oss was shocked when his siblings told him what his parents had done. “When they bought their plots at the cemetery, they also bought one for you because they thought you would die first,” they said. “For the past 20 years, we’ve been waiting for a phone call telling us that you had been murdered or overdosed.”

Ross grew up in Queensland, Australia, with recently baptized Adventist parents. He attended an Adventist primary school and then a public high school, where he discovered there was more to the world than the Adventist community. He graduated and moved to Brisbane to pursue a college degree, and there he began to drift from God.

Ross took a job as a bartender to pay his tuition and rent. He began to use illicit drugs and even became involved in their manufacture. But no matter what he did to experience temporary happiness, he felt empty and unfulfilled.

One night, Ross walked toward Story Bridge, a popular spot for people seeking to end their lives. Suddenly, two men approached him. Recalling the fateful experience, Ross said, “They asked me, ‘Do you believe in God?’ I answered, ‘Yeah, kind of. I used to.’ They then asked if they could pray for me.”

Ross doesn’t remember what the men said, but something in their prayer changed his mind, and he turned and walked away. He had taken 10 steps when he turned around to find out who the men were. “They had disappeared,” Ross said. “I had a clear view in every direction. They were either world-class sprinters or angels. That night, I realized that this was serious. I had done something that got the attention of Someone.”

Ross (right) with his brothers, about 1978
Ross, pictured with two of his sisters, at his graduation in 2018 from Avondale College (now Avondale University) with a degree in Ministry and Theology
Ross’ ordination service at his home church of Manjimup, January 14, 2023
One of the first baptisms Ross (right) conducted in Manjimup in 2019

Sometime later, Ross learned that his parents were seriously ill. He hadn’t been in contact with them for 20 years because he was ashamed of his addiction, but he felt compelled to see them again. Unfortunately, Ross' father died within several hours of his visit, but he did care did care for his mother for six months. She asked him to take her to church each Sabbath. Initially, he went merely to accompany her, but over time, he began to learn more about God and became convicted of his need for a Savior.

At church Ross first discovered Hope Channel and Hope Sabbath School. He began listening regularly to the Hope Sabbath School audio podcast.

The podcast had a significant effect on Ross. He became more involved at church and immersed himself in God’s Word. As he studied, he began to understand God’s love and the transformative power of faith. People even suggested that he become a pastor! He could hardly fathom that God could use someone with such a dark past, yet he became convinced this was God’s plan for his life. “God can use anyone, because God loves everyone,” Ross said.

Ross is now an ordained pastor and continues to spread God’s message of hope to those struggling as he once did. “If my journey can help just one to reconsider God and take Jesus into their life, it was all worthwhile,” he said.

Ross tearfully recalled a frequent dream that his eldest sister had and shared with him. He was drowning, and she could see only the tip of his index finger above the water. But that was what she grabbed to bring him back. 

“It’s never too late,” Ross said. “Even if it’s just a finger that’s above the water. That’s how powerful the grace of God is. The tip of the finger is all He needs.”

Ross emailed the Hope Sabbath School team to share his testimony about how Hope Channel played a critical role in his spiritual journey. On receiving the email, Derek Morris, president of Hope Channel International and the host of Hope Sabbath


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Maharani Lumban-Gao At the time she wrote this story, Maharani Lumban-Gaol was a social media specialist at Hope Channel International.