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My Story

Though there is only one way in which the Father draws people to Christ - by teaching them, and them hearing Him - each of us will have a different journey in being taught to come to Christ. This has been my journey. I tried to keep it short but that’s impossible - I’be had an eventful life!

Growing up First contact with Scripture Family tragedy
Military service Andy and his dad's church Losing my faith
Searching for my faith A close call I'm okay with God
The seed of the Word A closer call More seed sown
Jean Getting saved Getting healed
Getting delivered Drinking milk Derek Prince
The closest call The test of prosperity Today

Growing up

I was raised in a Dutch Reformed culture/tradition/religion. Though I attended church during this time, I no longer consider myself to have been a true Christian. I also read the Bible fairly regularly, probably as a matter of religious ritual, and had a personal conviction that Jesus was the Christ. But I did not follow Him in faith and that made all the difference. My heart had not yet been given to the Lord. To me Christianity was a matter of morals - about what is right and wrong? I did not consider, or even know about, what it was really all about. That I was only to find out much later in life. And thank goodness I did!

One day, during a Sunday school class the teacher told a story about Jesus who knew about something in advance and told others about it. I forget the detail, but what I do remember is that she said that Jesus had not told the absolute truth - she said “Jesus told a white lie”. To me that was devastating. Of course she did not mean that Jesus was being dishonest but what she said about Jesus absolutely shocked me. How could this man who claimed to be God tell a lie? Why will I follow someone who told lies? How could this God expect me to do things He was not willing to do Himself? I carried doubt about Jesus as the 'solution' with me for many years. Only later, when I learnt the truth about the Word, was I set free and did doubt leave me.

During this same time I heard a sermon preached that quoted Jesus as saying you need to be more righteous than the Pharisees, otherwise you won’t make it to heaven. I thought to myself, ‘Pharisees are preachers. I don’t want to be a preacher! Then how can I ever surpass the righteousness of a Pharisee? That’s impossible. I might as well give up now’. What the preacher failed to point out — or what I perhaps didn’t hear him say — is that righteousness does not come through knowledge or good works - as was my impression - it comes through repentance and faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ.

What these incidents tell me today is that the slightest mishap in sharing the truth may have a very significant bearing on another’s life. Also, that the only way to be sure that you know the truth is to find it yourself. Though it is important to grow spiritually under the guidance of a priest or pastor or other minister, we cannot delegate our obligation to find the truth about God’s character in His Word to a priest or a pastor or a home group leader. We must find it ourselves by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That is what it means to ‘walk with Christ’. Top

First contact with Scripture (1980 - )

As a child at primary school my mom bought me a daily devotional by Dr. Solly Ozrovech and I read it every day. It was great reading because the Bible was a little boring to read. I believe it helped me get some moral compass in addition to a good upbringing through my parents. I used a book marker that had the words of Romans 12:21 on it, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good’ (paraphrase). I believe my mom also got me that marker. It is amazing how that stuck with me over the years. Top

Family tragedy (1986)

During my final year at school my elder sister was killed in a tragic motor car accident. Before then, during that same year, on our way to my grandmother’s house following the passing of my grandfather (my mom’s dad), my brother, father and I were in a serious car accident that saw my dad crush almost every bone in his face. My brother had fractured his pelvis and was to spend several weeks in traction whilst I had memory loss and a 20 centimeter cut to my forehead. My father and brother were in hospital in a town 200 Km's away for several weeks while my mother and I stayed at home. I had the least injuries of all. The death of my sister that same year and the events that followed our car accident rocked the family, and my parents divorced a year later - the first year away from home during my first year of conscription military service. I had many issues to deal with on an emotional level and life in the military far away from home did not help much with the process. Nevertheless, I prevailed.

During the drama that unfolded my mother kept her faith, and I think it is the only thing that helped her keep her sense of internal strength. She needed to be strong keep a level head and to sustain her children, and that is exactly what she did. My mom is an incredible woman! Had she not been there for my brother and I following the death of her own father, the death of her only daughter, the serious injuries to her husband and remaining sons, and the trauma of the divorce that followed, we may have gone off the rails completely. To her considerable credit my mom remained anchored in her faith and internal resolve and instead advanced her career through further education. Top

Military service (1987 - 1988)

Due to the decisions I chose to make, I lost my way completely after school (post 1986) and had an on & off attitude towards Jesus and faith. But, before that happened I had big plans for my life: It had been my life-long ambition of mine to become a pilot. Since I can remember I had a special affiliation with aircraft - military aircraft in particular. And so, when I was drafted to the Air Force for my conscription military service I saw an opportunity to undergo training through the military to become one of their pilots. But life was about to deal me a cruel blow. An unexplainable decision by my platoon instructor changed the course of my life: Although I had been stationed less than 200 meters from the Air Force's pilots' testing facility and although I had received an official command from Air Force Head Quarters to report for pilot's testing, I was refused leave to go. To this day I have no idea why? This was a terrible blow. I could not see myself postpone it any longer, so I simply gave up the idea altogether and started dreaming of studying something - a concept that was completely foreign to me. I had been a good sportsman at school - reaching provincial representation in three different sports: having been champion at some point or another in two of the individual sports and captain of the team in the third.

