Samuel Geoffrey (right) stands proudly with his mom and siblings. Samuel's family converted to Christianity after the energetic, bright 12-year-old boy became a Christian while attending a Compassion-assisted student center in Arusha.
Five years ago, Samuel Geoffrey didn't live the life he has today.
He had a different name "Salmin." A different family his parents, Hawa and Hamir were subsistence farmers who sold their wares at the local market and hadn't heard of Jesus. And a different faith Islam.
A Muslim Child Finds Christ
"I never attended a Mosque during Muslim worship though," said Samuel, now 12. At age 7, while attending Ngarenaro Baptist Student Center in Arusha, Samuel made the big decision to accept Christ as his Savior. Following his conversion, this bright, firstborn of three children promptly began to share his new faith with his family.
Samuel shared the Bible lessons he learned at the project with his family. He prayed daily before eating his lunch and supper. His parents grudgingly began to adopt Samuel's habit of praying. Soon, Samuel's evangelism efforts paid off.
A Family's Transformation
Samuel's family life before Christ had troubles. His parents struggled to provide basic necessities as they struggled with illness. The family became destitute.
That's when those at the child development center stepped in. They helped the family get chairs, a cupboard and other needed household items. Samuel's sponsorship was also a blessing, providing the young boy's school fees, uniform and contributing to the overall livelihood for the family. Sponsorship changed their family's situation.
"My son shared with us the good news about Christ Jesus after attending the project program on Saturdays and he prayed for us to be healed since we are sick," said Samuel's mom, Helena Geoffrey.
Samuel's parents and siblings were so moved by what they saw and experienced through the sponsorship program, the whole family decided to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior on July 17, 2002.
"Frankly speaking, our son was the ticket to our salvation," said Helena, who before baptism was called "Hawa." "He brought many changes to our family lifestyle. And when he prayed for his father's healing through the name of Jesus, we realized we needed to change our belief to Christ."
Once they accepted Christ, all the family members were baptized. Once baptized, they also changed their Islamic names to Christian names and began worshiping regularly at an evangelical church in Arusha.
Samuel's mother now prays for Compassion staff members and Compassion Tanzania sponsors.
"Our family is now free from superstitious beliefs and many temptations," she said. "We believe that Jesus is the reason we can live victorious lives." Her favorite Bible passages are Psalm 50 and 109.
Challenges of a New Faith
Samuel's family life after Christ has experienced troubles. Since conversion, the Geoffreys have been isolated by their community. Their clan and neighbors (largely Muslim) have severed ties with the family. But the difference now is that they have Christ. The family is holding onto their newfound faith.
"Our best friends are Christians, project workers and pastors who come to encourage us by sharing the Word of God." Helena said. "We also enjoy sharing with other believers during fellowship sessions."
The Geoffreys, however, continue to need prayer. Helena's husband has recently struggled with his new faith. Meanwhile, the family is still struggling with poverty and illness. Yet, despite the challenges, Samuel's dreams are a source of joy and hope for his family.
"It's like a dream that our Muslim family has converted to the Christian faith through my influence," said this bright, energetic boy who says his best subjects are English, science and math and who wants to be a pilot one day.
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