19th September 2021

Andre van Tonder Testimony

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Automatically Generated Transcript

I tend to speak really fast when I get nervous, so I'm hoping this is not too quick, but so I'll do my best. So, I grew up in a Christian home. My parents took us to church every Sunday, and that we actually had almost extremely regularly, like was something our family really did a lot.

We had devotions almost every single night, and we almost read through the Bible as a family multiple times. So, my family really surrounded us kids with a really Christian environment. Also was home-schooled, so my parents include a lot of Christian religious studies, and like Bible reading, and theology, and actually home-schooling. So, I pretty much, it was one of the, probably an extremely, one of the most extremely Christian environments that someone could grow up in, because everywhere we looked, what we did was Christian.

But even with that, when I was younger, I realised that even though I was surrounded by everything that was Christian, hang on one sec, I can take my mask off, can't I? Even though it was a Christian environment, I realised that I wasn't actually saved, and that I was lost. And when I was about eight or nine, we watched a Christian movie on Jesus' second coming, and afterwards I was lying in bed, and I was like, if Jesus came back tonight, I would not be going to heaven.

So even though our parents had quite strict rules about being in bed at night, and not getting out of bed, I very timidly walked up to where my, to where the front of our house where we had, we kind of watched our movies together, and my parents were still awake, and they were talking, and I kind of sneaked up, and looked around the corner, and my dad was like, hey, you're meant to be in bed. And I was like, Dad, I'm not a Christian, and that I wanted to be a Christian, and I don't remember much what happened after that, but I immediately broke up into tears, and me and my dad, we talked for quite a while, and he prayed with me, and when I went to bed that night, I knew that if Jesus came back that night, I had accepted his gift of salvation.

However, after I was saved, I really struggled the fact that I still sinned, because my family really focused on the fact that Christians were saved from sin totally, and there was nothing left, and we didn't sin anymore, but I found myself still sinning, and that really bothered me, so I, in a way, became a clamshell, and tried to hide the fact that I was not perfect, and I was very afraid to disappoint my parents, and my family, that I still made mistakes. So, whenever I could, I would blame someone else, or find some way to avoid things, but then when I got a bit older as well, I was given a book, which I think I read it, and I was quite convinced this was the right way to do things.

In the book, the author argued that after being saved, you need to ask God to be sanctified, and then you would stop sinning, and I believed the book, and it would be part of my daily prayer to be sanctified, but after quite a while of praying this, nothing happened, and I became very discouraged, and I was still quite young then, so it wasn't, I still looked like a very immature kid, but I was afraid to pray in public, or lead groups, and any spiritual conversation with anybody, whether it was friends, or family, or pastors, I would avoid them, because I knew I'm still sinning, and I am, therefore, I must have done something wrong, and I, in a way, hid.

I was terrified, in a way, of anything where I had to share my story. And then, when I was a bit older, about 16, the church I was going to at the time started, well, the young adults group at the church at the time, and this was in Perth, they started looking at many of the different topics around salvation, and assurance, and stuff, and I realised that this really, it really spoke to me, and it really helped me at the time, but I was still very confused, as it really conflicted to what my parents had taught me, and I wasn't sure what to believe, and it was very much, am I not saved because I'm sinning, or am I saved, and I'm sinning? So, I was really not sure, but as time went on, and I was at this church, I started realising that maybe what my parents had taught me was wrong.

And then, when I was, just before I was 17, and then just as I turned 17, my life changed very unexpectedly, and I find myself in Brisbane, working for CMI. It's a longer story than that, but I wouldn't want to go into all the details, but it was quite an amazing thing, where now I look back, and it was something that God almost had his finger in all of that, and I didn't plan any of it, and God controlled it all, and made it all work out as he wanted.

And then, three months after that, I started boarding with the Valentines, and I came here, and I joined the young adults group, and at Salisbury Baptist Church, and I was listening to Pastor Jim's sermons, and the young adults stuff, I started realising very much where I was, and God was speaking to me, and a lot of my life started changing, especially, and it wasn't really much of an outside change, it was rather more of an inside change, because on the outside, I was still trying to be a perfect person, but on the inside, I knew I wasn't, and that was really what bothered me, and I started to build a much better relationship with God, and it wasn't something that was because my parents were Christian, or because I grew up in a Christian home, but it was because of what God had done for me, and how much I loved God, that I was building a relationship with him, and I just, I look back on this now, and God was really, really good to bring so many wonderful people in my life that really helped me to build a much stronger relationship with God, one that almost didn't exist when I was younger.

When I was saved, when I was younger, I didn't actually know much about baptism, because it wasn't something my parents really talked about, and we very much, the churches I went to didn't really think it's super necessary, and I assumed it was something that only really older people did, but then we started going to a Baptist church in Perth, and they talked about it a lot, and I was like, oh, I should get baptised, but I didn't want to do it there, because I was terrified to stand up on a stage, and talk to people, and give my testimony, and I also didn't think my parents would approve, because they didn't really talk about it so much, and I didn't actually ask them, but it wasn't something that I thought they would be happy with me doing, but then we moved church pretty soon after that, and the church we went to then, they didn't mention baptism at all, and I kind of forgot about it, but then I came to Brisbane, oh, where's Pastor Jim? There he is, and Pastor Jim started talking about Baptist giving, and I was like, oh, and then at the time, I was still working a relationship with God, but as that changed really rapidly, and I realised where I was, and how much God loved me, and how much I wanted to serve God, I realised that I would like to get baptised again, but I didn't do much about that for a few years now in Brisbane, and then I talked to, I'm not sure I talked to Jesh, or Pastor Jim first, but I talked to Jesh, and started discussing with him, and Pastor Jim, but then I started second-guessing again, as I wasn't sure about my parents' opinion, and I kind of started delaying it, and not really making it happen, but then very recently now, I got a Christian book about boundaries that a friend gave to me, or recommended, and in the book, I very quickly, even though the book was very much not about baptism, I realised that being baptised is something that God has given to us as a responsibility to do, and it's not really something that someone else can make the decision for us, and I was, I really got very excited, I realised this is something that I should be doing, so I talked to Pastor Jim again, and here I am today now, about to be baptised, because I love Jesus, and I want to obey his command to be baptised, and I want to show that I've made a decision to follow him. Thank you.

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