When O’Brien Hekandjo became a disciple of Christ in March 1997, he had no idea how his decision would affect the restof his family. Twenty-one years later, his faith and example have resulted in the baptisms of seven other family members – including his parents – in Namibia, southern Africa.

As O’Brien and his sister, Ida, left home to further their tertiary education in Cape Town (South Africa) they received strict warnings from their parents not to get “brainwashed”into joining any churches, but to focus on their education. But when they returned home for the holidays, they had not only joined a church but also been baptized. “The seed of God’s word was first planted in me by Ivor Botha (who is now one of the evangelists in the Johannesburg church) and to this day, everything I had learned as a young disciple has defined every single life choice I’ve made,” said O’Brien.

His sister Ida Muskasa appreciates her own conversion. “I first attended church because my brother (O’Brien) had invited my best friend and my sister, Barcelona, to church and I didn’t want to stay behind on my own. Allthree of us started studying the Bible but I was the only one who ended up getting baptized in 1998,” said Ida.

In 1999, Palesa, (who would become O’Brien’swife, and Ida’s sister-in-law), was invited to Bible studies by Bongiwe Khoza and Anne Lebepe. Palesa (on the left, with O’Brien) had grown up in a traditional church and had been searching for a place of worship of her own choosing. “Even though I’d been an avid church goer all my life, I still felt that I didn’t truly know God and needed to find Him for myself,” she said. O’Brien and Palesa are now focusing on raising their two boys (Kgosi and Kabelo) in the fear of the Lord. They hope that, with thepositive influence of their extended family and prayer, the boys will follow in their footsteps.

O’Brien’s parents, Meme Ndinelao and Tate Nathaniel Hekandjo, noticed the immediate changes they saw in their children. “At the time we had a family-run mini-market and I used to buy some of my stock from vendors who might not have obtained the goods through honest means. When my son discovered this, he was very unhappy and asked me how I was any different from a thief. This really cut me to the core but I was also touched by his honesty. I then decided to visit the church as I wanted to change who I had become,” said Meme Ndinelao. She was baptized in 2010 but felt something was missing. She had started on a new path but had left her husband behind. She had to wait three years until her husband joined the family of disciples in 2013. “The heavy weight was lifted and I felt tremendous peace and joy,” she said.

The year 2016 proved to be an incredibly fruitful year for the Hekandjo family. O’Brien’s sister, Barcelona, was added to God’s family in June. “Looking back I realized that I needed to experience the unconditional love, peace, and joy that my mom had spoken of, to fully understand what she meant. I’m learning the boundless power of God’s love and how it can affect positive change in all of us. Becoming a disciple is the best decision I’ve ever made for myself and my three children,” she said.

Sabina Nghuunduka (Hekandjo) was baptized in September 2016 in the south-west London church (in England), shortly after Barcelona traveled to the UK to visit her. The two made a trip to Spain, where the hospitality of the disciples there really touched Sabina. She was also warmly welcomed by the church in London, and to her joy, discovered their meetings were only a 15-minute bus ride away from where she lived. “My journey to becoming a disciple was so unexpected – but it taught me that God really knows our hearts and when they’ve softened enough to receive him. The timing was perfect,” Sabina said.

Her husband, Nestor Nghuunduka, first visited the church in London in July and attended the church in Namibia on his return and started studying the Bible with O’Brien soon after. “When I started seeing the changes in my wife (Sabina), I wanted us to take this journey of growth together in faith, keeping God front and center in our marriage.” He made Jesus Lord of his life in November 2016. “I continue to learn and grow every day and my wish is that God will strengthen us and show us how we can be of more service to Him as we continue to grow in faith,” he said.

In 2017, Lucy Soabes (Barcelona’s daughter) was baptized the night before her 18th birthday. “My decision to study the Bible was entirely selfish because it made me happy and excited to know God, it gave me a sense of peace, as I was feeling a bit lost and I had a sense a big piece of my life puzzle was missing,” she said.

The Hekandjo family’s faith has proven to be very infectious. They are putting 1 Timothy 4:16 into practice: Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”