Testimony of Nol Pedrsen – Glenunga UC

Another treasure of the Gospel’s power discovered in one of our congregations.

You could hardly hear a more remarkable testimony than that of our tattooed, ponytailed Noel Pedrsen.  He was born to a single mom in 1946 and ended up in an orphanage for his earliest years.  As a young boy, he was placed in a couple of foster homes which, despite the church backgrounds of the foster parents, proved to be unpleasant and abusive places to live and he ran away on several occasions.  As can be imagined, his treatment there did not enamour him to the Christian faith, or to Christians.  

Nol’s rebellious attitude during his teenage years led him into deep trouble with the law and put him into a courtroom.  The magistrate gave him a couple of options – time in gaol or join the army.  About this time, finding no point in his name assigned at birth, he adopted the name of the hero in a book he was reading and became Nol Pedrsen.  His choice of the army over gaol led him eventually to Vietnam where he took on the challenge of becoming a helicopter pilot.  After nearly “washing out” at this, and not having a “feel for it”, eventually it “clicked”, and he went into action evacuating wounded soldiers.  It was dangerous work, and he was often under fire, and on one occasion was wounded.  It was a “no win” situation, if he sat on his body armour he was protected from below, and if he wore it, he was vulnerable from below and so it turned out to be.

After Vietnam he ended up in the US where another misadventure occurred when he was doing a stint as a crop duster.  In negotiating a bridge, he crashed his aircraft.  Rescuers arrived and presumed him dead until one noted signs of life.  In his own words he “broke every bone in his body” and recovery took some time.  While in the US he expanded his repertoire and was flying for a US airline and even had his own aircraft.  On one occasion he ditched with his crew off the coast of the Philippines in the South China Sea and were plucked from the water by pirates.  They requested being taken back to a coastal city, but the pirates sailed in the opposite direction.  They thought they were in serious trouble and earnest prayers were uttered to a God he didn’t really believe in.  Thankfully they were dropped off at a small village and rescued from there.

As if once were not enough a few years later, again on a flight across the Pacific where he and his crew struck trouble.  A bad batch of fuel led to all the engine’s flaming out and they were faced with ditching.  Nol’s excellent flying skills meant they were able to ditch safely and exit the aircraft into the sea before it sank.  They trod water for over a day with sharks circling.  Nol said that he prayed earnestly to God, making all sorts of promises if he was rescued.  They were so away from the US and Hawaii it was like finding a needle in a haystack and planes flew over and ships went by, but eventually they were spotted and rescued, and the promises to God promptly forgotten!  

In retrospect, Nol believes that God was looking after him throughout all these adventures, and had plans for him even though Nol was ignoring him.

He later returned to Australia and variously owned a trucking company, an outback cattle station, and more aircraft, and in the process became a wealthy man.  Over time he also accumulated a broken marriage, estranged children and again, in his words, had become not a nice man.

Into this mix, about 7 years ago, came a diagnosis of prostate cancer and a prognosis of months to live.  At about that time he met Lucy, a woman from Hong Kong and associated with the Glenunga Uniting Church.  He was living in Darwin and retreated to Alice Springs to get away from everybody and lie low, nursing his misery with the cancer and imminent death.  Lucy maintained regular contact with him against friends’ advice that this man’s story sounded far-fetched, and it could be a scam.  She nevertheless phoned him regularly and offered to pray for him at the end of each conversation, at which he would slam the phone down.  Lucy persisted and persisted until one day she omitted to make the offer of prayer.  Nol rang her back to ask why she didn’t offer to pray for him, so Lucy obliged and continued to do so in their phone calls.

Nol came back to Adelaide for treatment and his relationship with Lucy developed.  During this time his business dealings were failing, and his wealth began to disappear.  A friend took him, “kicking and screaming”, to an Alpha Course at Rostrevor Baptist, and after showing a good deal of deep cynicism and antagonism, finally accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.  Both he and Lucy began to attend church at Glenunga where he testifies to a deep sense of God’s peace every time he walks through the door, and a deep sense of belonging to a family who cares for him and prays for him.

