Uganda – 27-year-old Andrew Ssevume was a drug addict for ten years before finding Christ. He was a powerful drug dealer on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, and recruited many young boys and girls to use the substances he supplied.
“I discovered numerous strategies of substance trade,” Andrew told ICC in a recent sit-down interview, “I was a police target and the enemy of other drug lords. I was walking in the shadows among the exiled, to avoid being jailed.”
However, Andrew says that the Lord never gave up on him. Night after night, he began to have powerful, terrifying dreams. While he couldn’t understand their meaning, he called out for Jesus Christ.
“I was terrified and crying and seeing myself perishing,” he said. “But glory be to God who gives life to the dead. The only name I called out loudly to for help was Jesus Christ. Eventually I heard a voice like running water carrying life within itself…”
Even though Jesus had rescued him in his dreams, Andrew decided to convert to Islam and eventually changed his name to Mohammed. However, he still couldn’t get peace of mind, and continued selling drugs.
Finally, in 2017, a pastor came to the slum where Andrew was working. Still, Andrew was surrounded by his gang, and knew the dangers involved in converting to Christianity.
“For the gangs it is a total abomination to become a Christian,” he said.
Andrew made an appointment to see the preacher under the disguise of night and, the following Sunday, decided to go to church.
“I confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal savior and from that moment I’ve never been back to my old life.”
Eventually, Andrew was designated as a full-time worship leader. “My gift of singing manifested itself…God is a miracle worker and he assembled me before people who supported me…”
Andrew said that he has continued walking on a good journey with Christ and even began to evangelize the gospel in the ghetto, streets, and schools.
“I’m blessed to have this life,” he said. “It feels good to have a position of serving the Lord, rather than serving as a drug lord.”
Andrew’s dream is to preach the Word through word of mouth and through music. A friend lent him a room to use as a music studio, to reduce the risk of being attacked through street preaching. However, he had yet to record due to a lack of musical equipment.
Earlier this month, ICC fulfilled Andrew’s music dream by buying him an iMac computer, speakers, headsets, amplifiers, and other supplies needed to begin recording.
“Brother,” he said to ICC’s Uganda representative when receiving the equipment, “I thought this was a joke and could not believe this until I have seen. Let me hope that I am not dreaming that we are purchasing all of this for me,” he added. “May God bless you. I am seeing God’s hand in my life. It’s indeed a blessing to serve God.”
Worship leader advances to ‘The Voice’ finals after tearful rendition of ‘Break Every Chain’
Twenty-five-year-old worship leader Jershika Maple beat out some of her competitors on “The Voice” this week with a powerful rendition of the gospel song “Break Every Chain.”
At the start of the episode, Maple said her time on the singing competition show had taught her that she could do anything she set in her sights. She also discovered that she’s only in “competition with herself” and continues to lean on her faith to help her through.
As the show progressed, Maple learned she was at the bottom of the competition and would have to perform for a chance to be instantly saved and progress to the finale of the NBC series. It was a position she also found herself in last week and advanced.
Though struggling with a sore throat, the singer proceeded to belt out Tasha Cobbs Leonard’s gospel anthem. The hair-raising performance garnered a standing ovation from every judge on the show. She concluded the performance in tears.
Maple’s coach, John Legend, a pastor’s kid who, like the singer, also grew up in the Church, told her she had “done it again.”
“You brought yourself to tears, but you probably brought America to tears,” Legend gushed. “I hate that you get put in this position. You’re one of the best vocalists in this show that I’ve ever worked with. You deserve to go to the finale.”
In the end, Maple won the instant save again and made it to the finale.
The Louisiana native, who now resides in Texas, first joined the competition on coach Kelly Clarkson’s team. She was later stolen by Legend during the Battles rounds when Clarkson chose singer Jeremy Rosado over her in their dual battle.
According to Maple’s online bio, she grew up singing in church and has been a part of many choirs.
In an interview with The Shreveport Times, the singer said she’s been singing since the age of 3. Her mother and uncle first noticed her talent as she sang along to a “Barney” song.
“So, my mom put me in the church choir. I was in the children’s choir, every choir you could think of ever since,” she shared. “I was big in the choir scene.”
During an earlier performance on “The Voice,” Maple performed the hit CCM tune, “God Only Knows,” originally performed by for King & Country. She dedicated the performance to two of her elementary school teachers who helped her as she struggled with dyslexia.
Maple released the spiritual track “I Give” earlier this year, now available to stream and download.
‘I found God’: Jordan Peterson’s daughter Mikhaila talks finding peace in prayer, reading the Bible
The daughter of author and speaker Jordan Peterson recently revealed that she has come to believe in God and that her conversion to Christianity was “very sudden.”
Growing up with her dad, a famed clinical psychologist, she learned a lot about the psychological significance of the Bible, but “about a month ago, I found God … which I haven’t before … and it was very sudden,” Mikhaila said in her podcast earlier this month.
