When Jesse Duperouzel tells people that he grew up in Cooranbong (NSW) and attended Avondale School, they assume he was always a Seventh-day Adventist. They’re surprised when they discover that he was actually raised as a Christadelphian.
“What do Christadelphians believe? Well, they believe that sin and evil originate from the heart, they don’t believe in Satan and the Trinity,” Jesse tells me. “And they worship on Sundays.”
At the age of 15, Jesse saw his home church go through a serious rift. “For the first time, I was exposed to adults who were meant to be Christians acting horribly,” says Jesse. “I decided that I didn’t want anything to do with God or church.”
When Jesse graduated from high school, he was kicked out of home. “My first thoughts were ‘Cool, I don’t have to go to church anymore,’” Jesse says frankly. He decided to move to Sydney but became quite depressed during his time there. When he mentioned this to a good friend who was studying at Avondale College, his friend encouraged him to “come up”.
Jesse met a lot of great people at Avondale who began talking about the Bible and Christianity with him. However his depression relapsed and became quite serious.
“I then moved to Adelaide, where I hit rock bottom,” says Jesse. “One time, I stayed in bed for four days straight.” At his lowest point, he tried to commit suicide with a mug filled with pills, but he unexpectedly changed his mind. “I just thought, ‘No, I’m not going to do that, I’m just going to try to live one day at a time.’”
Jesse re-established connections with his college friends and they helped him through his struggles. His moods were stable, he was taking medication and he was re-opening the Bible. “Eventually I got off medication and for the first time I felt what I would consider to be happy.” [pullquote]
In early 2016, Jesse decided that he needed to take his Bible seriously. He began reading his Bible every day and praying twice a day, and started doing Bible studies with Pastor Travis Manners.
“Usually Bible studies take half-an-hour or so. Our first Bible study took an hour and-a-half, and that was one of the shortest meetings,” laughs Jesse. He accepted the existence of Satan quite easily but struggled with other biblical beliefs, in particular, trying to understand how Jesus could be God and man at the same time.
Eventually Jesse was baptised in May 2016, on fire for Jesus. He’d always been an argumentative person, eager to persuade people to his point of view, and people had often told him that he should become a lawyer. Now that he was baptised, everyone began telling him that he should be a pastor!
“At Big Camp 2016 (South Australia), at least nine different people told me that I should be a pastor,” says Jesse. “I got frustrated and drove away to have a conversation with God. I told Him that if He wanted me to be a pastor, He needed to send at least one more person to Big Camp to tell me to do it. There were only six hours of camp left and most of it would be at the Saturday night concert. I thought I was safe.”
As soon as Jesse walked back into camp, he ran into a girl whom he’d gone to high school with. After the usual “Hey, how are you doing?” greeting, she suddenly said to him, “You know, you’d make a great pastor.”
Jesse heard God’s message, loud and clear. “I’m now studying a Certificate IV in Ministry at Influencers Leadership College, a Bible college in Adelaide,” he says. He looks forward to seeing what God will continue to do with his life.