Repentance Delivers from Pride
Riaan and Claire Pienaar 7/26/20
Here’s a testimony of what happened to me on Sunday. I am hoping it might bless someone as I confess, repent and give God all the glory!
I shared in the prayer meeting that I was struggling with chronic fatigue and cyclical headaches since the day we arrived in Australia. I also knew that Claire was not happy being in Australia, but I always thought it was God who willed it for us to be here and that it had all worked out well in the end regarding where we are now (in Tasmania, a state of Australia). It became apparent after a series of events on Sunday that I never fully repented for coming here on my own will and ego, and that I ignored the signs God gave us to go to Canada instead (at that time in 2015/16). That sweet realization and repentance has now come!
Here’s the background to that story so that all of this makes more sense. After the deliverance I explained everything in this email I sent to the CEO of the company I worked for, Newtrax, as I felt God lead me to confess to him:
"In 2015, while still in South-Africa, Claire and I started praying about whether we should leave South-Africa and where we should go. Having never even thought of Canada and never heard of Newtrax (a Canadian company) before, within days, multiple people came to talk to us about Canada and I received a call about working for a Canadian company. This set everything in motion for us and we started the application process for permanent residency in Canada. In the end it came down to me choosing between the potential position in Australia, based in Brisbane or the on-site position at Red Lake, Ontario.
It was at this point that I veered off the path that was taking us to Canada and I started considering Australia for the first time. I compared Brisbane to Red Lake in terms of weather, as well as the type of role that I’d have. My ego got the better of me and I realize now that I completely ignored my wife's opinion or lack of interest and went into "sales mode" to start selling her on why Brisbane (and Australia) would be the better option compared to the isolated, bad-weathered mining town of Red Lake. The position in Australia sounded a great deal more "glamorous" and I was too prideful to want an on-site position in a remote cold area after being out of mining operations for such a long time. I believed we were entitled to have a better lifestyle (I cringe at how selfish this seems now). The other unfortunate thing that happened, over many late night calls, was that the real travel expectations of the position in Australia were not explained. I also listened to other carnal people in my life who urged me towards Australia instead of Canada, which was wrong.
My commitment towards my family and my desire to be a part of their everyday lives has always been higher than my ambition to move up through the ranks at a company. I always knew a compromise will have to be made somewhere. Unfortunately, I failed the test in this case and chose work success and the lure of the promise of an Australian beach life over the consequences that a travel-extensive position would have on my family. I convinced myself that we would not cope on-site in Red Lake.
Please know that right now I have no resentment towards anyone, but a deep regret that I should have chosen better from the outset, and that I should have been more transparent about my then failing family due to the travel.
Fast Forward to 2017 where we’d been living in Australia for little more than 18 months. Even though I enjoyed my work the travel took a toll on my family - especially my marriage. As you can imagine, I was away for about 8 months during the first 12 months of arriving in Australia with a 6-month-old baby boy and 2 young daughters needing to start kindergarten and primary school. A previously healthy marriage and family life was straining tremendously under the pressure of an absent father and a husband, as well as Claire being far away from all previous support of family and friends. Claire struggled with the culture shock, the lack of spiritual fellowship, the school system for the children was very challenging, and she missed me.
Claire, out of desperation (reaching the end of the tether as they say) was about to leave me behind in Australia and move back to South-Africa to let me sort out things before joining her back in SA. At this point I was in Mali in Africa (which was quite a trial in itself with extremely long travel and stressful situations in Mali with Al Qaeda attacks in the country and long transit time). It was in Mali, in the "hotel" on the way home where I broke down in tears and fell on my knees and cried out to God, confessing to Him that I had no ambition to be a VP or a big shot travelling executive; that my priority was my family and that I was not lazy and would work hard to provide a living. I asked him to save my marriage and my family and that I will go ANYWHERE and do ANYTHING - I no longer cared about Brisbane or our lifestyle or my career. My family mattered most. Unbeknown to me at the time, Claire was in Brisbane praying the exact same prayer.
The day after I returned from Mali, in my home office, the then Operations Manager for MMG Rosebery, phoned me. I had only ever spoken to him once before. He told me he had a role at the mine that I might be interested in and that they had recently created the role. We went for a site visit and quickly realized that position could save our family by allowing me to be home every day and get to know my son, and start repairing our marriage with my wife. Rosebery’s a residential mine as the mine site is 1.2km away from a beautiful house in the rainforest that is provided for by the mine. The salary looked pretty meagre to begin with, but it was amazing how quickly the debt that we’d racked up in Brisbane was squashed with life at a residential mine. We were well fed, well clothed and I started seeing glimpses of the happy family life I used to know. Here's the irony: It's an onsite position, at a residential mine, in a remote area, with bad weather where the family is cooped up indoors anyway (289 days of non-stop rain per year). It is SO similar to the Red Lake position that was initially offered to me by the Canadian company!
Once on site, I asked the mine manager why he phoned me. My resumé was not out in the market, I had not spoken to anyone about changing jobs, my LinkedIn profile was not up to date and my status did not change to "looking for work". He told us that he heard God's voice tell him that he should phone Riaan Pienaar and create that role to do the project the mine needed. I was amazed and asked him what day and hour this happened, and it turned out it was the EXACT SAME TIME I was on my knees in Mali. It was providential for me, no matter which way one might look at it.
