Growing up in a God-fearing, rather than a God-knowing, traditional church home environment, left me unchanged, but slightly religious. At times, when my parents went to church, my younger brother, sister and I often “played church” at home. Using our beds, cardboard boxes and other objects we created a pulpit from which I ”preached”; my sister would call out a hymn number and my brother would play along with our singing. At least we picked up something from churchgoing! In due course come we all ended up in the work of the Lord, to this very day!
I joined the Magistrate’s Office after returning from the Army and was transferred to Durban where I registered with UNISA to study law. I met Glynnis, courted her, and we eventually became engaged. For two years we drifted from one church to another. We were married in Pretoria before a Holy Spirit-filled Methodist minister. On our honeymoon at Sani Pass, a young, saved, Rhodesian couple befriended us and spoke to us about the Lord.
My younger brother had since come to know the Lord. He said to me at our wedding that our family home would never be the same again. Arriving home in Maclear for a honeymoon visit, my brother handed me a book entitled “They speak with other tongues” by John Sherrill; a strange thing to do! The fire of God’s Salvation had swept through my entire family in no uncertain terms!
The family gathered in the lounge with some visiting farmers on Saturday evening 28 March 1970 and we all knelt at chairs in a circle which, for us, was foreign! The folks worshipped and sang and then just prayed over us with prayers the likes of which we had never heard before. Glynnis and I experienced the God’s salvation together with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues, as God gave the increase, on our honeymoon!
My dad handed me the “Fellowship” Magazine of the Assemblies of God that listed all their churches and recommended that we contact Mike Attlee at Moore Road Assembly to continue with our experience in Durban. We did so eagerly and soon walked into Moore Road Assembly where our first Sunday night meeting experience was captivating, to say the least.
The following Sunday we were baptised in water, notwithstanding having been warned about committing heresy if we did so by our current traditional minister, whilst smoking his pipe and giving us a book on prayer to read.
We continued at Moore Road for a few months until we moved to Pretoria to complete my legal studies, whereupon I was transferred to Port Shepstone as State Prosecutor. We became part of the development of the Work in Port Shepstone and, encouraged by Peter Michell, whom we met in Pretoria, made contact with and fellowshipped with Walter Hansen and family who were missionaries there. With time, the fundamental vision of CAOG, in particular, gripped my heart as I began to learn of things I had never heard before.
As the work developed, workers were eventually sent there and we continued to serve the Church in Port Shepstone where I was appointed as magistrate in 1973. In 1976 I became very ill with undiagnosed Tick-Bite Fever and contracted Encephalitis. I remember Ken Harris and Mike Attlee praying for me and being rushed to hospital in a doctors VW beetle. The next four days I cannot recall or account for. Apparently I nearly lost my life but pulled through by the grace of God. It took a long time for me to recover and I experienced new Information Memory Impairment in the years that followed. Round about that time I felt that the Lord calling me to His Work. After this illness I was even more inclined towards the Ministry rather than my secular ambitions.
One Sunday, in 1977, I told Glynnis that I felt I needed to phone Bro Mike Attlee with regard to full-time ministry and, with that, the phone rang and I heard the familiar “Des!” in a tone that I learned to associate with Bro Mike. I said that I was about to call him and he answered, “About what?” to which I replied “the Work of the Ministry”. He said to me that the reason he was calling was to ask if I was willing to enter full-time ministry at Melmoth.
Both Glynnis and I immediately knew that the Lord’s call was upon our lives, and confirmed that we would step out. I resigned as a magistrate, sold our new house and furniture and took the basics with us to Melmoth to start our new journey in the Work. This included the challenge of my on-going memory and concentration issues.
I continued in the Ministry in various localities for over six years until Bro Attlee called me from Pretoria East to Moore Road Assembly in 1983. I was hardly there when I received a personal phone call from a Christian Senior Magistrate in Durban Magistrates Court, who pleaded with me to return to the Dept of Justice as they desperately needed a Control Prosecutor. I felt that the Lord was opening a door for me to return to secular work and so, after prayerful consideration, returned to the Department of Justice whilst I continued with my responsibilities in the Lord’s work at Moore Road for the next 13 years.
I became Magistrate again in 1987 in which capacity I was appointed Commissioner of Child Welfare for Durban in 1990, a position I occupied for 12 years and in which I found that my memory impairment was better managed, until my retirement in 2004, mainly because of ill health, which was later diagnosed as diabetes and hypertension.
During the past 12 years I have experienced inexplicable immune difficulties, through which the good Lord has graciously taken me, first diagnosed as Multiple Myeloma [of which the Lord healed me] then Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura [the specialists didn’t know what was causing the problem] until my ultimate diagnosis years later of Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia, which is incurable unless the Lord touches and heals me.
Glynnis experienced two major seizures during this period, caused mainly by stress as she stood with me, but the Lord has healed her. I am on oral chemotherapy through which the Lord is presently keeping me one day at a time and I am feeling better because of it. My short-term memory has since improved immensely over the years through being exercised in the work-place, using regular repetitive computer routines and, most of all, trusting the Lord of course.
I have been in Hillcrest [Heritage Family Church] since 2012 where Glynnis and I are grateful to the Lord for His keeping hand of blessing and direction through the years as we serve Him, being heirs together of the grace of life. We are blessed to be among fellow believers who love the Lord and care for one another.