Kevin Piper's Testimony
I was born at a very young age in Gisborne and grew up in a middle class family and had great parents and family life. I have no excuses for the path I took, it was simply the bad choices that I made. I left home at about 17/18yrs old and very quickly drifted into the drug scene. By the age of about 20 I was a drug addict and soon became a dealer. Not a very good one I might add, because I kept getting caught.
I meet my wife Joanne (nee Raggett) when I was about 22 at a drug party, although Jo was never into the drugs, and hardly even drunk alcohol. Jo was a single mum when we met and fell in love, and we got married the following year in May 1982.
I adopted her daughter Dayna soon after we were married and our first son (Sharn) was born in 1983. Sharn's birth was a life changing experience for me. This was the beginning of my spiritual awakening. Unfortunately we lived a violent and dysfunctional lifestyle and I was unwittingly putting my wife and children through sheer hell.
I desperatley wanted to be a good husband and father but I allowed drugs and violence to dominate my life. I had struggled with anger for most of my life and the drugs only fuelled it, hurting my family and those around me, especially our daughter.
In 1886 after hearing the phrase, "You must be born again.” from my friend Tussy Papuni, I couldn’t get it out of my head and began to ask him questions about the Bible. Eventually he invited me to a church service, and amazingly I went. It was during my second visit to the New Life Church in Gisborne that something in my mind clicked into place. I knew the life I had been leading just wasn’t worth living, but God was offering me a new life through the sacrifice of His Son, and I needed this more than anything!
I was Born Again in 1986 on the same day my second son was born, and I Heard God Speak to me for the First Time
I was 27yrs old, and at the time my wife Joanne was in hospital having just given birth to our third baby (Jarrad) that morning. My dope smoking friend Tussy, who was a (so called) back slidden Christian, had been sharing the gospel message with me, invited me to a New Life Church service in Gisborne, for the second time.
It was there that I was able to admit to myself that not only was I a violent drug addict, I was also a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart, and that was only four of the 10 commandments. I didn't need to look any further because I realised that if I had died that night I would stand in God's courtroom on Judgment day and He would find me guilty.
For the first time I got a hold of the full Gospel message of Sin, Righteousness, Judgment, Grace and Repentance for the forgiveness of sin and Trust in the Saviour... And it made sense.
The Bible was clear that if I was guilty of violating just one of God's commandments that I was a sinner; and my conscience told me this was true, and if I died in this condition God would have no choice but to give me justice and send me to Hell forever.
However, the good news was that it wasn't God's will for me (or anyone) to end up in Hell, and He had done something really amazing so that I could be forgiven and get right with Him before Judgment day, and receive everlasting life, starting here on earth and forever more.
For the first time in my life I began to feel hope.
Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross in my place, so that I could go free. That’s how much God loves me. I broke Gods law, but Jesus took my punishment. Then He rose from the grave on the 3rd day and defeated death.
All of a sudden in that meeting, I realised God loved me so much that He gave His own Son to die in my place. I deserved to go to Hell but Jesus took my punishment on Himself so that I could be forgiven and receive the free gift of everlasting life.
All I had to do was repent (or turn from my sin), and put my trust in Jesus Christ alone to save me. And God would forgive my sins, and grant me everlasting life and I would recieve His Holy Spirit and a new life, heart and mind that would enable me to know God personally and intermitly.
So that's what I did when the preacher asked if anyone wanted to respond to the gospel message. I hated crowds, but there I was walking up to the front of the church before several hundred people. I now know what the Bible means that nobody can come to Christ unless the Father draws them. This is what I experienced, God drawing me to His Son. As soon as I repented of my sin and put my trust in the Saviour, the Holy Spirit came into my life and God became my spiritual Father and I was ‘Born Again’. I didn’t understand everything, but I knew something had changed in my heart. I wasn’t the same person anymore. Glory to God!
The morning after receiving Jesus Christ as my saviour I went to visit Jo and our new baby son (Jarrad) in hospital. I had experienced such a radical transformation that Jo couldn’t believe her ears or eyes and thought I had really flipped my lid.
My life was radically transformed; foul language had disappeared from my vocabulary without me even realizing it at first. And within a few weeks God set me totally free from my drug addiction!
Over the next year or so my whole family were saved. First, our seven year old daughter experienced such a radical transformation that she turned from a frightened introverted lonely little girl, to an excited extroverted follower of Christ. Then my parents, followed by my brother and sister and finally my wife Jo. She ralised that this wasn't just another fase like the spiritualism I had tried. It was real and going to stick, and she reallised she needed salvation as well.
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