I was born into a Christ-centered family. My mother and father were both Christ-followers so I knew about faith in Jesus Christ from an early age. My faith grew at school, where they taught us the Bible and Biblical values. But I was still young, and the things I was being taught, I did not have a choice about because it was part of the curriculum.
I was in secondary school when I accepted the Lord as my personal Saviour. It is different growing up as someone who knows of Christ than it is accepting the Lord to come into your life and be your Saviour. So until I was in secondary school, I knew what salvation meant, but I had not asked the Lord to come into my life.
It was not easy being a Christ-follower with a disability in Africa. There are so many challenges. I did not like going to church each Sunday; people looked at me as if I was the biggest sinner and needed the most grace because I am disabled.
At some churches, they told me I needed healing. As I grew in my faith, I saw it was my responsibility, and God was going to help me, to teach others that God could still use me as a vessel just the way I was, even with a disability. That was very challenging because it is very difficult to tell a pastor, “I think God loves me the way I am.”
Having Jesus in my life puts a smile on my face every day. It is a smile that is from within and reflects on the outside. When people see the smile on my face, it is the glory of God. People don’t just see Anne; they see Anne who is covered in the glory of God.
At times I felt angry with God, especially when I was a teenager. When my friends were wearing high heels and short skirts and were dancing, and that was what I wanted to do. I grew older and realized that God has a special purpose in my life, and instead of just being angry with God, I am learning to be thankful and grateful to God every single day when I wake up.
—Anne Wafula Strike, Kenyan Track and Field Paralympian
Kenya native Anne Wafula Strike was born healthy and contracted polio at age two and a half. The condition rendered her paralyzed and she began using crutches as a teenager, eventually moving into a wheelchair as an adult. It was then she discovered wheelchair racing and competed in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens for her home country of Kenya. She participated as a torchbearer for the 2012 Games in London.