Although Hannes Grové grew up with a minister as a father, knew a lot about God and had even prayed tearfully to God in his late teens to save him, he now knows that it was not until he truly surrended his desires and will to Jesus in 2015 that he became a Christian.
"I was on my way to hell and I did not know it, because I thought I was saved," he explains. "I had allegedly been led to Christ 10 years ago and told to immediately 'go and tell people what God has done for you'. I did not want to but they made me "testify" and, at some stage, I began to believe the lie. I thought if I said it enough it must be true.
"I was bound in my sin. I confessed some of it but I never stopped sinning. My life did not change. I was a slave to sin and my sin became worse," he confesses.
In his 20s, he says he "began doing awful things". He smoked and drank a lot and was sexually immoral. He manipulated people, hated Christians and all they stood for and had a very bad temper that expressed itself in beating up people.
"My anger was always out of control. Christian friends pointed this out to me. However, the more I confessed my wrongdoing, the more I sinned, and the more I felt I was losing touch with God. I became desperate. I started sincerely to seek God. I was scared, alone, and empty," Hannes admits.
Then in January 2015, Hannes read a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, and felt a powerful presence surround him.
"I felt God say to me, 'You poor, distressed sinner, unworthy and fearful, come to me and Jesus Christ will accept you and protect you.' I felt tears run down my face as I prayed, 'God, save my soul.' God confirmed to me that I was now truly saved."
Hannes had a vision of a man on a dark mountain calling out 'Follow Me'.
empty”"Although I could not see His face, I knew that it was Jesus. While climbing the mountain, He showed me parcels, letters, and items—each one had a label written on it. I saw myself picking these up. On top of the mountain, we came to a cliff. Jesus looked at me and told me to throw each item away. The moment that I threw these over the edge, I knew these represented my sins. Now I knew that God had saved me and that my name was written in what the Bible calls the Book of Life," shares Hannes.
"God met with me and He saved me. Jesus did what I could not do - paid the price for my sins on the cross at Calvary and saved me from hell and the power of sin in my life.
"After that everything changed. Suddenly I loved Christians for the first time. Everything is now about the Glory of God, where before it was all about me. My temper is gone. I do not beat up people anymore. I quit my job and became a pastor - the one thing I never wanted to be."
A few months later Hannes' father died.
"I wish my father could see me now, serving the Lord as a minister," Hannes says sadly. "I wish my dad could be here now that I can make him proud. I didn't do that while he was alive but I will see him in heaven one day and because of his example I now stand firm on the Bible and preach God's words.
"I intend to follow Christ and Christ alone," he declares. "My prayer is that God will be glorified [made famous], not me. My life belongs to Christ and not myself. My Lord walks with me and He leads me on. I cannot do anything without Christ and I want people to know that King Jesus is alive and when He saves you, everyone will know that something is different."•