As a 10-year-old, singing on the swing was my passion. My mother took me to see the vicar and signed me up to sing in choir. Here I learnt about great hymns like, “Oh God Our Help In Ages Past,” and “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
In my teenage years, I was an apprentice as a motor body builder, learning how to construct caravans and trucks. Many vintage cars also came to our factory. There are many happy memories helping tradesmen rebuilding these relics.
Two years into this, my parents went away for a holiday and arranged for me to stay at a Baptist Hostel called ‘Hercus House’. I went for a week and stayed nearly two years. During this time, I made a commitment to Christ but my interest shifted to other things. Girls, motorbikes and living in a commune.
Here I met with James K Baxter a famous New Zealand author. I never knew who he was at the time but in later years began to develop a love for the written word and appreciate his advice.
I then got involved with a motorcycle club but it did not work out. I married my first wife. When our first child was born, I almost matured overnight. The thought of how much this child relied on me, caused me to revaluate my life. Sadly, my wife did not see things the same. She wanted to carry on partying. Another son later and she left.
A year later God became more than a word to me on April 21, 1982 at 10:15pm
I had been going to church regularly but refused to make a commitment. I wanted the real deal. One Wednesday night, Terry took me to hear an evangelist. Before I set foot in the building, I knew in my heart, something was going down.
When the invitation came to go forward, I could not move. It was as if from my waist down had turned to concrete. I remember praying and asking the Holy Spirit for help. I asked Him if He can get me halfway, there I could do the last few yards.
Before I knew it, I was halfway toward the front. I felt drunk, so drunk. I looked at my watch it was 10:15 in the evening. In those days, the pubs shut at 10 o’clock. Being inquisitive, I ambled closer to the front. Here this drunken experience got worse.
Having Christ in my life has given me confidence to write and accept authority. At school, my teachers constantly whacked me on the hand. Picking up the pen in my left hand was all I ever did.
The first things I wrote as a Christian were postcards and letters to missionaries. My poems appeared regularly in church newsletters.
My greatest joy as a Christian was marrying Hine on the September 10, 1988. Together we co-authored two children’s picture books. ‘Morgan’s Cool Cat’ and ‘Super Morgan’.
My biggest struggle is my big mouth -what goes in andout. During the first year of marriage, it seemed that my wife was always asking. “How dare you talk to my friends like that!”
Why am I still a Christian when others have given up? Am I thick as two planks, or is my skin solid like a rhinos? With a surname like Clover, maybe I am born lucky.
I can assure you it has all been hard work. Not every inch I have gained in God’s kingdom has come easy.
Here are some keys that have helped me survive
Read your Bible and pray every day
Get involved in church life, even shaking hands on the door.
Go to a home group/ house church.
Now and again, have a long hard look at yourself.
What I have learnt about through all of this, is the best testimony I can ever hear, is of someone who has been brought up in a Christian home and stuck it out. You can teach us new believers how to bring up our children in the same way.
My work is also available at www.orble.com/stephen-clover