A kind teacher and an ex-KKK member changed the purpose of John’s life
From a young age John Mayne had one question that he desperately wanted answered: does life have any real meaning and purpose?
During his state school education he was mischievous but adds that he always tried to be "a good enough person" to get into heaven one day.
"The more I tried to be a good person and a nice guy, the more it seemed like I caused and got into more trouble," John says.
"Then one of my sisters became a Christian and I could see her life changing in a positive way and it made me question what had caused this."
John's parents did not hold to a particular religion but his openness towards the idea of God blossomed during a primary school religious education program.
"We had a teacher in fourth grade who I could tell had a real relationship with God and really knew Him," John recalls.
This teacher taught the class how to pray and explained that Jesus came to earth to sacrifice His life so that anyone who truly believed in Him could be saved and go to be with Him in heaven one day.
"I remember writing in my notebook at that time that this was my favourite subject because it seemed to intuitively make a lot of sense to me and was modelled by someone who was living it out," John adds.
"There was something a little bit different about this teacher that I couldn't quite put my finger on and I started to develop a positive reception toward God."
Although John was not a Christian he remembers defending God and faith in school arguments, explaining that he had "a soft spot for Him".
Then in his final year of high school he was present for a once off presentation about who Jesus is.
"I found all my classmates were laughing and mocking it but for me that was a key moment. The message was the same one I had heard in primary school.
"I knew that as I was getting older I was doing more and more stupid things that I didn't really want to get involved with so I made a pact with God saying 'If Jesus is the real deal then help me to know for sure'," he recalls.
In the year between school graduation and university John started reading a Gideon's New Testament Bible that was given to him during that presentation.
"As I read I understood that Jesus wasn't just someone made up, He was either a lunatic or the real deal."
His sister then invited him along to a night church service where a man named Johnny Lee Clary, a former grand wizard and leader in the notorious Ku Klux Klan, shared the same message he had heard at school.
"Johnny was about to take his life after being kicked out of the KKK when he had an encounter with God and committed his life to Jesus," John recalls from the message, "He shared how God had completely transformed his life, taking him in a new direction and revealing to him that there is no room for racism as a Christian."
Without hesitation John was the first person to go to the front of the stage when Johnny asked if there was anyone who wanted to commit their lives to Christ that night.
"I knew I was ready and it was the best decision that I have ever made," John shares. "I remember feeling peace and the weight of my own brokenness and all the wrong that was next to my name evaporate. I knew I was now a child of God."
Looking back on the decision to surrender his life to Jesus, John shares that God gave him the meaning and purpose he had searched for throughout his life.
"There were times growing up where I would get really bored but, after becoming a Christian, I had this new purpose which was to tell others about this message of forgiveness and love that bring salvation and eternal life with God."
John now works full-time on university campuses with Power to Change, an organisation with a mission to share the same message that impacted his life so profoundly.?
Interested university students can connect or find out more about "Power to Change" on their Facebook group pages.