Chapter 2 of Life on The Line – The Biography of Des Sinclair
You come back here son and I’ll kill you -– New Zealand
‘Get out, you’re no son of mine and if you come back I’ll shoot you.’
“You leave my mother alone!” the young boy cried out as he tried to stop the man from lashing out at the woman he adored. The fighting had been going on for days and he could no longer stand by and witness such abuse, he had to say something.
At the tender age of eleven he was not really old enough to do much, but he still had an overwhelming urge to protect the women in his life, his mother and two sisters. But what made things even worse, was the man he had to stand up to, was not some strange villain, but his very own father.
Des’ dad was angry again and as usual was giving his mother and sisters a hard time. His father was most intolerant to anything to do with God and often verbally abusive. His mother was a believer in the Lord, but Christianity was not allowed to be practiced in the home in any way and she and her two daughters were often at the receiving end of much aggression. Intimidated and fearful, all they could do was toe the line and wait for the anger to subside.
Somehow Des seemed to have escaped the abuse, up until now, but that was all about to change. The moment he stood up to his father, his dad went wild with rage, grabbed him and began to beat him, “Don’t you dare tell me what to do, you keep out of this, or I’ll give you the hiding of your life,” his father shouted at the top of his voice.
“You can’t speak to my mother like that, Dad,” Des replied in defence.… This only made matters worse and something triggered in his dad that would leave Des out on the street. Within a few minutes, his father had gone into his room, packed his clothes into a small suitcase and thrown him out the front door.
“You’re not welcome here anymore,” he shouted, waving a shotgun in his son’s face, “You are no longer any part of this family… You have dared to stand against me, now you must fend for yourself… GET OUT! You’re no son of mine and if you ever come back here, I’ll kill you.”
Des was stunned, but he realised there was nothing he could do to make his father see reason. His first reaction was to knock on neighbour’s doors, not that the family had many friends due to his father’s notorious outbursts. But it soon became clear that the community did not want to know his problems.
“What happened?” was the question Des was faced with, time and time again, as the list of doors he could knock on quickly diminished.
“My dad’s booted me out! Please can I stay over with you tonight?” he cried…
“Definitely not!” came the reply, again and again, as fear filled the eyes of the neighbours. “Your father will come after us as well. Go now, before he sees you with us.”
And so Des Sinclair’s abrupt leap to adulthood began. Not yet a teenager, he was forced to look after himself on the streets. As darkness began to descend on the small town of Levin, near Wellington on New Zealand’s North Island, the reality of having no home and no bed began to weigh heavily on the young fellow’s shoulders as he wandered along the bare pavements aimlessly.
“Where to now?” he thought, as he came upon a rubbish dump on the wrong side of town. “This doesn’t look like much, but at least there are people here, scratching around looking for whatever discarded ‘treasure’ they can find, perhaps I can build something to live in…”
Overnight, tramps, drug addicts and prostitutes became part of Des’ family. At least they were prepared to listen to his troubles… Pretty soon, other homeless people taught him to look for food on the rubbish dump and he found compassion in the most unlikely of places.
Des found a cardboard box in which he could sleep and very soon he was quite at home in his new family unit of fellow ‘down and outers’, including men prepared to steal or kill for their next fix and women who hated themselves for selling their bodies.
Living on the dump, it was not often that Des could go to school because the teachers would start asking him questions, and he didn’t want anybody to know what had happened. He felt like he couldn’t do the normal things a boy of his age would do, but at least began to feel like he belonged somewhere at last.
Yet something cried out deep within him, “God where are you? There must be a something better for my life than this. Surely this is not my destiny?” And so for three months the young boy cried out to the Lord, day and night… “God, I don’t know who you are, I don’t know where your house is, I don’t know how to find you, but if you are God, you should be able to hear me. If you created the world, you must be around somewhere. Please talk to me!”
Des desperately wanted the Lord to reveal himself or at least send somebody to give him the answers he was seeking and yet his prayers seemed to be falling on deaf ears. And as much as he wanted to speak to somebody, anything to do with the Church was out of the question.