We have been here 2.5 years and our family is together, and our children are thriving being home-schooled by their mom. I have the most enjoyable work that I have ever had, and our marriage has never been better. Despite the circumstances of the environment and community we find ourselves in (small towns have their own brand of weirdness), it has been an enriching, restorative period in our lives. It has humbled us, and I no longer operate from my ego, but seek out opportunities to serve others. This transition has shown us how little we actually need materialistically, and it’s illuminated what is really important in our lives and that we can live remotely if required. After this experience, Claire and I agree that we’d prefer to live in small rural communities instead of big cities! We’ve also come to the realization that Australia will never be home to us. We hope and pray for an opportunity to move elsewhere when the time is right."
Back to the present deliverance testimony: Claire and I prayed and went through deliverance before the UBM spiritual fast started in July 2020. She noticed at the time that when I was praying I was not truly repentant and justified many of my actions during my time praying to God. She did not say anything to me at the time but continued praying for me. I believe that is why I did not receive deliverance that night, as I did not repent from the heart. In our marriage, Claire is the one that often sees these demons manifest in the spirit. I have never had this experience before and neither do I think it is necessary, but it is a wonderful confirmation when she sees them leave, and she very often does! I admit now that if I allow myself to be honest, I knew in my spirit that I did not get deliverance on this specific occasion, but I remained unsure about why this perpetual sickness did not leave. I thought I should simply have faith and continue boldly on.
On Sunday morning (your Saturday night) I was having one of these headache spells during the meeting and feeling terribly fatigued again. I tried to rebuke it and continue walking in faith but it only got worse. I had to retreat from the family to rest for the rest of the day and by dinner time I had such pain that I had to take a bath to try and relieve the pain. Meanwhile Claire was praying for me and asking God what she should say to me. She came into the bathroom, spirit-filled and calm, and said "We had three signs that we were supposed to go to Canada and take the position at Red Lake, you need to repent of coming to Australia". It hit me like a tonne of bricks. It was absolutely the truth and it was like scales falling off my eyes. I was immediately repentant and very sorrowful for what I had done. I got out of the bath and Claire started praying for the demon to leave. I was in agony at this point, and in a very physically weak position, as well as naked save for the towel around me. She helped me realize that I needed to pray too and command them to leave. I got dressed and we continued praying while Claire received Word from the Lord.
She got dinner on the table and continued praying silently. As I sat down for dinner I could not touch the food, I just wasn't hungry (this never happens). Also, in our nearly twelve years of marriage, Claire has never seen me vomit before, I don't vomit even when nauseous. That night it just happened so fast I got to the bathroom just in time. After a major expulsion, I immediately felt better and the headache disappeared. I knew it was from God - I knew a terrible demon/s left my flesh that day in a miraculous way. I had received a physical manifestation to SHOW me the demons leave my body! Praise the Lord!
I went straight back to the dinner table and had a lovely meal with my family feeling perfectly fine. Praise the Lord! Deliverance is the children's bread. I continue to confess and repent and that is part of why I share this with you and the brethren, why I shared the Debt Testimony earlier and an email I wrote to my previous employer, to apologize for my decision to come to Australia instead of Red Lake, Canada.
From Claire’s perspective: If there’s one place I never wanted to come live, it’s Australia. I knew the Lord wanted us to leave South Africa due to us being in bondage to sin (generational sin, the world, the beast, the flesh). It was not out of fear, or to flee; or for a better life. It was to get ourselves away from the things that were making us stumble routinely (if your eye makes you stumble, cut it out).
I like to be involved in our family’s decisions and when God convicted us of Canada, I researched everything – abortion rates, homelessness, cities, politics, wildlife, and many other things and I settled it in my heart that the Lord would keep us safe and use us. When Riaan chose Australia, I could not bring myself to research anything – I did not even know where Brisbane was on a map! When Daniel was born, I thought Riaan’s mind would change and “he’d come to his senses”. Sadly, that was not the case. Three months later we took ourselves and 10 suitcases to a godless city, fully aware of God’s warnings for those in the cities.
When we were finally finished with the trial of the world and came to rural Rosebery, Tasmania, it took me 11 months to forgive Riaan for this mistake, and to embrace our lives here. We had many arguments up until that point – where I did not behave well. I too, have repented. Some fruits of this forgiveness included the healing of three years of intense back pain (which started 2 weeks after discussions in our marriage began about Australia in 2015). The day after this healing (30/11/2018), I started praying that God would show Riaan a physical manifestation of spiritual healing to build his faith, and that he would come to know that he needs to repent of bringing us here. I never discussed these prayer requests with him, I took it all to God.
Whenever Riaan had a cycle of sickness, my heart would become so hard and I could offer very little compassion. Even when I prayed for more faith in spirit and understanding, I was unable to be 100% loving until this past Sunday. I prayed quietly, took the children out of the house for a glorious walk in God’s creation, and walked back in the house with my armor on. I prayed silently, asking God to reveal the cause of this illness – and He did. He makes all things beautiful in His time.
While Riaan was suffering in bathroom on Sunday I knew I had to read scripture to him to build his faith. I prayed for a spirit of confession and repentance to overcome him. I asked the Holy Spirit for guidance and felt that Deu 28 was needed. I read the first half.
Then by faith at random, in between praying in spirit and understanding for him to gain faith and boldness towards God, I received Acts 15: 33 “After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with a blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them”
Then I received
“Now to him that is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal, but now is manifested, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, is made known unto all the nations unto obedience of faith: to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.”
About 30mins later Riaan vomited the spirit out.
The power of prayer in the UBM Group is as much a part of this, as those prayers on Sunday quickened the Holy Spirit's working in our lives. Thank you for the prayers and the faith. To God be all the glory