I grew up in an affluent suburb in Sydney’s lower North Shore. My dad was a dentist, Mum was a stay-at-home academic. I had a knack for getting into trouble; from an early age I was a rebel without a cause. My parents were atheists; Mum, who was highly educated, said that only uneducated people believed in God. At the time I believed she was a walking encyclopedia, so I accepted that she was right.
My mother became concerned at the reports emanating from the local public school about her son, “Roger the Dodger”. In my school days I was a bit of a gang leader at school and Mum was alarmed about my future prospects, so she managed to convince my dad that I should be sent to a posh Sydney private high school.
After school I didn’t know what to do career-wise. Dad turned me off dentistry and I just drifted into accountancy. I worked for a few years but felt I would die of boredom if I didn’t make a change. When I was 22, I became infected with the travel bug and so I worked at ski resorts in New Zealand and Canada.
On my last day of work at the Alberta ski resort, I had an experience I will never forget. I took the chairlift up and then decided to walk up to the very top of the mountain. Almost at the top, I just rested and took in the view. The beauty of the scene left me spellbound. It was dead quiet—no chairlift noise and no people. The sky was blue and some of the snow was melting and falling from the trees. I just stared—it was a majestic scene. It’s hard to describe, but I felt I was in the presence of a supernatural being, and that this being—was it God?—loved me with an incredible love. I remember tears came to my eyes. I didn’t want to move on. I have no idea how long I was there. This experience is still etched in my mind.
Not long after my Canadian trip, I flew to London for the first of my three trips to the UK. I loved England from day one. The employment agency that I was with asked me to go to Fanny Boutiques, a trendy business selling clothes to younger women in London, and help the auditor because “the books are in a mess”. That was the understatement of the century—the books were indeed in a huge mess.
The boss was Peter Fenton, if that was his real name. I was impressed by him. He was a tall, good looking and immaculately dressed man in his early 30s. He had an incredibly impressive Shakespearean voice—and to cap it all off he drove a new Jaguar sports car! My impression after the first week was that Peter was a great guy but a terrible businessman.
At home after the first week at work, I bought a paper, The Sunday People. When I opened to page three, I nearly fell off my chair! The headline read: “Don’t invest your money with this man, Peter Fenton, England’s number one con man.” The article listed about half a dozen aliases that he used, then it described his modus operandi. He would start a business and it would appear to be thriving. Then he would invite people to invest in a franchise deal. Some months later he would declare himself bankrupt and then start all over again with a different business, but the same old “con” would operate.
As you can imagine, these were exciting times for a young Aussie in swinging London. The next day, Monday, was an interesting day. When I arrived at work quite a few people were waiting, with newspapers in their hands. Peter arranged to see them, one person at a time. I learnt that after talking to them they all agreed to leave their money with him; some even “invested” more funds with Peter! How easy it was for them to be deceived.
Fast forward to 1984 and I was living with my Australian girlfriend in Sydney. She found a flyer in the letterbox and asked me if I would like to go to the “Carter Report”. I said, “What on all earth is a Carter Report?” I was interested when I learnt that Pastor John Carter from the Carter Report would talk about Egyptian pyramids and Bible prophecy. Then I learnt that the meetings would be held at the Seventh-day Adventist Church at Wahroonga. I must confess that at that time I didn’t like Christians, but I had no prejudice against Adventists. In my sales job, I drove all over Sydney and often had lunch in their Sanitarium health shops. I enjoyed the healthy vegetarian food and I found the staff to be friendly. I also took a tract or two home and read them with interest. So I decided to attend the meeting as the venue was close to our home—and it was free!
The first and second meetings were interesting. I was surprised to learn what the Bible had to say about prophecy and its fulfilment in history. However, it was the third meeting that really blew me away. The subject was the Bible’s teaching on the second coming of Jesus and on last day events. The warning words on the screen were Jesus’ words—“Watch out that no-one deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). This hit me like a knock-out punch. Pastor Carter now had my undivided attention. He showed that Jesus issued that warning four times in the chapter. “Watch out”—be on your guard and beware of deceivers and con artists.
My mind was reeling because for most of my adult life I had had to be on my guard in order not to be deceived. Having never opened a Bible in my life, I was really impressed as John Carter expanded on the teachings in God’s Word, and I became convicted that I was hearing the truth. I am a logical person and it all made sense to me. I realised that my perception of the Christian faith had not been accurate, and my personal experience with Pastor Carter’s explanations of God’s Word helped me acknowledge that
At the end of the series, I knew that there was a God in heaven and that He loved and desired a personal relationship with me. In addition, He was preparing a home, not just for me, but for every man and woman who believe in and put their trust in Him. God’s Grace and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ would allow anybody who chose to follow him to partake in this wonderful gift. In the weeks following the Carter Report presentations I studied the Bible with a group of people who, like me, had their eyes opened in those meetings. I was so happy to make the decision to be baptised into the Christian life.
That was 36 years ago, and I thank the Lord for His blessings over all these years. I have been married to a lovely wife for 28 years and we have one DD (Delightful Daughter). We have been on many mission trips, preaching the good news about Jesus in Zimbabwe, Thailand and India.
This is my personal testimony, but I know that all over the world there are people like me who have died to their old life that was without God and without hope. These transformed men and women are living proof that God not only exists, but that He has the power to transform anyone into His child. There is no such thing as a hopeless case as far as God is concerned. God’s love can reach anybody.
Life is like an election in which three votes are cast. God votes for you, and the Devil votes against you. Whichever way you vote decides the election for your soul. How will you vote in the battle between Christ and Satan, between good and evil? The vote you make is the most important one you will ever make.
Roger Kerr is an author and retired accountant. He lives with his wife, Angela, in Nowra, NSW.