Testimony of Suah: A Dead Man Walking
(Name changed for security reasons)
Rebel Special Forces Commando- Liberia, West Africa
Liberty Radio: Monrovia, Liberia:
Liberia has been a war zone for decades. A coup in 1980 set the stage for Samuel Doe to establish a military regime. Ethnic clashes between the ruling Krahn tribe and the minority Gio and Mano tribes ensued. When a general opposing Doe tried to overthrow the government, that general was killed and eaten. President Doe was so paranoid that the ethnic Gio and Mano tribes were plotting against him, that he ordered his Liberian Army to attack unarmed civilians and burn villages in the north where Gio and Mano tribes lived. These ethnic minority tribes under the leadership of Charles Taylor, an alleged Libyan trained guerrilla, struck back.
In 1989, Suah, a Gio tribesman who had been trained as a Special Forces Commando, joined Charles Taylor’s army of one hundred rebels and laid siege to Monrovia, the capital city. Thousands of Gio and Mano tribesmen joined Taylor’s cause. The fighting between the government and Taylor’s rebel groups raged for four years. The vilest of acts were committed against tens of thousands of innocent people. Boys as young as seven years old were forced to become child soldiers. Brutality, torture, rape and murder ran rampant.
One of the bloodiest single events took place in the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church where 2000 people had taken refuge for three weeks to escape the carnage. Thirty government soldiers broke down the doors and hacked the men to death; then machine gun fire cut down hundreds of escaping women, children, and babies. In a few short minutes, 600 people, including more than 100 children, lay in bloody piles on the church floor.
Suah participated in this grisly business daily for six conscience-searing years. He was feared —and hated! At the mention of his name, people would run into the jungle and hide.
When the war ended, the warring factions put away their arms, but they could not put away the memory of their gruesome, violent deeds. 250,000 Liberians— one twelfth of the entire population—had been slaughtered. Not one family in the entire country escaped unscathed. Suah, haunted by the memories of his gruesome past, became a crazy man. He couldn’t eat; he couldn’t sleep; he couldn’t work; he couldn’t play; he couldn’t laugh; he couldn’t cry; he had no emotions. It was as if he had turned to stone. He was a dead man walking!
Years passed. One day Suah happened to listen to a new Christian radio station in Monrovia. The preacher astounded him by saying, “God can forgive and will forgive every sin, no matter how vile. God,” the preacher declared “can transform a life and make it new.”
Shaking in disbelief, Suah called the Christian radio station and asked the question that had haunted him for years. “Can God forgive me?”
“Yes!” was the definitive reply. After several hours of counseling, Suah made a life-changing decision. He bowed his head and begged for forgiveness from Jesus! The floodgates broke! Emotions flooded his soul! Suah cried! He laughed! HE WAS ALIVE AGAIN!
Suah had one more question. “Could I go on the radio and ask the families of all the people I have killed to forgive me?” He did! What a stir it made in the capital! A deluge of calls from angry, bitter people who hated his very name. And then— another call. This time a cry for help came from a young man who related his piteous story.
“I was seven years old when rebels stole me from my village, marched me into the jungle, and taught me to kill. For ten years I have been just like that man Suah. I have had no emotions. I can’t work; I can’t sleep; I can’t think; I can’t cry; I WANT TO DIE!! Is there any hope for me?”
Yes! There was hope! The former child soldier was gloriously saved!
There is no way for us to comprehend the agony and degradation experienced by those who have committed or suffered such heinous atrocities. No human being is capable of coping with such horrific crimes. Without the love of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins, we would all go mad! God’s promise is sure. “The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” (Romans 10:12)
Through your generosity, every day 500,000 struggling people in war-ravaged Liberia listen to the message of hope which is broadcast on Liberty Radio seven days per week. THANK YOU for your faithfulness!!!!
And now, the rest of the story! Suah now serves as a deacon at the ———— Baptist Church in Monrovia, Liberia. He has not missed a Sunday morning, Sunday night, or Wednesday night church service since the day he was saved. In 2016, Suah surrendered his life to preach the gospel. He is now attending Bible collage in his area. Suah’s vile life is so changed that Liberians can do nothing but attribute the miracle to God.