Derrick Andrews

Derrick Andrews

My parents were not churchgoers but sent my 3 sisters and me to church on Sundays. We never prayed in our home except at meal times. However, we were raised in a loving home despite the many social challenges my family encountered. Although I attended services at the local Anglican Church during my High School years, I knew very little of God, let alone His desire to have an intimate, personal relationship with me.

I met my wife, Joan, in August 1969 whilst furthering my studies at college. Her devotion to God was a great encouragement to me. I enjoyed attending services with her at the Catholic Church where we subsequently married in January 1972. I became an ‘active’ member in the Church, doing things, planning events and programmes with fellow members, wanting to please God, but not understanding the awesome Grace of God which was able to save my soul.

I eagerly recited repetitive prayers, following the vain traditions of men and the many rituals which became routine. I knew that Jesus died on a cross, but never understood that He died for ME and that the debt for my sin had been paid in full by my Saviour at Calvary.

Meanwhile God had blessed us with four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. I held many leadership roles at the Church and thought more than somewhat of myself. At that time, God began a work in Joan’s life and she experienced a rebirth in 1995 after spending much time with born again believers. When she sought to explain to me why she could no longer fellowship at the Catholic Church, I became very angry and reluctantly agreed to her leaving ‘The Church’. So we worshipped in different churches for 15 years!

BUT GOD…! Through Joan He sowed a desire in my heart to read and study His precious Word. This was not encouraged at my Church! Then I began to look for a place where I could be taught what the Bible said.

I enjoy walking and sometimes would pass by Rosehill Assembly. I knocked on the Church door on three different occasions expecting to find a pastor, but nobody answered. I wanted to enquire about the Bible Study I saw on the Notice Board outside. Frustrated, I would complain to Joan, “I don’t know what kind of Church that is; the pastor is never in!”

Early in January 2010 we received in our Post Box a flyer advertising meetings and times at Rosehill Assembly. I called the number on the flyer and Bro Des Rothman answered. I explained what was on my heart and he invited me to a Bible Study on 18 January 2010. I went on my own not realising how excited Joan must have been. She had been praying for me for many years!

I was warmly welcomed by a small group of people who praised God from their hearts. Then the preacher introduced ‘The First Principles’! By the end of the third week the truth of God’s Word in Repentance from Dead Works opened a whole new world for me. I realised I was a sinner, saved only by the Grace of God. In my heart, I repented and received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.

In the fifth week, during the Doctrine of Baptisms, I became seriously ill and spent four weeks in hospital resulting in the removal of a kidney. During my time in hospital, faithful brethren from Rosehill visited and prayed with me. After my discharge, I continued attending Bible Study at Rosehill. I could not drive myself, but God was continuing His plan for my life. The situation called for Joan to drive me and she stayed for the Study! She enjoyed it immensely and the rest is history! God finally yoked us together in Him, and set and established us firmly at Rosehill!

I had been attending services at the Catholic Church at 7.30am and then on to Rosehill at 9.00am. God brought me to a decision in April 2010. I discussed my decision to leave with the priest at the Catholic Church and he graciously gave me his blessing. Joan and I came into full fellowship with the believers at Rosehill at the end of April 2010. I was baptised in water on 18 July 2010 and filled with the Holy Spirit in August of 2010.

I thank Our Heavenly Father Who has been so gracious and patient with me; truly born again at the age of 60 by the Spirit of God, understanding that salvation is of God, and blessed now to serve as an Elder in this precious Assembly.

My heart longs for an even deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus that I may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God for my life.

All glory, praise and honour to Our God for the Gift of Eternal Life in Christ Jesus!

Chris Sykes