When I was five, my parents divorced,” says Guy. “I was just in first class at primary school. I didn’t know if I belonged to my father or mother. That’s how I ended up on the street.
One day his father gave him a bottle of palm wine and he asked Guy to give it to his mother. On the street, however, he met someone who told him it was poison and that he shouldn’t give it to his mother. “Bring it back to your father”, the man said. When he came to his father to bring the wine back, he exploded because Guy had discovered the truth. Guy was no longer sure of his life and was afraid that his father would also want to kill him and fled from his father.
Guy lived on the street at that time, and at night he also found a place to sleep. He had no contact with both his parents. Yet he still heard a voice saying to him: “Don’t give up hope, tomorrow will be better than today”. He gave himself the nickname ‘the living orphan’.
One day Guy met his mother again. She told him she had been looking for him and took him to her younger brother, who lived in the city of Dabou. His uncle did not give him the opportunity to go to school and after living there for three years, he got his first job at a garage.
“It was not an easy time,” says Guy. I had to walk five kilometers in the morning and evening. When I came home I was very tired. But my uncle was married to two women and for them I had to do all kinds of chores in the house, like fetching water. Before I could finally wash and eat, it was bedtime again.
When Guy complained to his uncle about his job, he took him to one of his brothers. He arranged a new job for him, but now he had to walk eleven kilometers to get to work. Guy held on to his inner voice, telling him that tomorrow would be better than today. His inner voice told him, “This is not the place where you will stay.
“I decided to look for a job myself that would allow me to earn some money”, Guy continues. I found a job that earned me 7500 Central African Frank (CFA). I wanted to leave my uncle and go to Aboisso where my mother lived nearby. But to get there, I needed 10,000 CFA. I thought: ‘Then I walk the first part and then I take a taxi van there for the rest of the journey’. Guy walked to the place where he could continue his journey by public transport, but then he got a man there who offered him a lift. “He didn’t have to have money for it”, so I could keep my money”, Guy explains. “He even gave me some money, so I could eventually travel to Aboisso via Abidjan. There he travelled to the village where his mother lived.
Guy found work there. One morning, when he was walking in the street, he met a young Christian woman who was trying to help him. “I wasn’t ready yet to give my life to Christ”, yet that moment was a real turning point in my life. After that, everything improved.
That change came when one day Guy was watching television and one of NGM’s programs came on the tube. NGM is an organization in the Ivory Coast that produces Christian television programs that are broadcast on television throughout the French-speaking region. The work of NGM is supported by 3XM, a missionary organization that supports evangelism through television and social media in several countries.
Guy was touched by the program, but it was the next broadcast that really touched his heart. Guy: “It was a program about a girl who was badly treated by her parents. One day she airs her heart with her uncle, who speaks to her father about his behaviour. Eventually the father realized that he was wrong and apologized to his daughter.
“This was my story,” says Guy. “When a phone number came up at the end of the program, I decided to send a message. “I was very surprised when I was called back, but the person on the phone, Yvonne, prayed with me and gave me advice. Then I also decided to give my life to Christ.
“I then discovered that the voice I had always heard was the voice of Jesus, who told me that tomorrow would be better than today.
“Yvonne encouraged me to go to church,” Guy continues. “I didn’t always find that easy. A collection took place while I was completely broke. I felt very ashamed then. Yvonne encouraged me and told me that God would open a new door. I got a job shortly afterwards, in the first month I wasn’t paid, but in the second month I got a double salary. I didn’t know what happened to me! I was so grateful to God. I decided to give 10,000 CFA to my mother. Shortly after, a good friend called me and together we decided to set up a company in network marketing, earning you a commission on products you sell.
A few days before our visit to Ivory Coast, NGM called Guy to ask if he would like to come to Abidjan to tell his story. “I talked about it with my boyfriend and he declared me crazy. My friend said: ‘This country has become very dangerous. You don’t know those people. Maybe they will kill you. Yet I decided to go. I heard again that inner voice that reminded me that Jesus had given me His life as well. But it was exciting. When I was picked up in Abidjan by a van, I sent a text message to my friend ‘I am now in the death van. I don’t know where I’m going’. Then I switched off my phone,” says Guy with a smile. “But when we arrived here, I felt really reassured and no longer afraid.
After all the telephone contact Guy also met Yvonne for the first time. “She gave me an embrace and said: ‘you are my son’. Then I was allowed to tell my story in front of the camera. I found it very special to be here and meet her.
To protect the privacy of the person concerned, we did not use his real name but chose the name Guy.