Tell us about yourself.

I’m a born and bred South African, from the Pretoria/Johannesburg region. I brought my wife and two young teenage boys to the UK in the middle of 2019, after I got a job with an Accounting Firm in Reading. Before we arrived we searched for a good church in Reading where we could settle as a family and came across ChristChurch Tilehurst. It’s been wonderful to be part of this church family!

What are some of the biggest differences living here in the UK?

It’s really great to have all the freedom of walking around without having to look over your shoulder constantly; wary of being mugged on the street, or even carjacked when waiting at a traffic light. Most people here are very polite and it’s especially noticeable when driving or cycling on the road. Oh, and the people speak with funny accents! Just kidding…it’s just different to what we’re used to. (I love the Irish and Scottish accents though.)

Have you enjoyed working from home?

No! I have not enjoyed working from home. I’m a people-person, so I enjoy having colleagues around me in the office. I really miss the face-to-face interaction with them, so it does get lonely at times or feels like I’ve been locked up in a jail cell. My workspace is in my bedroom, so it feels like I’m sleeping at work. With the second lockdown, I’ve had to become creative to work in other spaces around the house and not get stuck in a rut.

What have your learned about yourself and God? What has encouraged you as a follower of Jesus?

I’ve learned that I need to depend a lot more on Jesus for my happiness and satisfaction, especially in the last nine months. He has proven very faithful to carry me in this time; to keep me going when I feel discouraged and overwhelmed. God has encouraged my heart as I read the Bible and think about what he’s saying to me. It has been especially wonderful to think about God’s grace and love, even when I sin and make mistakes. He has never left or abandoned me, but welcomes me back even when I wander away from him.

What’s the first thing you would do if the virus disappeared?

Lots of feasting with friends, hugs and fun!

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?

A big family get together with our parents and siblings, having a true South African braai (BBQ).