Personal  Testimony

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December 2021, Reading Time: 10-15 min

My grandparents celebrated recently their 65th wedding anniversary - a marriage that started in the aftermath of the last world war, going together 'through thick and thin'. I sometimes wish that my life would have been as streamlined as theirs, but THEOS had much more adventurous plans for my life.

Everything started quite normal - apart from the fact that I was born in 1981 as the oldest of 8 siblings - receiving initially the full charge of parental love, but also coming with the package of huge responsibility. My parents had been believers as long as I can think, with my father being a deacon during my early childhood and with my mother being the spiritual backbone of our family until today. Every child was given a biblical name, and much more than that, a faithful and mostly loving education.

But this is also a testimony between the epic battle of good and evil. What we did not know until weeks before his death, was the fact that my father at some unknown point had given in to the spirit of divination ("In West Germany many businessmen will consult a fortune-teller before they do a business deal.") and partly questioned the Word. He was a very good father and returned to the LORD before his death, but his actions caused a lot of drama for the family and shall serve as a warning for you.


The first blow of the enemy came toward my second oldest sister, who played hide and seek with a friend and me, and was hit head first by a car, spending months in a specialist clinic until it was clear that she would survive. She is suffering since more than 30 years, has received medicine worth hundreds of thousands of Euros and constantly changes institutions. But we know that THEOS will heal her one day when she comes to faith in CHRIST.

The second blow came at the age of 13, when a helicopter had to fly me out from a church retreat, where I fell off a castle ruin and spent 6 weeks being washed and rolled over in a hospital bed, sitting by a hair's breadth in a wheelchair.

The third blow came at the age of 17, when my best friend and neighbor died, beheaded in a cruel car accident on the way to a big festival in Berlin. I had previously decided to accompany him and only canceled half an hour before his departure. Divine protection. I will never forget the moment my mother told me the terrible news she had just received after the colleagues of his father, a police officer, had presented themselves at the door of our neighbors.

The fourth blow occurred when THEOS one night saved my life again from a car accident, making an emergency break at the speed of 120km/h, when a deer landed between the motor and the hood flipped against the windshield, coming to a stop in a curve between a river and a forest. A miracle.

The fifth blow in only a few years came when my father, being very successful having built up a construction company, had slowly and unnoticeably 'run out of oil'. THEOS had blessed our family enormously, but a series of simultaneous coincidences led to a sudden and unforeseeable bankruptcy.

This changed nearly everything for our family - from being financially rich and highly regarded to almost the other end of the spectrum. We managed to save our house and I only lost my beloved piano, but my father struggled for years and became very sick, with Hepatitis from a holiday trip in Egypt and weekly dialysis until his death.

I was now in the difficult age of a young adult, when wrong friends led me to a lot of alcohol and parties, and the mother of my daughter indirectly did the rest to bring me away from church. One week after ending a 2-year relationship and while still being an apprentice, she 'confessed' to be pregnant. Unbelief later turned into certainty. We tried to save the relationship for the sake of my unborn daughter. She even moved for some weeks to my parent's place where I had set up an apartment under the roof, but things did not work out under pressure.

While my world seemed to collapse once again -being suddenly in a position I formerly had judged people for- and maturing at 'hypersonic speed' while becoming a father, I immersed myself in hard work, becoming an engineer and making a career. Weeks of 60, 70 plus hours as a project manager in the exhibition industry, often compensating the workload with excess of alcohol on the weekends.

I took good care of my now 20-year old daughter, but was living a life far from THEOS. Meanwhile the mother -the same who had indirectly brought me away from THEOS- found Him 5 years later, through a tent mission, together with her parents. I never in my life saw a person change the way she had. The overly self-confident woman I knew became the most decent, humble and loving person. What had been struggles for years in having the right to see my daughter, turned into an apology for the former things and by the grace of THEOS into a friendship, even being present at her wedding with a brother in CHRIST and happy to see them start a family of 6.

I found CHRIST only years later in 2012, in one of THEOS' mysterious ways through my second relationship. Meanwhile, the financial crisis of 2009 also reached Germany and caused me to lose my job. What was thought to be a time-out in Ecuador, climbing the Cotopaxi and learning a new language, turned out in a breathtaking backpacking trip all over South America.

OpenStreetMap
OpenStreetMap

We lived 2 years in Buenos Aires and then moved together to Bogotá to accompany her father in his final months of cancer. The relationship later broke up under the huge stretch between countries and the ongoing hurt of loss. But it was her -having years earlier broken away from her faith through a dramatic story and not having experienced healing- who previously took me along for a house church meeting at a friend's place and once to his church.

Months later, being emotionally broken after the separation, I remembered on a Sunday morning the rough location of the church. I got off the exact bus stop in a 10-million city and was led by the HOLY SPIRIT to walk a few blocks to a church hardly discernible in a factory hall. This day a sobbing 'Gringo' foreigner was standing in a small church in the nowhere of Bogotá, making the first of many big steps back to CHRIST.

