Meet Kempho Utlwang

Kempho's Story



My name is Tsholetso Utlwang, but most people know me as Kempho. I was born in July of 1995 in Maun, Botswana in the region of Ngamiland. My first seven years were fairly normal. But my life took a major detour at the young age of 8. The course of my life was totally changed when, in 2003, I lost my mother, Polao Utlwang, and my only younger brother, Bophelo Utlwang, to a tragic disease. Even now, no one has told me what it was. Instead they said to me they were just sick. This tragedy haunted me with so many questions that had no answers, only gaps.

Neither of my parents were Christians. They did not believe in God. I recall so many times they went to traditional doctors whenever they were sick and believed that they had been cursed with a spell. Then I remember watching my mother and brother fade away while drinking all those traditional herbs. The pictures of them would haunt me frequently day in and day out when I was younger. I even started to believe that God was just a lie, as my father told me.



Ashamed and Abandoned

I grew up so ashamed and angry at God and the people around me. I even hated my father for abandoning me. I wished that I could just wake up in the morning dead. And I believed that no one would care. In 2004 my father gave me away to my aunt. She abused me emotionally and physically. I recall so many times she brutally beat me up and called me names that weren't pleasant. She would say things like I will never amount to anything important in this life and I was just gonna be like my drunken and hopeless father.

In 2009, Junior High, wanting to try and find something better, I made the decision to run away from my aunt's place. I thought to myself that things would somehow improve. Instead, they became worse. I went to my grandfather's old house where I thought I'd have peace as he was hardly around. It was around this year at age 14 when I started hanging out with bad crowds. I started to steal, drink, smoke marijuana and eventually had to eat from rubbish bins.

By the year's end I had lost all the meaning of life and did not even have a desire to continue living. I recall so many times that I'd have a breakdown whenever I was alone and surrounded by four empty walls with nothing but a candle light at the center of the house and no food to eat or clothes to wear. I would think to myself "what's the point of living if all there is is pain and suffering?" So this pressured me to drink more. I even picked up a rope a couple of times and tried to hang myself as I thought that was the only solution I had.

As this went on, I got caught a couple of times by the police. By the grace of God I was way too young to be put in prison. I continued on a destructive path as I thought the only way I could survive was to steal and sell whatever I stole to buy food and clothes. Somehow, by the grace of God, in 2011, I made it through to Senior High with all Cs in 9 subjects.


The Help of Friends

When I got to Senior High in 2012, by God's grace, I met many Christian friends that were willing and able to help me grow in a personal walk with Christ. Most of them knew that I had a terrible Junior High history. I was genuine enough to let them know that I wanted to change. I now had a desire to pass my classes and go to college.

As I grew in my alone time with God, I experienced a growing desire to know him more. Somehow, in reading the word, eventually it seemed like all the questions and hurts I had faced were being answered and healed by God. I developed a real hunger to see all His promises being fulfilled in my life. But at the end of 2013, my final High School year, I failed my exams terribly. It didn't matter, anyway, because I couldn't afford further schooling.

I remember that I stressed so much about my life and what I was gonna do. I didn't want to go back to the old me. But in that stressful time, I started learning to pray to God which I had never done before. It somehow felt like I was talking to someone that had always been there and I was just waiting for the right time to respond. Praying helped me offload so much before God. He started ministering to me as I read more of His word.  I so longed to see a change in my life. I remember making so many promises to God. I told Him that if He blessed my life I would serve him for the rest of it. I was so tired of running away and eating from rubbish bins, living here and there with friends and even sometimes sleeping in the streets.


A Church and A Change

Over the next two and a half years, I continued to grow in God. There was a joy rising within me and a desire to help others see God through all the situations that they're facing. The only way of doing that was sharing my testimony. So in 2016 I came to ALL NATIONS VILLAGE CHURCH as it was the only church I had visited on several occasions. I shared with the Senior Pastor, Pastor Jana Lackey, my testimony from my rough upbringing to learning the Bible on my own to present day with God placing inside of me a great desire to minister to young people around Maun.

It wasn't easy because most of the young people I knew had seen me hanging out in bars, drinking and smoking . Some of them knew me when I was younger, and eating from rubbish bins. Now, trying to reach out to them was a really difficult job. But, nevertheless, I knew one thing: The Lord had brought me out of all of the difficult deserts and valleys for a reason. I believed Jeremiah 29:11 with all my heart and would confess it over my life day in and day out, without fail.

Eventually, I volunteered to serve at church because I had made a promise to God that I would serve him with all that I am if He changed my life totally. I volunteered in the youth department from June 2016 to November 2017, when I started receiving monthly funds of $70. I was still constantly confessing Jeremiah 29:11 over my life. In 2018, I had many negative things spoken over me from random people and even my extended family members. Some of whom said I would die by the end of year 2018!

As all this tried to take a toll on me, I continued to praise God, no matter what people where saying. I held on to my promise that He had personally told me - Jeremiah 29:11- and I said I will not be shaken. In mid- 2018 my Pastors called me into their office, sat me down and asked me if I would like to go to a bible college? I did not even think twice but I praised the Lord because His plans for my life started to be evident before my eyes. I got a scholarship to go to TEXAS BIBLE INSTITUTE for Discipleship and Christian leadership courses for 8 months in the USA.

As I was learning and growing at school, God placed such a great desire within me to reach out to the youth in my community, specifically the orphans and vulnerable children, to help them grow in God. I wanted to help them focus in school and not make the same mistakes I had made. I didn't want them to believe all the lies of the wicked one that I believed, the lies that got me into so much mess that if it wasn't for our Lord's grace, I'd have fallen far away from Him.


My New Life in Christ

I made a promise to God that if He would rescue me and save me from the troubled life I had, I would serve Him faithfully all my life. It has been a process but I am so blessed to be able to serve Him in ministry by reaching out to those who face the same things I faced.

I spent multiple years serving as a volunteer with All Nations Village Church. I learned so much in my service there and was blessed to be a part of their youth ministry.

In November of 2018, I visited House of the Lord Fellowship Church in Austin, TX. I ministered in their church and received much ministry from them as well. After I graduated Texas Bible Institute in the spring of 2019, I returned to Botswana and was blessed to receive the support of House of the Lord to minister to many youth the Word of God, as well as help bless, feed and clothe those who were in need. In August of 2019, I returned to the states for more mentoring from Pastors Richard and Michelle Sanders. We began working on our partnership for ministry in Botswana as God began to show us His plan.

I praise God that on November 14th, the Sanders finalized my adoption and I am now officially a Sanders! Having been ordained by House of the Lord, I am being sent out from them to establish ministries in Botswana. God has done and is doing amazing things in my life so that I can be a blessing to many nations.

I am so thankful for all HOTL has done for me. You are my family and your investment in me is bringing a harvest of life in many lives around me! May you receive a rich reward for your prayers, your love and your giving.

Love,

Kempho Utlwang

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