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I wasn’t allowed to believe in God, because of my tattoos and earrings

I was born into a loving home in Pretoria, to a single mom with uncles and a granddad as my role models. Growing up I was in church every Sunday, from 5 days old. My father was abusive and drank heavily and only played a minor role in my life. When I was three he abandoned his visits. As I grew up I tried to make contact but he was elusive and his excuse was that he didn’t see me because he was too scared that he would love me. My mom never showed anger towards my dad and I adopted that attitude too. The church was very supportive of my mother.


Sport was always the main focus in my life but there was a stage when I felt called to pastoral work. I put that aside because I thought that there wouldn’t be enough money in it. I played sport, esp. cricket at a high level and I was told that I had potential. When I was 17 a friend, a pastor’s son told me that, according to his father I wasn’t allowed to believe in God, because of my tattoos and earrings. That was convenient for me, because if I was already judged, then I could continue to sin. I worked in the club industry and sin was a prominent feature of my life. Work kept me in unsociable hours and I didn’t see much of my family. I was anti-church but in my drunken state used to talk about God. My mom was praying for me throughout.


A friend invited me and my girlfriend to an Easter morning service. The friend never pitched up but I went into church defiantly to prove a point - that Christians were judgemental. But it was God who proved a point. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and I was taken aback. The rest is a blur because I sat in tears through the service. I committed my life to Christ and began attending church and got involved in youth ministry. A lot of my friends vanished, I stopped drinking and smoking and my girlfriend pushed off too. In her words, she missed the gangster that I was. But I didn’t long for that life anymore.


Last year I was apprenticed to a pastor, he is my mentor, and I learned a lot. I met people from BI who came to our church to give a seminar. I was looking a solid foundation in my belief because I felt that I had a call to ministry and didn’t want to teach wishy-washy theology. A seed was planted in my mind and I researched a few colleges.


I am now in my first year at BI and my favourite subjects are Homiletics and Hermeneutics.


I see a major problem in the churches today because of a lack of properly trained pastors who tell the people to 'just love God and all will be OK'. I feel called to pastoral ministry where I hope I will be able to show people the true glory of God through solid scriptural teaching.


Graham Fryer is a 1st-yr LTh student at the Bible Institute of South Africa. He has recently been elected chairman of the Student Representative Council for 2018-19. He is 27 yrs. old.