I grew up in the rural-urban fringe of Sydney, in an atheist family. But I had the great privilege to hear about God through SRE Scripture teachers. These wonderful people from local churches came into our primary school each week to teach us from the Bible. I asked my parents for a children’s Bible and, despite their misgivings, they bought me one and I read through it. But I didn’t get the whole message to begin with. I believed that God was real, but I knew that I wasn’t perfect and that I’d done wrong things. And I thought that meant I couldn’t be right with God. I didn’t know whether I would be going to heaven—in fact, I was pretty sure that I would only face God’s judgement after I died.
But thankfully, I kept going to Scripture classes at school. When I was in Year 6, there was a particular Scripture teacher, Mrs Round, an older lady who loved the class and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ especially clearly with us. (I’m sure the other Scripture teachers in previous years had been saying the same thing, but I happened to listen especially closely this year!) I understood clearly that Jesus had come into the world to die for my sins, to take upon himself that judgement I deserved from God, and to rise from the dead. I then understood I could be free and I could have a real relationship with God that goes on forever, not worried about judgement, but instead knowing that God loves me through his Son Jesus Christ. I came to trust in Jesus. I prayed to God that he would forgive me, and that I would be able to keep living with Jesus as my ruler. I knew from that point onward that I was safe in God’s loving care.
Mrs Round also taught Scripture at the local high school I went on to attend, and she ran a lunchtime group for students (a little old lady, she was an absolute legend!). She gave me a book about what it means to be a Christian, to help me grow in my faith, and I took it home. My mum ended up picking up the book, reading it, and deciding to become a Christian too! Soon after, my dad also became a Christian. And I discovered that my younger sister had also come to trust in Jesus through the same Scripture teacher! Our whole family started attending our local church, Kurrajong Anglican Church, where we were supported and followed up as we all grew in our faith in Jesus Christ.
As I’ve grown up and gone on I’ve learnt much more about the Bible and about life, and that has deepened my faith, and it’s also deepened my understanding. I’ve kept seeing that God is real. God’s love for me has continued to sustain me through tough and good times. I know that my real security in life isn’t in my work, or my wife and children, or my possessions or experiences, or in anything on this earth, wonderful as these are. Rather, my true and sure security is in God and knowing that I will live forever with him because of what Jesus has done for me. Being a Christian has changed my life in many ways. For me, it’s determined what I do with my time. I initially trained as an engineer and had a brilliant job working in the (then) new field of solar energy. But I saw that I could do something even more helpful for people than this – I could spend my life sharing Jesus with others and helping other people to do the same. So that’s what I now do with my life. I’m now an Anglican minister working as a lecturer at Moore Theological College, training ministers and missionaries to go out into the world to share the message of forgiveness in Jesus with others, just as people did with me. God loves us, so we don’t need to fear or try to cling on to things in this life.
Above image: It was a joy to have Mrs Round at my ordination in 2006: L-R Dad, me, Mrs Round, Mum.