Everyone has a story. This is a part of mine.
I was born in Johannesburg in 1975. While a person’s story is not necessarily a religious one, it is difficult for me to separate Christianity from the rest of my life and to put it into a category all on its own.
My parents became Christians early on in their marriage (I don’t know if it as before or after I was born), and so I have grown up with a concept of a God who loves me and an understanding that Jesus died in my place.
I did not have very many friends growing up, I was the kid in class that got teased because I was not very athletic and had a huge pair of front teeth. In-fact for the most of my junior schooling the only sense of self worth that I had came from my understanding of what God had sacrificed for me, so despite most of the world telling me otherwise, I knew I had to be worth something.
In standard 5 (grade 7 in today’s terms) I was voted in as the boy ‘house captain’ at school. I can clearly remember standing with my back to the rest of the ‘house’ along with all the standard 5 boys. The kids were voting by show of hands. I can remember the restless movement when my name was called and the way the teacher skipped over the usually time consuming count. I had won by a landslide. Mainly because I had three very popular younger siblings, but that was a big thing for me. Someone, a lot of someones, other than God thought that I was worthy.
At the beginning of my standard 8 year (grade 10) my family relocated to Cape Town. I thought (and still do) that this was the best thing that could have happened to me. I decided that as we physically moved, I was going to leave behind the small insecure little boy, and go forward as the person I knew I was.
I changed my name. Up till then everyone had known me as Ronnie, which made sense as my grandfather and an uncle were known as Ron. But for me Ronnie was a link to the sad little boy I had been. So I refused to answer to anything but Ron.
I never looked back. To this day no one believes me when I say that I am actually an introvert. That is not to say that I put on a façade and the person you see is not the real me. I just learned to be confident and to place my sense of self worth not in what people say or the way they treat me but rather in who I am as an adopted son of God.
I spent a year in the army after school. I had no idea what to study. Career councilors were useless. I was convinced that God knew what I was supposed to do with my life and was quite angry with him for not telling me what it was. The sense that God was holding out on me and being far away from home caused me to ‘let God go’ for a while. I never recanted my beliefs; I just did not think about God much during that time.
I ended up at UCT studying a BSc (Hons) in computer science. I felt that if God had left me in the dark about my career path then I would just do it alone. There I was introduced to Marla by an ex-boyfriend who was in my class. We started dating almost immediately and were married 18 months later.
I laugh at myself now. I landed up studying a subject that I would not have chosen (Computer science was one of those “I need another credit” courses I took in 1st year), in an industry I find fascinating, married to the most amazing woman I could choose, and have a gorgeous daughter with a second on the way. All these things happened ‘coincidentally’. I know I might sound naive when I attribute it all to the hand of God in my life, but I believe that He has always had my back and that He always has something going on.
I have been a part of Stellenberg Community Church since I was 15 years old. I served on staff here for the whole of 2004, 5 and 6. I was part of the team that launched KidStuf in 2004 and orchestrated the move to the school hall 2005/6, I say that not to sound important, but rather as a backdrop to the excitement I feel as we once again move to where God is moving us.