His father had instilled in him a dislike of Christians, often telling Des before he was kicked out of the house that they were a bunch of hypocrites…. “You don’t dare go near those guys, they are bad news!” his father had constantly maintained.
So, Des turned to the prostitutes and druglords who were looking out for him, and began to ask them if there was such a thing as a God. “Yes, we believe there is a God,” was the answer from everyone he spoke to, “but we don’t where he is or how to find Him. We would like to find Him too, but we don’t know how.”
“Well I am looking for Him,” said Des, sharing his innermost desire and even as he scrounged the dump for something to eat, he continued to pray and ask God to speak to him. Then one night as he was sitting in his cardboard box, make-shift home, a wind began to blow around his head. He was lying in the dark, and yet, all of a sudden a light appeared.
“What’s this?” thought Des, his first reaction was to run away, but he was not afraid, in fact he felt a sense of peace come over him. Then he heard a voice speaking to him, a voice he has come to know over the years as the voice of God.
“My son, I know you by name, before you were even formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart and I appointed you for such a time as this, to speak on My behalf and tell other people about Me…
“I will raise you up and you will be a prophet evangelist to the nations of the world. You will go from place to place, you will sit at the feet of kings and you will proclaim My glory to them.”
“But Lord who am I? I am only a child and I don’t know what to say. I don’t know You, I don’t know anything about You, I believe – but how?
“Just obey Me. Obey My commands and I will be with you. And it will be the Great I AM that will bring these things about in your life. I will place My words within your mouth and I will be with you, now go!”
“Where am I to go, what am I to do?” Des thought to himself, trying to come to terms with this extraordinary experience. Then he remembered his grandmother had a Bible and she had told him that it was ‘God’s Word to man’. Deep down in his heart it instantly dawned on him, he had to find a Bible and so he went searching the dump for anything that looked vaguely like a book.
“God I need your Word,” he prayed, “there has got to be a Bible on this dump somewhere”. But after four hours of scrounging through all kinds of rubbish he had found nothing – there were many books, but no Bible. Then as he looked up, he saw a man dumping a whole lot of ‘new’ stuff. Des ran over to have a look and rummaged through many different articles until he came to a small, rectangular brown box, which looked like it could contain a book.
“Open the box,” came that same voice again, “My Word is in it!”
Des opened the box and inside it was a brand new NIV Study Bible, still wrapped in its cellophane. He was overjoyed and began to thank God for this miracle – nothing like this had ever happened in his life. God was so clearly watching over him from Heaven and though there have been many other miracles in his life since, this was the most obvious to date.
The only problem was that he couldn’t read very well. “God you have given me this Bible, but what does it say,” Des asked the Lord, “This is far above my reading level, I can’t understand this,” he cried, closing the book in frustration. “What good is this to me?”
But as he pondered, Des remembered the promise the Lord had given him, that God would place His words in his mouth. “Tell me what this says, God,” he questioned as he took up the Bible, again… the pages falling open to Jeremiah 1:4-5 by no coincidence.
“Then the Word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations’.”
Des didn’t have a clue who Jeremiah was, but slowly he was able to make out some of the words… as they became illuminated in front of his eyes. “It says, you knew Jeremiah before he was born, that is what you told me,” Des said to the Lord. “It says you appointed him to be a prophet to the nations, Lord that is what you said to me!”
“That’s right! That is what I told you and it is written in My Word!”
“Wow! Thank you God,” Des prayed as faith began to rise up within him. And from that day forward, every time he turned to a page in the Bible, different verses would light up, like they had been highlighted with a marker pen.
Des would struggle as best he could to understand what the scriptures contained, but then the meaning would somehow come into his mind and his reading rapidly improved by spending time in God’s Word constantly.
Still it was all very confusing for the young boy… “Who is Your Son, Lord?” Des asked one day after reading John 3:16 “It’s great that you love me and that You sent Your Son, but who is He?
And how could You sacrifice Him? How could you do that, I mean my father is a hard man, but he didn’t kill me, at least he gave me a chance to run. Yet you even killed Your own Son?”
In his childlike understanding, it seemed God was a very hard taskmaster.
