From soldier to bookworm, a story of spiritual transformation

Esme James of Sierre Leone submitted this article in response to the writing prompt, “Tell how someone you know in your country was spiritually transformed by the written word.”

Lafayette Roberts left school at fifteen, after only two years in high school. No one could make him go back. He wanted to become a soldier, to fight in the rebel war. It took two years of doing odd jobs around the barracks before he was conscripted. It took another year to get to the war front.

“Once there I did all the things that young soldiers do: some good, some bad.” Five years later, wounded, he was discharged. Except for forms he had had to fill, he had not read anything for nearly ten years.

He left for Ivory Coast where he stayed with an aunt who made him go to school – and to church. There, he found what he had been searching for. In time, he became a committed, born-again Christian. Wanting to learn more about Christ, he enrolled in a month-long Bible school where he discovered the joy of reading the Bible and other Christian literature.

Because the French language posed a challenge, he left for Ghana. There his voracious appetite for the Bible and Christian literature was satisfied. He borrowed books and read avidly. Then he found work in a Christian bookshop!

“In my spare time, I read every book that I could and bought some at discount prices to build my personal library. The hidden things are in books, and I was enlightened. I read about great Christian reformers and learnt about leadership, counseling, preaching, teaching, relationships and being an intercessor. Reading takes you into new experiences.”

A fast reader, Lafayette spends most his money on Christian books. He has a prodigious memory, seldom forgetting what he reads. His discussions are interspersed with biblical quotations or references to something he has read. “Christian literature can change Sierra Leone, if only people are willing to read.”

Learn how you can submit articles and win cash in the LittWorld 2012 writing contest, “Blogging for Global Impact.”

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