I grew up in a happy family in a small town in Hawkes Bay. From childhood I was introduced to a wide variety of churches and religions through family or friends. I went to Sunday school, like many kiwis do, and learned about Bible characters – Adam & Eve, David & Goliath, and Jesus. I had no idea what was going on, but they were nice, fun, stories. That’s all they were though… stories. Stories that were bound to the pages of a book that I struggled to bring to life in my imagination.

As I got older I started to pick up on people’s general cynicism towards religion. People kind of like me, who had powerless encounters with a unknown and distant God – a God that almost haunted the pages of an old dusty book. I didn’t want that to be my experience and fortunately my life has been absolutely transformed.

God offers all of mankind an incredible gift – that gift is called the Holy Spirit. It is this Holy Spirit that lives in me and connects me directly to the living God. As the Bible outlines, I was baptised (full immersion) and God freely gives me so many things. Not only does He provide a prayer language – known as speaking in tongues – for people to communicate with Him, he also becomes real in your day to day life. No children’s stories, No vague imaginations. No cynicism.

God is as real today as he has always been. He answers pray, he gives you peace, he heals your body and mind. If your experiences with God don’t sound like this, check Him out again.

Matthew Kekena