It’s a huge honour for me to welcome Pastors Walti & Colleen Snyman to preach at our Hammersmith morning service this Sunday 23 September. They are the one’s that led me to Christ!
In 1983 I was doing basic training in the South Africa Navy with one of their awesome son’s Trevor, and he invited me home for a weekend in Cape Town. I experienced something extraordinary in their home that weekend – God’s love basically. On Sunday morning I discovered that they were pastors of the Lighthouse Christian Centre, and off we went to church. It was like nothing I’d experienced before, but because of what I’d experienced in their home I was open. I heard the Gospel preached and at the end of the weekend Colleen gave my a book articulating Gods love demonstrated on the Cross, and my required response to Christ’s call. About a month or so later, somewhere in a field near Saldanha Bay (The naval training base), I made a personal decision to follow Christ.
At the Lighthouse I learnt a lifestyle for love for Gods word, and of radical faith in Gods Word. One thhing you NEVER got at the Lighthouse was a boring sermon! I was so hungry for whatever I could get to that I used to sneak into the back of Colleen’s women’s Bible teachings on Sunday mornings before the service – that was always deep and fired up! I learnt that sharing your faith with others was one of the first things a new believer did to build their faith, and on Friday evenings we’d be out sharing the Gospel with students at the “Drie Guiwels”, and the broken on the streets, riding in a van with a big “One Way, Jesus” sign on the side! I also learnt that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the gift of speaking in tongues, was desirable and available for all believers. They preached and believed the full Gospel. If God said it, is was so. As a very young believer I saw the gift of faith in operation as they needed to raise a very substantial sum of money to keep the cinema the church was meeting in. There I sowed my first significant financial seed and learnt the gift of tithing, and I know that ever since the breakthrough they had then I have had similar gift of faith for the many financial challenges we’ve had along my own leadership journey.
It was also at the Lighthouse bookstore that I found these colourful “Jesus loves you” and other stickers, which I duly started sticking onto my letters sent to my then girlfriend Ali, who was at the very liberal Rhodes University, and rightly so wondered if I’d gone crazy! Ali later visited me in Cape Town and also gave her life to Christ at the Lighthouse!
The Lighthouse was one of the very first churches which flouted the SA governments apartheid laws, and was always a place where all races worshipped together, and I think this set me up for always wanting to be a part of an “Every Nation” kind of family.
I know it’s been a bit of a ramble, but looking back and honouring who and what shaped you in the past in a powerful thing. As for me, I’m forever grateful for this family and church that shaped my beginnings.
The Snyman’s home had an open door for me for many years from the first time I stepped in there. Their lives significantly impacted me on many levels – come along this Sunday for a very special impartation!