Alex and Tara Porters

13 April, 2016

Alex

I was born and raised in a town called Newcastle in NSW. I was brought up in a single parent family, since the age of 4. Before I received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, my life consisted of working, playing rugby union and binge drinking on weekends. I believed that I could live a good life by living to my own code of honour; look after your own self, your family and your mates.

At the age of 25, I decided to drive to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to work in the mining industry. The original route was going to pass by Victoria, however this changed when I decided to visit my uncle who lived in Dandenong. About nine months earlier, he had become a Christian and shared the news with me at the annual family Christmas gathering. I was amazed as he had always been a wild man involved with the drug scene. When I arrived, my uncle and a few of his Christian mates took me out to play pool a few times and they also shared with me their stories of conversion. Out of curiosity, I visited the church several times and I also happened to catch a Louie Giglio film called Indescribable. After hearing the Good news preached in the film, I made the decision to receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour, at home kneeling at the foot of my bed.

Since then, I have peace in my heart and know that heaven will be my home; not from my good works but because of the faith I have in Jesus who died on the cross for our sins and was risen on the third day. I am not a perfect man, however, God has seen fit to bless me with my wonderful wife Tara and has honoured me with many friendships that will last for all eternity.

Tara

I was bought up in a family home of 4 people. Whilst growing up, I had no belief in God and didn’t really understand the meaning of life. My Aunty, who went to church, would occasionally take my sister and I with her and we would sit through the service. But this was at an age where I didn’t have any understanding of God, Jesus or the church.

During my teenage years, I had really low self-esteem and I was very quiet and shy around people. I thought people didn’t like me because I was a bit over weight. During high school, I was into ‘worldly’ things and followed what my friends were doing. This included drinking alcohol, swearing and using bad language, stealing and lying. At certain times, I was depressed, felt lonely and out of place in the crowd. When I finished high school, I got a job and was able to earn my own money. With some of this money, I would go out and buy bottles of alcohol, particularly spirits. On weekends, I would hire out movies and watch them at home in my bedroom, whilst drinking alcohol at the same time. Other times, I would be out with friends from work and I would drink until the point I passed out. Other time, I would have a few drinks and drive to get home. You could say that I didn’t really care what happened to me.

I drank alcohol as if it was soft drink and I remember on one particular occasion, my 21st birthday, I drank to the point where I don’t even remember what happened. I only found out the next day when I woke up and watched the video my parents had filmed of my party.

The company I was working with at this time, offered me an apprenticeship to partake in a 3-year course to become a cake and pastry chef. Whilst studying, I met a young lady in my class who seemed interested in talking to me and becoming my friend. I had previously never made friends as I was still shy, so this was a surprise to me; I was used to being on my own. Our friendship grew stronger during that year. During my second year of study, I met another young lady who also wanted to be my friend. This again, was strange to me. Then, in my third year of study, I was invited to my friends house and realized that the two girls who I became friends with, were actually sisters! I continued to grow closer to my friend from first year, until one day, she invited me over to her house for a sleep over. I met her family, saw how they lived; it was the complete opposite to how I lived. My friend says to me, just as we were about to go to bed ‘Tomorrow morning we are going to church. Are you okay with that?’. I said ‘yes’, so when Sunday morning came, we all went to church together. Being in church, I felt really uncomfortable because the atmosphere was different to what I was used to and I also didn’t like meeting new people. I sat through the service and at the end, the pastor did an appeal to follow Jesus. Whilst everyone’s heads were bowed, I peeked up to see what everyone else was doing and the pastor saw me and invited me forward to the front. My friends’ mum came with me and although I had no idea what I was doing, I prayed the sinners prayer. After the service closed, the people in church came up to me and congratulated me for giving my life to Christ and repenting of all my sins; I still didn’t know what I had done.

A few weeks later, my friend and her mum bought me my first Bible as a gift and explained how to read it to me. Time passed and I was slowly learning how to read the bible, how to understand the passages that were in it and I began asking questions. After 6 months, I had a better understanding of the bible but during this time, I still questioned ‘What is the meaning of life’. From the bible, I learnt how we should live and how we should treat each other, but I hadn’t quit drinking alcohol or swearing. One night, I was invited to a bonfire with my friends and we sat around into the early hours of the morning talking, laughing and drinking. I was intoxicated with alcohol and suddenly began thinking about what I had learnt from the bible, about repenting of my sins and giving my life to Jesus but then realised that I hadn’t changed how I was living. All of a sudden, I realised I was a lukewarm Christian and I felt a strong conviction on my heart to change the ways I was living. Falling to my knees, I felt that I had failed God and was ashamed. I looked to the sky, saw the stars and started crying, asking God to forgive me once again for my sins. I asked him to come into my heart and my life and make me a new person.

Since that evening, the desire to drink alcohol went away. The bad language that came from my mouth was gone. My life was changing for the better; I built up my self-esteem and started making friends. Two years later, I was married which was a surprise to me, as I just wanted to work and save for travel. But I realised that my plans are not the same as Gods!

Presently, I am so grateful and thankful to my friend who showed me the way to Christ, to give me eternal life. I’m now happily living with my brothers and sisters in Christ, serving our Lord and Saviour in any way I possibly can.

 

 

 

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