicines. When I went to do the medical exams for a second time, I was declared fit and received the nod to go ahead and work. I got my first employment in April 2004 and as soon as I was able to raise the $6000, I lost the job. I took some time off to recuperate and sent the money to my daughter to pursue her dream.

Having seen the completion of my first three girls through University, I came back to Ghana in April 2010 with a slightly used Toyota Camry. On a test drive to Winneba to secure her driver’s license in June 2010, my wife was driving the car when we heard a big bang on the rear of the car. We had been hit by an SUV. My wife sustained some injuries and was admitted at the Winneba hospital. The case went to court and the driver of the SUV was declared guilty.

We were to go to a civil court for him to repair the damaged car. My wife refused to testify after the pleading of the young driver that  he was newly married, not yet settled and pushing him to court would force him to commit suicide.

We paid for the repair of the car. It was a fortune. I sold the car and bought an older car which served me well.

Picking Up The Pieces

Meanwhile I had always yearned to fellowship with the FGBMFI. I managed to locate the meeting place of the Swedru chapter and the membership turnout was very poor. I met four men and a lady. Many of the members were not attending meetings. I joined the fellowship and immediately became the Secretary not knowing my left from my right. Upon the admonition of the incumbent President, I became his immediate successor with a firm assurance from him that he was going to support me fully but unfortunately he left the fellowship shortly after the mantle had fallen on. I accepted the challenge and together with the support of dedicated brethren like Mr. Teddy Klu, Mr. Adjagrah, Rev. Amo Nkrumah and Favour Aflakpue we accepted the challenge and started rebuilding the fellowship depending on the grace and enablement of the Holy Spirit. We relocated our meetings venue to the Humility Lodge which offered us a decent place worthy of our stature.

Floodgate Of Testimonies

My association with the FGBMFI has helped me build a closer walk with Jesus and I can testify of numerous things that the lord has done in my life.

  • On a number of occasions when I fell sick, I called on the Lord and being my healer he healed and restored my health.
  • I had my own doubts and skepticism about the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues but today, I’m fully baptized with the Holy Spirit and is actively at the forefront of helping others to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  • Whilst driving at Kasoa one day in the company of my wife, my car ran over a three year old child without crushing him. “Machomen” in the vicinity came and surrounded the car and ensured that nobody touched us. They escorted us to hospital with the child and he was declared absolutely fit and was handed over to the parents.
  • On one occasion whilst we were all out of the house, fire from outside crossed my fence wall guttering my compound, a heap of firewood and a plantain plantation but miraculously, the house was spared.
  • At a prayer meeting, I was led to minister to my brother who had been declared hopeless because of a chronic illness. I took him through the six steps to salvation and after prayer, he recovered and is still doing very well today.
  • Beyond the confines of the FGBMFI, the lord has used me to revive the men’s fellowship in my local Catholic church which collapsed for over a year due to leadership problems.

It has been an exciting experience walking with the lord and ministering on the platform of the FGBMFI. If God can use me to do all these things, I can assure you that He will do greater things with you if only you give Him a chance to rule and reign in your life.