Whilst I was still reading my daily devotional by Solly Ozrovech, I thought it prudent to strike a 'deal' with God. And so, I went on my knees one night and prayed, "Dear Lord, if you will cause me to play for the Provincial Under 20 Rugby team this year I will serve you". I knew that the 'deal' was a good one because it was virtually impossible for me to have made that team. Here's why:

But this actually served to work to my benefit:

Still, I had no idea that a selector from the provincial Under 20-side would spot me playing. That day - in one day - I went from a tented camp on the outskirts of town to AWOL to playing Training Unit trials to playing provincial Defense Force Under 20 trials to being selected for the Defense Force Under-20 side (comprising the Army, Air Force, Navy and Medical Corpse's Under-20 sides). That all happened in one day! Even I could not fathom what had happened to me. What had been a practically impossible only hours earlier had became a reality for a naïve 18-year old kid fresh from the country-side.

Then, only weeks later I played trials once again - this time for one of the country's most prominent Provincial Under-20 sides, which comprised players from the province's University, Teachers College, Technical Training College, Technicon, Defense Force, Correctional Services, Police Services and private clubs. This time I was convinced that the feat could not possibly be repeated. I was selected for play for the "G-team" against the "H-team" in the trials, which in reality represented the 'no-hopefuls' in terms of making the side. But, as it turned out - once again - I actually made the side, being the only player not from either the A-side or B-side to have been selected. A year later I would captain that same team. To this day I just shake my head as to what happened to me. I can only say that God made a way where there was no way. He lived up to His end of our deal. There wasn't going to be any questions about it.

As it turned out I went one step further that year: As an 18-year old young man from way out of town I was selected to represent the national Under-20 side. Remarkable! Top

Andy and his dad's church (1987)

Following Basic Training we were all sent off to various functional areas for 'Second Phase'. During this time I was fortunate to spend personal time with the son of a prominent preacher in town. This man was known through-out the country. A real "man of God". His son, Andy, was a genuine and sincere guy who accepted my friends and I for who we were. Yet, he never compromised his faith and his standards to accommodate us. He stuck to what he believed and he lived it too. That always impressed upon me.

One day Andy took a friend and I to his dad’s church. Before long I found myself on stage working with the visiting “Power Team” during one of their demonstrations. These guys were Christian strong men and body builders from the United States who displayed their personal strength while sharing the Message of Salvation at the same time. Only the former part of their ‘presentation’ impressed me but I am sure that some of what they shared got stuck somewhere in my heart (Mark 4:13-20), hence my recollection of the event. Andy is still in ministry today and serves the Lord with his whole family. He was (and still is) a wonderful example to me, something I was oblivious to at the time.

Still, for me there was no time to turn to God as I had promised only a year earlier. Yet, God was patient with me. Top

Losing my 'tradition' but seeing another side of faith (1988 - 1999)

Up to that point I still attended church but found the temptations associated with adult life far more appealing. So, what remained was the occasional reading of the Bible, prayer and attending church - a function of the tradition I had adopted earlier in life.

After I completed my military service, I found a job at a gold mine, which had promised to send away me to study at a near-by Technicon. I had accepted the notion that a career in commerce was the only option given that I no longer pursued a career flying airplanes. Rugby had not yet turned professional, so that wasn't an option. What's more, my school grades were too poor to allow me entrance to university (probably because I never expected anything great of myself in terms of academics). Further, the trauma of my sister's untimely death during my final year at school and the car accident I was involved in during that same time did not help my prospects for good grades. My parents didn't have the money to send me to university so it never was an option anyway. So, when the mine offered to pay for my studies after a year's service I put up my hand.

One day, whilst working for the mine, I attended the Dutch Reformed church in town. After the service the preacher invited all with sickness and disease to stay behind for prayer. This was not (and still is not) a regular occurrence in the Dutch Reformed Church. Nevertheless, that night, for the first time, someone prayed for me and I got healed from an ailment. It was a revelation to me that this could be done! I used to suffer from severe migraines but since that night it stopped completely. Today, if I do get a headache it is stress-related. What’s more, I can count the number of severe headaches (not migraines) that I have had on my one hand.

Despite the fact that I had been healed by God and that it was quite clear to me that He was (still) around, I still did not live up to my end of the deal with Him (that I would serve him if I got selected for the team I was aiming for). I was still living a life of sin.

I was being unfaithful. God was being faithful.

Nevertheless, I realized that there was more to the 'life of faith' that I was living, although I knew that for me it was not to be found in the Dutch Reformed church. I knew people from that church who were truly saved but I also knew that I was not be one of them. So, although I was living a sinful life, I casually started looking for alternative religious options. Top

Search for my faith (1989)

During this time, while I was still working for the gold mine, I was approached by a friend who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (aka 'the Mormons'). My impression was that they were good people. Their doctrine and the basis of their faith certainly is in question but I saw in them a level of sincerity and humility that I had not seen before. Apart from that the Mormons seemed to have a real focus on the family unit. That, obviously, is a good thing. Though I was impressed with the people, I just could not see myself following their beliefs and their doctrines, so I moved on.

When the gold price dropped significantly a year later and the mine postponed my college studies I had had enough of the mine anyway and decided to take matters into my own hands. A few years earlier, while I was still at school, a talent scout from a large university in another city had approached me to pursue studies through that university while playing rugby for them. I saw it as a great honour but I declined anyway as I had plans to join the Air Force. Now, three years later it was clear that my plans hadn't worked out so I called him up and explained my situation.