“You don’t understand,” the Lord shared with Des, correcting his childish questions. “I sent My Son so that you can be right with Me. His Blood takes away the sins of many and because of My Son’s Blood you can walk with Me and hear Me. And that is how I am able to place My Words within you because of My Son’s Blood which was shed for your sin.”
Des was overwhelmed by these experiences with God, and ran around telling all the prostitutes and drug addicts what had happened… “Hey man, I saw this light…”
“What stuff are you on mate?” the drug addicts asked him, “sounds like it is good hash man, where did you get it from?”
“Hey I’m no druggie and I don’t want any of that stuff. This is real, this is God.”
“Ah, yeah right, we’ll find out where you are getting it from!”
Despite the fact that they did not believe him, Des was extremely excited, and kept reading more of the Bible each day… “Lord tell me more…” was his daily plea.
“I have told you this so that you will tell others,” the Lord spoke to him. “I have told you this so that you will go and tell others, why should I tell you anything more unless you are prepared to go and do what I have told you? Now go and tell others that have not heard and if you do, I will reveal more things to you.”
And so witnessing for God became a foundation of Des Sinclair’s life. He took his Bible and went off to tell everyone that they were sinners and they needed to repent if they were to escape hell’s clutches and go to Heaven.
“God says you are already condemned,” he said to one of the druglords, striking up a conversation. “God’s hand is against you because you have rejected his Son and you will burn in hell. You need Jesus!”
Needless to say this hardened criminal did not take too kindly to this young upstart preaching at him… after all he was one of the top gang leaders in the area.
“But Jesus did not come to condemn you,” Des continued… “He has come to set you free!”
The drug-crazed gangster pulled out a gun…
“Well young man,” he said, holding the revolver to Des’ head, “I hope you know your God, because you are going to see Him in a few minutes, if He exists. I don’t believe he does, but if He does, you are going to meet Him…”
Without further discussion or any hint of remorse, the drug-pusher pulled the trigger.
But the bullet never fired.
Once, again, he pulled the trigger, but again nothing happened.
“Stay there, don’t move, don’t run,” the druglord commanded, opening up the gun chamber to see what was going on. The pistol was fully loaded, nothing appeared to be wrong. “Now I am going to pull it again, it is going to work this time,” but the gun refused to co-operate.
Trembling with fear, Des knew he had to try and escape, and before he knew it, he had taken his Bible and bashed the man over the head with it. Then he made a run for it as his opponent crumbled to the ground.
Des was literally running for his life, when The Voice came to him again… “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”
“I am running for my life, I’m a dead man, look what You have done… You told me to go and tell people about Jesus, now this man’s after me and he is going to kill me, I am out of here.”
“STOP, AND LOOK BEHIND YOU!” said the voice of the Lord.
Many different thoughts were racing in Des’ mind as he ran, but as he turned his head to look around, he saw that the druglord was strewn out upon the ground. Des took this as an opportunity to continue running and secure his escape.
But the Lord had more to say… “STOP AND GO BACK WHERE YOU BELONG. Go back to him.”
“But God, if I go back to him, he is going to kill me, and if he comes round, I am a dead man.”
“Go back to him, and speak to him, My Spirit is upon him and I am with you, now go.”
Des returned to the man, who by now was crying on the ground like a baby. “I’m sorry I hit you,” Des said, “cause Jesus loves you.”
“You didn’t hit me” the druglord replied in between sobs. “There was a man beside you that touched me and some kind of power threw me to the ground. I am a sinner, I am wicked, thank you for telling me this good news about Jesus.”
And so the two of them got on their knees and began to pray together. Des shared a simple prayer with him, asking God to forgive the man for his sins. He then got up after the prayer and started yelling “I’m free, I’m free.”
A short while later he confided in Des: “I’ve got to stop dealing drugs, and go and tell all the people that I supply,” he said. “I have to tell everyone that I have met Jesus and ask them for forgiveness. They need Jesus as well, come with me, let’s go!”
