Loving Life TV



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    Nat Quinn
    You can listen to an audio of this testimony on: From the Frontline – Love so Amazing, so Divine Demands my Life, my Soul, my All
    Converted to Christ
    On 3rd April 1977, I was converted to Christ. It happened at the Ster Kinekor cinema in Pinelands. My family had moved from Rhodesia to Cape Town. We were living in Pinelands, just a few kilometres from where I had been born. It was Sunday evening, when I walked over to the local cinema, little realising how dramatically that would change my life forever.

    Ambushed by the Gospel
    At that time, commercial activity on Sunday was prohibited in South Africa by law. No cinemas were open, in honour of the Lord’s Day. The local Baptist Church had hired out the cinema for an Evangelistic rally. The guest preacher, Rev. Rex Mathie, preached a powerful message on what Christ had suffered for us: “Jesus died for you. What have you ever done for Him?”

    “What Have you Done for Jesus?”
    I sat stunned and ashamed. I had never done anything for God. My family was quite secular. We never attended church services, not even on Christmas days. Sunday school had never been part of my life. We did not even pray before meals. Like my Father, I described myself as an “agnostic.”

    Now, all of the arguments I had picked up over the years against God and Christianity seemed awfully puny as I bowed before the Creator of the universe. I could not question the existence of God. His presence was overwhelming. There was nothing that I could say in my defence. I realised that I was lost. If I had died that night, I knew that I would go into an eternity separated from God, in hell. I was a selfish, self-centred, ungrateful creature. I had never even so much as thanked God for the life He had given me, or for His many evidences of grace in my family’s life.

    “If God has Preserved your Life it is for a Reason”
    My Mother had told me that there had been complications before I was born. My Mother, who was a nurse, had made use of thalidomide tablets, which were prevalent in 1959, to counter-act morning sickness and nausea. Children born to those who had used thalidomide were often severely deformed, frequently born without arms or legs. Even though abortions were illegal in South Africa at that time, my Mother had been advised to have an abortion. Because of the revulsion and hysteria of many over the severe deformities suffered by those affected by thalidomide, abortions were not only being allowed in these cases, but encouraged. My Mother told me how she just could not bring herself to consider it and called for a hospital chaplain to pray for her baby. Although we were not a praying family, this story had made quite an impact on me and I realised that there was a Higher Power who had smiled upon us and spared my life before I had even taken my first breath. Rex Mathie declared: “If God has preserved your life thus far, it is for a reason!”

    As I sat in that cinema hearing the Word of God, a whole host of other incidents came to my memory. I remembered being run over by a car, just in front of our home when I was only five-years-old. My Mother ran out, lifted up the car and pulled me out from under it! I was rushed to the hospital, where the doctor was amazed. Although plainly one of the tyres had gone right across my chest (the tyre tracks were clearly visible on my clothes) there was no injury. I remember the doctor declaring: “God must have been looking after him!”

    This was my first conscious recollection of the concept of God. The picture that I had in my mind was of one of the Colstream Guards standing outside Buckingham Palace in London. He had a long white beard but was dressed immaculately in a red soldier’s uniform with a tall bearskin hat on his head and a rifle, with bayonet fixed, in his hands. The similarity between the two words guard and God, made me think of God as a soldier. He was plainly up in the clouds and had excellent vision because He could see me all the way down in Southern Africa. Somehow, He had been able to intervene to save my life. That was my first concept of God. The preacher said: “If God has preserved your life thus far, it is for a reason.” I wondered what that reason could be.

    All the life-threatening experiences that my parents had related to me came flooding back into my memory as well. What if God had not protected my Mother and Father when they were enduring the mass aerial bombardments of the Second World War? Both my parents had experienced people being blown up to the left and right of them and, yet, they had not been harmed. For what purpose had God preserved their lives?

    “More Lives Than a Cat!”
    There were also many incidents that my parents had mentioned of how “lucky” I had been: when I had fallen deathly ill with a contagious disease on board HMS Pendennis Castle sailing between England and South Africa, the ship had wanted to put me off at the Canary Islands. Again, my secular parents had asked for prayer from a minister on board the ship and I had been healed. My Mother also mentioned when, as an adventurous little boy, I had tried to cross a waterfall and was washed over! My Mother had said that it was incredible that I had not been killed, or crippled in that and in so many other incidents. Several times my Mother said to me: “You have more lives than a cat!”

