Before I became a Christian, I was a hard man. I had a bad childhood. There was domestic violence, my parents separated due to my mother’s affair and we had to put up with constant verbal abuse. All this trauma affected me, I felt deeply inferior. I was in and out of a psychiatric ward for years with clinical depression and acute anxiety. I also turned to alcoholism, trying to numb my feelings and troubled mind. For years, I would drink until I lost consciousness. It was not uncommon for me to pass out on the snow outside my home in winter and wake up shivering. I was a mess.
Looking back, there were times God clearly reached out to me. Once I was in the attic, I was so desperate that I got down on my knees and shouted: “God help me!” Something made me look at the wall behind me. There, I saw Jesus’s face – full of sorrow and compassion at the same time. Another time my hip hurt, so I could hardly walk but I had to move house. I prayed: “God, can you heal me?” The pain went and never came back.
I also believe God planned for me to meet and marry Norma. But I was still a very hard man and easily triggered due to my insecurities. Norma would say something and I would get upset because I thought she was putting me down.
God paved the way for us to attend Hope Church when we moved to Australia from England. Our daughter had first attended, and we tagged along because we were concerned that she had joined a cult!
One Sunday, Ps Lai Ling preached about opening the eyes of our heart. I suddenly felt my heart growing, it physically felt like it filled my whole chest. I had a tiny hard shell of a heart back then. I remember a Catholic priest asking if I could spare a dollar, I was so upset that he wanted my money!
I decided to return to Hope Church to see if the change in my heart was permanent. People in church were very kind and loving to accept me. A few months after I felt my heart being enlarged, I prayed the sinners’ prayer and became a Christian. I was full of joy afterwards. A year or two later, I was in service when suddenly I felt God’s love come down, covering me from head to toe. I also heard God saying that He loved me.
From someone who begrudged giving a dollar, I became generous. Norma and I went on mission trips to the Philippines where we distributed boxes of food and preached the Gospel to remote villages. In 4 months, we saw 750 adults and children saved!
By God’s grace, I am now a totally different person! 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Retiree, Elevate Willawong 5