Stephen Nefdt - Testimony - Cape Town, South Africa - June 30, 1993

This is the testimony of Stephen Nefdt told to one of our young workers in Cape Town. He was asked, "Do you have any professing family?" "No - I am an orphan." So he was asked how he met the Truth.

It was raining heavily many years ago and an old colored lady was making her way through the rain.

She passed a telephone booth and spotted something inside, so she opened the door. There lay a little baby, six months old, wrapped in a shawl. Next to him was a tin of condensed milk for whoever found him. So the lady had pity on the child and took him home as her own. That was Stephen. She was very poor - so poor they could hardly afford any food at all. As soon as he was old enough to talk and walk, Stephen would go from door to door begging for food - people often chased him away saying, "You're the type that break into people's homes...always want - want." Sometimes, people would give him a piece of moldy bread and watch him eat it. He was only too glad to have the bread. They couldn't afford to send him to school, and he never owned a pair of shoes. Just one set of clothes - a pair of short pants and a shirt. Every morning early – at 5 o'clock, he would have to go down to the butcher shop to buy a bag of bones for 10 cents. He had to go early. Many people wanted bones. She would make soup for the day from these bones. She also cared for her own two children who were already quite old.

One day the butcher man said to him, "I see you are so diligent to come early always for the bones. I want to employ you to do odd jobs for me." Well, you can imagine what a thrill that was - but of course, he would take every cent back to the old lady (whom he called, "Granny"). One of his duties every Wednesday afternoon was to cross the road to the Butcher's home and prepare a room for meeting. He never knew what that meeting was - but it seemed special. All the furniture had to be taken out of the whole room - the whole carpet brushed, the skirting polished. All the chairs polished - as though the president was also expected. Soon one day, his curiosity became too much and he asked the Butcher what the meeting was. Well, that Wednesday evening, the Butcher took him along to the meeting, too. His Granny had always taken him to the Anglican church - there somebody would read a passage of scripture. Now these people read the Bible, but they also explained it...and there was no collection.

Anyway, the next day, the butcher told him to climb into the car and he took him to Rex Truford (a men's outfitting shop) and bought him clothes and clothed him from head to his feet. Never before had anybody ever done that for him - he was completely overwhelmed. For the first time in my life, I put my feet into a pair of shoes. Jimmy Johnston was holding Gospel meetings that year so Stephen at the age of 10 went to the Gospel meetings, too. The end of the year came, and the Butcher asked Stephen to come with him to convention. So Stephen went home and told his Granny - she said to him, "If you go to that convention, then you must leave this home now with all you have," (which was very little). He said he knew until that time, if Granny ever died, he would have nobody in all the world to turn to and now she was telling him to go....but yet he really longed to go to the convention desperately. So he packed his things that afternoon, and left Granny's home and went to the convention.

From that time on he stayed at the Butcher's home and he sent Stephen to school and gave him everything as his own son and Stephen professed, but every week, he would go over and take his week's earnings to Granny, until she died. He was still young when she died, but that afternoon she called him to her bedside and said, "You were a good boy, my child and I did my best for you, but I have to tell you what happened when I found you. Your parents had thrown you away and they are still alive today." She told him their names.

Later, Stephen owned a butcher shop of his own, and he went to find his parents. His Mother said it was his Father's fault and his Father said it was his Mother's fault. He has never seen them again. They didn't love him and he has no desire to be in touch with them. He said he has many sisters, too - all wealthy people, he says - but then suddenly, Stephen's eyes began to swim with tears. I listened as he tried to get the next words out, "Now, I have a family that is more wonderful - I was the child that they threw away - but I was the one that found God. I would never have had this privilege if I didn't go through that experience. I am so grateful for the kindness of God."

He now has a wife and 3 children - lovely children. His butchery went insolvent 2 years ago - his partner cheated him, and he lost everything again. So, now he works in another butcher shop. He smiled again and said, "I was glad for that experience, too - taught me a lot.”