Here’s a brief introduction
Who am I? Well, I am a Christian and the member of an Australian Navy family. My youth was spent moving from city to city, state to state, getting enrolled in different schools, making new friends, participating in different church denominations and communities.
Following my graduation from secondary school, I pursued my childhood dream and joined the Royal Australian Army and all was going to plan. I successfully completed the Army Recruit Training, and 99% of my induction training course until one afternoon while driving back to the barracks in my ’72 Holden HQ Premier One Tonne Ute, I was involved in a head-on collision with a ’92 Toyota Land Cruiser. After getting cut out of the wreck, I spent nearly a month comatose in the Alfred Hospital, followed by around eighteen months of physical and cognitive rehabilitation at as an inpatient then outpatient at the Epworth Hospital in Richmond, Melbourne.
By the grace of God, I recovered well enough to be discharged and fly back to Western Australia. Soon after touchdown, I responded to the University offers I received after my high school graduation, and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Certificate of Heritage Studies at the University of Western Australia.
So I turned my mind to understand,
to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.
During this transition back into the ‘real world’, as I liked to call it, I was invited to the birthday party of one of my housemate’s sister’s friends, who, after admiring my collection of Roman coins and WWII swords and bayonets, thought I’d enjoy the curiosities of the Perth Gothic Community. I agreed, and against my better judgement, was quickly absorbed into the shadowy depths of Sin.
Ahem, let me clarify. The gothic nightclub once known as “Sin” was held in the basement of the historic Young Australia League building at the end of Murray Street in East Perth. Almost befitting this setting of help and support, those who attended Sin were somewhat lost, broken, or forgotten people, in the search of community and fraternal validation, and association.
Anyhow, I got myself blacked out at Mame Clothing, and went to Sin from 10pm to 3am (apparently 2-3am is the peak period for apparitional experiences, which has something to do with the increase of melatonin in the body) every Saturday night and Sunday morning for nigh on two years. Week by week it gradually dawned on me that the life I was living was outright hypocrisy.
One morning, as I was walking to a lecture theatre at UWA, I noticed a banner fixed across the library overpass advertising the weekly meetings of the Christian Union of UWA. I stopped and put the dates into my calendar. I vividly remember the feelings of joy and excitement I had during the ensuing meeting.
I soon attended the Christian Union’s Mid-Year Conference, and the National Training Event at the end of the year which were spiritually-enriching and life-changing experiences. Following my graduations, I flew east and lived and studied at Sydney Missionary and Bible College, where during my two years studying a Graduate Diploma of Divinity, I was involved in Christian missions at Adam Road Presbyterian Church in Singapore and at Albion Park Anglican Church.
Despite living and studying in a Christian community, I allowed myself to mute the call for Christlikeness and pursue immorality. Ignoring the loving advice of friends and college staff, my whirlwind relationship with a non-believer resulted in my course failure. I chose to move back in Perth and complete my studies at Trinity Theological College, where my third mission was with the Port Hedland Seafarers Centre.
During an illuminating conversation with a Serbian-Orthodox crewman on a container ship berthed in the Port, I was told that due to their lengthy sailing schedules, “the ship begins to feel like a prison”. This comment stuck with me, and during some research back at my assigned residence, I came across Prison Fellowship Australia. After reading their ‘About Us’, and ‘Programs’ pages, I filled out their Volunteer form.
After getting certified to serve in the Prisons, I went on to lead and assist in chapel services for male inmates at Hakea Prison, and female inmates at Melaleuca Remand and Reintegration Facility, where I also participated in The Prisoners Journey course. “Honestly, prison visiting is not an easy ministry. It can take months or even years to see change in an inmate’s life, but change does happen.” Julie, a Prison Fellowship Volunteer.
“Every person is made in the image of God. No life is beyond His reach.”
While studying a Graduate Diploma of Chaplaincy at Murdoch University the following year, I fell in love with a beautiful Filipina woman whom I sat next to each week during a class appropriately titled Community Development Theory and Practice. Short story short, we got married three seas away in the Philippines the following January.
As it happened, the Taal Volcano erupted on January 12, prohibiting many of our international guests to attend, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) called a global public-health emergency (COVID-19) on January 30, 2020, scrapping our honeymoon plans in Taiwan.
On the blessings in disguise side of things, while living in the Philippines under one the world’s longest lockdowns, I completed and published my historical memoir, “A Maze of Miracles & Madness“, which I started writing when I was twenty-five. As I look back, my first quarter-century was a whirlwind of blessings from God; times of darkness and redemption.