My Testimony - how I became a Christian

(a work in progress)

I grew up in a Christian home and went to Sunday School and I was convinced that I was born a Christian.

I remember as a small child really hating Church as it seemed so long and boring, I also had to stand for long periods which was tiring. The end of the service was also ghastly as all these strange people would come up and greet and horror above horrors kiss you.

Sunday school was a bit better but also pretty dull. My first really enjoyable experience was going to a holiday program, they had loads of fun stuff to do and I really enjoyed that. I do not think that it did anything for me spiritually but it was fun. We moved to Sasolburg and the kids were nasty to me at Sunday school because I was quiet.

I remember thinking if God exists and I believe in Him I go to heaven, If He does not exist I die and cease to exist. I thought I prefer to have hope in God than just die, I did not want to die, in fact I wanted to live forever the thought of death scared me, I imagined death a very painful experience.

Growing up I used to pray to God as I was taught and I thought that I was doing OK. From the age of ten I started to realized that I was more withdrawn and shy. I would stick to one good friend. I also felt that I could not compete with other kids in many areas so I did not even bother to try. (I think that this was a good thing because it taught me to be myself) I also hated school and hated studying, as was generally a low performer at school, although I seldom failed exams.

Things somehow changed in high school. I started doing better academically, I think mainly because I did not have distractions (peer pressure) that other kids had. When I was fifteen I met a good friend Bobby Finn. He invited me to the youth group his parents ran. I eventually went and it was OK. I remember they always had something nice to eat and drink and that was a real treat for me, later the possibility of meeting girls was a strong motivator. They also used to go on trips sometimes to cool places like putt-putt which was amazing. During the December holidays they had a camp called Summer Camp and there you could you cool stuff like body building, rock climbing and radio controlled aeroplanes, I was really excited to go.

It was a long bus trip and when we eventually arrived the meetings started, so much singing and preaching, I did not even register what they were trying to say. We had to stand in long queues for food and I thought it really sucked. It was then that I decided it was time to take matters in my own hands and Bobby and I decided that we would skip some of the meetings, nobody would know, and we would only do the cool stuff. Our plan was however foiled as they had people policing the premises who caught us. I was afraid they would send us home and I would miss the cool stuff so from then onwards we attended everything. When the cool stuff did eventually come about it was more an introduction and not hands on so I was very disappointed. The most fun part for me was the free time when we could swim.

I think it went on like this for a while, then one day after returning from "Youth" I felt really close to God, there was an excitement in my spirit. I thought great, God loves me and He is great. During the course of a few weeks I would experience this again and again, then one day I realized that I had not given my life to God. I had experienced Him, I felt His closeness, I felt like a Christian but I had not done this. I thought why not just to make sure. So I invited Jesus into my heart, confessed that I had sin and that only He could wipe it away, I also realized that there was nothing I could do to earn salvation accept to accept the free gift of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

After saying the "sinners prayer" nothing really special happened. I thought maybe I had not meant what I had prayed so during the course of the next few weeks I would often give my life to Jesus "just to make sure". I did receive some counselling on this and came to realize that feelings were not necessary or biblical as far as this was concerned.

I still felt that there had to be more and there was this searching inside of me. I started hearing rumors of other churches where there was faith healing, miracles and people falling over, talking in tongues and a thing called "baptized in the Holy Spirit". I read some books on the subject mostly negative, it did not make sense that somebody being healed was a bad thing, Jesus did it the His disciples did it, lots of people in the bible were "baptized with fire", so somehow what these books said did not appeal to me. Maybe I was closed to them as that was not what I wanted to hear.

I slowly got more involved with the youth and was later water baptized as I felt that it was what God wanted me to do. The baptism was a bit of a disappointment as I was hoping that I would miraculously feel really close to God forever, all I felt was wet.

At some stage many of my class mates (at another church) suddenly got saved, I thought this was rather strange, why all at once? It was at this stage that I learned about revival, a strange spiritual phenomena that only happens every few hundred years or so, affecting a geographical area where masses spontaneously repent and come to Jesus without any preaching or human intervention, a truly divine move of God. I thought it would be really cool if revival would come to our area. I found out that our area/country had not experienced revival in many years. While I was pondering about this it was as if God told me "In your lifetime you will experience this", a "great and terrible" revival. I think that this will possibly be the greatest revival ever and also the final revival before Jesus returns in glory.

My sister left home and started studying in Johannesburg. She became involved in a church where they practiced "baptizing in the Holy Spirit", when she was "baptized" and spoke in tongues, I thought wow and I immediately also wanted this. I was doing my compulsory military service at the time and they would have their "youth" on the Friday evening. I would have to pass through Johannesburg on my way home the weekends so I started attending their meetings. The people (mainly Wits university students) seemed very spiritual and cool and I eventually went up when there was an invitation to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

I went up for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I was really exited to experience a divine move of God in my life. The prayer was over and I was really disappointed nothing happened, I felt nothing this is not fair I thought, why does it only happen to other people. After they prayed they sent us off to get "counselled" I told the guy counselling me nothing happened, he prayed and still nothing. He then prayed in tongues and told be just to thank God over and over so that is what I did. Then I felt my tongue go strange and then something bubbled out, "a tongue", I was so happy and excited. Man I was on fire!

They said we should practice talking in tongues and that is what I did, it was difficult at first and every day a few words would come, slowly the flow increased. I thought miracles, healing and prophesy would surely follow.

... and that my friends is another story