Victor Vermaak

The Prodigal Son Returned Home

Life consists of many decisions, some decisions are harder, others you make lightly and still others fundamentally affect your direction in life. I would like to share two such decisions in my life.

I grew up in a Christian home. Our family has been involved in the Mission from when I was very young, I was six years old to be exact.

There came a time in my life, shortly before my 21st birthday when, like the prodigal son, I sought more than this ‘revival life’. I parted ways with my family, and the church community – I decided to go solo. I had enough of all the rules and everything I was not allowed to do. I wanted to experience the glittering lights the world had to offer.

Because I knew the standard my parents had chosen to live by and my actions falling short of this, I distanced myself from my family. For two years I didn’t go to visit them. I hardly spoke to them on the phone. I thought all that they will do is lecture me about my decisions. It was my decision not to talk to them.

By God’s grace, they never turned their backs on me when I did venture to connect with them from time to time, in fact they never let go of me at all.

My father would often call to hear how things are going, offer advice, support me financially – after a near death experience of being hijacked and stripped of everything, they assisted me with a car. I was always welcome at every family function, even with my long hair, tattoos and tobacco whiff, I did not feel like I was shunned, instead I received so much love. I joined my family during Christmas holidays, birthday celebrations and my siblings’ wedding ceremonies at Mission Kwasizabantu. I was treated and stayed part of the family. Even the bigger church family received me warmly when I visited my parents who had later moved to the Mission.

My actions made it clear that I didn’t want to have anything to do with spiritual matters and my family never pushed the subject. They did not talk about God when I visited, their lives reflected Him and they prayed.

Life for many years seemed great, I had the best of both worlds, but I lacked genuine contentment. I fell in many traps and soon was living a life of drugs and alcohol.
I wasn’t even ten years on my own and I managed to mess my whole life up.

When my life was down in the mud and I needed help, I asked the mission if I could come and sort my life out. They opened their arms, welcomed me back and i started the process of getting my life back in order. Not once did they hold it against me that I left.

The decision to commit my ways to the standard that I knew God expected of me was not an easy one and often seemed daunting. I understand now that all the rules were not to keep me from living my life, but a way to protect me from all the traps of sin in a person’s life.

The grace, pardon and fellowship I experienced and still experience in my life today, surpasses any ‘fun’ and ‘independence’ I strived for before I, the prodigal son returned home.


Victor Vermaak

Victor Vermaak