During our lives their come times that can be described as a decisive moment. A moment that confronts you with a difficult and important decision. Such a moment was my attendance at the Love Southern Africa mission conference in 1995. Marie, my wife, and I were both very much focussed on children in our ministry. During the conference, we decided to visit the stand of CET (now Petra Institute) to get more information on their training in children’s ministry. There we met Laetitia Bull and Fanie Richter and during our conversation, Fanie challenged us to join the staff of CET.
This was not my dream, for my ministry, for my family or for myself. I had a lot of excuses not to join CET. But after a few weeks, we decided as a family to visit Petra Mountain over a weekend. I met Johan du Preez who made a big impression on me, a man for whom I developed much respect in the coming two years. That weekend my family, Marie and our three children got convinced that we have to move to White River. But I still had no peace. I visited CET for a second time to attend a course. And there, in the Lapa-classroom, I became convinced that it is actually my calling to enhance children’s ministry. I went down Petra mountain a different person than the one who went up. I had a new passion, a new vision, a new calling.
In January 1996 I joined the staff of CET. It was not an easy journey, but what an enriching journey! Over the years I worked together with wonderful staff members that dedicated their lives to the same dream. We as a family were and are still supported by such amazing people. I gained many experiences without which I would have been a much poorer person.
My role at Petra Institute changed several times. I had the privilege to work not only at Petra Mountain but also at the De Doorns campus. I had so many wonderful opportunities, in different churches, in South Africa, in many parts of Africa, even in different parts of our globe, in international organisations, to work with like-minded people but also to spread the vision of reaching out to children. I also had many interactions with children who taught me in many ways that unless I change and become like a little child, I will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And most of all I learned that when I welcome children into my life, they change and enrich me.
During the past few years, I had the opportunity to do research and wrote articles for journals and chapters for books concerning children. I enjoy it to spread the vision to welcome children in our lives and in this world in this way. I shall turn 65 at the end of March 2021. I shall not retire. I am already doing my “retirement job”. My life could have been so much different. But one decisive moment in 1995 placed it on the right track.