On Sunday night I gave feedback at church on my trip through Zim, Malawi and Moz, and who happened to be visiting? The Goldswains..
Just want to honour Jules the legend as the man primarily responsible for our returning to church 9 years ago after being out for the count for 8 long years.
The story goes like this...
There I was seated on my camping chair by the fire at our favorite retreat, Beaverlac, on a perfect starlit summers eve, guitar on lap, hounds slumped out at my feet, Bethy tinkering over the salad and a whisky on the rocks clinking in my hand, when out of nowhere appeared a smiling figure...enter Julian Goldswain.
'Howzit bru, nice playing...' he began. Nice guy, I thought, friendly. But it wasn't long before Jules invited me to church and thus invoked a raising of my hackles and a quiet, drawn out snarl. From there on I anxiously looked for a way out of what had promised to be a great new connection but too late, I'd given him my number. Back in town he followed up with invites to braais, hikes and to go surfing. Each time I declined with ever increasing annoyance. What's wrong with this guy, I thought. Doesn't he get it?
Seems not because, for a whole 2 years Jules pursued me with endless love and patience and always that big smile. One evening I broke my silence when I encountered him coming out of the water at Thermos as I took my evening stroll with the hounds. All my pent up anger and bitterness stormed out of me like a tropical cyclone. We stood in the parking lot till way after dark with Jules in his wetsuit and board under arm smiling back at me. Church this and God that, I raged. I must have surely spoiled his post surf stoke.
Sometime later, Beth and I bumped into a couple on the prom who also smiled a lot, and this time the intro line was "Hi guys, nice dogs!" Enter Neil and Tarryn Greig. Somehow I knew I was dealing with Christians here so I shot the question straight from the hip. Yeees, they were Christians, and yeeeees they belonged to the same church as their good friend...yep, you guessed it, Jules Goldswain.
Another season of renewed church inviting ensued and with it a stepping up of my best fobbing off tactics. We were doing quite well, in spite of being well outnumbered by now, but my goose was finally cooked when Dylan Jones, Beth's stepson, invited us to church one night. And guess who he was friends with? Oh yeah, you got it...the Goldswains aaand the Greigs too. Maaaaan 🤨
I stayed home to do invoicing, but really to watch the world cup final. A couple of hours later Beth came bounding in with great excitement. Some crazy lawyer guy by the name of Marius had shared his testimony about how God had saved him from driving cars up lamp posts. The worship had been amaaaaazing. The people were so friendly, and, and a young man had walked her to her car when she left. "Babes," she said, "You should have been there.."
And so began our journey back to faith and hope and love. God wasn't finished with us and we were being offered another chance to walk out our lives with him. To allow him to complete what he had begun. God had pursued us endlessly through these faithful men and women and Jules had kicked it all off. I'm so grateful. I truly am. I cannot imagine a life without God now and my relationship with him is the most precious thing I have.
Last night was special for me in having Jules be there to share the stoke of my Africa trip and celebrate God's victory in my life. No one, after Beth, knows better than old Jules what a difficult and angry man I had become because of past hurts and disappointments, wounds that if left unchecked would surely have led to my early demise.
Thank you Jesus. Thank you friends. Thank you Joshua Generation Church.
Darryl is married to beautiful Beth, has two sons and a daughter and lives in Sea Point Cape Town. They love Jesus and are passionate about Africa, the great outdoors, border collies and ginger cats.