I was born in 1985 and grew up in Gisborne, New Zealand. I had a very happy childhood growing up spending time sailing and on my relatives and friends farms and at the beach. My parents are Christians but we never went to church when I was growing up. Instead for our bedtime story, Dad would gather us together and he would read us the bible and every night before I went to sleep I would pray to God. I always believed in God. This was how it was until we moved out of Gisborne and I went into boarding school at the age of 14. At boarding school we had to go to church a couple of times a week and I would always be hoping to hear a good sermon. Not to brag but to prove a point, but the first year I was at boarding school we had bible studies and had an exam at the end of the year and I won the religious prize. At this point I did not know the Lord Jesus the way I do now, what I am trying to show here is that you may have the most head knowledge but to really know God is a different story as you shall read.
During my last year at school, Dad sent all of us all the scripture concerning Christian baptism and he just left it with us. I went home to American Samoa for the summer and every time I went to go ask Dad about baptism felt like something was trying to stop me in doing so, but I finally did. The church that we went to a few times agreed to baptize my sister Hannah and I. We drove to the baptism site which was called Coconut Point (yes very original for the tropics I know) there was 5 of us in the jeep and we all got out at the same time. I got out left back and Hannah (who was getting baptized also) got out back right. I stepped out of the jeep and I smelt this really amazing sweet fragrance that I have never smelt before (nor have ever smelt) in my life. The only way I could describe it is the fragrance of a flower but so much more so. I remember Hannah saying ‘can you smell that?’ and I replied yes and as soon as I did it left. Now we all got out of the jeep at the same time (all 5 of us) but only Hannah and I smelt it. I was baptized and after I was baptized I couldn’t stop crying and had no idea why, wondering why I didn’t feel born again, and thought it might come later.
The above may seem strange to you but my Dad told us that when he was in the merchant navy and he was at sea during a violent storm he prayed to the Lord and asked him to come into his life and (now this is in a cabin on a ship) he smelt this really sweet fragrance which he said to be kind of like a sweet perfume or something like that. When this happened he got scared to say the least and ran from the cabin. He came back later and searched high and low but could not find the source of the smell.
I have smelt many perfumes and I can tell you none have come remotely close. I would smell every flower under the sun in American Samoa and nothing came close.
About this time my dad gave me a biography of William Branham called ‘The Acts of the Prophet’. I was amazed at the power of God working through the ministry that God had given him and it sounded to me that the Bible days were on earth again. Apart from that I did not think to much of it since I thought that great miracles of God that were done in the Bible, such as healing the sick and raising the dead would still be happening today since God is still God.
Soon after being baptized I was questioning within myself if how I was living was right and if it was for me to keep drinking, and at this time I had this dream. So I was dreaming as most people do and I don’t remember what I was dreaming about then I remember looking straight ahead and then a man stepped into my view from my left and he had shoulder length hair and a short beard and he said in a loud voice ‘stop drinking.’ And as soon as this happened I woke up with a fright. I said I had this dream but was told that it was not scriptural so instead to looking into the Bible to see if it was scriptural or not I just left it at that and didn’t pay any heed to it. I’m not sure if you are familiar with the famous painting of Christ by Hoffman (Hoffman’s Christ at 33) but we have that painting at home and it is meant to be the most life like painting of Jesus. The reason I mention this is because the man I saw in my dream looked like him.
So I went to university and I just got caught up in university life, being the typical first year student, the weekend normally started Wednesday night if you know what I mean. I had the most friends I had ever had, I thought I was having a great time but I was empty inside and I soon became depressed. Every time I would cross the road I would will cars to hit me (of course I would never put myself in harms way but that was how depressed I was. I was this depressed for about three and a half years). Then half way through my first year, this thought just came into my mind to buy the Bible and read it since I thought of myself as Christian and I wasn’t walking the talk which I would soon find out.