    Why had God preserved my life when I had not even acknowledged Him? I had not even prayed to God before that night. I had never even thanked Him for any of these incidents, which my parents had reminded me of throughout the years. In that cinema, on 3 April 1977, I felt myself bowing before the Throne of Almighty God, guilty of disobeying His Law, justly deserving to be condemned to an eternity in hell. I was overwhelmed with a sense of my unworthiness and wickedness.

    There was no way that I could possibly deserve God’s love, but I felt this absolutely overwhelming compulsion to stand up and go forward and make a public commitment of my life to Christ. The very least I could do was to thank God for all that He had done in Christ for me.

    They were singing “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy Blood was shed for me” as I walked down the aisle and bowed in prayer at the front of that cinema in Pinelands. One of the church deacons, Bill Parker, counselled me, explained the implications of what I was doing and led me in prayer.

    It was the most exhilarating experience. There could be no doubt whatsoever. God was reaching down and putting life within me. I had been deaf, dumb, blind and dead in my trespasses and sins. For the very first time my (spiritual) eyes were being opened. For the first time I could consciously sense the presence of God. In fact, I was absolutely overwhelmed with a sense of the presence of God, His love and His mercy. I trembled before His holiness and power, even as I revelled in the joy of knowing that my sins were forgiven. I was a new creature in Christ!

    I wanted to jump and leap and shout and proclaim what God had done. This was a completely new experience for me. With a German Mother and an English Father, we Anglo-Saxons do not particularly go much into expressing emotion about anything. My upbringing had very much been in the restrained, “cool, calm and collected” British tradition. But, as I walked and skipped on my way home from the cinema that night, all kinds of emotions were bubbling within me. I could not restrain it.

    I was absolutely overwhelmed with the conviction that God had called me to a lifetime of service as a missionary! But what did I know about missions? The only missionary that I had ever heard about was David Livingstone and that was from the history books. Of course, I had sometimes heard reports about missionaries being killed by Communist terrorists in the war in Rhodesia. I had wondered why anyone would do anything so stupid as to go into a war zone and present themselves as targets for blood-thirsty Marxist guerrillas! But now, on the night of my conversion, I was absolutely convinced that God was commanding me to go and to proclaim His Gospel and to be dedicated for the rest of my life to serving and extending His Kingdom.

    Coming Home
    What was I to say at home? I could not wait to tell my parents what God had done for me. However, as I opened the door, I saw that someone had beaten me to it. A friend of the family, who had also been at the rally, had rushed over to inform my incredulous parents that their son had gone forward at one of these “Billy Graham things!” Jeers and scorn greeted me.

    “So, you have become a born-again Baptist like Jimmy Carter!” That really stung. As a patriotic Rhodesian, I despised everything that Jimmy Carter was doing in betraying our and so many other countries, into the hands of Marxist revolutionaries. To us Jimmy Carter was the epitome of a hypocrite and a traitor. Shamefully I lashed back with razor sharp tongue defending my conversion and disassociating from everything that Jimmy Carter stood for. Like my parents, I was an argumentative type and rose to the challenge with characteristic verbal aggression.

    Later that night, for the first time in my life, as I bowed in prayer at the side of my bed, I was ashamed that the very first witness I had given to my parents had been to dishonour them and argue. How would I ever be able to be a Christian? I despaired at the sinful desire to justify myself rising so quickly out of the heart of one who had, at that very hour, given his life to Christ. What kind of poor excuse for a Christian could I ever hope to be?

    Christian Union
    The next day at Pinelands High School, Mark Liprini, one of the boys from Pinelands Baptist Church who had been at the rally, came over and introduced himself to me. He told me of the Christian Union that met during break time. It was tremendous to join in singing songs of praises to the Lord with others who loved Jesus. I had no idea that there were so many Christians at school.

