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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: LifeXchange
By Dave Walker


My name is Victor. No other name. Just Victor. Honest truth, I don’t like my family, so I don’t want a family name. No family name – no family. That suits me. But maybe that will also change.
I don’t think I ever hated my pa. He was never around to hate. He lived across the street with another woman. His drinking partner. That and everything else; dagga, tik and heroin. Me, I stayed with my bru and mom in one room. One room and two beds. One for me and my bru and the other for my mom and whoever she brought home.

Of course now it looks bad but at the time it was just life. Gangs to belong, drugs to get kicks and home to eat and face the music from my poor drunk mom.
That was life till I met Kobus.

Why would a Whitey come to my pad and invite me to a camp? I think the social worker told him about me. Anyway, he told me about a camp where they did something they call extreme sports. Hey, man I like extreme and it seemed like a jol to get away for a bit. There was three of us: myself, Jake and Piet. We all signed up.

I got a shock to my system, man. There was no hanging around. We took off to this place far up the coast with a swimming pool and rock pools. We had lekker food and these guys who treated us with, like, you know, respect. Long story short they became our buddies and they taught us to Scuba. But, man there was lessons that we learnt more important.

Kobus he says, “Now, Victor, when you go under the water it’s like you enter a whole different world. What do you need to survive?”

“Well,” I says, “I need equipment so I can breathe.”

“That’s right,” he says, “and you need an instructor.”

I nodded my head, understanding stuff I never thought I could. “And they taught us we need a buddy. – ‘Never dive alone,’ they said.”

Now Kobus nodded. “It’s the same in life, Victor. If you want to get out of your circumstances and get into a world that is as strange to you as being underwater you need equipment, an instructor and a buddy.”

Then he told me about the Bible, Jesus and the church. I didn’t understand at first. I just wanted to jol, but as the week went on I wanted more of what he said. As well as the diving equipment, he was giving me equipment for life.

And I was learning to dream, man. When he first asked me if I liked my situation and I said “No” he asked me what I really wanted and I couldn’t say. I couldn’t dream, man. Life was life and nothing changed, but on that camp hearing about Jesus and seeing how Kobus and the others lived it out, I started to think stuff I didn’t dare before. Like getting an education and a job. Me? A skinny, pockmarked dagga-smoking, tik taking Coloured gangster get a job? Ha ha! But on the camp, with Kobus and Jesus it seemed possible.

It’s two years now, since that camp. I’ve been clean for 18 months, I’ve got my driver’s licence and I am trained in screen printing, getting part-time jobs that keep me going till the big one comes. I haven’t landed a full job yet, but in another way I have. I am working full time for Jesus. I help Kobus at LifeXchange get others out of gangs and drugs and hooked on Jesus. Man, there is no better job!

I haven’t got there yet but, hey, maybe one day I might go and see my dad and who knows, I might even give myself back my family name.

(based on a true story)

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This article has been read 432 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/02/12
This was a powerful story that solidifies how Jesus can change everything! Amen.

Beautifully story, and I am so warmed to hear that the MC has turned his life around, and has given it to Jesus.

Wonderful job - Thanks for sharing. God bless you~
Helen Curtis02/03/12
This is heart-warming indeed. I took a while to get into the jargon, but it really did lend itself to the story. I liked the illustrations the worker used to describe life with Jesus, and I am thrilled that the MC accepted him! Well done.
Dannie Hawley 02/04/12
I love this article. I felt like I was hearing it straight from the MC; you really captured his speech pattern well with your words. The ending is powerful and, certainly, one I was hoping to read. Very nice job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/05/12
This is a powerful story. You left me teary-eyed and with goosebumps. The beginning was excellent, it grabbed me immediately.

You had a few minor things with spacing. Make sure you capitalize Mom when using it as a name (or without a qualifier like my, the etc. in front of it.) You did have several words I wasn't familiar with like bru which I thought was likely brother. I also didn't know what jol or likker meant. I realize these could be British slang that people from England or Australia might understand immediately. But I did want you to be aware that not everyone may understand them.

Your ending was spectacular! I really like the analogy of scuba diving and God. It is an excellent message and will touch many hearts. I liked the creative way you touched on the topic. It is wonderful that there are social workers and other public servants that get out on the streets and help save the next generation.
Leola Ogle 02/07/12
Such a wonderful story-reminds me of my years working for Teen Challenge-seeing lives transformed by Jesus. God bless!
C D Swanson 02/10/12
Congrats on your placement! God Bless~