Listen to Des Sinclair’s interview with Rebecca Duffet on Cross Rhythms Radio.
Read the transcript of the full interview published on www.crossrhythms.co.uk
Raising The Dead And Tortured For Christ!
Des Sinclair has witnessed many remarkable miracles. For over two decades he and his wife Ros have travelled throughout Africa. He has seen a man raised from the dead and he has been released from prison in extraordinary circumstances. He has preached the gospel in the face of fierce opposition, particularly from Muslim groups. He was thrown out by his father when just 11 years old. He has been abused, imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to death. His conviction, shared through Life on the Line, is that when you put your life on the line for God, it will become a life-line for others to hold on to. To find out more, Rebecca Duffett spent time chatting with him.
Rebecca: When you were a child you ended up on a rubbish dump in New Zealand. How did that happen?
Des: I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father liked alcohol and was bad tempered. At the age of 11 I stood up to him one night after he had been to the pub. He came home abusive, verbally and physically attacking my mother and my sisters, so I stood up to him and said, leave them alone. He gave me the hiding of my life. He got his shotgun out and loaded it, packed my bags and said to me, you’re no son of mine get out. If you come back here I’ll kill you. That was how I found myself walking the streets.
I looked for somewhere to stay, someone to take me in. I actually knocked on some church doors and they said to me that if you’re not a charity, you’re not here for social services so don’t come here. I found mercy in people that would show an interest in me; prostitutes and drug users basically. That’s where I ended up in the wrong side of town, but they had compassion for me and I ended up living on a dump because of that.
Rebecca: What’s your relationship with your parents like now? Was that relationship restored at all as you grew older?
Des: Yes. God’s got a funny way of getting us where he wants us to be and it’s never the way we intend or think. I wouldn’t say it was God’s divine will or God’s divine purpose what happened but, God turns all things to good according to his purposes for those who he loves. God certainly allowed my father to initiate that and do what he did but in the midst of it, it brought me to a place where I began to seek God where I probably wouldn’t have in such a strong way. On the dump I was asking everybody, where does God stay? Do you believe there’s a God? Everybody told me they did but nobody knew where he was and nobody knew how to find him. So, for three months it motivated me night and day. I was asking everybody, trying to find God. Out of that I believe that God came down and spoke to me. That’s how I found God and found salvation through that.
Rebecca: How old were you when you decided to become a Christian?
Des: It’s hard to tell. I was living on a rubbish dump and I believe the Lord spoke to me about my future and he knew me. I confronted a drug lord and he tried to kill me, but God spoke to him and struck him down. My first sermon was John 3:16/17; we said that verse together and I think that’s really what it was. I asked God to forgive me and asked him to be my Lord and Saviour. I was about 11.
Rebecca: You’ve had many experiences through your ministry and one that really stuck out for me in the book was your experience in Ghana. You were preaching and you were really challenged to practice what you preached with raising a dead man. Tell us a little bit about that.
Des: It was the first time I had been to Africa. From a first world western preaching point of view, raising the dead, yes we know it’s in scripture, but actually seeing the real thing is a different reality; so I was very challenged.
I started preaching in a church and the scripture I had read was about Lazarus being raised from the dead. I finished that passage and then in comes the real thing. The dead man on a stretcher was a Muslim. There were Muslims surrounding the church challenging that our God isn’t a true God. They said that if Jesus Christ is the one and only living God that you Christians claim, that your God raises the dead, then raise him from the dead. Then they said that if your God is not the true God then you will all die. It was a very challenging thought. I must admit my knees were knocking. I just said to God, God this is not fair, you know I don’t have the gift of healing and really the bottom line was I was confronted with something that when I was confronted with it, I didn’t really believe that Jesus, or through me, that I could raise the dead. There was a lot of doubt there. God had to bring a situation close to me to ask what do you believe. And I looked to try to get out of that place. My thoughts were, let me just see if we can ask Reinhard Bonnke or someone else could come that’s more familiar with raising the dead. As for me there was no way out and all I could do was pray.
I prayed for the dead man three times out of desperation and said, Lord please come through otherwise the whole church and all of us are going to be murdered, they will slaughter us. Nothing happened. The Pastor of the church said to me, get your eyes off the dead man and get your eyes on Christ for he is living. He said, your eyes are on the dead man and you are sowing in the flesh. He said when you die, then the dead man will live and he said, but I will tell you the truth, the dead man – you will shake his hand before you leave this meeting today. It was a daunting challenging thought to me but it was true. I started focussing on Christ and saying, Lord you’ve got to come through and God did. God raised that man from the dead. It wasn’t through my prayers, it was just the presence of the Lord in that meeting and he raised him from the dead, eight and a half days dead.
Rebecca: Although you’ve seen these miracles, is doubt something that you still battle with at times?
Des: Yes, absolutely. I think unfortunately it’s our human sinful nature. Just because you’re saved doesn’t take away that we’re influenced by the world’s system and we’re influenced by our sinful nature at times. Yes I doubt, just like any other person doubts. I question if things don’t seem to work out the way that I think they should or I believe that God wants them to; also if they don’t happen in the time-frame that I would like them to happen.
