Surfers and Contract Killers

I used to show teenagers two DVDs as evidence.

One was called “Changes”.1 Various surfers tell about how they encountered Jesus. The story of Chris O’Rourke, the last one on the DVD, is particularly moving. By 1976, at the age of seventeen, he was the top-ranked surfer on mainland America. Then cancer struck. He was led to Christ by another surfer, Brew Briggs. Brew had become a Christian earlier, and had tried sharing his faith with his fellow surfers. “But they didn’t want to listen!”

But facing death, Chris did. Once a Christian, he had an amazing influence on many, including his arch rival, Joey Buran. Joey knew he would never be the top surfer in California as long as Chris was fit. Describing himself as brash and cocky, he found himself seated next to a very ill Chris on a non-stop flight to Australia, with no other seat free on the plane. Chris questioned him on the fulfilment he found in surfing and witnessed to him about Jesus the whole way to Australia.

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Divinity and Death Row

I came to real faith in Jesus through two seventeen year old pupils. They were members of my Latin class at St Andrew’s College, Grahamstown. It was a Damascus road conversion.

St Andrew’s is an Anglican independent school and at that time was blessed by a wonderful chaplain, Hylton Knowles. Each class in the school had two periods a week of Divinity – what some schools would call Religious Education. The chaplain immediately gave me a class of fourteen year-olds to teach.

I was clueless. I can remember in one lesson crying out to God for help – the best thing I could have done….

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