    Resurrection Sunday
    The next Sunday was Easter Sunday. The Liprini family from the Pinelands Baptist church came and collected me for morning worship. I am so glad they did, as I was dreading having to go to church for the first time. I do not think people brought up in church-going families realise how intimidating it is for a secular person to enter a church building! No more would we think of going into an exclusive club, where we were not members, than to walk, on our own, into a church building. It was so very helpful and thoughtful of the Liprini family to have driven over to my home and taken me to a Sunday morning worship service for the first time.

    Experiencing the Reality of Hymns in Worship
    That first Sunday morning service was absolutely tremendous. I was astounded that I knew the hymns! We had sung these very same hymns in school assemblies in Rhodesia. Yet, now, for the first time, I was understanding what I was singing! I marvelled that, for so many years, I had sung hymns that had been insensible to me, yet now they were coming alive! I was no longer singing a hymn, but worshipping God in thanksgiving for the reality of what He was doing in my own experience!

    Lenin is Dead
    The guest speaker, Rev. Rex Mathie, proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ. He described in great detail how on Easter Sunday, in Moscow, in the Soviet Union, long lines of Communists file past the corpse of Vladimir Lenin, to see their god. Lenin is dead. In fact, a full-time taxidermist was employed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to maintain the illusion of life-likeness for the decaying corpse of Lenin. Very little of his original body remains. Mostly the worshiping Communists are only seeing plaster of paris repairs for the ears, nose, etc. which had already fallen off. There was absolutely no doubt that Lenin is dead.

    Christ is Risen!
    However, on the other side of Red Square, in Moscow, St. Basil’s Orthodox Church has a ritual each Easter Sunday. The congregation walks around the church exclaiming: “Where is He? He is not here. Where is He? He is not here.” Then the minister exclaims: “CHRIST IS RISEN!” And then the entire congregation resounds in response: “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” What a contrast between the dead ideology of communism and the Resurrection power of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

    We Serve a Risen Saviour
    When we sang that hymn: “We serve a Risen Saviour…” it felt as if my heart would burst with joy and excitement for this tremendous truth of the Gospel.

    Pilgrim’s Progress
    Another hymn that I sang at that time continued to resound within my heart and mind: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back! Praise the Lord! No turning back!” My pastor, Rev. ‘Doc’ Watson started a new series on Pilgrim’s Progress, which illustrated the adventure of discipleship that I was just embarking on. I never missed a service, Bible study, prayer meeting or outreach. ‘Doc’ Watson, later testified that from the beginning I harassed him for more teaching and for more opportunities to serve the Lord.

    Scripture Union Holiday Mission in Somerset West
    Within two months, I was working on a Scripture Union team for a holiday mission in Somerset West. We travelled there by train and walked to the Presbyterian Church, where we were accommodated. Every day we went on foot to the Methodist Church, which was the venue for the Children’s Mission. Somerset West was a quiet remote village then. Today, it is a large and growing town. During that outreach I gave my first message, a Missionary Challenge, at the local Presbyterian Church in the evening service.

    Literature Ministry, Youth Work and Evangelism
    Within the year, I was a Sunday school teacher and a youth leader, had initiated and stocked a tract stand and ran the book table at Pinelands Baptist. I devoured Christian literature, attended every meeting and training course possible, whether on Evangelism Explosion, counselling, Holiness Conventions at the AEB Glenvar Bible College, or missions. Door-to-door evangelism, placing the Gospel of John in every home in Pinelands, tract distribution in the streets and at railway stations, ministering in old age homes and other Christian service filled my days. One prayer I prayed over and over were the words of that chorus: “Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me, Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me.”

    Youth Leader
    As the youth leader, I frequently organised outings for the Friday nights, including hikes up Lions Head, picnics at Llandudno beach, walks in Newlands Forest and other outdoor activities. We had debates and Bible studies and I regularly challenged the teenagers on the need for repentance, restitution, full surrender to Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit and holiness.

