SOUTH African Steve Tromp has been in Whakatane only seven months after leaving his homeland and, boy, has he got some tales to tell.
Fortunately for readers he has put pen to paper and turned out a self-published book that has been aptly named So Much Trouble, So Much Grace.
This is his first book and he is already busy on a sequel as he has packed much into his life, which seems to have been filled with much misfortune, but also lots of good fortune, the latter of which he says is thanks to the Lord.
Steve says: “My eldest daughter and my former pastor said to me ‘you have got to write a book on your experiences’.
“It is all my experiences, growing up in South Africa and northern and southern Rhodesia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”
The book encapsulates 30 major experiences in his life, including the shooting of his brother and father in Durban, South Africa, in an armed robbery.
“We were builders, and my father had fired a labourer the week before for not pulling his weight and they came back the following Friday, on pay day, walked on to the building site.”
Steve says they shot his father in the head and chest and when his brother went to his aid he was shot through the body and left paralysed. “He has been in Brisbane for the past 17 years.”
“I had an attempted armed robbery, that is also in the book. A person shot and missed, and I ended up shooting them, so there are some interesting stories.”
Steve says the book includes stories about car and motorbike accidents, a train crash from the days when he worked on the trains and near aeroplane crashes.
“I stepped out of every single one of those without a crash. The Lord has been gracious.”
Steve says some of the things that have happened in his life have been miraculous, and they are not necessarily about death or injury.
Steve, an ex-policeman who has also worked in security, is in Whakatane with his Ethiopian wife and 12-year-old daughter. They have travelled throughout the North Island and have decided Whakatane is the place to live.
“We love this place. I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but grew up in Rhodesia because my whole family moved up there and then my dad was on the copper mines in Luanshya [Zambia], my grandfather was medical officer of health for Lusaka and my mum and my stepfather were in Livingstone. “I took two planes, a train and a bus, eight times a year, to go to school.”
On one of those aeroplane journeys, from Salisbury to Livingstone, one propeller stopped.
“We flew for half an hour with one propeller; it was a very spiritual bunch of people who got off that plane.
“The things I was protected from, a lot of them my own stupidity.”
Steve believes it is his faith that has enabled him to get through whatever life has thrown at him. He also believes the Lord has brought them to New Zealand. Plus, he has many family members already living in New Zealand and Australia.
“I went to Bible or theological college, when I was younger, but they suggested I should go away and get married and calm down a bit. I was a bit wild,” he laughs.
Steve’s book is available at Paper Plus in Whakatane.