I grew up on a farm in South Africa. We were a rather dysfunctional family where the emotional temperature seldom moved above 50 degrees, yet it produced 4 boys and a girl. There was little expressed love, encouragement, interest, or training, only manual labour. It was a good recipe to produce one very mixed up kid. My main question was: why am I here? I don’t want to be here. I am not wanted here. I had, what I call, a slave mentality. You just work, never ask questions and never give up. Fortunately because of all the work, I didn’t know anything about teenage rebellion. So I had no problems with girls, drink or drugs. There was no money and no opportunity for it.
The few times we went to church I always wondered why the minister chose such a boring book. I could supply him with cowboy stories (Zane Grey) and many other interesting titles.
Eventually I went to university. I studied agriculture and got a Masters degree in animal nutrition. In my final year, the proud owner of two bicycles, I still struggled to find transport home (about 220 kilometres away). Two of my brothers went to work overseas for a year and one allowed me to use his car. Thus I could visit my mother. There I met somebody I went to school with and even dated at university. She was the lady I married (Alida) and a big Christian. She asked me whether I knew Christ? I was honest and told her I don’t have the foggiest idea what she is talking about. Regardless, within three months we were married, and within four years and six months we had four kids (as a faithful follower of Christ she thought it was her duty to ‘fill the earth’).
Now, if you mash two mixed up people together in marriage, it is bound to produce fireworks. It did. The marriage was tottering. Fortunately, after about six years (farming on her property) a massive veld fire triggered something in me, and I yielded to God (whatever it meant at that stage). Thus began 18 years in a small God centred church, which saved our marriage. The preacher advised us to pray together. So I could explain to God (in my wife’s presence) what a stupid woman He gave me, and she could query Him on allowing her to marry such an idiot? Our relationship improved dramatically (we could talk openly to each other in the presence of a third person, God).
Since I grew up in a moral vacuum, without parental guidance and love, there was no reason for me to believe that the Bible was a special book. So I queried everything in church. For example, why did they pray so loudly? If God was present He could hear, if He was far away He would not be able to hear anyway, et cetera. To help answer my questions I finished a BA in Bible Theology in 1994 (correspondence).
With the kids out of the house, we began an abattoir and butchery. It was very successful, but we worked really hard. In 2002 two people we knew died from heart attacks, and I got the impression I must leave the business and find out what life is about. I wanted to resolve the question that I could never really answer, why was I on earth? Thus began an extremely insightful and rewarding journey of studying and questioning God about life and His book, the Bible. So our blog is about that fantastic Book (from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21) which hails from a fantastic Father.
Alida and I have been married for 43 years and our kids have given us 11 grandchildren. God is the one factor in our lives that preserved us. For example, from my family, I am the only one who remained married and has grandchildren. My father, sister and one brother ended their own lives and one brother died of cancer. My only brother who is still alive (a wealthy medical specialist), is without faith in the God of the Bible and without grandchildren.
- What we write was born out of experience.
- The church is God’s creation, but my wife and I have not been part of a formal church for the last ten years (not recommended). Yet we have a vibrant relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. We do regular Bible study, pray and work together and share our lives 24/7.
- For us life is not about money, popularity, settling grudges with some church, or anything like that. It is about strengthening the disciples of Jesus, teaching them why it is necessary not to let go of the hope in them, the hope of eternal life, but to diligently strive towards that goal.