Graham McDonald writes - For 39 years the Lord let me set my own standards and do my own thing. Then He dramatically changed me from a self-seeking self-centered businessman of the world to a follower and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
My family were not church goers and I remember taking myself off to Sunday School for a short period of time and attending the Friday night Gymnastics class.
My next connection with church was as a teenager - I played soccer with a church soccer club. A condition to play was that you must attend church at least once a month.
It was through the soccer that I met Joe and his youngest sister Margaret who later became my wife. Joe was the older brother and his Mum and Dad, and his four younger sisters had migrated from Malta.
Margaret and I were married in October 1964 and were blessed with two children a boy and a girl.
In the 70’s I was in partnership in a business that was steadily growing. I was involved in the local Sea Scouts, however there was a nagging concern that would cause Margaret and I to discuss the reasons why so many young people were being caught up in sexual activities, drug and alcohol abuse.
In May 1979 we attended the Billy Graham Crusade at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney.
Dr Graham’s invitation for any present who wanted to know the assurance of sins forgiven and eternal life, to go forward to the front dais. Immediately our 11-year-old son Darren jumped up saying, ‘Mum, Mum, come on we have to go down.’ My wife told him to sit down, but he insisted. She looked at me and I said with a half-smile, `He wants you to go. I’ll wait for you.’ I remained behind with our 9-year-old daughter Vanessa.
Later we received a phone call from Sandy (who we are still friends with today) inviting us to attend a weekly Billy Graham Nurture Group. After some hesitation we decided to go. The people were so friendly and genuine, and I began to hear, as if for the first time, God’s way of salvation expounded clearly.
We were invited to a church service in a neighbouring suburb and heard a clear presentation of God’s way of salvation. I was reminded that to neglect this free offer salvation would result in the horror and reality of eternal damnation.
I was burdened with a sense of sin and guilt and longed for forgiveness. I heard that if I acknowledged Him as Lord and Saviour before man, He would acknowledge me before His Father. An invitation to commit your life to Jesus Christ was given and I went forward.
Within 12 months of the 1979 Billy Graham Crusade, my wife Margaret and I and our two children had made decisions to follow Jesus. God used our 11-year-old son Darren in his eager response to God’s message through Dr. Graham to bring it all about.
Our 9-year-old daughter came home from school and said that they were looking for Catechists to teach Scripture. My wife responded. Again the Lord used a child to guide us into ministry.
Margaret became involved with Child Evangelism Fellowship. She had found great joy in being trained and teaching children about Jesus in the local State schools. God has wonderfully used her in this ministry, and I became interested in reaching children with the message of God’s love.
One day driving to work I sensed the Lord impress on my mind, ‘Graham you can hobble on in your business, or you can serve me.’ My response, ‘Lord for thirty-nine years you have allowed me to live my life my way, take it and use it as you see fit.’
In 1982 after I made that commitment to God, I relinquished my position as partner in the business and commenced training with Child Evangelism Fellowship.
1982-1991 Full time children’s ministry - Child Evangelism Fellowship.
1991-1994 Fulltime Primary & High School ministry - Foundation in Religious Education.
1994-2016 National Team Leader and Children’s Advocate – Children of the World.
A ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ now Power to Change.
2016-2020 Founder and Executive Officer – The DIDUNO Network.
The Lord has allowed us to train Church leaders and children’s workers in eight Asian countries as well as Russia. Training in Australia of ten different culture groups has taken place with the view ‘when you visit your country of origin, plan to share what you have learnt’.
We helped start a Literacy Program for the poor children in Hyderabad and surrounding rural areas in 2006. The Scriptures are used as the textbook to teach children to read and write English. Currently there are 1,500 churches with an average attendance of 60 people. Some 65,000 children have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and 95,000 Bibles have been distributed.
1998 Instigator & Ministry Co-ordinator – The Australian Children’s Ministry Expo
1999 Instigator & Ministry Co-ordinator – The Australian Children’s Ministry Expo
2002/3 NSW Director – Year of the Child – National Children’s Focus Movement
2006 Instigator and Project Manager – Australia’s Christian Heritage National Forum.
2006 Team member to successfully advocate for our Christian Heritage to be in the AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM.
I cannot think of any greater privilege than to be a servant and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. The above photo is the upper part from this portrait.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html