    Out with the “In Crowd”
    Frequently I could see the eyes rolling and knowing glances passing between the clique of the “in crowd.” These were the daughters of church deacons, established church youth, who had grown up in the church and made no secret of their irritation with the direction I was trying to take the youth group. On a number of occasions, girls in the “in” clique told me that I did not “belong” at this church. As my parents weren’t Christians and I was a “new convert,” what made me think that I could teach anything to them? They had been coming to church since they were babies! Well, it did not seem to me that they had grown much spiritually since then. How could a new convert come to know more of the Scripture in less than a year than some of these self-assured young people, who had been coming to church, Sunday school and youth all their life?

    Put Feet to your Faith
    On one occasion, when I had just read that passage in the Sermon on the Mount where the Lord commands us: “If you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 So, I walked over to the homes of three of the individuals who I knew had something against me, to seek to be reconciled with them. The results were not particularly encouraging. One of the individuals concerned responded: “You do not know anything do you? You are not meant to actually do that.
    If you had been in the church as long as we have, then you would know that you are not meant to actually do what the Bible tells you to!”

    The Zeal of a New Convert
    I often wondered why it was that the new convert was the one most excited about the teachings of Christ in the Bible and why so many established church people seemed so bored and emotionally detached. Then I read in Luke 7:36-50 of the woman who anointed the feet of the Lord with perfume, wet His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. To the disapproving Pharisee, Simon, Jesus told a parable of two men whose debts had been cancelled. One owed a large amount and the other only a little. Jesus asked: “Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love Him more?” Their answer was “the one whom He forgave more.” Jesus said: “But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves loves little.” It appeared to me that as a new convert from a secular background, my enthusiasm for the Lord was greater, because I was conscious of having been forgiven much.

    Love So Amazing, So Divine Demands my Life, my Soul, my All
    Shortly after my conversion to Christ in 1977, I wrote this poem:
    He became like us – that we might become like Him.
    He was rejected – that we might be accepted.
    He was condemned – that we might be forgiven.
    He was punished – that we might be pardoned.
    He suffered – that we might be strengthened.
    He was whipped – that we might be healed.
    He was hated – that we might be loved.
    He was crucified – that we might be justified.
    He was tortured – that we might be comforted.
    He died – that we might live.
    He went to hell – that we might go to Heaven.
    He endured what we deserve – that we might enjoy what only He deserves.
    “In this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

    Initial Training for a Lifetime of Adventure in God’s Service
    My pastor, Doc Watson, at one time questioned why I was at every single event on the church calendar? He had counted that I had been at twelve separate events just in the previous week. “This is not healthy. You should spend more time at home!” He commented that he had never before had to speak to any member about attending too many meetings! I could not help it. It was all just too new and so exciting. I continued to participate in everything from the church prayer meeting, the men’s meeting, the evangelism and counselling training and of course Friday night youth, Sunday school, both Sunday morning and evening worship services, the church business meetings and anything else that was scheduled (aside from the Baptist Women’s Association!) I was there.

    Give Up Your Small Ambitions and Follow Jesus
    But it still was not enough. I signed up for an Evangelism Explosion training clinic under Rev. Roger Voke, attended AEB Holiness Conventions at Glenvar Bible College in Constantia, Muslim Evangelism Seminars with Gerhard Nehls and door to door outreaches in the Malay quarters with Life Challenge Africa, as well as Scripture Union holiday missions and outreaches in different parts of Cape Town, especially at railway stations and in townships. My adventure of discipleship had begun and it would soon lead me across borders, rivers, deserts, jungles and mountains into 38 countries and eight different wars.

    This article is adapted from a chapter in Frontline – Behind Enemy Lines for Christ
    This book can be ordered from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa,
    Tel: 021-689-7478, email: admin@christianlibertybooks.co.za and website: http://www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.

    It is also available as an e-book: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1139850
    and through Print on Demandhttps://www.lulu.com/shop/peter-hammond-and-john-eidsmoe-and-erlo-stegen-and-patrick-johnstone/frontline-behind-enemy-lines-for-christ/paperback/product-kqgm6n.html?q=&page=1&pageSize=4



    Dr. Peter Hammond
    Frontline Fellowship
    PO Box 74 | Newlands | 7725 | Cape Town | South Africa
    Tel: +27 21 689 4480
    website email


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