Dawie was glad to hear from me and it didn't take long to get bursary and accommodation. I was thrilled. I still had a shortfall in the total expense so I sold my car and took out two student loans from two different banks to pay off the loss in the sale of my car and also the outstanding amount in study costs. Dawie came as a real blessing to me and his efforts changed the course of my life, once again. There was one problem though: my school grades were too poor for me to study a degree course so I enrolled for a diploma course instead with the hope of making a transition to a degree course somewhere down the line. I set off at great pace expecting the worst in academic results. But a few months into my first semester I realized that university, after all, wasn't all that hard. I realized that I could do it! This was a real revelation to me since no-one in my family had ever studied at a university. Three years later I graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce - something I could never have imagined.

Life was relatively fair to me, academically speaking. On the sports field things were going really well and, on a social level, I had a ball. But, by the age of 23, I found myself leading an unsustainable life: Before I knew it I had taken on too much. Now in my final year at university, and, I got married, played rugby semi-professionally, worked as an insurance sales man and we were expecting our first child. In addition, I was awarded the captaincy of the province's senior provincial team. Life was busy! Perhaps too busy for it was to all come tumbling down sooner than later!

In the meantime the game turned professional. So, after I finished my studies I secured a position at a prestigious international firm while playing rugby as a professional at the same time. But managing two careers (one on commerce and one as a sportsman) wasn't sustainable as many of my team mates quit their jobs to focus on their sporting careers only. I did the same. Money was not much of a problem and I had social recognition as well. Life was good!

Spiritually speaking, however,I knew I had huge ups and downs. During the ‘bad times’ I displayed very poor judgment and inflicted much emotional damage on myself and the people around me, including my wife at the time and my daughter. By this time I had moved to another franchise while knocking on the door of the senior national team. We traveled a lot and the social recognition I was receiving caused me to look more inwardly than ever before. It was all about 'me' - more so than ever before.

Needless to say, that wasn't going to last and what followed was a divorce which left a child of four years split between two parents. Where was God in this? Frankly, I didn't care much. I had quit my job at the professional firm and was climbing the ladder of success on the sportsfield. What else could I ask for?

During this time I attended a morning service in a church in another town. I listened to the preacher describe the reasons why Jesus said we need to ‘turn the other cheek’. He explained that it had something to do with embarrassing the other party and went to great lengths to describe the cultural symbolisms in the Biblical story. I don’t know why exactly I was so irritated with his sermon but I said to myself, That is absolute rubbish. Does this man expect me to come here to entertain me with clever arguments and silly stories?!. His preaching had more to do with a lesson in ancient culture than with faith in Jesus Christ. I never went back to that church and probably took umbrage to the church going in general. To me it had become a farce and a good excuse to stay away from church almost completely. Top

A close call (1996)

At this junction I was playing professional rugby and my career was going really well. But that was about to change.

One day, during a practice session, I got tackled and landed awkwardly on my neck. Thank goodness I yelled out loud to warn everybody that I had been injured, which kept them from piling in on top of me. What followed was one of the scariest things I have ever had to do: I went through that set of checks no-one wants, ... left hand fingers - check!, right hand fingers, ... check!, left foot toes, .... check!, right foot toes, ... check! What I knew straight-away was that I was going to be able to walk! Grace given to a sinful man.

My limbs were still working fine but the weird tearing sound that came from my neck as it all happened worried me immensely. Thus, I was taken to hospital and an MRI was done. It wasn't good news. It turned out that I had suffered severe tears of the ligaments which hold in tact the vertebrae in my neck. It was 'touch & go' or my spinal cord had been snapped. I was a lucky man. I could easily have broken my neck and died on the spot. God had other ideas. Apart from the injury and how close I came to paralysis, it meant the end of my playing career (later I would learn that had I received better medical treatment and advice at the time I would have had a better chance to recover and perhaps played again). Still, God had other ideas. So, in the absence of the right medical advice and treatment my condition had become "permanent and irreversible".

This, of course, did not sit well with me as political conditions in the country at the time were of such that people from my ethnic background found it hard to secure a job, particularly in Human Resources where I had been a manager before. Thus, my life had suddenly taken a dramatic turn. Not only had I gone through a divorce only months earlier, I was without a playing career (unable to return) and I was without a commercial career (also unable to return). I was stranded! Yet, still I did not turn to God. Top

I'm okay with God-stuff (1996 - 1999)

There was still a bit of a comfort zone left - a sense of self-sufficiency: I had some investments which sustained me during this time. So, while I was frustrated about not being able to secure an income I could still pay the bills for a while. And so I continued to live an ungodly life, thinking I was ‘okay with God’, because I was going to church every now and then and I was also reading my Bible from time-to-time.

During my 'up times’ I looked into different denominations / belief systems - and even considered either converting to Judaism or Catholicism. I also experimented with New Age philosophy and practices as I endeavoured to change my poor circumstances to my liking. What I found at the time is that New Age techniques actually work. The fact that they were manifestly ungodly didn't really occur to me. But what I came to realize over time was that not only is it ungodly is that it is unsustainable as well; you need to 'fix problems' all the time because new ones keep popping up. Later I came to understand that New Age theory actually stems from, amongst others, Biblical principles. Some church doctrines like aspects of the Prosperity gospel actually rely on them.

Nevertheless, apart from the short-term successes with New Age, I knew that there was something more out there. I just didn’t know what it was and where to find it? Top

False conversions / commitments to Jesus (1997 - 1999)

So, at times I would come across churches (whether established or informally meeting in school halls) where I would come to a realization that I needed to "give my life to the Lord". And then, as the pastor called sinners to the front to pray the "sinner's prayer" I would go. But, it never seemed to 'stick'. I probably prayed the sinner's prayer three times on different occasions believing what the Bible said was true - that if I gave my life to Jesus I would become a different person. Yet, that never happened.

