Nothing else gives me this freedom, says Eric
Noongar pastor Eric Wynne
Indigenous pastor Eric Wynne wants others to have his secure foundation for life that has given him peace through happy and sad times, including the tragic loss of two siblings.
Eric often thinks back to his younger years growing up in Collie, Western Australia, as part of the Wilman Noongar tribe.
"Mum was always a churchgoer and we kids would go along with her," Eric shares.
"Yet Dad lived a separate life and died when I was still very young."
Lacking a father-figure was hard but from primary school age Eric remembers being taught to fear and respect God, understanding that death was something that could happen at any time and God's judgement would follow.
"In high school this fear of God became even more real. I didn't want to cross Him and end up going to hell," he explains.
Yet it was during these teen years that Eric began to realise that he did not need to have any fear of death or hell because of what Jesus had done for him on the cross.
"At church I heard the pastor read from the Bible saying, 'For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son Jesus, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life'," Eric quotes from John chapter 3, verse 16.
"I realised Jesus came to save everyone, not destroy them, and that He has a great plan for each life if we trust Him with it.
"Jesus said 'I am the way, the truth and the life' (John 14:6), meaning that He is the only one through which we can be saved from punishment."
Eric says something happened to him internally when he realised that he had found something "nothing else in this world can offer".
"It is like we are all in prison spiritually," he explains. "We've gotta do something internally, we've gotta make Jesus the cornerstone and foundation of our lives to be freed from the power of sin and death."
When Eric's brother died in a car accident and his sister died a few years later, he says it was his relationship with Jesus that got him through the pain.
"Both my brother and sister were Christians so I believe they have gone to be with the Lord in heaven," he says.
"In growing up in the Lord I've been through many issues but I have come to trust God despite my circumstances. Faith is a big thing, it's believing the unseen."
It is this simple faith in God and His promises that Eric finds comfort and the passion for telling others about the free gift of salvation Jesus offers.
"God has brought me on a journey and I know He has a good purpose for my life," he shares gladly.
Today Eric works as the pastor of an indigenous community church and hopes to bring many more people into a community of believers serving God.