Gal 3:9 All men of faith share the blessing of Abraham who "believed God". (J.B. Phillips)

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Testimony - Rob Pavid

I was born in 1948 and grew up in middle class suburbia, in the City of Durban. Raised a Catholic and served as an alter boy for a number of years. One morning after serving mass I walked out of the chapel having come to the conclusion that this was a lifeless ritual and held nothing for me, and made a decision never to put my foot in a church again.

At the age of twenty-one I left home and started to get involved in the drug scene. I started smoking the odd joint on weekends but it soon became a lifestyle. Through drugs we started to question the norms and values of the world and embarked on a quest for an alternative way of living, something like “peace, love and brotherhood” through the haze. When Woodstock happened we thought that we were “On the threshold of a dream”(Moody Blues) but alas it soon fell apart as the only common denominator was drugs and as we all know, that has its ups and downs. “What goes up must come down” (Blood sweat and tears) became a reality and with it the brotherhood was broken and so too the dream.

 During this time I was hitching down to Cape Town with my buddy when we found ourselves stranded outside Kokstad with no prospect of picking up a lift. Night was upon us so we decided to roll out our sleeping bags in the veld a little way from the road and sleep under the stars. I awoke earlier than Thomas the next morning, and as I sat in the long grass looking at the rising sun I had an incredible warm sensation of well-being. I wondered what had come over me as I had never experienced anything as intense as this before and could only put it down to “righteousness.” I thought to myself.O.K. I’ve got to live right and get “Righteous”.

 Months later I found myself in a police cell in Cape Town with a fifteen-year sentence hanging over my head. I’d been bust with a suitcase full of the green and gold stuff that was about to be exported. As you can imagine I was not at all happy and as I sat on the floor on a dirty mattress, I was filled with fear with the prospect of spending fifteen years in jail for dealing in drugs. I looked up and someone had written in large letters GOD IS LOVE on the wall. I thought to myself “how can anyone in this situation make a statement like that?”

 Suddenly the fear that had gripped me left, and in its place was perfect peace. I got up off the floor and wrote under the message, God IS Love, and I underlined the IS because I knew it to be a reality. Unbeknown to me God was beginning to reel me in.

 And so it was that I started to attempt to clean my life up in order to once again experience that sense of well-being and peace that I had tasted. Sex, drugs and rock and roll would have to change to no sex, no drugs and, well music was now my form of income so I would have to make some compromises on that one.

 I had an offer to join Des and Dawn Lindberg’s Godspell, which was to be run in Lesotho, and took the offer along with Ken E Henson. I had initially turned down the job, but after thinking…. “Godspell Hmmmm…. God…maybe this is what I am looking for.”

 I was now on a mission to clean up my life but little did I know that I was to let myself down in the biggest possible way.

 After a good few months in Johannesburg rehearsing we were all off to Maseru, Lesotho to complete the rehearsals and then the grand opening. This is where the big lesson arrived.

 I got involved with my best bud’s wife, and as hard as we both tried to stop the relationship, we could not. I came to the realisation that there was a stronger force than me out there, and it was not a good force that had such an influence over me and that I should find the good force and place myself under it’s influence as soon as possible. I was powerless and I knew it. So ended my mission to clean up my life. I knew I needed help. I couldn’t do it on my own.

I left Godspell at the end of my contract and came back to Durban and as I left work one Saturday lunchtime to go home, I saw a bunch of guys playing guitar and singing on a pile of rubble where CTC bazaar once stood. I stopped to listen and noticed that an old friend Howard, who I had played in a band called Haggis with, was one of the guys singing. As they sang a song called “It’s love that makes the world go round” they got to the place where they shook each others hands saying “God’s love is free for everyone” and at that moment I saw a sparkle in their eyes that was reflecting the very thing that I was looking for….God’s love. I knew that I had to get hold of that Love.

 A few days went by and I got a call from Howard saying that he had seen me in the crowd and could he come and talk to me. “Sure” said I and after talking to me for a quite a while said that he had to go. “No” said I “not until you give me what you have”. This Jewish boy prayed for the Catholic boy and left.

 Two weeks later he called and invited me to a house meeting not too far from where I was staying so I went. Just before the evening meeting we all went into a small office to pray. This was all new to me and as I sat on the floor listening, Howard asked if there was anything specific that anyone needed prayer for. My hand shot up into the air without me putting it there. Howard asked what my request was and I replied that I did not know. (How could I know, I did not put my hand up, it was up on it’s own accord).

 He asked if I would like to be baptised in The Holy Spirit. I had no clue what he was talking about so replied with “Am I worthy”. (Good Catholic answer). At that moment someone spoke in a language that I did not understand and then I heard the voice of God himself. God spoke in an audible voice these words to me. “If you were the only person on earth I would still have sent my Son to die for you on the cross”. On hearing these words both my arms were flung into the air and I was knocked flat onto the ground, face down. I don’t know how long I lay on the ground because time stopped just then, but when I got up I was glowing with that same warm sensation that I had once before experienced in the veld, and the name “Jesus” was flowing out of my mouth uncontrollably.

 This was a powerful experience that would carry me through many a hard time. I heard His voice and I felt His power. I had met with the Living God. I now dance to the beat of a different drummer. You see that time in the veld I experienced God’s righteousness and I thought that I could attain that righteousness by living right and doing good things. But it is a free gift and it comes from God once we have confessed our inability to do the right thing and trust in Jesus to remove the punishment from us. Then God pours His righteousness upon us freely.

 I have spent the last 30 years with my most beautiful wife, our love and friendship continues to grow as we bind ourselves together in His love. We have had the privilege of raising two beautiful children, Matthew & Michelle, who both serve God with all that they have. Our son is in London and our daughter, husband and two delightful grand-kids live opposite us. People have said to me that I am fortunate, with the connotation that this kind of experience does not happen to many people but I have come to know and love a God that has the power and desire to change anybody's lives if they will but seek Him. I know because He continues to change us as we walk and talk with Him.

 “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”.….….Deut: 30:19

 “And if these words do not appeal to you, I hope His Spirit slips on thru…. He loves you”. (Larry Norman)

 Love to you all. Rob and Chantal

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