From the small church, I made some months later my way to a megachurch in Bogotá, where people who did not line up 15 or 20 minutes before the service, did only make it to what they called in hip terms the 'overflow'. A wonderful church, but with a detailed curriculum of at least half a year of membership in order to get 'authorized' for baptism. I eventually moved to Medellin and did not find a good church there anymore.

My beloved father died in 2015 after a sequence of small coincidences. Previously he had survived situations when doctors shook their heads in total unbelief. But this time it was serious and the doctors gave him 24 hours to live. By the total grace of THEOS he lived 4 more days until I arrived from Medellin. I went straight to the hospital room where all my family was assembled and where he had waited for me, only to die a few hours later. A miracle to see him in his last hours. The funeral oration was the most difficult speech I had to hold in my life. But most importantly, he reaffirmed his faith before his death.

In the time before and especially after my father's death, the LORD prospered me (in financial terms) as He had previously done with my father, and He nearly led me through the same lesson. I started as a travel agent in a call center, soon had responsibility for several travel agencies in Colombia and a few years later over 50 agencies with a few hundred employees, all over the Americas. My mother repeatedly exhorted me to not rely on online-church only and to be a regular part of a church body involving accountability. I became sort of rich and slowly walked away from THEOS, while still not being baptized. Travelling more than 100,000 km per year and the influence of a sometimes very loose South-American culture brought me into sexual sin for more than a year. THEOS then did not allow my contract to be renewed and broke me through a woman - the best thing that could have happened.

On one of my trips, I visited Vancouver and fell in love with the city. Half a year later and with many simultaneous events pointing me to move on, I sold most of my inventory in Colombia, condensed everything to 8 pieces of luggage and made my way from Colombia to British Columbia.

May 2017, Vancouver
May 2017, Vancouver

A staff member from my former church received me at midnight in the place I would stay for the next few months. A Facebook group from the church opened this door after a lot of prayer. While packing in Colombia and starting my life in Vancouver, I made dramatic cuts in my life. Nearly no more traveling - the biggest stress factor and idol. THEOS also broke unhealthy friendships and set me free in many ways.


I finally received my baptism in August 2017 - on a beautiful summer day at a beach called 'English Bay'. The best moment of my life - with a joy never felt before. It was after the baptism when I received a card with a Bible verse from Ezekiel 36:26 :

Tears streamed down my face. One year earlier I had spontaneously visited at one of my business trips a Christian orphanage in Paraguay, where I had received the very same verse through a beautiful card painted by a child's hand. Back then I pondered for months over the card and what THEOS wanted to tell me. My friend who gave me the card asked me if something was wrong with it, seeing my totally perplexed reaction when I instantly remembered the previous card. I do not remember my exact words, but I told her that it was not her who wrote the card. Now the picture was complete and the enemy lost me now forever.

Since then I underwent dramatic testing. THEOS once again saved my life from a car accident, after sliding down a snowy mountain road from Elfin Lake and gaining grip just feet away from a cliff. A true miracle.

I endured multiple illnesses, lived for a few months with an ex-prisoner and now brother in CHRIST and picked up just months ago a homeless senior after street evangelism, only to discover after his stay through a variety of old press articles that I had hosted for 2.5 weeks a seemingly very well-educated man who also told me his 'story of cancer', having been in prison for fraud. But THEOS used me to bring him twice to church and to tell him a lot about JESUS CHRIST.

Though & through the small and big trials, THEOS lifted and built me in the last 5 years continually up, going through many volunteer positions, leading several church groups and even leading the construction of the newest campus for my former church. And much more important than a sometimes 'glossy' frontline position in church, I learned how to do ministry on the street, the 'dirty' work with all its beautiful and ugly facets.

A few years ago I was close to becoming engaged to a sister, but THEOS gave me to my surprise a clear 'no'. Some people judged me for a hard decision I had to make, but I learned a few months later that my obedience to THEOS was the essential step of making room for this ministry He was leading me into. What was initially part-time next to a project management job, became nearly a full-time ministry after I asked THEOS for guidance regarding my former workplace. Within a matter of days after the prayer I received the news that my employer would leave the country. What was thought to be some sabbatical months off, resulted during the emerging Covid in daily volunteering at a foodbank and spending long days and nights creating Bible studies, while experiencing a financial rock-bottom season and trusting in THEOS.

Covid and the realization about the Prosperity Gospel separated me from my first church in Vancouver, but I kept very busy with this ministry, being now able to reach many believers all over the world and to provide them with own Bible studies, comprehensive resources and the discernment ministry. It is truly remarkable how the SPIRIT has led me in every step of this ministry and it is pure joy to work for His Kingdom, no matter all the long nights and small throwbacks.

An incredibly costly and consuming journey - over 3 continents, 5 countries and 7 churches. Stronger than ever, by the grace of THEOS. He miraculously protected me throughout my life - even in the times I was far.

The decisive factor was my praying mother.

Act 20:24