'I'd sing Elvis songs that related to how I became a Christian'
Mark’s story | How to shake, rattle and roll for Jesus
“I grew up in Malta up to the age of nine years old listening to Elvis on the radio. Elvis Presley is treated like a God in Malta. Then as an adult, I became a Christian, in New Zealand, and I started doing Elvis tributes and concerts – professionally and for ministry. I called it Born Again Elvis.”
“When I moved to Australia, I met my wife Gina and we did Elvis concerts together – three or four events every weekend – cruises, weddings, birthday parties, christenings. It went on for 20 years. We used it for an income and also for ministry, to share the gospel. During the show, I’d always tell my life story – how I became a Christian – and I’d sing snippets of Elvis songs that related to that part of the story. Gina and I would always sing Amazing Grace at the end of the show and then I’d minister to people afterwards. People always want to talk with Elvis! They think that he’s the king. But we tell them about Jesus, the real King! I loved it. I also went to Bible College and trained as a pastor.”
“Then, in 2017, we left for Malta, long term, for missions with ECM. I thought we’d do music ministry and Elvis there. But now we’ve been in Malta for three years and we haven’t actually used Elvis a huge amount. In some ways it’s been hard. Elvis was a huge part of my identity. But it’s funny because, at one of the few Elvis concerts we did, we saw a Maltese lady actually come to the Lord. It was an 80th birthday party and the lady was the grand-niece. Through a relationship with our family she has come to faith in Jesus. We recently baptised her and are discipling her. It was God’s grace to us … the one time we did an event!”
“But when it was hard and I was missing doing the concerts, I read Romans 8. ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ (v 28). I had to surrender it to Jesus. And Jesus is so kind to us.
“We’re now back in Sydney, quarantining in the Meriton Hotel – Gina and I and our four kids. It was a big thing to get back here after being bumped off our flight in Heathrow [airport, London] and then having to go back to Malta. We thought we might not get another flight till next March! But here we are and it’s amazing. It turns out that my cousin manages the food at the hotel, and his boss is a Christian. So he told her about me, that I’m a pastor and I do Elvis, and so she started witnessing to him about Jesus, and she keeps sending us Scripture notes in the food. It’s fantastic!
“The challenge for me, though, is to keep trusting Jesus for his purposes. We plan things but he’s the one who brings about his purposes. God is so sovereign! And he wants us to be like him, to be a blessing, to be like Jesus to other people, like the lady sending Scripture notes. We can be like that too, on mission, wherever we are!”