Rebecca Duffett spoke with Des Sinclair
Des Sinclair has witnessed many remarkable miracles. For over two decades he and his wife Ros have travelled throughout Africa. He has seen a man raised from the dead and he has been released from prison in extraordinary circumstances. He has preached the gospel in the face of fierce opposition, particularly from Muslim groups. He was thrown out by his father when just 11 years old. He has been abused, imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to death. His conviction, shared through Life on the Line, is that when you put your life on the line for God, it will become a life-line for others to hold on to. To find out more, Rebecca Duffett spent time chatting with him.
Rebecca: When you were a child you ended up on a rubbish dump in New Zealand. How did that happen?
Des: I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father liked alcohol and was bad tempered. At the age of 11 I stood up to him one night after he had been to the pub. He came home abusive, verbally and physically attacking my mother and my sisters, so I stood up to him and said, leave them alone. He gave me the hiding of my life. He got his shotgun out and loaded it, packed my bags and said to me, you're no son of mine get out. If you come back here I'll kill you. That was how I found myself walking the streets.
I looked for somewhere to stay, someone to take me in. I actually knocked on some church doors and they said to me that if you're not a charity, you're not here for social services so don't come here. I found mercy in people that would show an interest in me; prostitutes and drug users basically. That's where I ended up in the wrong side of town, but they had compassion for me and I ended up living on a dump because of that.
Rebecca: What's your relationship with your parents like now? Was that relationship restored at all as you grew older?
Des: Yes. God's got a funny way of getting us where he wants us to be and it's never the way we intend or think. I wouldn't say it was God's divine will or God's divine purpose what happened but, God turns all things to good according to his purposes for those who he loves. God certainly allowed my father to initiate that and do what he did but in the midst of it, it brought me to a place where I began to seek God where I probably wouldn't have in such a strong way. On the dump I was asking everybody, where does God stay? Do you believe there's a God? Everybody told me they did but nobody knew where he was and nobody knew how to find him. So, for three months it motivated me night and day. I was asking everybody, trying to find God. Out of that I believe that God came down and spoke to me. That's how I found God and found salvation through that.
Rebecca: How old were you when you decided to become a Christian?
Des: It's hard to tell. I was living on a rubbish dump and I believe the Lord spoke to me about my future and he knew me. I confronted a drug lord and he tried to kill me, but God spoke to him and struck him down. My first sermon was John 3:16/17; we said that verse together and I think that's really what it was. I asked God to forgive me and asked him to be my Lord and Saviour. I was about 11.
Rebecca: You've had many experiences through your ministry and one that really stuck out for me in the book was your experience in Ghana. You were preaching and you were really challenged to practice what you preached with raising a dead man. Tell us a little bit about that.
Des: It was the first time I had been to Africa. From a first world western preaching point of view, raising the dead, yes we know it's in scripture, but actually seeing the real thing is a different reality; so I was very challenged.
I started preaching in a church and the scripture I had read was about Lazarus being raised from the dead. I finished that passage and then in comes the real thing. The dead man on a stretcher was a Muslim. There were Muslims surrounding the church challenging that our God isn't a true God. They said that if Jesus Christ is the one and only living God that you Christians claim, that your God raises the dead, then raise him from the dead. Then they said that if your God is not the true God then you will all die. It was a very challenging thought. I must admit my knees were knocking. I just said to God, God this is not fair, you know I don't have the gift of healing and really the bottom line was I was confronted with something that when I was confronted with it, I didn't really believe that Jesus, or through me, that I could raise the dead. There was a lot of doubt there. God had to bring a situation close to me to ask what do you believe. And I looked to try to get out of that place. My thoughts were, let me just see if we can ask Reinhard Bonnke or someone else could come that's more familiar with raising the dead. As for me there was no way out and all I could do was pray.
I prayed for the dead man three times out of desperation and said, Lord please come through otherwise the whole church and all of us are going to be murdered, they will slaughter us. Nothing happened. The Pastor of the church said to me, get your eyes off the dead man and get your eyes on Christ for he is living. He said, your eyes are on the dead man and you are sowing in the flesh. He said when you die, then the dead man will live and he said, but I will tell you the truth, the dead man - you will shake his hand before you leave this meeting today. It was a daunting challenging thought to me but it was true. I started focussing on Christ and saying, Lord you've got to come through and God did. God raised that man from the dead. It wasn't through my prayers, it was just the presence of the Lord in that meeting and he raised him from the dead, eight and a half days dead.
Rebecca: Although you've seen these miracles, is doubt something that you still battle with at times?
Des: Yes, absolutely. I think unfortunately it's our human sinful nature. Just because you're saved doesn't take away that we're influenced by the world's system and we're influenced by our sinful nature at times. Yes I doubt, just like any other person doubts. I question if things don't seem to work out the way that I think they should or I believe that God wants them to; also if they don't happen in the time-frame that I would like them to happen.
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