Blown up and died twice yet lives to tell the tale!

Tienie Bekker and wife Monica.

The new interim minister for Helensville Community Church, Tienie Bekker, will be telling his story on May 19th at the 10.30 morning service at 40 Mill Road.

Tienie is originally from South Africa and, when he finished his theological studies, the time came for his compulsory military service.

He was travelling in an anti-landmine vehicle with an amount of ammunition and weapons that the enemy left behind after a failed attack, in the back of the vehicle, when suddenly some of the unstable ammunition detonated.

The right side of his body, from the buttocks up and his right arm was torn off and he was bleeding profoundly. Medics attended to him, helped him and thought he was stable while attending to another injured person. But blood flooded his chest and his lungs collapsed, killing him and for more than five minutes his body was completely still – not even a heartbeat pumping blood beneath the skin. The medics rushed back to him when they realised this and were able to resuscitate him.

In those few minutes Tienie’s faith changed completely, changing it into something far more real.

Later in hospital, blood again flooded his chest and began to collapse his lungs, and he died a second time, this time with him being in a hospital setting they could resuscitate him much quicker.

Prior to that he had been religious in a more traditional (but less ‘real’ way). He never believed it when people spoke about ‘near death’ experiences.

He describes looking down at his body, seeing everything blown away, people putting bandages into his back, trying to stop the bleeding and thinking “this can’t be happening.”

Tienie is now ordained as a minister who has a real heart for those going through trauma and drug and alcohol problems. You can see why when you consider that even after his miraculous escape from death, he was in a coma for several weeks with a 5% chance of survival. He woke up unable to speak, hear or walk. The pain was so intense that, without even knowing it, he became addicted to morphine.

Following his miraculous survival, Tienie pledged to spend the rest of his life helping others to find the same life changing relationship with a loving God and helping them through their trauma.

Monica, his wife, was moved by his close shave with death. She describes the terrible pain that broke her after weeks of watching him in surgery. She also found her resilience in faith, understanding that although her husband and father had both been very religious men, it was a personal faith that would bring her comfort. “You can’t play religion, you have to live it,” she says.

If anything in this story resonates with you, or you would like to meet Tienie and hear more of his story, then please come along on the 19th. The church runs a ‘cafe style’ service where food and beverages are available throughout the service at no cost. For more information or to connect with Tienie email:

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