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A true story of an adrenaline junkie who found God's plan... and lived
Death should have been my part in life, but Jesus Christ had another plan with me.Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed pszr.co/zGPyj 496 views
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I like to tell others my inspirational story. Many people, starting with my own sister, told me that I should write a book about what Jesus did for me. I did not know how I would do it, but after a tip from my pastor I started. Slowly but surely, it started to form. After four years, I got help from professionals and we finished the book. Writing this book has been a dream come true for me. I am so thankful for everyone who helped me in making it possible; and above all, I am thankful to Jesus, who gave me this life story!
It is really for everyone. I do think that it will help young people especially to understand what God has in mind for them, but then again it is for everyone who wants to know the living God and walk with Him. It is a book full of life, struggles, victories, love and peace--a story of the impossible becoming possible. It is a must-read for everyone.
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A Different Plan is a compelling account of the life of Johannes Adendorff. The events so vividly portrayed in this book, are a true account of how the author's life was transformed by his faith and belief in God. From brutal and harrowing encounters in school, we follow an adrenaline-filled life of skydiving in the US, dramatic encounters in South Africa, and a new phase of life in Germany. During his many experiences, the writer develops his faith and trust in God, and it is his hope that the principles conveyed within these pages will provide heart and encouragement to anyone willing to follow Jesus. – Brian Cross
A Different Plan is a story that offers a glimpse into the world of youthful recklessness and ignorance, as well as human transformation. From not knowing where he is going to finding a faith that helps him even through a horrendous cancer diagnosis, Johannes' story tugs at our heartstrings and offers us a guide to conquering our fears through the simple virtues of trust and faith. - Elizabeth Bates
The events so vividly portrayed in this book, are a true account of how my life has been transformed by my faith and belief in God.
From brutal and harrowing encounters in school, I lead you through an adrenaline-filled life of skydiving in the US, dramatic encounters in South Africa, and a new phase of my life in Germany. During my many experiences, I learned to develop my faith and trust in God, and it is my hope that the principles conveyed within the pages of my book will provide heart and encouragement to anyone willing to follow and to trust Jesus. - Johannes Adendorff
The world was at peace. Everything—from the sounds of farm machinery to the taunting of my classmates—had disappeared. My mind was a black void, completely dead, completely silent.
A soft, niggling squeal permeated through the void. Instantly, my body tensed, my mind grasping at the place of peace and willing me to stay asleep. Dreams were hard to come by these days. But it was too late. My body knew instinctively what was going to come— something bad—and I could do nothing to stop it.
I opened my eyes, blinking against the dim light of my little room as a shadow rose over me.
My chest tightened as I held my breath, hoping that maybe the perpetrator would go away and leave me alone. I knew that the chances of that happening were next to none.
Laughter echoed down the hallway just as a plastic bag full of ice water struck me in the middle of the face, drenching me and knocking the breath from my lungs. I could feel the adrenaline start in my chest, burning its way through my body and filling me with rage and the familiar feeling of fear.
I got up, wiping the water from my eyes. Hands shaking and breath coming in short, ragged gasps. Running toward the open door, I threw my head out into the hallway, hoping to catch a glimpse of the culprit. The action was futile. The hallway was silent and empty. I clutched at the doorframe, fingers digging into the wood as I tried to catch the breath that was caught by the pure adrenaline in my throat.
“I know who you are!" I yelled. As usual, I received no answer.
Did I know who had thrown the bag of ice water on me? At the Winterberg Agricultural High School, the suspects were fairly obvious. My classmates, sixteen-year-old boys, had chosen me to be the butt of all their jokes, the receiver of all their frustrations.
I climbed back into bed, trying to dispel the rest of the water on my face with trembling hands and curling up in a small ball on the corner of the furniture. I winced as a bruise on my arm smacked against the metal frame. The green and purple mass sat noticeably on my bicep, about the size of the stone someone had thrown at me during work hours a few days before. It wasn't the first bruise I had gotten at school, and I was sure it wouldn't be the last.
Three years ago, when I had first arrived at the school, it had only taken a couple of days for me to realize that time worked differently here. Authority, too, took on an identity of its own in this foreign place, and almost immediately my world turned upside down. I had encountered nightmares in my dreams before, but nothing compared to the current nightmare of reality.
Why did these foreigners—even though I had known them for years, what else could I consider them but foreigners?—these strangers, hate me so much? Why did my pain make them so happy? I had come to them an innocent young boy, a homebody, but having endured endless, violent bullying, I had reached my breaking point.
