How I Came To Faith – Demond’s Story

Sharing one’s story can be a powerful tool for encouragement and challenge. My story is not so much my ‘own story’, but one that’s intimately linked with God’s mission, and I want to share with you, briefly, how God can use your life and shape you into the person he desires.

My childhood was humble to say the least, and left me feeling estranged from my family, from peers and from God, who I blamed for his passivism. Looking back now I can say that I never really had many true friends, my pseudo- reality prevented anyone from getting too close and exposing the reality of my life. I was angry, misdirected, and felt alone in the world. I felt unworthy and like my life was a mistake—in fact, it felt like I was living a nightmare!

Thankfully, no one is beyond God’s reach and God intervened in my circumstances through the preaching of Angus Buchan, a South African evangelist. I clearly remember that night in 1998 when God changed my heart and gave me a greater purpose for my life. This was not the first time I’d heard the gospel being preached (my first commitment to Christ was as a younger child), but it was the first time that I experienced the miracle Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5:17f—becoming a new creation. Jesus cleansed my sin, healed my heart and gave me purpose!

What had changed? My family was still in conflict, my circumstances were unaltered. But what made the difference can be described as a ‘God- consciousness’ that had invaded my life like never before. For the first time in my life, I felt the urgency to forgive, mend, restore and move forward in life. God became the centre of my being, my motivation changed from self-centeredness to constantly looking out for the interests of others. My conversion to the Christian faith had become a relationship with my eternal Father; I had become a follower of Christ, and had resolved in my early years to dedicate my life to serving my heavenly Father‘s purposes. After all, there’s more to Christianity than raising your hand and saying a prayer—God desires all of you, not just a part!

One of the first things I did, besides involvement within my church, was to get involved in weekly outreach in my community. I will never forget the lessons I learnt through serving others. As a teenager I was involved in planting a church! Johnny Buchner, a former South African Springbok Rugby player, and I, went to the Ruimsig squatter camp every week where we met with fellow believers and conducted a Bible study in a local shabeen (tavern/ bar). I learnt more from my interaction with the members of this community than any sermon or Bible study, not that they are unimportant, but for the first time I began to realize God‘s design for my life and my life purpose. In fact, God impressed Romans 15:20 on my heart from those early days and ever since then I have always embraced every opportunity for service in missions, going on several trips where God shaped my understanding of what it means to be His people, what it means to be church.