Seeing all races singing and hugging touched Dean after his father died
As his family raised him in an eastern religion, Dean Pillay always strived to please unknown deities as well as his father — until his father’s passing revealed that he most needed the love of a father and brothers.
“My father was a very religious man,” says Dean. “Yet I was not the most obedient son, and I always thought that my parents hated me, because I was always in trouble, even when I was innocent, I was guilty.”
After his father passed away, 17-year-old Dean began to rebel.
“I was led to believe that I was the cause of his sudden heart attack, so apart from feeling sorry for myself, I started taking drugs and alcohol and making a terrible mess of my life.”
Thankfully for Dean, his wild ways were curtailed by his girlfriend Marshelle, who he met before his father died.
It was love at first sight, especially for Dean, who believed that after getting married her Christian background would no longer conflict with his polytheistic beliefs.
However, over the next twenty years, they came close to divorce as Dean prayed regularly at the local temple and a home shrine, while Marshelle took their children to an evangelical Christian church.
As she usually did, in 2009, Marshelle invited Dean to a large Christian event and this time she suggested that she would be alone in a mostly male audience.
“She conned me into going,” Dean says with a chuckle.
“At the Loftus stadium in South Africa, I was totally shocked to see so many in one place, people of all races singing and praising the Lord.
“When Uncle Angus (Buchan) came on the stage, I noticed he was ‘down to earth’ humble and very straight forward, telling all the Christians that they should not think they are perfect.
“I just sat there, listened and saw many people hugging each other and crying and praying for one another. What I saw was love.”
Angus asked the 70,000 people present to stand, so Dean stood up too, not wanting to be the only one sitting.
“As Uncle Angus prayed, I could not understand what came over me but I started to really cry. I excused myself to go to the toilet, and on my way people held my hand and prayed for me.”
Back at his seat, Dean continued to cry and he recalls thinking that; “something deep within me had changed.”
Returning home, he recalls having a “deep desire to listen to Gospel music” and watch Christian television programs.
“I went with my son to a Mighty Men Conference (with Angus Buchan) and I was blown away. I had never seen such unity amongst the different races and such brotherly love.
“I had been without my father from the age of 17 and everything that I longed for in a father I saw in Uncle Angus.”
In July 2009, Dean decided to stop praying to his god, wondering if he might have an accident or get sick as a result.
“When I realised that I was still okay by the next week, I secretly started longing for Jesus,” he says.
Encouraged by the first experiment, Dean stopped his custom of eating only vegetables on Mondays and Saturdays.
“I did not tell my wife any of this so that it would be totally my own choice.”
Finally, on the 28th of July, Dean had made up his mind.
“I told Marshelle that I wanted Jesus in my life and I cannot go any longer without Him.
“Needless to say she cried tears of pure joy the whole day.”
Since that decision, Dean describes himself as “a changed man, a new creature in Christ Jesus.”
“The best outcome that has come from my decision to personally commit my life to Jesus Christ, is the relationship I have with my family. The old saying is true that; ‘A family that prays together stays together”.
“Now I live what the Bible teaches and share it with others. I cannot imagine life without my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”