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Testimony Monday – Pamella Watt, South Africa

Each Monday, for a number of weeks, someone from around the world shares the story of how they heard the gospel and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. This week’s contributor is Pamella Watt who was born in South Africa in the 1980s and now lives in Inverness, Scotland. She has been married to Craig for seven years and they have three-year-old twin girls.  Pamella and Craig are in fellowship at Culloden Christian Assembly.

“I’ll have to make sure my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds?” I asked my friend, who, like me, was just 4 years old at the time.

 I mentally went through all the bad things I had done that I could remember. Most of which involved fighting with my older sister. In self-defence, I thought. It was her fault, really, since she teased me mercilessly, mostly about being overweight. But then, there was the time I had thrown a fistful of sand on the meat my family was cooking on the braai. My sister had nothing to do with that incident! There had just been this desire in me to do wrong. It felt like having an irresistible itch that could not be satisfied until I scratched.

I was deeply troubled by what my friend had just told me and I had one big question. When would I know if I had done more good than bad so that God would accept me when I died? I decided that I was too young to concern myself with all this. Time was on my side. Death and religion were for old people. At least that is what I had seen or heard…somewhere. 

Where I grew up, people would show that they were serious about religion by buying a church uniform. It was mostly old people that wore it. You could usually tell which denomination a person was associated with, by looking at the colour of their uniform. 

Most Sundays, my mother, sister and I would put on our Sunday best (we didn’t wear the uniform) and walk a few miles to a Catholic church. It was a rusty, tin building with hard wooden benches. There was an old lady there that would pinch noisy, squirmy children. And so, for what seemed like a very long time, my sister and I as well as other children would sit as quietly as we could, lest we get a nip from the old lady. 

Until about age 6 my childhood had been happy. We lived with our grandparents since our parents were not married. When I wasn’t at school, l would enjoy exploring my grandparents’ vast garden that had a variety of fruit trees and beautiful flowering bushes. My parents would take us on exciting excursions in the car most Saturdays. 

It felt like life couldn’t get any better when my parents bought a lovely, little house together. The house had electricity, running water and even a bathroom and toilet inside! Something we didn’t have before, indeed something most in my community didn’t have! The best part about this move though was that I got to see more of my Dad. However, that was short lived. A few months after moving into our new home, my father was struck by a car while he was crossing the road on his way to work. He died on the scene. I was devastated. It was as if I had lost my reason to smile. 

My struggle with losing my dad wasn’t made any easier when my mother got married a few years later. A short time after that, my older sister, who I had become very close to, was involved in a fatal crash that involved a school bus and a minibus. She, along with other children that had been on a school trip, died. This further compounded my grief. I put on a brave face through it all, but inside I was in deep despair.

When I was 12 years old my primary school education came to an end. It was at that point that my mother sent me to boarding school. That proved to be a turning point in my life.

At Port Shepstone High School, I befriended the happiest girl I had ever seen. I hadn’t met anyone like her before. Thina had joy! Galatians 5:22 says the fruit of the spirit is joy! Joy was something I deeply longed for. It seemed to me that what made the difference in Thina’s life was the fact that she was a Christian. I determined to spend as much time as I could with her, in the hope that I could be as joyful as her. I wasn’t the only one drawn to her. Wherever Thina went, several girls tagged along, including me! 

 One Friday evening, Thina went to a youth meeting that was held by a group of young people from the Baptist church. Of course we went! Anything to escape boarding school! It’s there that I heard the Gospel for the first time, and I trusted the Lord Jesus as my Saviour.

I had known that I was a guilty sinner from the age of 4. By now I had celebrated enough Christmases and Easters with my family to know that Jesus had been born, died on the cross and was resurrected. Up to that point I had not understood why it mattered. That changed that night. I learnt that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). That meant me! That realisation changed my life. I no longer had to try and make sure my good deeds outweighed my bad deeds. Christ had paid it all! 

The morning after I was saved, I realised that I no longer feared death, which to me was amazing! I was astonished when I later discovered Romans 8:1-2 which says:

 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

It explained why I no longer feared death. I was no longer under condemnation!

“He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God.”

Psalm 40:2-3

I give glory to God for saving me.

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