At every opportunity, they created ways to torment me and to make my life miserable. In classes, I knew that it was likely I would have physical harm done to me; maybe a classmate would throw a small object at the back of my head or a sharp pencil. Even when classes were over, the abuse continued. If only I could hide, I thought. But there was no place to hide.
I rolled over, trying to avoid the wet spot staining my sheets from the ice water. Even though I was getting close to ending grade 10, I still had two more years to go. Two more years of being tormented, day and night—mocked, hit, hurt, hated, abused, and kicked down just for the fun of
it—and I was still alone.
When I could sleep, I slept deeply. In these instances, I would occasionally dream. The good dreams were nearly always the same. Fresh air, open land, sweat, and hard work. My parents, with their warm smiles, helping me to learn everything I needed to know. My future with an honest, decent living: a simple life, the beauty and simplicity of nature providing exactly what my body and soul craved.
I would become a farmer, a good farmer.
Unfortunately, before I could reach adulthood and claim that right, I had to attend school. Since
my family's farm was miles away from Winterberg, I had to live in the school's dormitories full-time. I hated the idea of leaving the farm but hoped that the school would assist me in becoming a farmer and make my parents proud. It was naïve thinking but understandable for one so young and so inexperienced in the world.
A mere few weeks of being at Winterberg made me wish that I could live back at home with my parents again. Unlike most of the other students, my childhood hadn't been filled with the harsh demands and unfair beatings that many other parents administered. I thought perhaps that was part of the reason the others hated me so much. Any time I would hear them speak about their parents, I could hear the pain and anger in their voices.
“My dad would kill me if I even thought about crying when he spanked," a boy said during class one day, spurring a widespread consensus from the other students.
“When my dad drinks, I just get it for no reason," another chimed in.
Such comments were constantly at the forefront of conversations among the boys at Winterberg as memories coated their hearts and minds with bitterness and unhappiness.
Perhaps they realized I wasn't cut from the same cloth and that I hadn't shared many of the harsh experiences they had gone through. Though I had endured more than a few hidings, my parents made it a point to administer punishment fairly and only if I had done something wrong. Or perhaps I was just unlucky. Whatever the case, the boys enjoyed torturing me at every turn, every bit as bitter and cruel as their parents might have been to them.
I suppose my initial idea of Winterberg wasn't too naïve; after all, this was a school designed to teach and assist boys to be farmers, to take them a step further. However, what lay ahead for me were not years of positive structure that would strengthen my dream of owning a farm. If I had known what nightmares awaited me, I would have begged my parents to let me stay at home.
I started Winterberg as a Skunk. My first initiation into the hierarchy of Winterberg came with a few simple instructions.
“You are a Skunk," my new classmates told me. “A Skunk serves his Master. You must clean your Master's room, make his bed, carry his suitcase to school and back, and do everything he tells you."
“Who is my Master?" I asked.
“It is a student in grade 12."
All first-year students were called Skunks. Our servitude to the older students was only the beginning of the hierarchy, as I would soon find out. In addition to being able to order us around, Masters had the power to do anything they wanted with us. They could order us to do anything, anything at all, and we'd have to do it. If we did anything wrong, they had the “right" to whip us with a cane, hard. This concept kept me, at least in my first year, wanting to please the Masters.
But being a Skunk was only part of this new way of living. Most Skunks could live in relative peace as they continued working for their Masters and completed their schoolwork. Although I tried to keep my head down and follow their lowly ranks, the Masters sought me out specifically.
“Aasvoel," they called me. “Vulture! Look at that long neck. You are a Vulture."
I wanted to stay a Skunk. Being a Vulture meant I would become the object of absolute torture—a greedy, hateful torture that not only attacked the physical body with vicious claws but the mind, heart, and soul as well.
From my very first day, I knew that Winterberg was not a safe place for a Vulture–Skunk, or whatever I was. Waiting around every corner was an insult, either emotional or physical. Instead of rolling up my sleeves and preparing for a good afternoon of learning and hard work, I prepared myself to endure all sorts of pain flung at me by the hands of my classmates.
We had classes most every day, covering all sorts of farm work. When a teacher was present, I could breathe easy. I would be able to work without being physically hurt or punished. Unfortunately, teachers weren't always present, in which case “Scholars," who were often other upperclassmen in the class, were put in charge of the work that was to be completed.
