I grew up in a normal family in a little Swiss village. My dad was catholic and my mum protestant… My mum was in a bible group and I remember always choosing the first song we would sing and then I had to go to bed… My mum got divorced and I became protestant as well. When I was older I enjoyed going to Sunday school and was part of the Christmas play and other activities from church..

And soon the Confirmation arrived. Ahhh yes presents.. but our year was special. The local church decided to lower the age for the confirmation from normally 16 to 14. Didn’t matter for me “I get my presents quicker” I thought… They also changed the system form forcing the kids to go to church 50 times (and get a ticket from the priest every time.. as proof… brilliant!!) to doing activities and talk about god. Which I thought is very nice as well.. So I didn’t go to church.. I played football and basketball with Christians instead and they told me their story with god… but most importantly I went to Camp Rock for a week. This was a Christian camp with loads of outdoor activities like mountain biking, river rafting, football… etc. and every evening talking and singing about God… I wasn’t really interested in god but the whole thing was fun. The most important was my group leader Samy.. I couldn’t get my head round. He was around 25, cool and believed in god.. that was wired. Anyway camp was over and it was brilliant.. I got confirmed and was disappointed because the presents weren’t as big as usual.. where is my golden watch??? Just because I am 14 I don’t deserve one?

I stopped going to church or Sunday school and to be good in religion lesson in school wouldn’t make me more popular either… But I decided to go to the camp rock again because I knew Samy will be there again. Without the pressure of having people that know me around, I made the decision to give God a go. Not a lot changed really.. I prayed regularly but I didn’t go to church or anything.. but I knew god exists.

Fast forward…

I am 19 in an apprenticeship to become an IT Supporter. I know my goal in life.. it’s getting a lot of money, drive fast cars and get married and have a house. Well the money was quite important. So I was a pretty normal Swiss guy. But then I started having this thought.. How would it be if my father dies?.. At that moment I lived with my mum and step dad and I saw my father once a month to spend some time with him and he was healthy. He had his small business and did sport and everything was fine so no worries.. But the thought didn’t go away. It went on for weeks and months. So I decided to call him. Everything was fine and he was really happy that I called him without asking for money or anything.. I really just wanted to know that he was alright. And he was. But the thought didn’t go away… and it happened what nobody expected, beside me. He died because of a heart attack. The doctor said that even if he would be next to him, when it happened, he wouldn’t be able to save him. His heart bursted!

We went to the priest to discuss the funeral and he said that he normally does his sermon around the saying of some Scandinavian philosopher who says “after life is not a full stop it’s a colon”. Which is true when you believe in God and that Jesus died for you on the cross. And my father did that. So we were happy and the funeral was done.

A few days later, I was sitting on the lake side with some of my friends.. Usual stuff on the weekend.. Sitting around a fire drinking and smoking, having a good time together.. I wasn’t drinking because I thought it could go badly wrong but going out with friends was a good distraction. So I am sitting there around the fire and suddenly my phone goes.. new text message. Alright. But wait a minute.. it’s from my friend sitting to my right. I asked him.. “why do you write me a text message?“ he looked at me and said.. “I didn’t” which was fair enough because I saw him all the time and he wasn’t doing anything with his phone..
It must be one of this, I didn’t locked my phone and my names begins with a (on top of the address book) messages.. But my name begins with P or with H… and it was in a time where we hadn’t got mobile phones which you could lick to unlock and have a full qwerty keyboard on the touch screen. So sometimes you got a phone call… but not a text message.

Anyway I opened it and it was…. a colon. That was the only thing in the whole message. Just one simple colon…

This made me feel really peacefully.. My father died.. too young! Normally people would drift away from god because of such a painful thing.. but because God warned me before and confirmed that he takes care of my dad afterwards I draw closer to him!! Thank you God!

After woods I went to Church everyday to thank god for that and was the perfect Christian! No unfortunately not…

Because my father was divorced, me and my brother got all his money and possessions. Which was quite a lot for a 19 year old, fortunately I had my older brother who kept me from spending it all at once. I realized that you can die every day and that you should enjoy life.. So I made a bucket list.. and because I had some money I could make most wishes reality.. A sport car, nice flat, travelling, doing motorsport etc. After I completed University and after half a year of travelling in South America I was 26 and came to England to work for a guy I met travelling. He told me that we can make millions.. that sounded like a plan. So I came over with the idea to make even more money.. It made sense because my bucket list could just be topped by more expensive things and a girlfriend.

So let’s go.. 2 more things to go.. so I worked really hard and got drunk every weekend to chase girls at parties. It made sense in the beginning but the longer I did it’ the less. The company was not successful even I worked hard, and my chasing ended up in two more physical than anything else relationships which obviously rested not very long.

I remember one Sunday afternoon when nobody was I the flat and I had a heavy hangover and felt alone and lost.. I went to a friend’s house and asked him.. “What else can you do in Cambridge than work and party?” and he didn’t know the answer either… It wasn’t just Cambridge.. it was also in life…
There was a hole in me and I tried to fill it up with everything the world has to offer.. but I wasn’t successful…

During the same time I met Jon. He is also involved in the company I was working for. He had a very troubled life and was an alcoholic but found Jesus about 6 years ago.. And everything in his life changed to the Good. He was always talking about Jesus and the more he was talking the more interesting it sounded. He was the first person who could tell me stuff from the bible who made sense and I could apply in everyday life.

After month of listening to him I met a girl on one of the flights from Switzerland to England. I always tried to get into conversations with people on flights that the time passes quicker.. And of course I preferred if the person was a female. So the girl… We got along very well, she was from France studying English in Cambridge. And then we came to one of my favourite questions.. what’s your passion? She stopped.. looked at me and hesitated.. and then she said.. Jesus. I was confused.. She was a bit younger than me, easy going, cool and her passion was Jesus?? That was odd again. So I asked her if I can go to church with her one day. So the next Sunday she took me to church.. and it was like I thought it would be.. boring! I told it to Jon and he wasn’t happy. So he was looking for another church and found C3.. He took me there and I quite liked it.. Again normal people telling stuff about god that makes sense. I always sneaked in and out talking to nobody. It was the best hangover cure I had ever experienced. I always felt energized after woods.

So after a while I decided to do an alpha course… but I challenged god. I said to him.. “if you want me to finish the alpha course you have to keep our company up and running as long as the alpha goes” because at that moment it looked like we go bust before alpha ended. Somehow we didn’t. So I went to alpha and had a really good time there. Last day of alpha came.. And guess what.. The bank gave us notice at that very day that they can’t give us the loan we need to work further.. God took on my challenge and when I realized it I laughed out loud!
And that shows what it means for me to be a Christian. It doesn’t matter what you are going through.. loosing someone you love, have no friends around, losing your job… you always have god on your site. You always feel this inner peace that everything will be alright he will sort it out for you if you trust him. I still will have trouble, worries and sadness but I won’t have loneliness no more because he will always be with me.

I tried to fill the hole in me with everything the world could offer.. but the world couldn’t deliver… god can!