Cooper Kruize, an AE supporter, reflects on why he partners with AE and meeting Stephen Lungu.

I was a young man in high school searching for something to fill a hole in my life, God through Stephen and his story, showed me that it wasn’t popularity, influence, respect, or a good time that I was searching for, it was forgiveness and wholeness that only Jesus could bring.

In 2008 I was in year 8, a young man, just over a year into high school and although to all my friends and family on the outside I looked happy, I felt like I was far from it. Since immigrating to Australia in 2001 from South Africa, I have always been someone who has lived in the fast lane of life, chasing the next thing. Whether that be the next race, the next “life experience”, the next “well done” from my coaches”, the next friendship, what every it was, when I got it, it wasn’t enough, I needed more, although I didn’t know it. Until my mum took me along to hear Stephen Lungu’s story one night at Turramurra High School.

From the moment Steven got up from his seat in the front row and walked up the stairs on the side of the stage he had my undivided attention. As Stephen begun to share his story I was absorbed, my heart quickly opened-up and aligned with his, it wasn’t that I had the same life experiences as Stephen, in fact it couldn’t be further from it. Although I don’t think I could have articulated it back then, there was one thing that our stories unmistakably had in common – we had a God shaped hole in our lives and we were trying to fill it with things that could not fit, things that could never satisfy. It was through Stephens story my heart knew what it needed to be satisfied, I needed Jesus, I needed him to forgive me and fill me with life, so that I may live life truly to the full. After the event I went up to Stephen who laid hands on me and prayed for me. It was then that I broke down in tears, I don’t know why I was crying, but all I knew is that they were good tears, it was as if I was crying away the chains that I had been a slave to, I felt free.

It wasn’t till a few year later I was re-acquainted to the work that AE was doing all around the world. I was overjoyed to find out that I was not the only life that God had changed through this ministry. Every year through AE over a million people hear the good news that Jesus gives life, eternal life that our hearts desire. Giving to this ministry is the best investment that I have ever made, I can’t wait to meet all my brothers and sisters from Africa one day in heaven and hear how God used AE to bring them to eternal relationship and life with Jesus.