Before long I would live a life of sin, again. I can only imagine that the many people who heard of my 'salvation' - that I was now a "reborn Christian" - would see my sinfulness and determine for themselves that 'being reborn' is really only a farce'. In a way they would have been right because what I experienced during these occasions was not being reborn at all.

Only later, when I truly became reborn did I understand the reason why it never 'stuck'; I had never truly repented before I tried to believe for my salvation. And, although I tried really hard to believe, because I had not "died to sin" I could not "rise with Christ". The temporary change in my life following these church meetings was simply due to my determination to change, and not on the basis of a renewed spirit. Jesus noted to Nicodemus in John 3 that 'unless you are born of the Spirit of God you cannot enter the Kingdom of God'. Having since experienced a rebirth of my spirit this is something I now understand more fully.

Today, when I see people going through the same routine being 'born again' I wonder how long, if ever, they would take to come to see the difference between their 'salvation' and being truly reborn. And I wonder how much damage it brings to the world's view of Christianity when people become 'reborn' but never actually receive a regenerated spirit.

This was the person I was - an unregenerated 'reborn Christian' - something I regret. I also know that I was fortunate to have come to see the difference for myself. The difference being that I needed to lay down my own will before I could accept Jesus' will for my life in faith. This is absolutely vital. Repentance has to come before faith (Hebrews 6:1-6). Not the other way round like, regrettably, is tough. I know - I have seen the difference it makes. I am no longer fooled by largely Calvinistic rhetoric in this area, noting that I concur with him on many other issues. My interpretation is not on a clinical analysis of the Greek or Hebrew text. It is based on true, real-life experience. Laying down your will - whether you have been a good person all your life or not - has to happen before you can receive Him as Lord of your life in faith. Once I did that I saw the difference immediately.

Even though at this stage I was not a true believer and even though I was not living up to my end of my deal with God (that I would serve Him if He caused me to play for the team I aimed for in 1987) - which I had forgotten about anyway - I still prayed and God still answered my prayers, ... even as an 'unsaved person' God still answered my prayres. What this has taught me is that having your prayers answered is no guarantee for having been saved by God through His grace. He still wants us to repent, believe and live a life in obedience to Him.

At that time I had enrolled for post-graduate studies. I had a background in human resource management and completely underestimated this particular module which was part of my post-graduate business degree. After the HR exam I went on my knees in a total panic and asked God for mercy. I knew I had no chance to pass that exam, which would have put me back at least one year. But, God remained faithful. I passed I got 50% exactly. I was thrilled. Still, I did not repent and still I did not follow Jesus. I was being unfaithful. As He says He will always be, God was being faithful. Top

The seed of the Word (1997 - 1998)

During that time I worked with a ‘fellow Christian’ who loved the Lord and told everybody about it. I had done a good job so he offered me a director’s position and gave me shares in his company for free. We worked really hard and we built that business into a good operation. Then came an offer from another company to buy the business from us and we accepted. But, something went wrong with the payment scheme and my business partner became very irritated. A large amount of money was at stake - enough to make me a millionaire a couple of times over. We believed that God was going to bless us financially because that was what God was all about, wasn't it? And so, clearly it was Satan who wanted to steal our finances that was causing the problem (or, was it us who had made a god of money? I think the latter.)

I didn’t know too much about legal agreements at the time but what I did know was that you cannot take assets out of a company once you have sold it. So, when I had evidence of this happening, I had no choice but to quit. My moral compass 'kicked in'.

And so, in a matter of days, the millions I was supposed to have came to zero, because the acquisition agreement clearly stated that if the outgoing owner was to resign from the company he would forfeit all proceeds from the sale of the business that was due to him.

And so, in a harsh sense of injustice, I learnt a lesson about Christian businessmen - a false sense of entitlement (of God's blessing) can cause you to seek after material things in a way that is not healthy. Top

A closer call (1998)

At this time I was still not saved but I was getting closer to God, most likely due to the influence of my Christian business partner. Strange how God uses people. Despite the money I lost I am grateful to my previous business partner for re-introducing me to God.

One weekend I was invited to go motorcycle riding with a friend. I loved riding but I was a novice. My friend wasn’t a novice and so when I found myself not making the turn coming out of a ‘classic S’ while racing after the friend I had a choice to make, very quickly!; 'put the BMW on the deck, take the slide and hope for the best, or, try and negotiate the turn on the shoulder of the road, on the side of the oncoming traffic'. I opted for the latter.

All would have been almost fine had it not been for the oncoming pick-up truck that was occupying that part of the road while watching my friend race past and following him in his rear view mirror! This, I was sure, was the end. I was going to collide with the pick-up head-on.

You don’t apply breaks with a motorcycle while the bike is not upright, so breaking wasn’t an option. The only other choice I had was to bring the bike upright by crossing the road to the other side, go on the grass on the other side of the road and then down a very sharp embankment. Some would call it a cliff. All of this happened in split seconds. As I did this I slammed on the bike’s ABS brakes and headed straight for the embankment. Bu the ABS brakes had no bearing on the bike as my bike slid across the grass.

When I got to my senses I had gone off the embankment completely. But instead of tumbling down the hill I was caught in pine tree branches. A few days earlier they cut off a number of trees at that exact point. The branches served as a very effective ‘catch’ as I found the bike virtually in mid-air being held up basically by pine tree branches. The bike’s ABS brakes had ’blown out’ and for some reason my helmet's visor had broken off, but apart from that I was sitting upright and had no scratch whatsoever.

