is the incredible true story of one man’s encounter with death and the realms beyond it. Stung by five box jellyfish while diving off the coast of Mauritius, Ian McCormack later died in hospital and was dead for 15-20 minutes. During this time he experienced both hell and heaven and came back to tell the story! Dying was his doorway to true life and his story is transforming lives around the world as it touches on some of the deepest questions we all eventually ask.
There is a way that seems right to a man
but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
It was 1980 and I was 24 years old when I set out on an adventure that was to turn my life upside down. I had saved some money and was eager to travel and explore the world. My best friend and I decided to sell our worldly possessions and head out on a surfing safari, an ‘endless summer’ holiday.
I was born and raised in New Zealand, a beautiful island country in the Pacific region. My parents were schoolteachers, and because of this we moved towns often, relocating in various rural areas. I had two siblings and together we had enjoyed many of the privileges that many New Zealand children take for granted, such as summer holidays at the beach. From a young age I reveled in the sea.
I completed a university degree in agriculture at Lincoln University and then worked for two years as a farm consultant with the New Zealand Dairy Board. I loved farming. I loved working in the outdoors, and spent as much time as possible in outdoor pursuits. Most of my weekends were spent diving, surfing, tramping, and pursuing all kinds of sports.
After two years of working, I got the urge to travel. In New Zealand a phenomenal number of young people travel overseas before they finally settle into a career and family life. It’s a phenomena fondly termed ‘The Big O.E.’
So off I went with my surfboard under my arm. I initially flew to Sydney, Australia first and surfed my way up the East Coast of Australia to Surfers Paradise. I travelled light and stayed in the cheapest accommodation I could find, while spending my days catching good waves at Dee Why, Fosters, Lennox Heads, Byron Bay and Burleigh Heads.(these are all well known Australian beaches on the east coast)
I hitchhiked up through the outback of Australia to Darwin and then carried on to Bali in Indonesia, where I surfed Kuta Reef, then took my chances surfing Uluwatu, an amazing left-hand reef break. I also visited a few Hindu & Buddhist temple sites before continuing on overland through Java.
As I travelled through Asia the people often asked me if I was a Christian, presumably because I was white skinned. The question challenged me because I had been brought up in a Christian family, but I wasn’t sure if I should call myself a Christian.
I was raised as an Anglican and attended the “Church of England”. At the age of 14 years I was confirmed in the church. I would pray as a child, and went to Sunday school and youth group, and yet I’d never really had a personal experience with God. I remember coming out of the church on the day of my confirmation quite disillusioned. Nothing seemed to have happened. My heart was full of questions, so I asked my mother if God had ever spoken personally to her. She turned to me and said “God does speak and He is real”. Then she shared how she had cried out to God in a time of tragedy and He had answered her.
to be continued!