Randall Carew, a musician and singer-songwriter from the Rembarrnga, Ngalaka people group, relates how he met Jesus during a brush with death. (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are advised that this story and the linked video contain images of people who have died.)
My name is Randall Carew. I come from Kewulyi, that’s Roper Valley. I speak Kriol. I was 15. There was an old man next door to my house who told me that someone loves you, he lives above – telling me about Jesus. So there’s someone there watching me day and night who loves me and saved me from my sins. So I decided to get baptised. That’s how the Lord changed my life, helping me in many ways. Yeah, and I thank him for that.
Jesus gave me understanding about writing songs and teaching me how to play keyboard music. I didn’t know how to write songs. I never went to school. I ran away from school from Year 8. I made the first album. It was a blessing. And then a second album again. So I told him, “can you help me, Jesus, find a group?”
So my brother came to me and said, “Yeah, I’ll play for you. I will play drums.” And the next one again. And the other one. So we came together and we make a group, a band. And then we write songs together. The songs did not come from me, they come from the Lord. You know, he’s saying to people to come to him, there’s songs about how great he is and how loving he is.
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“Once he tells me, I just go, doesn’t matter I’m in a wheelchair, but I will do it for you.”
That’s how the Lord uses me to tell people about him. Everywhere, in Arnhem Land, in deserts, even in Sydney and Melbourne, in funerals, church celebrations. I just wait patiently for Jesus to talk to me. “Are you ready to go sing at that community?” And once he tells me, I just go, doesn’t matter I’m in a wheelchair, but I will do it for you. As long as you bless me and be there for me. You provide everything for me like food and accommodation and all.” He’s a kind person and loving, so big his love and we are so special to him.
I was praying to Jesus about wanting to see him, you know, wanting to be there,
[In December 2014, Randall became seriously ill].
I got sick back home, they took me to the nearest community at Minyerri Clinic and then at 2pm got on the flight.
[Randall and his father Trevor were sent from Minyerri Clinic to Darwin on a Careflight. Randall’s cousin Zaccariah, watched the plane fly away. He said there was a “bright light shining on the plane.” Randall was later diagnosed with an acute kidney infection, metabolic acidosis (acid in bodily fluids which can be caused by kidney failure), urosepsis (serious infection of the urinary tract), and ongoing tachycardia (rapid heart rate). Some of these conditions can be fatal.]
I went to Darwin Hospital, then I passed away.
Trevor Carew: When he was in the ICU the doctors let me see him, just wrapped around with a sheet and his body was swollen up. That was Tuesday. I was crying and I rang back [home], told them that Randall had passed away now. See, maybe the Lord saw me crying and the Lord sent me an angel just to let me know that he’s on this journey.
A short girl with long hair walked around the station [in ICU], out the corridor and I followed her. No one there. She just vanished! And I went back there and I didn’t worry much now because I just listened to the voice.
Randall: To me it was black, a blackout, I couldn’t see a thing. Then suddenly I saw myself standing in front of my house, but it was not my house, it was heaven. Heaven made itself my house. Then I heard a laugh, a happy laugh. I looked around, I looked back, I saw an angel. In my house, there’s a kitchen at the end of the house. So he told me “You go in” and went to the kitchen. So I went there. When I went inside, he was so amazing. The floor was polished, everything was beautiful. I was there. I was walking! Yeah. So I walked in, I saw him there and he said, “Hello, Randall.” And I didn’t say a word. I was amazed. “I brought you here so that I can give you something. I will give you my love.” He said, “I will give you my love so that you can go back and share it to everyone.” And I kept staring at him. He was so white, but I couldn’t see his face. He had a shining face, but I saw his clothes and figure, the image. His voice was flowing. Like when he hits you, oh, I can’t describe [it].
“He said to me, “I’ll be always with you and I’ll be coming back for you and the world, come and take you back home.”
He knew I wanted to stay with him. He read my thoughts and he said to me, “you have to go back and I will give you my love that you will share with every people my love.” And then he sent me away back and he said to me, “I’ll be always with you and I’ll be coming back for you and the world, come and take you back home.”
Then I went back to the front [of the house] and then I closed my eyes and suddenly I saw myself in hospital, 12 o’clock midnight, I woke up.
So maybe he had a plan for me. I think he had a plan for me to go meet him up in heaven and the plan came true, you know?
Since that happened, it has been a big change for me, you know, loving people. I always feel shy and didn’t talk much in public, but now since when he appeared to me, I can do all those things, good things, like sharing and praying and being there for me and throwing the shame away, speaking to me what shall I do and what not to do or where to go. I want to go out everywhere sharing the gospel.
And he brings you happiness, love, all kinds of good things and he puts you on a journey where you’ve never been before.
In August 2020, Randall went to be with Jesus, joining his father there. His friends and family miss his joy, his love for people, his songs and his earnest and courageous faith in Jesus.