Johannes Adendorff, the author of A Different Plan, relives years of facing bullying at boarding school, only to find light and faith at the end of the tunnel.
“Run, Vulture, run.”
It was 1983, my tenth-grade year at Grootberg boarding school. Forty boys stared down the corridor at me. While I’d endured years of bullying at their hands, nothing had prepared me for this.
“Time for the Baking Oven,” one of the boys said, pushing me forward with a callous grin on his face.
My body shuddered. The “Baking Oven” was a ritual I knew too well, having watched other boys endure the horrors of this hazing activity. The upperclassmen would line the corridor, holding canes and waiting for their chance to inflict the most amount of pain on the younger boys as they ran through the hall and up the stairs.
And, now, it was my turn.
“Run!” another boy squealed from the endless sea of faces before me.
Sweat pooled on my back as I began my journey through the hall, my steps crashing in my ears. I was used to bullying—the harsh words, the frequent beatings. But the hallway had turned into a nightmare at the hands of my classmates. As I began up to the second floor, the canes continued to smack me hard. My entire back grew raw from the harsh wood slamming against my skin. The backs of my knees and calves blossomed with bruises and dripped with blood.
After what seemed like hours, it was over. As the last boy hit me, I stumbled away as tears flooded my vision. My entire world was pain.
Lying in bed that night, I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. I had thought Grootberg would teach me to be a good farmer so I could return to my parents’ home and help them. But from the moment I’d arrived, I’d feared for my life. At one point, I’d been stabbed by a fellow classmate. Nearly every day, the other boys would beat me or pick on me, calling me a “mama’s boy.”
Justice, I prayed, curling up into a ball and wincing as my cuts and bruises throbbed. I just want justice against the bullies.
Jesus didn’t answer, at least not right away. But as I stayed at Grootberg and made it through the next couple of years, I realized He’d given me something I hadn’t asked of Him: strength.
A former military man and professional skydiver, Johannes Adendorff shares his experiences of overcoming adversity and bullying in his memoir, A Different Plan. After years of life in the skies, Adendorff commits his time to spreading God’s message and encouraging others to live for Jesus Christ. To contact Johannes, click here.