The Education Ambassadors SA Team caught up with Lishman Mokoena, who grew up in Sebokeng, Gauteng. Lishman is founder and owner of Lion Empire – an organisation that focuses on introducing individuals to themselves and lead them to build a relationship with their maker. It also deals with Leadership training, Marriage Counselling, Mentorship, Teaching the word of God and Personal Training.
I was born at Sebokeng Hospital in the Vaal. Grew up at Zone 14 Sebokeng in a 4 roomed house with my grandparents, mother, aunt, uncle, my little sister and 4 cousins. My mother then moved out and got her own place when I was in standard 7. I never really knew my father they divorced when I was very young and he passed away when I was young too. The last memory of him that I have was when I visited him and he was sick (stroke or something) then I never got to see him. Attended Primary School at Motlotlo, I never went to Creche/Pre-School, highlight of primary school is when I was the only boy in the top 10 students Standard 4 and 5. I did my high school at Sebokeng Technical High School, the highlight there was when I got 100% on Mathematics on Higher Grade Standard 8… Then after that I think I thought I was smart and stopped studying then passed my Matric with an average of Ds.
What were the challenges and great things about growing up?
The challenge was having to stay with so many people in a 2-bedroom house, we slept on the floor but it was fun (we had to make it fun) We didn’t have the privilege of toys, they couldn’t afford to buy us all, so we relied on the ones my mother and grandmother would bring (makgoweng) they were domestic workers. I used to think growing up without a father was hard until I grew up and actually found that it was a blessing to me. I am the person I am today because of his absence.
I am grateful to how I grew up for it gave me foundation for the love of people and helped a lot in discovering my purpose in life. I couldn’t speak to anyone, I was an introvert. I grew up thinking that everyday I’ll have to go to therapy to talk about my feelings, little did I know that today people would be talking to me about their feelings, advice and seeking direction in life.
Your career? What is it that you do? What inspired you to do what you do?
I am a personal trainer, what inspired it was the love of modelling, so I had to look the part… while preparing for a modelling career, that’s when I fell in love with training and exercises, health and fitness in general. My modelling only lasted for a few months, was the face of R&M Underwear. Then did body building 3 years, was very good at it, have a lot of 1st places including 2nd place at WPF Jnr SA Champs.
That’s when I pursued a career in the field of health and fitness, worked at Slater Health and Fitness for 2 years, little did I know that it was just a set up for me to discover my purpose in life. I met a guy named Shaidi who I was his trainer and he lent me a DVD disc of Bishop TD Jakes – 7 steps of a great man. The teaching stirred in me a hunger for God in a way I never knew existed. In pursuing God, that’s when I found me. That’s why I tell people that, the best introduction in life, is to be introduced to yourself.
In 2016 I registered a Company Lion Empire Changing Lives, we deal with introducing a person to themselves and lead them to build a relationship with their maker. We also do Leadership training, Marriage Counselling, Mentorship, Teaching the word of God and Personal Training.
What do you like most about yourself and the work that you do?
Firstly, the difficult part was to allow myself to die not literally but my will had to die, so that the Lord could gain access here on earth through me, by allowing Him to use me. I like the fact that I try by all means and all cost to stay faithful to my wife and to put in practice things that I teach, for I believe that we preach more with our life style more than we do with our mouth.
What I like about what I do is that the Lord is able to use me to reach out to His people.
What are some of the challenges which you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
When I was in Standard 6 I was very depressed and even tried to commit suicide by drinking all the pills I could find in my grandmother’s drawer, but obviously didn’t succeed only had a serious headache and my mother took me to the Dr. and was well after that. That experience woke me up to a life of prayer.
Another challenge was to try to fit in, in the circle of friends I had… so I had to lie that I have many girlfriends yet I didn’t, unfaithfulness never sits well in my spirit… even though I did do it, but when my wife found out, I then understood why I didn’t and still don’t like it, she was very hurt and disappointed – I never want to see that look in her eyes ever again.
I took me over a year fixing that foolish act, I had to do check ins everywhere I go, video call my wife when I get to every place I went to, and she never asked me to do that, but had in me to do that to win back the trust and fix what I had done.
What are some of your life highlights for you so far? What are you most proud of?
Having to father 4 lovely kids and be a husband to a very beautiful lady.
2017 held our first very own Couples Seminar and even old people came to hear this young couple and they left there saying they heard God giving them solutions, that review blew my mind.
I am proud that with all I have, I’m pursuing truth over perspective and systems.
What, in your opinion, are the most important factors to keep in mind to make it in your career or life in general?
To stay connected to God.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next three years?
Opening a centre that provides truth of who God is, because the church is failing to do so.
If there was anything you could do differently, what would it be
How to teach the people about God.
Prayer – Faith – Believe – Grace
Are there any specific people or organisations that you look up to and draw inspiration from and why?
Of course… The late Dr Myles Munroe and his wife, for they lived a life of purpose, doing all to do according to the will of the Lord.
And the Nation of Islam(Muslims) their discipline to Allah is very inspiring to me.
Are there any inspiring projects which you’re involved in?
Me and my wife currently embarking on a move – Truth About – we just did, Truth About Love, we now busy with preparations of Truth About Singleness in October then we’ll be doing Truth about Law and Grace… we are inspired about Truth. Every Monday we do motivation on the local radio station (Sedibeng FM).
Lastly, what advice would you give to others out there looking to follow in your footsteps?
Live right, because the office of God or Ts and Cs of representing God requires you to live right and always her God for His work.
How can the public contact you?
Facebook: Thamsanqa Lishman Mokoena