When the Scholars took over the classroom, I knew I was in deep trouble. One day the Scholars decided to start a new game, one that would follow me for many of my years at Winterberg.
“I bet I can hit him with this block of wood," one of my classmates said, hefting the small block of wood someone had left on the ground earlier that day in his right hand.
“Do it," someone else said, glancing over at me with a smirk.
My body shook a little instinctively, but I kept my head down, trying to focus on my work. I could hear the boy's foot scrape across the floor as he threw the wood. It hit me square in the back. Again I shivered, feeling as if someone's fist had just pelted me in the back.
“That's nothing. I bet I can hit his head."
I looked up to find the other boy carrying another piece of wood, aiming to throw it at me. As he wound back and threw, I ducked, not wanting the huge piece of wood to hit my head.
“Coward," they said, laughing. “Someone else see if they can hit him!"
The next piece of wood struck me in the leg even as I ducked away, its rough edges digging into my flesh. I could feel my breath coming in short, ragged gasps as I tried to quench my fear but to no avail. I didn't know what I had done to deserve such treatment, but clearly, my very existence bothered them.
The game didn't end there. I became so good at ducking from the wood that the next time someone decided to throw a metal bolt at me, small enough so I couldn't quite sense where it was in the air but large enough to know when it hit me. The next time might have been a screwdriver or a chisel. The metal objects always hurt the most, leaving angry red welts on my skin or big purple bruises that took weeks to heal. Ducking rarely helped; my determination to get away from the pain only caused my classmates to become more determined to use me as target practice. At times, they would compete to see who the best thrower was and who could hit me the hardest with the goal to make me cry from my pain.
When a sharp metal object hit my skin and muscle, bruising me and making me bleed, I couldn't help but cry out in pain.
The torture inflicted on me wasn't isolated just to the farm and classroom; if my agony was confined to those two places, I could have dealt with it. But in their violence-filled hearts, my classmates devised ways to harm at every conceivable opportunity.
*Nearly Fatal Stab*
One afternoon I felt too tired to be afraid of assaults in my sleep, which was always one of my worst fears. Although I slept deeply when I had the rare opportunity to do so, I had mastered the art of listening for noises even while unconscious.
That day nothing warned me of an intruder's presence—not a sound—but I still woke up. A Scholar called Wingnut, nicknamed for his big ears, stared down at me. Instantly, my body tensed, perhaps sensing his intentions. Of all my classmates, Wingnut was one of the boys who hated me the most. He and his friends called me a mama's boy and made fun of me constantly.
Suddenly, he was on me, sitting with his legs over my belly. My blood went cold as I caught sight of a glimmer of silver in his right hand.
“What are you doing?" I asked, too afraid to struggle against his weight on my body.
Wingnut's pupils dilated, his hot breath hitting my skin as his fingers played along the knife. Time slowed. A grin slowly appeared, tugging at his lips with some unknown emotion as he flicked the pocketknife into my face.
“Shut up, mama's boy. I am going to slice you up!"
His hand moved, and I could feel myself yell in shock, watching as the blade came down to meet my skin. Instinctively, I held my hands up, trying to protect my body from the knife. He brought the pocketknife down with force. Hot, fiery, piercing pain bit me. I gasped, the breath knocked from my lungs as I realized what had just happened.
Was I going to die? Grabbing my hand, I saw a heavy stream of blood. I had been hit and hit badly. Judging by the blood, Wingnut had ripped open a vein.
At the sight of the blood, he turned tail and fled from my room, leaving only the sound of my gasps as I sat up, watching in shock as the blood dripped down onto the floor.
“Look what you did!" I screamed at him, but he was gone.
I pressed my right hand down onto the wound and dashed out of my room. I ran downstairs to the dormitory master, angry and hurt. Why would Wingnut stab me? I wondered. What would have happened if he had missed my left hand and hit me in the neck or chest instead? Would he have run away like the coward he was and left me to bleed to death?
“Help," I said, my voice sounding foreign to my ears upon entering the dormitory master's room, not knowing what to expect.
He looked at my hand and at what I'm sure was my pale, scared face, and then his eyes flicked back down to my hand again.
“You need to go to the hospital."
He ran me to his car, our footsteps echoing in the empty hallway before we made it into the vehicle and raced off to the local hospital. I kept pressure on the wound, watching as it coated my other hand with slick, red liquid—my blood.
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