Vernon grew up in Cape Town during the war years, and has memories of food rations, blackout blinds for the night time and gun batteries dotted around the coast in case South Africa was invaded. Vernon was a mischievous boy and little has changed! In fact, he can often be seen hanging around the church entrance way, (especially when he’s on welcoming) with a naughty twinkle in his eye and ready with one of his quick witted jokes! He chuckled as he recounted how as a child, around Guy Fawkes, he and some friends would beg people for money to buy crackers to light and blow up. For greater effect, they used to tie several together, place them under an empty tin on the ground, light them and watch the explosion blow the tin sky high!
Vernon and Denise met at church in 1957. He invited her to a Billy Graham movie. He arrived at her house in a beaten up little Morris 8, which had a leaky canvas roof and floorboards, which didn’t stop rainwater from splashing up and wetting peoples’ feet. (Good thing Denise didn’t worry about such things, but saw a man with a good heart!).They were engaged on the 21st May 1958 on Vernon’s 21st birthday, married on the 7 March 1959 and went on to have four children; Stephen, Michael, Lynette and Christopher. Next year, they will celebrate their 55th Wedding anniversary, a testimony of their devotion and commitment to each other.
Vernon and Denise have experienced many Miracles in their lives and have seen God move in amazing ways and bring good out of bad situations. When they bought their first home they didn’t have a penny to their name. The Lord provided all the necessary finances through a Government pension scheme and an insurance payout after a break in where they lost Denise’s wedding ring to theft, among other items.
Stephen, their oldest child was born with a condition called Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBA) and found school challenging. The Principle advised Vernon and Denise to send Stephen to a Special Needs School and they chose to send him to a Specialist who did regular exercises with him instead. Stephen gave his life to the Lord at the age of 12, was baptised and was miraculously healed by God. He went on to university and became an Electrical Engineer.
After Rocco and Lynette moved to New Zealand in the year 2000, they encouraged Vernon and Denise to emigrate as well. When Vernon and Denise came over on holiday, they submitted their paperwork and asked if they would be able to hear whether or not they would be granted residence before they left in January. A month later, they received a letter in the post from Immigration New Zealand saying that their permanent residence had been granted.
It has been a tough year for Vernon and Denise with the loss of their beloved son Stephen and their Daughter- in- Law, Jill. Vernon holds on to the promises of God and Psalm 23, to get him through the tough times. His favourite quote is ‘When God guides, He WILL provide’. Their faith in the Lord and their commitment to Him in spite of all the trials they have faced is an inspiration to us all.