Two chapters a night and a year later I finished reading the bible and I realized that how I was living did not line up with God’s Word. Two things really struck me from this exercise. The first was that God always gave Israel space to come back to him. The second was this one verse in the New Testament where Jesus said ‘And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say ?’ (Luke 6:46). Throughout all of this, I always prayed every night and never stopped believing in God.
During this time of spending more time in the Word, my taste in music mellowed quite a bit from hard rock to more softer music. Often I would be at a bar and I remember the question coming to my mind, ‘what are you doing?’ It took a while but soon I began to ask myself what am I doing?
At the beginning of my third year at university, Hannah emailed me and said that she had found the man of God (that I mentioned above) his sermons on the internet; I began to download and listen to them. I listened to him speak on why so many people cannot keep the victory (I didn’t even know what this victory was) and the seal of God. I realized that the simple fact was that I was not born again (which Jesus said you must be John 3) and had not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost – that in reality I was not a Christian, since to be a Christian means to be in Christ and as we know we are all baptized into the body of Christ by one spirit (1st Corinthians 12:13). The simple fact really struck me that just to believe that there is a God is not enough since we know it says in James 2:19 ‘Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble’. You see the devils believe in God but they are lost.
The thought did come across my mind (as it does all people) aren’t I good person? I am aren’t I? Just lived how all the vast majority of university students do. I didn’t break the law or cheat or steal, all I did was have a few too many drinks a few times a week
Then the Lord gave me this dream. A young man was on the beach trying to push his boat out to sea so he could leave but he couldn’t push his boat out. Two brothers came along and tried to help him but they couldn’t get the boat to budge so the brothers offered the man that he can come live with them. The young man stayed with the family and married into it and had children and so on. Then one night when it was raining he was walking back home and he went to step over the gutter on the road and he slipped and fell backwards and cracked his head on the corner of the foot path. I was looking down on him as the rain fell upon him and he smiled to himself as he lay dying, and said to himself, ‘I have lived a good life.’ And he died, and as he did he changed from a normal looking old man to an ugly bloated thing with needle looking teeth. then there were all these visions of great violence that he did such as his mouth dripping with blood and he had just ripped the throat out of a person. After all this, I saw his descendants walking out upon the earth looking as ugly and bloated as he was. After this I awoke with a start as you can imagine and was quite troubled by this dream. I would like you to know that is not the type of dream that I have. So I began to think well if he thought he was living a good life (but he didn’t) then how about me? See everyone thinks that they are living good lives and that is all you really need to do to get into heaven but how do you actually get to heaven? Also, everything we eat must die for us to live so if that is true for our physical body then would not something have to die for us to live spiritually? (for your soul to live).
I knew that I needed to get right with God but it would take another year for me to actually step out of the valley of decision. So a year came and went and I kept reading the Bible and I really started to get hungry for God. I got to a place that I just got completely sick of the status quo of my life and then did I finally start to seek the Lord. I was afraid to step out since I didn’t want to lose my friends since they did not believe in God. I began to come to the stage where I kept praying to God and asking Him to just take everything from me that He may dwell in me. I guess you can say I surrendered all that I was to God.
I remember a few times, I would be at the pub and the question would come into my head ‘what are you doing?’ sometime after this, the thought changed to ‘what am I doing?’
During midyear exams in 2007, it was coming up to my last exam and normally after exams we would go and ‘paint the town red’ so to speak but then the thought came into my mind that I didn’t want to drink anymore and I realized that truly I didn’t want to drink anymore. Before I used to have what I thought was a stressful day at university and I would go back to my flat and have beer to relax, I just had this desire for a drink but now that is completely gone.
I kept asking the Lord to take everything that is contrary to His Word from me. The Lord would bring things to my mind and in prayer I would ask the Lord to take them from me. I always had a real drive to study and go into scientific research but then the Lord said to me ‘you are worshipping your education’. Not realizing I was doing it but it was always on my mind, I quickly gave my education to God and have had no desire of it since.