Although he is in the advanced stages of cancer, having it spread to his bones, his rib cage, and into 7 of his vertebrae and is in continuous pain requiring heavy-duty medication, Nol thanks God daily that he has survived the cancer for so long.  He has outlived everybody that he knows who were diagnosed at the same time.  He often says that he doesn’t know how long he has left but he believes as long as God has something for him to do, God will keep him going.  And he certainly has a powerful ministry where his testimony at Alpha Courses has had a great impact.  He is bold in his witness to the gospel, telling all whom he meets what a difference God has made in his life.  He has brought both neighbours and past friends and colleagues to church and to Alpha.  

Nol’s financial circumstances have continued to wane, and he loves to say that when he was a millionaire, he was the unhappiest man on earth, but now he hasn’t two cents to rub together, he couldn’t be happier!  A few years ago, on a joyous day, he and Lucy married at Glenunga with a reception with their friends in the church hall.  He jokes about the wonderful suit he was able to buy at Vinnies.  In later years Noel discovered and reconciled with his birth family.  He found he had brothers and sisters and that his mother was still alive but ailing in Queensland.  He flew up to meet her before she died but missed out by a few hours.  He says it was so wonderful to sit on his own next to her body and pour out his feelings to her,  “it was a marvellous blessing of God”.

Nol’s is a remarkable story of God’s grace.  It is a story of anger at his early life circumstances being overcome by God’s love.  A story of the world’s riches providing no satisfaction, but in a life of difficulty and challenges, discovering how “Christ is sufficient for me”.  And it’s a story of love between the two unlikeliest of people, and a credit to Lucy’s faith and persistence.  He praises God for bringing Lucy into his life, and for the changes God has wrought in him.  And a final quote – “whether I live or die is a win-win situation.  If I live, I serve him for another day.  If I die, I go to be with him.”

Written on behalf of Nol Pedrsen by Ron Tiller, Glenunga UC.

Meet an SA local warrior with determination and guts.

Dr. Joanna Howe, mother of five children, and Law Professor at Adelaide University, started advocating for infants left to die in late-term abortions after giving birth to her second child. Up till then, she was OK with abortions. Stunningly aware she could no longer remain silent when South Australia passed laws permitting abortion on demand and up to birth.

Joanna’s goal now is to make abortion unthinkable because it kills a human being and it harms the mother. “I am fighting for an Australia where we recognise the human rights of babies in-utero and where we give concrete and meaningful support to women during pregnancy and beyond”

Vested interests and ideologues try to shut her down, in her employment or in the public square. She responds with logic, facts, data and research, as well as her social media accounts, presentations and public commentary, a combination those “pro-choice” are finding difficult to counter.
Her website can be found at www.drjoannahowe.com where you can sign up to keep up-to-date, and help in changing hearts and minds to flip the script on abortion.


“Any religious discrimination reforms would provide protections for people of faith, including ensuring that schools can continue to build and maintain communities of faith, while ensuring that protections for LGBTIQ+ students and staff in schools are not diminished”. 

AG Mark Dreyfus
in a reply letter to me dated 28 March 2024. Keep the govt to this.

I hope these testimonies encourage your faith in our Lord God.
If you would like to honour Him by sharing your testimony please send in to the email address below.
It may be how you first were found by Jesus or a significant event whereby you learned more of His powerful gospel and goodness to you. Ian, Ed.

Country Connection
Ian Clarkson (Minister)
Sponsored by:
HopeNet SA Inc – Supporting and extending the ministry of the Word of God and our local churches, particularly those without resident pastors.
Email: ian@hopenetsa.org.au Tel: 0413248622

Copyright (C) 2024 Hopenet SA Inc. All rights reserved.

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