The key is that we’ve got to keep on asking, keep on praying and keep on believing and really to me it’s about Romans 10:17, faith cometh by hearing and hearing from the message of Jesus Christ. Really it’s just spending time in his presence, spending time in his word, because that’s where faith comes from. It’s from meditating on God’s word, not departing from it to the right or to the left, but standing firm in it and it comes through relationship with Jesus Christ. Through that you stand firm and God does come through.
I think his timing is different to our timing and that’s the key. We have to understand God knows best and his timing is always perfect, even though we think our timing is; but usually it’s not.
Rebecca: What would you say the most miraculous thing that you’ve seen God do in your life is?
Des: I think the most amazing thing would be salvation. Honestly, he saved a wretch like me, a sinner; someone that deserves eternal punishment and to go to hell. That he revealed himself to me and that he saved me in a real way. That he walks with me each day and that he loves me unconditionally. I think that is the greatest miracle, the miracle of salvation. There’s no other greater miracle than that. I have seen the dead raised and we’ve seen great things, but they don’t compare. None of that is anything compared to the power of the cross and the love of Christ and what he’s done so that all men can be free through Jesus Christ.
Rebecca: Looking back, would you have said that when you were on the rubbish dump you would have had any idea that God would do everything that he has through you?
Des: Some things. I was a child so my understanding was limited and I had a childlike faith. Certainly God did tell me specific things that I would do in my life, countries that he would take me to. I remember, when the Lord was speaking to me about that, I remember just saying, but Lord I’m only a child, who am I? I don’t have the ability or the experience to do these things. But, you know, God just said to me, just go and be obedient and I will be with you. I said, ok Lord, give me the faith, and help me. Really I think it is out of obedience. All I know is this, out of obedience to God our faith opens and God will back you out of obedience. I think so often people think it is about faith and then things will happen. I look at it the other way. In my life anyway, all I know is out of obedience and out of trusting God and knowing you can’t do it but out of obedience to what he has told us to do. That is when faith comes and that is when God will open the doors and will use you, because it’s him that will flow through you in that.
Rebecca: At times when you’ve been in some life threatening situations, do those situations scare you or does God gives you confidence?
Des: It’s never nice to be in life threatening situations, but at the end of the day most of the unreached people groups in the world today are Muslims in radical Islam. The gospel needs to be preached to them because Christ loves them. God loves the Muslims; he loves all people groups. If you go there, unfortunately that is something you have to be aware of, that you may be caught and if they catch you they are going to torture you and put you to death if you don’t renounce Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, the true God.
I think probably the worse time was when I was in Angola. I was caught by rebel soldiers there. I was tortured for ten days in a prison cell and beaten. I remember I got to the point when I just said to God, please God let me die, it would be better for me to die, take my life, let me die rather than to go through the torture and carry on what they were doing to me. But God rebuked me. He said you have no right to ask me to take your life. He said, I am the one that holds the keys of life and death and my grace is sufficient for you. I didn’t really want to hear that. What do you mean your grace is sufficient? Where is it because I’m getting my butt kicked here and there’s no deliverance; there’s no-one getting me out of here. I’m getting tortured but God just kept telling me, my grace is sufficient for you. I think it was a learning curve and God had to deal with my hard attitude and my understanding of who God really is.
Out of that God did come down and minister to me, when I got my perspective off myself and off my circumstances and got my eyes on why God allowed me to be in the situation. God wanted to reach those rebel soldiers. So I focussed on them and I was able to speak in Portuguese to them and preach the gospel to them as they were taking me out to torture me and they fell down on their knees and cried and wept and they gave their lives to Jesus. I think that’s the main purpose, of telling them that Christ loves them and that I loved them. Out of that, the next day the UN soldiers came and there was a fight to get me out of there and they were all slaughtered. So those men, if I hadn’t focussed on Christ, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be saved and to be with the Lord today.
Rebecca: You’ve done a lot of amazing things with your life; do you have any idea where you will be going next?
Des: Yes, there’s still so much to do. While there’s light let us work for the day cometh when no man will be able to work, scripture says. To me I don’t want one drop of his blood to be wasted over me, there’s much to do. Christ loves every man, every woman on the face of this earth. To me, my passion is to try to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to every person on the face of the earth and to show them the love of Christ. By God’s grace we’ve been honoured and blessed that we’ve had the privilege of doing that. But you know, it starts in your home, it starts in your workplace, wherever you are or whatever community you’re based in you can be a light there and you can reach people.
My main passion now for Africa is to try to alleviate poverty and to bring Christian principles into society. That’s what we’re focussing on; setting up our own banks and also setting up world trade centres and then being able to pour wealth into those nations through the gospel and through building low cost housing, medical clinics, schools and then man them with Christian teachers and Christian principles. We’re trying to bring a Christian culture into that society and instead of the money being raped and being taken out of those nations, put it back into the people so that we can alleviate poverty. I think the other thing is just going wherever God wants us to go and I think God will open the door for us. We’re spending a lot of time with Presidents in Governments in Africa and just being a voice to the nations of the world at this time and hopefully to allow the glory of God to come over Africa in a greater way.
You can buy Life on the Line from Cross Rhythms Direct for only £8.54.
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.
About Rebecca Duffett
Rebecca DuffettRebecca studied Broadcast Journalism at Staffordshire University and previously presented the Cross Rhythms Community Choice show on weekday lunchtimes.