I was a recalcitrant teenager giving my parents a lot of heartache by my actions and inactions.
Look, I was troublesome and I knew it…lol.
Onetime I beat up this girl who teased me and her big brother who was far older also beat me up. I walked straight to my room and got a catapult, got some stones, stormed their house and shot the stones straight into the windscreen of their family van. Both windscreens were shattered. Guess who had to pay for the damages, my dad. Look, I’m being very economical with some of these stories for obvious reasons. My baby sister Anita Opoku Ababio can give you more of my teenage escapades if you want full details. Squadron leader extraordinaire.
But here is my point, follow closely. It was in the year 2000, our BECE results were released and as expected, I blew the machine. Top of my class actually. My father learnt that I chose Kumasi High School against his directive that I choose Prempeh College. “I wasn’t gonna go to any girls school”… Lol. I chose KUHIS because of obvious reasons. I had my clique of hardcore friends all going to KUHIS. Kotash Korosh, Tin Cracker, Awansena were all headed that way.
My father did his investigations and found out that the whole KUHIS thing was a gang thing and he feared for the path I had taken. In fact, he went to the extent of securing admission for me at T. I. Ahamadia which was a Muslim school, just so he could get me away from my clique of friends but I would have none of that. My stance was “Kumasi High School or no High School”.Pops gave in to my wishes finally, but he did something that changed my life forever. In short, he sold me out.
It was a Tuesday afternoon, the reporting day to school. My parents made sure I had all I needed for school. My “Borga” uncles were all in town, they came to give their nephew a befitting entry into the school of choice. The High School.
After packing my stuff into the car, I heard Mama calling for me. “Your father wants to see you in his room”. I knew it was going to be another lengthy lecture on comportment, and living up to “the name you carry” a phrase I so hated growing up. I walked lackadaisically into Pops room. This time it was different, Pops told me how I’ve made him proud and how I reminded him of when he was at my age. I broke down when he said to me “I know you can be anything you want, you have all it takes to succeed”.
After the love talk, he asked if he could pray for me and I said yes. Then he asked me to kneel. He laid hands on me and said a simple prayer that has kept ringing in my ears till this day.
“LORD, YOU GAVE ME KWABENA MY BELOVED SON. TODAY, I GIVE HIM BACK TO YOU. TAKE HIM TO KUMASI HIGH SCHOOL AND BRING HIM BACK TO ME A CHANGED BOY. SHIELD HIM FROM EVERY INFLUENCE OF THE DEVIL AND CAUSE HIM TO SERVE YOU WHOLEHEARTEDLY”.
I got to Kumasi High School and the place I taught was going to offer me the opportunity to live recklessly turned out to be my place of encounter. I saw two sets of young men on that campus. You were either on fire for God or on fire for Satan. Two extremes, the “Chrife” guys were real “Chrife” and their lives were really challenging The hardcore guys were real hardcore. I’m talking students who could metamorphose into armed robbers at night, students who kept live snakes in their chop boxes, “Gala” staging and brothel visiting students and all. I also saw people like Senior Akresi the short boy everyone revered. He carried such grace that made even a man with a heart of stone convicted.
Senior Zakari, he was a converted muslim so full of faith. A radical guy who trusted God for strangers to pay his school fees and God came through for him always. This guy saw me one time singing to the prefects in the prefects room at Kyeremanteng House. Singing for the prefects was my escape from doing the house chores. While other form one students did the cleaning and weeding, I would be called to sing R&B songs to the prefects. Senior Zakari walked into the prefects room one day and told the senior prefect that God said my voice was not for singing silly songs and that my voice was for God. Eeeiiih! Akoa wei koraa Aden?
Zakari dragged me to Senior Obruso who was the then Music Director of the SU singing ministry (Shalom Singers). He told Obruso to admit me to Shalom because God was going to use me. Zakari went to Joe Wise the senior I was assigned to and instructed him to release me to go and serve Obruso because God said I should serve Obruso instead. Joe Wise agreed without any argument.
The next dawn, I saw myself on the school field praying with the Shalom Singers. Then there was Friday SU meetings, rehearsals, fasting, Bible Studies, etc. In a matter of weeks, my circle of friends had changed completely. I was like Saul in the company of the prophets. I stumbled into all these christian guys who started influencing me positively. It was in one of those SU meetings that I accepted Christ.
Obruso started giving me music lessons in our dormitory. I carried his keyboard everywhere, It was my job to set it up for him to come and play. I did it gladly.
Every time I was in the company of my “non chrife” friends, I felt uncomfortable. My father’s prayer would keep ringing in my ears. A voice would say to me “You’ve been sold out to me, you are mine”. Then I started loosing my friends because my interests has changed completely.
I later became Music Director for Shalom Singer and Pensa President of Kumasi High School. I encountered Christ in the very place I taught was going to offer me an opportunity for reckless living. All of that was precipitated by my father’s prayer. My father sold me out to God and I’m glad he did.
Happy Fathers day to KWADWO OPOKU ABABIO I. The man who sold me out.