“I’m pretty new to this,” she said. “What I’ve been doing for the last like month or so is reading the Bible and praying. … And I guess, in a way, it’s … Protestant probably. … And it’s been … the amount of peace I’ve had I haven’t had before. It’s completely absurd. I can’t believe it,” she added.
Mikhaila shared that she had been dwelling over four major problems in her life and had decided to travel to Austin, Texas, over the summer to see if she wanted to move there. Although she decided Austin wasn’t the best place for her, while there, she met a Christian man who helped change her life. When she shared her struggles, the man told her to seek God, ask Him “to reveal Himself” to her.
“I went home that night, and I was pretty upset about these four major problems, and I was in bed, so I was praying, seriously praying … and the next day, all four problems cleared up in ways that made sense. It was logical [that] they could have cleared up [anyway]. But the likelihood of all four of them randomly clearing up that day was just too much,” she continued.
“I also woke up with this sense of calm that I hadn’t felt. And that was enough. I was like, ‘OK, that’s good enough for me,’” she said.
Mikhaila said there were moments when she felt that her experience could just be an emotional fluke.
“And then I had the most wild dream … woke up at 5:30 in the morning and I had a dream … This loud thundering voice just yelled, ‘Do it!’ And I woke up at 5:30 in the morning, thinking, ‘I think I just got yelled at by God. I think that just happened.’ That’s what it felt like.
“It occurred to me that I think what it meant was just go all in, don’t do this like 75 percent in. It’s been a wild month. I’m doing well. It’s just, I’m a little bit shocked,” she added.
In March, Mikhaila’s father, a Canadian thought leader who was raised Protestant and is unapologetically a “Jungian,” named after Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, choked up in tears as he spoke about Jesus Christ in a separate podcast, leading some of his Christian fans to pray for his faith journey.
He spoke about a variety of philosophical and spiritual themes, including the conscience and Judeo-Christian narrative.
“To some degree, because we are so social, if we don’t manifest an appropriate moral reciprocity, we’re going to become alienated from our fellows and we won’t survive. We’ll suffer and die. We certainly won’t find a partner and have children successfully. To some degree, the conscience can be viewed as the voice of reciprocal society within, and that’s a perfectly reasonable biological explanation,” he said.
Yet the deeper one goes into biology it shades into something religious because, once the fundamental structure of the human psyche is analyzed, it “becomes something with a power that transcends your ability to resist it.”
Responding to a critic who asserted that the Christian Gospel is no more significant than the dying-and-resurrection stories of other mythological gods, the Canadian professor pointed out that Jesus was a real person who actually lived in addition to a narrative, and in a sense, Christ is the union of those two things.
“The problem is, I probably believe that. And I am amazed at my own belief and I don’t understand it,” he said.
“Because I’ve seen sometimes the objective world and the narrative world touch. That’s Jungian synchronicity. And I’ve seen that many times in my own life and so in some sense I believe it’s undeniable,” he continued, choking up in tears.
Ellen DeGeneres to end talk show after 19 years
Ellen DeGeneres, one of America’s best-known talk show hosts, said on Wednesday she will end her daytime show in 2022, saying that after 19 years it was time to do something different.
DeGeneres, 63, told her virtual audience that the show had been “the greatest experience of my life” and thanked her fans for watching. But she said she needed “to take a break from talking.”
“My instinct told me it’s time. As a comedian, I’ve always understood the importance of timing,” she said.
“Recently, I had a dream that a bird, a beautiful bird with bright red feathers, came to my window and whispered, ‘You can still do stuff on Netflix.’ And that was the sign I was looking for,” she quipped.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” produced by AT&T Inc’s (T.N) Warner Bros and syndicated to TV stations, has won more than 60 Emmy awards.
But audiences have fallen in the past six months following an internal inquiry into media reports of a toxic work environment behind the scenes. Three top producers exited the production in 2020, and DeGeneres apologized, promising “a new chapter.”
She told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that public attacks during that time “destroyed me” but did not influence her decision to end the show. That choice, she said, was made when she extended her contract for three years in 2019.
DeGeneres started her career in stand-up comedy in her New Orleans hometown before moving to television, starring in the comedy “Ellen” in the mid-1990s.
In 1997, both she and her TV character came out as a lesbian long before gay people were accepted in mainstream America. “Ellen” was canceled a year later, but DeGeneres returned to television in 2003 with her daytime show.
An advocate for animals, gay rights and anti-bullying campaigns, DeGeneres became known for promoting kindness and compassion on her light-hearted show.
DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter that her future plans are uncertain. She said she is open to movie roles and wants to be more involved in environmental conservation efforts.
In addition to her talk show, the comedian voiced the forgetful Pacific blue tang fish in the animated movies “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory,” and twice hosted the annual Oscars ceremony.
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