It is time I shared a bit of my story. How is it that a boy who grew up in a non-Christian family came to be a Christian, a minister of the gospel and a bible teacher?
I did grow up in a non-believing family, although that may be being a bit unfair to my Mum who has always had some degree of faith; we certainly were not a church going family.
I remember during my time living in Niue Island in the Pacific aged 6 or 7 going to Sunday School. I recall nothing about why or what we did there, it had no effect that I recall in faith terms. I have no God-consciousness or awareness of personal faith.
We shifted to Rarotonga when I was 8 and I attended primary school and onto High School. Again, I have no recollection of any God-stuff.
It all began for me when I was 13 and a friend invited me to an after-school Christian group. I heard the teacher (Brian) telling us about Jesus and the phenomenal way in which he fulfilled many OT predictions about his coming. This impressed me as I realised that such a tie-up was impossible without the power of God over history, so I accepted Jesus as my Lord.
The experience after that is rather blurry but I recall that life got rather messy. My parents were very anti the whole thing. I am told I tried to convert them and this didn't go well; particularly suggestions of excess alcohol and smoking etc. I recall after some period of time weeping on my bed and saying to God that I couldn't follow him yet, but that when I got away from home I might. Looking back, I believe God heard the prayer of a 13 year old lonely boy and took me at my word.
From that point on I gave God the big sidestep and took to sport with a vengeance. I returned to NZ and played cricket and rugby for school and club and into the Auckland premier leagues. I was not bad at both and had high hopes. I also developed a taste for beer and parties, had a girlfriend or two and dabbled with recreational drugs. I was a lost soul though, deep down disillusioned with life knowing that there was more. I went to university and did not complete my BA; went off and became a school teacher.
I left home and went teaching and then the God-fun began. I was a real boozer and really should not have been in a classroom; I suppose the NZ education system was pretty desperate. I was living at this stage with Emma (who I have since married) and we lived a life of teaching, sport and partying. Little did I know that deep down, I was lost, very lost indeed.