Roy Brereton was in a children's home from the age of nine to 12 and a half. His father was in jail and his mother had abandoned him at nine months old.
"This [situation] only built hardness in me as Mum never wanted me unless I could further her bank balance [through child support payments]," Roy shares sadly.
Roy was smoking at the age of eight and drinking wine heavily by age 15. He was in and out of prison and had a rebellious attitude.
"One day, I walked past a church fence which had a sign on it," Roy recalls. "It said, 'What is the time?' And, then beneath it, 'It's time to seek the Lord.'
"That became my saying to anyone who asked the time from me. Later, a girl at work gave me a Bible but none of it made sense to me."
Roy says that he laughed at people who tried to 'push religion'. "But somewhere deep down was this belief about Jesus dying for my sin."
At 32, Roy was married and had two little boys, aged 18 months and seven days old.
"Around this time, I argued with my wife about my drinking," he admits. "I left home and took all that was in the house, including our two cars. I even had our washing machine! The only thing I left behind was a clothes dryer so Maureen [my wife] could dry the nappies.
"I drove over 500 kilometres away where I got a job."
A great depression came over Roy. He agreed to go to a Bible study with a good friend. While he was there, Roy heard a man quote from the Biblical book of Acts chapter 16, verse 31, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household."
"The Spirit of God speared those three words, 'And your house,' into my heart," Roy states. "I knew I was immediately saved [rescued from my sin by Jesus]. It was my house, my wife and my two boys, who were not saved.
"I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to go back home to my wife and sons so they could see what I had just experienced."
Roy returned home and about six weeks later his wife became a Christian.
What's the time in your house?
"It was a miracle in my eyes," Roy shares joyfully. His new-found faith did not magically make his troubles disappear though. "Not long after that, I broke my back and then my wife got breast cancer."
Many years later, his wife died after a double stroke.
After some years of being on his own, a retired missionary phoned Roy and asked him to come to Sydney for a few weeks. While there, Roy suffered another accident. He was walking on a footpath and fell into a maintenance pit with a broken lid. He already had four stainless steel bolts in his back from his last break. Because of his fall, Roy had to undergo another operation for pain management.
"I am grateful that God has kept me out of a wheelchair," he says.
Roy met and married his second wife at his church. He was thankful to have her by his side to help him as he went through this crisis.
"When I first found new life in Jesus Christ, I asked for the strength to stay off the wine and smokes and deliverance from a dirty mouth," Roy, now 71, remembers. "I emptied out the wine, crushed up the smokes and binned them and kept up the practice of reading the Bible. One verse that has been special to me is from Ephesians 4:29 which says, 'Let no corrupt language come out of your mouth.' Why? Because my body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Amen. God is good, all the time."•