Despite all the commotion the bike had not even fallen over! Extraordinary! The lesson to be learned there is that God remains faithful. He provides at the very point of your need. No guessing that I still did not turn to God although I sensed that my time was starting to run out. Top

More seeds of the Word sown (1999)

I needed to figure things out, but was struggling. Several of my friends from post-graduate studies tried to minister to me but I dismissed their good intentions with skepticism and clever arguments. The lesson to be learned there is that it is the seed of God’s Word that makes the difference, not the cleverness of our preaching.

They 'spoke the Word in love' - not the 'softly-softly kind of love, but the tough kind of love. Exactly what I needed. I believe the seeds that these men and women were sowing, were on their way to germinate and bring forth a true commitment to Jesus. These people didn’t become disheartened because of my resistance and they were unashamed of their conviction. Hennie, Vicky and others stuck to their love for me and their love for God as they brought Truth into my life - they were ready to "preach the Word in season and out of season". Sometimes the things they said offended me and sometimes they said things that hurt me. But the Word was at work in my heart and I did not even know it. I thank God for those men and women. Top

Jean (1998 - 1999)

There is another event that stands out. I learnt from a man (whom I had not known prior to my salvation), some time after my salvation that he was shown in a vision to pray for me. Jean knew my face and name from our our under-graduate studies, but I did not know him. I don’t believe we ever conversed. We only shared one subject at university. What made this vision so amazing was that he had been in prison for quite some time at the time he prayed for me. He knew nothing about my personal life since I graduated in the early 90's.

Following/shortly before his graduation he had been sent to prison for politically-based crimes, testimony to the rapidly changing socio-political landscape we lived in at the time. At the time of his capture he had not only been an atheist, he also believed that the church was nothing else but a huge conspiracy designed to trap ‘intellectually inferior’ people (funny, sometimes, how those who consider themselves 'intellectually advanced' really can be so dumb!).

Whilst awaiting trial for his crimes Jean became involved in various 'Christian' and non-Christian sects in prison. Then, after he was sentenced, he started reading up on New Age philosophy. And then, after 3 months in prison, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour and he was saved.

Jean's time in prison had estranged him from his wife and he had become very depressed. Life became unbearable for him up to the point where he decided to just lie on his bed until he died. He ate nothing and drank nothing. All he wanted to to do was die. Jean had hit 'rock bottom'.

But the Lord was gracious towards him. After 3 days of not eating or drinking the Lord spoke to him, as he recalls: "On the 7th of December 1994, whilst I was in prison, I heard a voice say to me, "Jean, all you need in your life is Jesus Christ". I knew it was God speaking to me and I fell on my knees, prayed for forgiveness and asked Jesus to come into my life. Prison was the toughest time I have ever experienced but I will not exchange it for anything in the world!"

Jean went on to live a life submitted to Jesus. He started a church in prison and then another one after he was transferred to a new facility. After having started his second church in prison God showed him my face and my name on several occasions and said, "pray for this man", which he did. "It was as if I became fascinated with your face", he later told me after he got out of prison and we met by chance. Nonetheless, some months after he prayed, I got saved. Today I realize how important it is to pray for people. To this day Jean's testimony remains a wonderful tribute to the grace of God.

Moreover, Jean's testimony tells me that God can even use what is ‘obvious error’ for the good of His elect. He used New Age in addition to all the different sects in and outside of prison so that one man - Jean - can start believing in the Bible, get saved and pray for another man — me — with whom he had no contact whatsoever, so that I could get saved and restore some of the damage I had inflicted upon myself and the people around me. Though I may not agree with how some churches operate I know God uses even these for the growth and good of His elect. Top

Getting saved (28 July 1999)

By the grace of God and amidst these extraordinary circumstances I came to truly believe in Christ only in 1999 whilst attending a Charismatic church on invitation from Vicky. Pastor Sam preached a message that day especially for me. For the first time in my life someone properly preached the Gospel and did not compromise one little bit. That was what I needed.

Sam preached both repentance and faith towards God in Christ and that is what made the difference. Because, as I had experienced earlier in life, without repentance it is not possible to truly believe for your salvation. This is why John the Baptist was sent; to preach repentance so that people may believe in true faith.

That same day I was asked by an elder of the church, Do you know why you will go to heaven? I said, Yes, because I am a good person. John’s answer shocked me: No, that’s actually not right”. I knew right there and then I was ‘in for the ride of my life’. John was caring and loving but he didn’t mince his words. A lawyer by profession he told me as it was; we are saved because of God’s grace through our faith. Period. I knew I had much to learn.

I ended up going to home group at John and Irma’s house. These were Godly people and they too, along with every other member, tolerated my perpetual tears during home group meetings. Moreover, they were available to me for the many questions I had and challenges to the Bible I needed to air.

Thus, as it unfolded, following my genuine repentance, true faith and then open confession of that faith I was baptized in water, as the book of Acts tells us about, and I received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands in prayer. From that experience I started praying 'in tongues', which is something I cannot quite explain in writing. Top

Getting healed (2000 - 2002)

I loved that church and also found healing and restoration of my soul there from abuse I had suffered as a toddler. My parents knew nothing about the abuse and neither did I until two other people - husband and wife pastors at this same church counseled me. Jannie and Tobi literally spent hours with me in counseling. In terestingly, they did not actually raise the issue until what they thought was 'the right time'. So, when I saw another many from another church on another issue altogether and heard from him that there was an issue around abuse, Tobi and Jannie could confirm what they had understood to be the truth concerning my early life. And, this - eventually - served to bring a level of 'sense' to me about feelings and moods that were not very disturbing for many, many years prior. So, what I witnessed first hand was that the Holy Spirit witnessed the same thing to four different people who eventually 'came forward' with what had been revealed to them, followed by a dedicate approach to, by the victory of Christ on the cross, 'sort it out. Tobi and Jannie were patient, loving supportive and they spoke the truth of God’s Word into my heart and into my life.

