Nick’s Story

I was born in the Netherlands in 1956 and immigrated to Australia in 1959. English is my second language which I was forced to learn when I went to school. I had difficulties very early on in my relationship with my father. My father never hugged me or said that he loved me. I know now he did love me, but had difficulty in communicating because he was deaf, and he never knew how to express emotions. I also had a very dominating and manipulative mother.

From a very early age I felt there was something different about me. I was physically tormented by school bullies and this further increased my feelings of dissidence within my male identity. At age 11 I was sexually abused by a man in the neighbourhood where I lived. Again, at 15, I was again sexually abused by an older man. So I struggled with the need to be loved by men, and also found I was sexually attracted to men. At 19, I ended up in a gay relationship that I thought would be for life. We had bought a house together and were building a life together.

But my life was a mess, I was unhappy and unsatisfied; somehow into all of this, Jesus found me and I became born again. I did not know right then what had happened to me, but there was a real change in my life. I had a couple of Christian friends who really guided me. I developed a strong hunger for the word of God. I immediately went to Bible College to study God's word.

During this time, one night I was reading something on the second coming and in it I read that Homosexuality was sin. Now I had heard this many times before, but I felt that people did not understand me and that I was born this way. But the Holy Spirit took those words and pierced my heart. So I asked God, if this was really His will, then He would need to do something about the relationship I was in. He did!!! So then I had a lot of hard choices to make, including moving out of the house and cutting myself of from all my gay friends.

I went through a period of rebellion because I was not happy that my life was suddenly being turned upside down. In that rebellious period, one day the Holy Spirit just fell on me and bathed me with his love. I did not understand what happened but I knew it was God. He also gave me a vision of something in the future in my life. I saw myself preaching to a dark skinned people and that as I spoke God's light just began to bathe them. It was after that vision that I started to make those hard choices.

One Sunday, I visited a Pentecostal church. I do not know why, I was just drawn there. I come from a very conservative catholic background where even clapping in church did not happen. So I was a little in shock at the praise and worship that was going on. But during the worship time I suddenly became aware that there were more voices than from those that were around me. It was as though God was giving me a peek into heaven. So I knew the Holy Spirit was real!!!

So I started going to a Pentecostal church. But things were a struggle. I was trying to do the right thing but temptation was strong and I thought I was going to go crazy. In the midst of all this, one night in a home fellowship, again during worship, I was just baptised in the Holy Spirit. This was the turning point in my Christian walk. I was now able to access strength where before I had none.

I was married in 1984. Looking back now, I realise that this probably was a wrong choice, although I have 3 wonderful boys which I will never regret. But I also knew I had a call to ministry. After we were married my wife held me back from going full into ministry. I struggled with that.
I also had significant health issues. Shortly after we were married I almost died 3 times in the space of about 6 weeks. I had developed severe asthma and had 2 bad attacks that were almost fatal. I also had a brain tumour, with scans showing it. God miraculously healed this tumour. But, as I later found out, the asthma was caused by a severe infection in my sinuses that went into the bone in my forehead. So I was severely ill and in a lot of pain.

In 1992 they discovered the severity of the problem. I had an abscess that had penetrated that orb of my right eye, and another that had started to penetrate my brain. During the operation a lot of bone was removed from my forehead. But residual infection remained. The last operation I had (37 in all) in 2000, further removed bone. With treatment with IV antibiotics, what remained of the infection has been controlled and my health started to improve. God has been very gracious to me and protected me from something that should have killed me.

In late 1996, one night God had woken me up and had told me that I was going on the mission field. He gave me five countries that I would be going to.

My marriage struggled for several years. After a culmination of a number of marital troubles, we were divorced in 2001.

In 2004 I moved to Brisbane where I was involved in pastoral work in a church. It was during this time that God started to really rebuild me on the inside, through what had been a very difficult period of my life. One thing I know is that we need to give ALL out heart to God and to live passionately for Him. There is no other way. This does not mean that there will be no temptation; rather God will give you the strength to deal with it.

In 2009 God called me to go to the Philippines where I am now currently serving as a missionary. I am amazed that God can use someone like me, with all the garbage that I have had in my life, and with limited ability. But God just wants someone that is available.

Nick is now working in ministry in the Philippines