At this time I wasn’t going to any fellowship and I asked the Lord one night ‘can I please find some fellowship?’ And soon after that (a week or two) I was at a small fellowship. I knew that they had the Holy Spirit because of what was happening during the meetings. I just started to get really hungry for God and I kept asking God please my I receive your spirit and only your spirit and may you dwell in me forever. So I came to the point that I knew that if I did not receive the Holy Spirit and if I died right then I would be lost forever – even though I had been baptized in Christian baptism, even though I went to church and read the Bible and prayed, I would be lost. So I’d be anywhere, university for example and I the reality of this would strike me and I would think what’s the point of this I’m lost if I don’t have the Holy Spirit so I would go home and lock myself in my room and pray and pray all that I knew how then I’d go back to university and this kept happening. I just totally surrendered to God.
I was reading 1st or 2nd Peter and it felt like Peter had written directly to me, that his epistle was for me, after this God’s Word became like a new book to me, not just words on paper but alive.
Then while at a meeting I was being prayed for and I started speaking in an unknown tongue and afterward it was like I was looking at the world for the first time but it was the same at the same time. So I went home rejoicing but I kept seeking God for God (which all Christians’ should do anyhow). Then I was at work a weekend or two afterward and I was thinking about God and the chef on at the time was talking about the world. He either sounded like a down and out atheist or a Christian and so I was thinking to myself I should talk to him about God. When I was pondering on these things I felt God’s love fill my heart like a balloon was inflated in my heart and I nearly had to ask God to take His love from me since I thought my heart was going to burst – like it could not contain the love of God. I just knew how much God loves me and how much I love him because of it.
I was reading Matthew 7 at the start of the year which says. 21 ‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’.
I remember the last time I read this I asked the Lord please may I not be a worker of iniquity, please have mercy on me. But when I read it in February, I thanked the Lord and said to Him thank You Lord, because if I am a worker of iniquity and You cast me aside then at least I get the chance to stand before You and say to You face to face the I love You, and You can cast me aside if You want to. Even if I knew that God was going to cast me aside say tomorrow, I’d keep serving Him anyway and I just love God with all that I am.
So that was how I was converted.
I’ll try and cut some long stories short but here a few things that the Lord has done since then.
My sister has had a few words with some fellow Christians regarding the Godhead and during the last Christmas holidays, she got an email from a friend saying that she believed Hannah was wrong and gave scripture regarding it. So one night Hannah and I sat down to answer her friends email. I was a bit tired and Hannah said we should pray before we start writing so Hannah said this simple prayer to ask God to guide us, and help us to stick exactly to His Word. As she was praying I felt this energy well up from inside me and I just knew where to look for the scripture. We tied some things from the Old Testament and Christian baptism and we where writing for about three hours. When we finished I was tired again and went to bed. So when I got back from home to Christchurch the thought just came on my mind that I should email Hannah about what happened when we where writing this email, which I did. The night I emailed Hannah about this, she had talked to her friend about the email we sent her and unfortunately she didn’t listen to what we said, and continued to attack Hannah. She was left very discouraged and sad about it. So the next morning after that, still down, she checked her email and she read the email I sent her and she said she felt the peace and reassurance of God wash over her.
I went up to an Easter camp with Hannah and it was on love, marriage and divorce. I spoke to the pastor running it about the Godhead and I started quoting the Bible to him and we didn’t agree with one another. He said that he was an angry young man once and showed me 2nd Timothy 2:15,16 and so on. I told him (I wasn’t even thinking about what I was saying when I said this) I told him ‘brother I’m not angry I love you because I know how much God loves us’ (I shared with him what I have written to you above). So that was that. He took all the services and during them he would have a go at things that I said during our talk which were completely unrelated to the camp topic. Now I knew that he was having a go at me but I just couldn’t think a single bad thought against him. I was just rejoicing inside because I knew that it was God’s love that was causing me to love him like a brother.