They also appointed “prayer warriors” for me — three in total. These were people who would intercede for me during my restoration. Julie not only prayed for me she also kept me company during services. She taught me many things and she comforted me in a time of immense heartache and pain.

I probably cried for two years in every service I attended. I couldn’t help myself. One night I cried so loud that the pastor, who was visiting our church, stopped the meeting for what felt like 10 minutes so that I could calm down and so that he could be heard. Have you ever sat in a church for 10 minutes waiting for someone to stop crying?! I sobbed and whaled while lying flat on my back right in front of the stage. It must have been a sorry sight, but he allowed God to do a work in me.

That preacher loved me and so did every one of the members who sat there patiently waiting for me to get a hold of myself. In my heart tremendous things were happening but I was still spiritually timid and weak. I look back at that I consider how desperately weak it must have looked to some in the congregation. And, they would have been right. But 'weak' is where I needed to be. And weak is where I still need to be: 'In my weakness His strength is made perfect' Top

Getting delivered (2001)

During that same time another man from another church guided me through deliverance. To be honest, I was tricked to see Francois because I didn’t want to go. His son, Werner, and his wife Erika knew better: They invited me to dinner. It was a lovely dinner but before I knew it Francois and I were alone in the room. Right from the word go he told me stuff about my life that no-one else knew - “Your father is a Free mason”, were the first words he said to me. That was absolutely right. Although my dad had resigned from the Free masons many years prior, the consequences of his decision to join them still had a spiritual bearing on my life of which I was unaware. Well, that made me sit up and listen as Francois started revealing the things that were going on in my life - one after the other. This was serious stuff. It was no joke - I could tell from the completeness of the revelation given to him about my life and the release I experienced after he prayed. Never did he deviate from the Bible. Never did he profess to do anything in his own strength.

Many people will question the authenticity of this type of ministry (read two related articles here and here). There are preachers whose sermons I really enjoy who do not believe in this type of ministry nor do they believe in the curses of the Bible (read a related article here). For them these kind of things have disappeared. Yet, I know that in my own experience my life changed suddenly and significantly following my deliverance from curses, some of which I had brought upon myself through poor decisions and simple ignorance. But, check this out for yourself. Top

Up to the point of seeing Francois “deliverance”, to me meant a special way of counseling. Francois was no counselor and he made that clear too. Neither was he the scary type who ‘dabbled in the occult’, which is what I had expected. There were no loud cries and no chants, only sincere prayer, claiming Jesus’ Blood over my life in addition to Biblical statements charged with authority. And, there was a gentle insistence on forgiveness concerning those who had hurt me prior to then. A soft spoken man working with his wife Marie he delivered me from one curse after the other, including attempts to sabotage me and frustrate my life (testimony of the business world and people I was involved with at that time).

Nevertheless, it was the change in my daughter's life that was most significant to me. At the time she had been medically diagnosed with a number of ailments - depression, asthma, allergies, losing her hearing, losing her eye sight. Whilst sitting next to her and hearing Francois' simple prayers I witnessed first hand how she was being set free. On our way home I was cautious not to put words in my daughter's mouth, so I simply asked in a non-assuming way, "So, how are you doing?" upon which she replied, "Daddy, I feel so happy inside!". My daughter of 10 years had been set free.

The following day I took her to the Psychologist she was seeing once a week. Despite my absolute conviction about her deliverance I was still suprized when the psychologist came out after having spent considerable time with her, saying, "I don't know what has happened to this girl but there is nothing wrong with her". Today my daughter wears prescription spectacles, like many other people do. But that's all. The asthma, allergies, depression, failing eyesight and failing hearing all left her.

All of this happened before I knew about what Derek Prince teaches about curses and blessings, angels and demons. This too, was a revelation to me.

What all of this taught me, apart from the fact that the church in general is ignorant of many issues pertaining to the spirit, was that Werner and Erika loved me enough to trick me into doing what was good for me. They didn’t care too much about what was acceptable to me; they did what was good for me. I know that can be a dangerous thing to do but from that experience I now know that ‘good’ and ‘nice’ isn’t always the same thing. What we need to choose is what is good. What is nice has a secondary role. Top

Drinking milk (1999 - 2002)

Notwithstanding all of the things I had gone through I could still only handle 'spiritual milk' - sweet words of reassurance from the Bible graciously offered by other believers.

