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The testimony of Peter Dickman,
president of CMA Namibia


Instability and uncertainty marked my entry into this world.  I was born into a broken dysfunctional family where confusion and rejection were the order of the day.

I was to start my life in the huge city of Johannesburg in the care of some "good Samaritan" who took pity on me.  My father's mother took me in and she and her live-in lover, Albert, were by guardians, as my real grandfather had also absconded sometime in  the past.  Albert was a real character.  He had no children of his own, but was prepared to take me in and support me from the age of 3 months old.

Both my grandmother and Albert did what they thought was best for me, but their judgment was clouded by alcohol.  Social drinking developed into an abusive situation where they would not stop drinking until the bottle was empty. Ii was raised in an unstable environment where I witnessed the heartbreaking destructive realities of alcohol abuse at first-hand.

Occasionally my real father would reappear on the scene while I was growing up.  Each time he was with another woman and made promises about how things were going to change and improve.  My heart would soar with the excitement and I would tell my friends at school that my dad was back, only to come crashing down to the reality of another broken promise.  Drugs and booze ruled dad's life and each time he disappeared the pain of rejection was devastating.  His "at home" spells never lasted longer than three months.  With this background of human error and demonic deception, it did not seem that I had much of a chance, but God had a plan.

I saw evangelists preaching on the street corners in Jeppe, Johannesburg.  One day an evangelist told me that my name, Peter, meant rock and I liked that.  Obviously church attendance was a foreign concept to me in those days.  The instability of my home-life meant that I attended no less than thirteen schools to complete my education.  The last part of my school career was in the small Karoo town of Middleburg in the Cape.  Here things took a turn for the good.  God set this up so that I could go on a Christian Student Association camp and experience His love.   Miss Joubert was my English teacher and she spent much time talking to God on my behalf.  She and her two other teachers often counselled me through my rebellion. 

My grandmother passed away just before my final High School exam and arranging the funeral became my responsibility as Albert was in hospital with diabetes.  The harsh reality of adult life hit me as I returned from this scenario to complete my school exams.  Now my family was a sickly old man.  I realized the reality of abandonment and rejection.  This rejection would continually erupt in rebellion and attention-seeking behaviour.

My conscription period in the army started in June 1974, so I had 6 months to explore life on my own in the city of Durban.  It is impossible to grow in your walk with God unless you pursue Him and here my newfound faith stagnated.  On my first weekend pass I went to visit Albert, only to discover that he had died the previous night.  I returned to base to request compassionate leave to bury Albert, but was denied.  I had to fight the system in order to go to put Albert to rest.

The army showed me the world and I ended up in Namibia.  Somehow I grew to love this semi-desert country.  I did however fall into the deception of learning to drink, despite what I had experienced in my childhood.  I settled in Namibia, married Maggie and pursued a career with an international oil company.  Life was good, but my drive for success took me away from home on many business trips, and the hotels and bars became my home away from home.  It seemed that Peter had forgotten God, but God remembered the hurting, confused teenager who cried out to Him at a student Christian Union camp.  God had not forgotten me.

Alcohol gained the upper hand in my life and my life was causing frustration and heartache for Maggie.  My son did not need an absentee father, neither did my wife need a party animal for a husband.  In 1992 I took the plunge and started my own business which was successful, but I was still in turmoil.

In 1995 I was confronted one morning with a stirring to settle things with God.  It was as if God was saying "No more games.  Today we settle things between us."  I made a choice to finalise things that morning.  No turning back!

My curse of a confused lifestyle inherited from my ancestors was broken by the power of the shed blood of Jesus.  My craving for alcohol was replaced by a love for God.  My mind was renewed by God's Word and the habit of smoking was broken as I submitted to His love.  The hurts of a lifetime drained away as I allowed The Father to lift me into a place of wholeness.  God had not forgotten me and had begun a work of glorious restoration in my life, my marriage and blessed my business.

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