I had a wart on my hand and I was going to get it frozen or burnt off or whatever they do to it but then I thought I’ll just ask the Lord to heal it for me. So I prayed and asked the Lord to heal it and take it from me – I laid my other hand on the wart and prayed. A few weeks later it was completely gone. Not even a trace of it remains.
Jesus said in Mark 16:17 ‘And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover’.
I had a barking cough, you know the one where there is a tickle in your throat and you can’t stop coughing? The Lord brought the above scripture to my mind and I placed my hand on my throat and asked the Lord to heal me again and my cough went away soon after.
My sister was going through some things and we where talking about them on the phone and I had no idea how to answer her so I just cried out to the Lord and asked him please Lord what can I say to her? And after I finished praying the Lord moulded two parts of the Bible together and said say this. So I sent her an email and she sent a reply and I just got desperate and asked the Lord again for an answer and he told me something else to say. Three emails later, she sent me a text message saying what I had written her in my emails was exactly what she had been praying to God about.
After this I was rejoicing and thanking the Lord for answering both of our prayers. As I was doing this the scripture came to mind (now this is an example of how the Devil can try to use the Word of God against you like he did Eve and Jesus). ‘For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries’. (Hebrews 10:26,27). When this came to mind somehow I was thinking about if a young child was told that something was wrong and they went and did it then they sinned and therefore they are lost. Of course we know that this is not the case but this is what came into my mind at the time. As soon as this came to mind, my heart just sank faster like a lead balloon. The Devil started telling me, ‘you’ve sinned, your lost, your faith is in vain, your lost.’ At this point my morale was so shot, I didn’t know what to do – depression was a joy compared to this moment. I knew it was at a critical moment – which way was I going to go. I remembered when I said to the Lord that I would serve Him and live for Him with all that I am and He can cast me into Hell if He wants to – I love Him anyhow. The scripture came to mind where Job said ‘the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD’. A story came to mind where the man of God whose sermons I heard, his son started drinking and gambling and not serving the Lord. So he told his son, ‘son stretch out your arms’. He did. He said to his son, ‘look at the shadow you are making on the wall, one of your arms is the path towards God and the other is the path away from God, you are standing at the cross roads’. As this story came to mind I thought of myself being in that position. I thought I may as well put down one arm since I can’t go back from where I came from, there is nothing in the world that can compare to knowing and serving God. The Devil said ‘Your hearts not in it, how can you serve God if your hearts not in it ?’ I said The Lord will make a way for me to serve Him even if my heart is not in it. That happened on a Saturday night at work. I went to bed that night with a heavy heart. I didn’t really want to go to fellowship the next morning but I did and the presence of the Lord so real and I was so blessed in that service to feel the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. It just goes to show that it is not us holding onto God but God holds onto us! No matter what the hardship or trial He guides us through it. How I love the Lord Jesus, He is more than life to me.
I started asking questions about doctrine that the church I was going to. Now I don’t mean to sound critical and I’m not going to go into doctrine or anything like that but I started to feel like I was getting caged in or tied into the church and I didn’t want to be. Before I started asking questions I had this dream. I was standing behind a tall chain link fence with some other people. Then a couple of men from the church I go to now (and at that stage I had only gone to a couple of services) appeared on the other side of the chain link fence (I could tell who they were by what they were wearing) and I started yelling out ‘hello brothers !’ but they didn’t seem to hear me, then I was wrestling with a really tall man. Yes rather a strange dream. So for a few more services I kept going to the church and after every service I would talk to the Pastor or one of the elders about the questions I had and eventually I just had to say goodbye, which I did. The pastor of that church was well over six foot.
Now you may think that the above stories are a bit out of the ordinary but there have been times where I have woken up sick and I just praised God not because I was sick but because I know that God had already healed me.
There have also been a few times recently when I have been at home and I would just be thinking about the Lord and meditating on His Word when His presence would come down and I would just go into my bedroom and just worship Him and praise Him.
So those are just a few examples that I believe proves that God of the Bible is still the same God today and that it proves that Jesus is not dead but still alive today as the Bible says He is.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
God bless you,