Charles Debrah triumphs over obstacles through the Lord
We have heard many testimonies of persons who have witnessed the divine hand of God in their lives. But each story is unique and filled with intriguing episodes that are unimaginative for even the very elect.
Born and raised in Ghana, Charles Debrah, who now lives in England and visits Jamaica occasionally with his family, experienced threatening circumstances, but none tested his faith as the God he served stepped in time and again on his behalf, making the impossible possible.
A preacher's kid in a home of Methodists, Debrah found joy in witnessing and reaching out to others in the field with his father. Missionary work was his passion - and he was good at it. However, as the young lad grew, he found he needed to satisfy his curiosity about various denominations and their doctrines.
It was through this that he found out about Adventism and was quickly drawn to its teachings and fundamental beliefs.
"My father's reaction was positive, thank God, much to my shock. But he had noticed that when I was walking with him, I used to ask a lot of questions about the faith and God, so he must have known that I had this inclination."
He added, "My father was so humble to the point that even if he didn't have answers for the questions, he encouraged me to pray and be patient on God to show me the way."
Though he lived in an area where the Adventist faith was not widely practised, Debrah was soon baptised among thousands in a special evangelical series and began giving service to the church in youth departments, Sabbath School and even evangelism. It was also as a result of his sister's death why he decided to continue the theological search.
Through his bold step things took a turn for the better it was not without numerous trials.
"I remember once I went to the post office and there was a big parcel there addressed to me from America. When I opened it, it had a lot of religious material and green pieces of cloth and they called it a name I have never heard before. They told me if I signed the slip and returned it, they would help me receive power of the spirit, where I could even travel to India in the spirit."
He continued, "I quickly sealed it and went to my father. He asked if I had been corresponding with anybody and I told him no. He then said we should burn the parcel and we did. It was years later that I realised that the devil was trying to snatch me from the positive path. That was my first experience with mysticism."
Debrah has done canvassing work in Scandinavia and the Republic of Togo. He has set up many churches with the help of friends and has travelled extensively sharing the good news of Christ. It was as a result of this that Debrah was given a grant to study Religion and Theology at Valley View College in Accra, Ghana.
"When I arrived at the school, however, my fees had gone missing. That was as a result of corruption. I couldn't go back home, and so I decided to visit the publishing house at the union and ask them to do some canvassing work. After pleading with the director, he gave me some books and pocket money."
He added, "I didn't want to visit any local places: I wanted to go big for God, (so) I bought meself a new shirt and tie, polished my shoes and headed to the bank of Ghana. It so happened that the chief of security there was the father of one of the girls who used to help us when we were setting up our churches. I made my way to the Governor and he ended up buying all the books and that was my start."
While at Valley View, he was invited to Sweden and went into canvassing ministry with the Skandinaviska Bokforlaget - Scandinavian Publishing house. It was more than selling books for him; it was about sharing the gospel.
Debrah then had a yearning to finish his studies in England, but at the time, no visas were being issued to Ghanaians.
"I was the only one that year to receive a visa to go to England, and persons were baffled, but it was the hand of God. It was in England that I met Janet, my wife, and it was a joy because it had been a dream to meet my fellow brothers and sisters, and I met and married a West Indian woman."
Having gone into Nazi camps and restored a former Seventh-day Adventist to the faith, transformed the lives of members of the most notorious gang in Ghana, thus reducing the crime rate significantly, and building a church right next to a mosque, where the Islamic faith was predominant, Debrah has gained the love and respect of many all over the world.
Debrah now enjoys the outreach programmes with his wife, distributing items for England to Ghana sometimes in excess of 65,000 pounds in value.
"Janet works in a hospital, and so, she gets the items and we donate them while friends pay for shipping ... it is about returning the kindness that was shown to me over the years."
With a hope for his brothers and sisters to help each other more, Debrah ended: "We are sometimes too concerned with church politics and the ideologies that are creeping into the church. We need to go back to the old-time religion. We are slipping into apostasy. The way of the Lord is our only hope, let not fear and lack of knowledge derail us."