Reuel Leach's Testimony

Reuel Leach
My Testimony
June 2003
Zambia

It is to me one of the hardest things to talk about. Maybe because I don’t have a ‘glamorous’ testimony like others and really don’t like talking much about myself. I never tell my testimony the same way over every time but it’s because different things stand out stronger at different times.

My dad’s father, George Leach, met the truth during the early years in South Africa. That was during the Kimberley diamond mine diggings and made a start. He had 4 children, 2 girls, 2 boys. My dad is the only child who has stayed faithful until today. They were a very poor family. My grandfather was a blacksmith, he made horse shoes on the mines.

My dad went into the Work in his early 20’s until the age 37. A year went by and then he married my mom. On June 20, 1971, I was born. I was the first of 3. I have 2 sisters, Nadine and Salome. Nadine does profess, Salome we pray for. My mom said that before I was born she prayed to God and asked Him to give her a son that she would give back to Him... She never told me this until I was in my teens, and this was a mistake. I told her that she was the most selfish person and how dare she tell me what I should be doing with my life. She burst out into tears. She never spoke to me about this again.

I grew up in Pretoria, South Africa and was a very, very shy boy. (by the way, I still am) I did not have many friends. I could spend hours on my own with my hobbies and it did not worry me, I enjoyed that. During these early years I wondered if this ‘Way’ was maybe just a conspiracy against me! I really thought so, it was SO different to what I saw out there. I knew that there was something in it that I wanted and needed, even if it was only just to have a little part in the meeting. At the age of 11, I made my choice when a Convention Gospel meeting was tested. I felt that God was really knocking on my heart’s door My heart pumped so fast before like that night. I was persecuted a lot during school because I was different to the others

When I went to high school, the persecution did not become less. I got involved in school athletics. I did well. That was the only place where I was ‘liked’. During the last two years of school, I got the Victor Ludorom floating trophy twice. I got provincial colors in cross-country running and qualified for South African 21 kilometre championships. My parents did not prevent me, but they did not condone it either. My dad gave me moral support. I am glad that they allowed me to get tired of it on my own. (See the last paragraph for more on this.) A teenager will always do what the parent HATES and in some cases HATES what the parent likes. I was like that. My parents were a fine example, never, never missed a meeting, this was outstanding to me. They never allowed me to miss a meeting either because of my athletics. When people would fight with me about the Way, I would tell them that which they believe in, they attend only when they feel like, why would they criticize what I fully believed in. I was shy of my shyness in my third last school year. I took a Toast Masters course. That helped my shyness problem. I mention all these things because they have a significant part in my life and my choices. In fact we can see God’s hand working in our lives through every experience. All the choices that I made were not always the right choices, but I am glad for the hand of God which led me through all of it.

When I left school, I went straight into the South African Police force. During those years we had to do our national service in one of the forces, so I spent just over four years there. I went into Forensics, became a fingerprint expert and did physical fingerprint searching. I enjoyed the job and the challenge. I got to see another side of life there. The Police became a terribly negative place to be. During my last year in the police I began to sell vitamin products and began to see my chance to get out and do something else.

I handed in my resignation after almost 4 and a half years and left the same day. I really had no idea of what to do next. I went to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door for about 3 months. After that I had my own mobile car valet service for about the same time. I went to work in a Pharmacy for 2 months. I then left to become a Homeopathic medicine sales representative for 3 years.

During this time I got better and better in my running. I got top 10 positions in 10 km, 21 km, 32 km, 42 km and 50 km races. I ran the world’s largest ultra marathon which covers a hilly road of 90 km (56.2 miles – Comrades Marathon) I ran this race 11 times. I did very well each year finishing top 100 out of 13,000-15,000 participants. I imagined myself running the world 100 km championships in Russia and Belgium. I was going faithfully to the meetings. Fortunately it never happened.

I then got a job 300 km north of my home town. There were hardly any friends there. I was a lot on my own. I spent almost 2 years night after night thinking, reading, praying, searching for answers. I got hold of as many apocryphal books of the bible I could get. I still had to be sure of what God’s plan was for me. My running performances began to deteriorate to such an extent that I hardly had the zeal I had anymore. I had many, many girlfriends and had many opportunities to get married. Nothing ever worked out. I then began to pray earnestly that God’s will be done. That was the hardest prayer to pray. I got involved in Network marketing after hours and then decided I needed to have some meaning to my life. Since I professed at a young age, I never drifted off far although I think if I had not grown up in the way I would have gone into politics or started a mafia. Now maybe I needed to be rich, not for having, but for giving. I have always liked to give because it is more fulfilling than receiving.

Well, that's not what God planned for me, I found out later. In the last 3 months I sold cars. There my contract expired, had 2 months before Conventions and decided that I needed to attend the Bloemfontein Convention that year. When I got there, every speaker spoke about the need for the Work. I prayed in between meetings that God would tell me what I needed to do. He gave me the same answer, every time in a different portion of scripture.

I had an intense battle going on for I knew that the previous 10 years of my life I had thought seriously about the Work. When Workers took part, I would sometimes find fault with them and the question came to me: "Why are you not there?" It kept me quiet. I finally got the courage to go see Uncle Louis van Dyk during the end of November during this same Convention. I went home and had 3 job offers. I refused. I was also attacked soon after this, but God showed me that He was interested in me and spared me without getting hurt. I could not leave until February 13 the next year (my name appeared on the new list during December) into the Work. These last experiences were all humbling experiences which caused me to hit rock bottom in my life and I started out in the Work with the Devil trying to hinder me more and more. There is so much that went wrong that I began to believe that maybe I was not meant for the Work.

Now I know that God has a place for everyone no matter how insignificant it looks or where we are. We can mean so much more if we are satisfied with what we have and where we are. My favorite hymn is 255 "Master Speak, thy servant heareth," for this is what can add meaning to moments when we are unsure of the meaning for our lives. There is a lot more I could mention but this has been the highlight of my life before I went into the Work. After I went into the Work, I never had a desire to do sport competitively again I like to go for walks and take a jog once in a while, but I realized that competitive sport is only for self-glorification. Anything that can help us boast or show off is taking the attention off our God and putting it on ourselves.

I have started learning Hebrew and Russian because of offering to go and labor in the Middle East soon. I believe that if I have offered my life into God’s service, I should burn all bridges and have no conditions to where I should go Whether we are Workers or friends, we all have to get out of our comfort zone to be useful in the kingdom.

I am thankful that the one Spirit that leads God’s true people still leads today. Although we might not all agree with one another, we still each have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. These few years in the Work I have been given more special moments than all my life put together. I do not know what God’s plan is in the future for me but I hope I would be useful wherever He sends me.

Reuel Leach

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