The members and staff of my church were wonderful. They loved me. They ministered the Word to me without compromise. And so did the senior pastor from whom almost every member took their lead. This man, who tragically lost his way somewhat, relentlessly preached the Bible in every service. He preached Jesus - the Word - and we learn to understand it. We never got tired of it - at least I didn’t. Because the Word he was preaching was setting me free from almost thirty years of believing half-truths, misinformation and down right lies about myself and about the world around me. I had been stuck in a rut and only the truth could set me free. I thank God for these men and women and I thank God for the church I attended. Top

Derek Prince

Probably the single greatest influence on my Christian walk in addition to the church where I got saved was the radio ministry of Derek Prince. Derek has since passed away but his books and radio teaching remains part of many hundreds if not thousands of broadcasts around the world. Fifteen minutes of teaching every day has made the world of difference to me and many others. It has been a constant in my Christian walk for ten years. Pod casts and other material are freely available over the Internet. Previously a professor of philosophy and a scholar and teacher of both Hebrew and Greek, Derek’s simple, logical and clear style of communication cuts through the world of entertainment and industry that is so prevalent in many churches today. His personal sacrifice and devotion is testimony to that of and Every Day Believer. Top

The closest call (2003)

In 2003, when I was knocked off my motorcycle during peak-hour traffic on the busiest highway in the country, and came out of that completely unscathed I knew that God’s protection was for real. I was traveling at about 80 - 100 kilometers per hour. A swerving car from the middle lane knocked my bike over and caused me to fly over the handlebars before I could take any evasive action. Yet, as I came to my senses I was totally fine. To my complete astonishment I was running (at great pace!) in the fast lane of the highway, having no injuries whatsoever. 'Wow, how is that possible?!', I thought to myself. 'How can that be?!'

What had happened, and I know you may find this extremely hard to believe, was that after leaving the bike’s seat and flying over the handle bars I went head over heals, landed flat on my back in front of the bike and hopped on to my feet again from where the momentum of the bike caused me to run in the same direction I had traveled Now, consider I was doing about 80 - 100 Km/h on a highway packed with other cars, trucks and busses. The Tupperware lunch box in the outside compartment of my rucksack punched a cut in it in the same way that a cookie cutter would. Between the lunch box and my back, my Bible, which I was studying during lunch hours, served as protection for my back. So, I did not even feel my lunch box as I landed flat on my back in front of the motorcycle.

Today I look back at that incident and joke about it; the closest I got to getting injured was pulling a hamstring from the sprint down the highway! It turned out that not one piece of my equipment: my helmet, gloves, shoes, trousers, riding jacket - nothing, had been damaged or even scratched. Under my trousers, on the outside of my right knee, I found a spot where there was a tiny bit of skin missing. But no bleeding. My bike was a mess though. It had fallen diagonally across the fast lane so that no car could pass it and run me over while I was doing the sprint down the highway. Consider that at that time I was still carrying a very, very serious neck injury - 'gross instability of my C4/5 and C5/6 vertebrae' - which I sustained in 1996 and which ended my rugby career.

The injury was "permanent and irreversible". Many tests were done to determine my prospects for playing rugby again, including those done by my disability insurance company (who eventually paid out on the basis that my injuries were found permanent and irreversible”). Well, that was until I attended a healing service at church and received complete healing from my neck injury. In the words of the Radiologist who analyzed the films when I had X-rays taken some days after the healing service, Sir, I just need to understand, please, why did you have X-rays taken? Were you in an accident and are these just as a precautionary measure? Because, apart from a slight degeneration of the vertebrae, which is normal for a rugby player of your stature as well as your age, I cannot see anything wrong! Wow, I had been healed completely! I sold the motorcycle not too long afterwards, and I look back, once again, at God’s miraculous protection. Today I have full use of my neck and I can play golf again.

In fact, seven years ofter the healing I received an invitation to join a 'Golden Oldies Rugby Club' close to our home. So, just to be sure, I had it checked out again by a Radiologist and given the OK to play. Amazingly, his words were exactly the same as the first doctor: "Sir, I just need to understand, please, why did you have X-rays taken? Because I cannot see anything wrong", Contrary to what I expected golden oldies rugby can actually be quite rough. Being a big guy with a bit of a reputation I was an obvious target. So, I learnt to expect that I would be marked. Naturally I felt great relief when I made it through my first game. It was a great feeling!

Then came the greatest test. Having grabbed a hold from behind of a burley opponent and trying to wrestle the ball from him, he suddenly flung back his head in an attempt to get loose, thus connecting with my chin and flinging my neck backwards violently. I just let go and quietly prayed, "Lord, please ...". Fortunately I showed no ill effects but had it checked out in any event. But, as before, the words of the Radiologist came were in exactly the same as the two doctors prior: "Sir, I just need to understand, please, why did you have X-rays taken? Because I cannot see anything wrong". God is good. Top

The test of Prosperity (2003)

I left my beloved church some time later on the basis of what I perceived to have been a continued over-emphasis of the prosperity gospel. In my understanding it is not Scripturally sound doctrine. I refrained from going to formal church meetings for some years because I could not find one that was not either preaching prosperity (read a related article here) or merely following some or other Christian tradition. As a result tuned in to Derek Prince's radio broadcasts and I attended home church ('home group') with fellow believers who were at different stages of spiritual conversion and growth. I learnt to listen carefully to what was being taught and I learnt to test all things, including messages from the pulpit (perhaps, particularly messages from the pulpit!). Top

Today (2003 - present)

Today, I no longer refer to church as "church". I call them for what they are - Christian or religious gatherings. Whilst I gave my life to the Lord in one of these gatherings, I cannot and should not call it church. Because, the word church is reserved for those who already and genuinely belong to Christ and have given their lives to Him. That was not the case for me for the most part of my life as I attended what I thought to be church. Today, thousands of well-meaning people attend these gatherings for all kinds of reasons - some good, some rather nefarious. Some people get saved - that is a wonderful thing. Others never get saved; they either lose interest or are 'held captive' in a 'holding pattern' of tradition and cultural or community acceptance. Thus, many attend these gatherings without being asked personally and directly or otherwise challenged concerning them giving their lives to the Lord. I was one of these. It took me almost 30 years of churchgoing to realise that I was not at all born again.

