From Death to Life
Based on I once was Dead by Cedric Kanana with Benjamin Fischer
How did you come to know Christ?
Whether you decided to follow Christ in a single instant or gradually felt your heart turn towards Jesus, every story of how Christ wins souls for himself is precious and valuable. We should never feel bad about having a testimony that isn’t as dramatic as others. Every time Jesus transforms a heart is worthy of great celebration.
But occasionally, a dramatic story reveals God’s greatness in particularly thrilling ways. One of the most exciting tales is the conversion of Cedric Kanana.
Cedric tells his story in the recently-released “I Once Was Dead: How God Rescued Me from Islam, Drugs, Witchcraft, and Even Death.” This gripping narrative clearly demonstrates Jesus’s power over the forces of evil and sin.
Throughout his life, Cedric had given himself to the powers of darkness. He sold drugs, and passed along his addiction to many others. He used violence to get what he wanted. He plotted to murder his father. He refused opportunities to reform. After barely avoiding arrest, Cedric dedicated himself to the study of Islam, and took pleasure in outwitting Christians in apologetic debates.
But everything changed for Cedric when his mind suddenly snapped. In an instant, he became disconnected from reality and spiraled into a year-long fit of madness. His desperate parents tried everything to heal him: traditional African magic, Islamic rituals, Western medicine. But these methods only made his condition worse.
Out of options, Cedric’s mother secretly took him to a Christian church for healing. The minsters fasted, then prayed for Cedric—and his madness left him immediately. Cedric was restored.
But what does a Muslim do when they are healed by the Christian God? Cedric did not know, so he kept silent. Had he spoken the truth, he would be cast out of the Muslim community, or even killed. As a result, Cedric remarks that “the honour and glory for the healing was given to every other deity than the one who had done it. This duplicity worked uncomfortably in me, as I felt myself in constant deceit while also betraying the mercy of Jesus.”
But even though Cedric did not proclaim the name of Jesus, Jesus was not done with him yet. After several months, Cedric began to suffer from a stabbing pain in his lungs, like razors. Even the best doctors in the country were helpless. Cedric suffered horribly, but eventually the sickness overcame him. Cedric died.
Cedric found himself in an empty, dark room. Four twisted figures wearing blood-soaked robes came to attack him with horrible weapons, pinning him to the ground. One raised an axe, about to strike Cedric.
But then Jesus entered the room. He banished the four demons, and spoke the words that would change Cedric’s life: “I died for man. And you are among those I died for. Do not deny it again. You must tell others. Reveal it.”
Cedric returned to life with a sheet covering his body. He was wearing traditional burial clothes. There was a large hole in the ground nearby. As he sat up, people panicked and ran in all directions. Cedric wondered what this could mean.
Suddenly, Cedric noticed Jesus standing in the crowd, and the memories of his death came rushing back. Cedric knew who had resurrected him.
“Jesus is here!” he shouted, “It was Jesus who got me and brought me back!” The crowd was overwhelmed with terror and scattered. But as Cedric continued to shout what Jesus had done for him, some drew near and asked if Jesus could save them too. Thanks to Cedric’s ecstatic preaching, thirty-one people gave their lives to Jesus next to the open grave.
A local pastor guided Cedric to church, where he received prayer, preparing him for a life-long walk with Christ. In the following years, Cedric has travelled across Africa, preaching God’s glory to everyone who will hear it. Though many have tried to kill Cedric for abandoning Islam, God has miraculously delivered Cedric from every attack. His incredible story of how God has changed his life has helped countless people give their lives to Jesus.
God has given Cedric a remarkable story of how Jesus’s power brought him from death to life. Cedric’s book “I Once Was Dead” proclaims this message to the whole world. If you have become a Christian, you too have an incredible testimony. Though you were once dead in your sins, God came to rescue you, changing you from an enemy of Christ to an heir of God.
Your story may be less dramatic than Cedric’s, but it is no less miraculous. Join Cedric and countless believers across the globe in proclaiming what Jesus has done in your life!
Jesus is amazing. Together, let’s make his name known!