And so transformation began to break out across the rubbish dump and its wider community as Des ministered along with his first convert, praying for everyone who was willing. And the same thing that had happened to the former drug pusher began to happen to everyone he prayed for.
People began to fall under the power of God as Des did what seemed right to him at the time, by first praying and then bashing them each one over the head with his Bible! This was all Des knew at the time, as it worked for the druglord! Although somewhat primitive, God still used Des’s child like faith and many were set free from their drug addiction.
As increasing numbers of people started gathering, hungry to know more about God, so a church was formed with an eleven-year-old boy as its pastor! “You must bring a message to us, you must tell us what is God saying to us, we must learn,” became the cry of Des’ instant congregation.
“All I can tell you is what I think God is saying to me,” Des shared, as he began to preach more and more, telling his new converts all that the Lord was showing him on a daily basis.
Back home his mother was longing for him, and did try and make contact with him a number of times, but Des would avoid her because he knew it would only cause her further pain, if his father found out.
Looking back at his childhood today, Des has forgiven his earthly father and his relationship with his parents has been completely restored. In hindsight he is grateful to His Heavenly Father for his extraordinary childhood which has positioned him for ministry today in such a unique way, teaching him to rely totally on God from a very young age and to expect the Lord to show up in signs and wonders.
“God has got a funny way of getting us where He wants us to be and it is never the way we think or expect. But this was the way the Lord had to get me to a place where I could meet Him,” Des says, “and I am so grateful for that”.
Where are you in your walk with God right now, dear reader? If you do not yet know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, take a few moments to pray the following prayer of salvation and like the druglord in this story your life can also be miraculously changed.
Prayer of Salvation
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God,
that you went to the Cross and shed Your Blood for my sin.
Lord I recognise I am a sinner and repent of my sins.
I claim your precious Blood and receive complete forgiveness.
I give you authority over my spirit, over my soul and my body.
And I ask you to be Lord of my Life and to teach me and guide me so that I can follow your ways.
Holy Spirit, I ask you to come and reveal all truth to me and help me to follow Jesus.
In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Or perhaps you have served the Lord for many years, but have become tired and weary in your faith? If that is how you are feeling today, take heart, God has a plan and a purpose especially for your life, a divine destiny that He wants to launch you into. What he has accomplished in the life of Des Sinclair, He can also do for you.
God Almighty can reach down from Heaven into your desperation and despair and give you hope. As another scripture in Jeremiah says…
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29: 10-11).
In God, the homeless can find shelter and believers can defy death. As you continue to read, may faith rise up in your heart, now is the time to trust the Lord for the impossible!
I’ve also had a sad and troubled childhood. I have seen and been through what most people don’t go through in their entire lifetime. I don’t feel sorry for myself, instead, I got to a point where I started to thank the Lord because it helped me become the person that I am today. I had a strange dream once: There was a ladder from earth going up to heaven. I saw people going up and down. When I looked around in heaven, I asked why there were so few people there. A voice said its because the people don’t have somebody to teach them. I can’t remember exactly but it came down to that. A Bible was placed in my hand and a voice told me “go and tell people about me”. It was a few years ago so I can’t remember everything exactly but I have also never forgotten this dream. Lately I’ve been trying to remember the detail but just can’t. I know you hear this all the time but I can’t help but wonder and feel if that message had a special meaning for me. I have always felt like I am meant to do bigger things. I just don’t know where to start or what to do? Is this something in my head because I am confused about this. My head is saying one thing, my heart something different. People are very reluctant to help, give chances or advise. I look forward to your response. Kind regards, M
Thanks for your comment Michelle. I would say you have received a profound call from God through this dream and there is no room for confusion. God has placed souls on your heart, which is his heartbeat. Go for it with or without people’s help. You can learn from Des Sinclair’s story, that despite all the obstacles against him God called him and used him as an evangelist. He started small, sharing with people on a rubbish dump and God took care of the rest. God bless, Al.
Thank you for your response. I have always felt that in my heart. The heart never lies. Guessing nothing will happen over night. But I will let you know how it goes, if that is okay with you?
Sure, I look forward to it. We are all called to go into all the world and share the Gospel.
Plus, “the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)