I do believe in gathering with genuine believers though. In fact, I am clear that this is very important. We need to be strengthened and supported in our faith by other believers, and we need to do the same for them. I am part of a 'men's group' — a bunch of believers who talk about their faith, their understanding of the Bible and their fears and flaws without reservation; a place where believers can encourage each other on a very personal level. I thank God for that privilege. I also meet with a dear friend who genuinely moves in the gifts of the Spirit. This is another level of church for me as we are able to address spiritual matters more personally, particularly on how they affect our daily lives. We confess our sins to one another. We pray together and for each other and we hear the Lord concerning the other. This is a wonderful time of fellowship which is what I believe church is all about.

There is no perfect church — I have no illusion about that. I also have no illusion that God uses even false teachers or wayward systems of belief to teach people to come to Christ. In my own experience, I was prayed for by a man who started as an atheist, then moved to a sect believing in only the first three books of the Bible, then moved to another sect who believed only in the first five books, then the Old Testament until he was born again. As I said, this man eventually prayed for me - I repented of my rebellion and my self-willed attitudes and trusted Him as Savious in genuine faith. So, God used the 'three books sect' to get a man who knew he was not a believer to eventually pray for a man who thought he was a believer. And the man who thought he was aved came to see truth. The wisdom and the way of God is astonishing!

I believe that we need to be sensitive to where the Holy Spirit leads us. If that means moving to another church, then go even if it is not your style. I also believe we need to be praying for all church leaders. They desperately need it. They are generally ill equipped and they are generally overwhelmed by a system which has foolishly merged the offices of Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist and Pastor: He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11). So, what you have is a guy who has a heart for people (a Pastor) but not a heart for teaching pretend that he is a Teacher of the Word, or being forced to pretend that he is a Teacher of the Word. Poor guy, and poor members of his congregation! Then you have another guy who is a Teacher deny that there is such a thing as a Prophet or an Apostle largely because he does not believe Ephesians 4:11 to be a relevant, updated and true verse for believers today, but also because he himself is not a Prophet or an Apostle - so he thinks these offices cannot possibly exist today. That's the contemporary 'church' for you - confused.

Moreover, there are those who are neither Teacher nor Pastor nor any other office - even unbelievers - who 'teach the word'. These should be called false teachers but they are not because men and women have come to surround themselves with those who teach them that which they would like to hear - refer 2 Timothy 4:3-4. The problem with this is that you cannot see the genuine believers from the unbelievers and you end up being confused, frustrated or losing your devotion to what really matters: Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

That said, every church I have attended — from the first to my current setting— has played a part in shaping my faith. I am very grateful to each one of them, and I am very grateful to each individual who has contributed to my journey. It has not been easy at times, but it has been good throughout. What I know more today than I knew before is that the words of Jesus are so true, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free". "The truth" is the God-person - the Jesus of the Bible (John 14:6) and God's Holy Spirit testifying about Him (John 15:26). It is not the 'Guru Jesus' that only shared words of wisdom. Or the 'Moral Jesus' who showed the world what is right and what is wrong. Or the 'Judge Jesus' that condemns everybody that is out of line or ignorant. Or the 'Gentle Jesus' who never had a harsh word in defense of truth. Though often preached and portrayed in Christian circles, these characters are not the Jesus of the Bible. When we over-emphasize one aspect of Jesus at the expense of another, we are preaching a false Gospel. Of that there is much going around. (read a related article here).

The God-Man who died on the cross, was raised, ascended to heaven and in whose stead the Holy Spirit was sent as Helper; It is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God - a Kingdom that is not a physical place, which is attained through repentance and faith by a new spiritual birth. That is the Gospel (read a related article here).

What I can say is that knowing more of the truth of God's Word through the Bible and through the teaching of the Holy Spirit (though I sometimes allow my own issues and hang-ups to get in the way) is worth more to me today than I could ever have imagined. It took many years for these seeds to be sown into my heart (by people from all walks of life). Some only said one thing to me about Jesus. Others preached a whole sermon. Each little bit has counted and still does.

Once a week I volunteer as a Chaplain at our local hospital. Here I see what damage the 'church' has done to people's idea of Christ. That thing which is called church has shown the world much hypocrisy, selfishness and greed. The very things that angered Jesus. To be honest, if regular Christians and Pastors would find themselves in these kinds of settings, I think they will come to understand why the world views Christianity with such suspicion. Health Services protocol prohibits us from 'preaching Jesus', unless invited, so, quite often I am just there for them; a listening ear and a caring heart. I try to connect - this is what I can do. It is not much. I also Chaplain in the community sitting in coffee shops or car parks as and when there is a need. In the end the word "Chaplain", I believe, is just a modern-day title for an Early Church Christian.

If there is something that I know apart from that Jesus is Lord, it is that He does not look approvingly at those who serve Him with their lips while their hearts are not genuinely with Him. Jesus wants us to get rid of the hypocrisy of our ways and the pursuit of worldly, material things so that we may taste the very thing which made Paul sing with joy whilst locked up by the Romans in harsh confined conditions.

So, if loving another means to do what you want to have done to yourself - if that is what it means to be a 'Good Samaritan' - then I want people to help me along my way in finding God's truth. And then, that is exactly what I will do for them as well. If I can be the Samaritan who helps a brother or a sister get rid of their ignorance or their hypocrisy I hope to do it in grace and in love. And I hope they can be a Samaritan for me too - I need it!

Last update: May 2017

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