Hannes’ way to the Orthodoxy (Johannes Oberholzer)
I am Johannes Oberholzer, 48. I was born in South Africa and was brought-up in the Dutch Reformed Church. I was a very active member in the Dutch Reformed Church and served on various committees as a leader etc, however, something was missing in my life. I could feel it clearly and all that I could do was to pray more, until I reached a point where my personal life was a disaster.
A year later I had a few serious heart attacks , which led to a double by-pass operation. It was as if God was telling me something. After my operation I stood-up and started looking for something concrete in my life. I surfed the Internet on Christianity, visited a few other Churches, until one day I passed the Russian Orthodox Church in Midrand and decided to attend a Liturgy service. It took me a few Sundays before I got the courage to attend a service. One of my fears was, how will I approach the people, as I can’t speak or understand a word in Russian.
On my arrival I was greeted by a lady and I asked her if she can speak English, the first miracle happened to me, she was Afrikaans. She didn’t attend the service that morning, as she took the time to explain to me, what Orthodoxy is all about and how the Church works. The next Sunday I was back again attending my first Orthodox service. I experienced something that I never ever experienced before. It was feeling as if I was in heaven, very close to our Lord, a feeling that you can’t explain to people.
Since that day I attended services on a regular basis and a few months later, I decided that I don’t just want to be a passenger, but that I wanted to take part and be part of The Orthodox Church. I approached Farther Philaret, with a request to convert me to an Orthodox Christian. I had a few sessions with Father Philaret and was converted, the most wonderful day of my life. Shortly thereafter Father Philaret was replaced by Farther Ioann and where Father Philaret left me Father Ioann took over as my guide.
I have never regretted the change in my Christian life and I now realise that the emptiness in my life was fulfilled and that God had a greater plan for me in my life.
I also just wanted to thank all the people in our Church for all their friendliness and support. You are all wonderful people.
May God Bless you all
Johannes ( Hannes) Oberholzer, RSA, 2006