Grant was one of the first IWT staff for the New Zealand IWT Campaigns who had completed his lecture phase of training in Auckland, NZ & was on his internship in Leithbridge, Canada preparing for the city-wide IWT campaign in 2002. While traveling back from Calgary to Leithbridge he was involved in a tragic car accident & died a few days later on April 11, 2002.
Grant Julian Kelly was born October 26, 1979 in Vereeniging, South Africa. He attended primary school in Roodepoort & was a class rep at West Ridge High, He excelled in cricket, played rugby & ran cross country. He committed his life to Christ at a Baptist Youth Camp & grew quickly in the Lord at the Wilro Baptist Church, taking part in planning youth activities. He always had a fervency & zeal for the Lord & sharing the Gospel with others. He was a passionate, wholehearted young man who was well liked by others. After emigrating to New Zealand, Grant worked for a year & attended a Sports College. Meanwhile his passion was for his church youth work(which would explain all the late school assignments!). Everyone around him got the good news shared with them – his love for Christ was contagious. When he left Wellington for involvement in IWT, his father Alan Kelly said goodbye with a heavy heart in January 2002 as he felt he would not see him again. He had received a word from the Lord that Grant would not live long.
Grant was an IWT city facilitator for the Leithbridge evangelistic campaign & was greatly loved by all those in the Body of Christ he came into contact with. He visited the local indigenous people in the area also in preparation for the Campaign & was esteemed for his heart & passion to honor all regardless of background & association in the Body of Christ. He was stirred by the need for unity in the Church in Leithbridge & said in one small prayer group he was willing to lay his life down for unity in the city & for people there to come to know Jesus. The Church in Leithbridge was shocked by the death of this young man who had come from the other side of the earth to work in their city & rallied together at a memorial service for Grant held on Sunday April 14, 2002 at College Drive Community Church, Leithbridge. God took the Church in Leithbridge to a whole new level of unity & commitment together to share the Gospel. The IWT Campaigns continued seeing many come to Christ across the city. One young boy wrote on his decision card where it asked how did you come to know about the Campaign, answered through Grant Kelly. This would be one of many who were deeply impacted for eternity through Grant’s life. It was a challenging moment in the NZ IWT Campaigns also with all staff who knew Grant committing themselves to go forward & like Grant lay their lives down for the sake of the Gospel in New Zealand. This was realized with the harvest of 25,500 people committing their lives to Christ in 2004 during the NZ Campaigns.
He is sadly missed by his family – parents Alan & Dawn Kelly(step mother) & mother Kathy Lawrence, siblings – Sean, Dane & Kevin Kelly, Brett & Nikita Lawrence, Grandparents – David & Juliette Kelly, Mike & Merrill O’Gorman.
Sadly missed by his YWAM Campaigns family who worked closely with him.
6 thoughts on “Grant Kelly”
Grant was one of the most passionate young men we have ever worked with. Our family & all the IWT NZ staff all loved him dearly & wept together when we heard the news about his death. Always in our memory for the way he represented Christ.
‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his godly ones’
David & Susan Cole
I had the privilege of meeting Grant several times as I worked with his step-mum Dawn and had been to their home several times when Grant was there. As a christian myself, I was deeply saddened when Dawn told me that Grant had been killed. I went to his Memorial service at The Rock Church in Wellington, and it was very easy to see how popular this young man was. More recently in 2007/2008 I attended The Rock Church as my home church before moving to Northland and remarrying, but still the legacy of Grant Kelly lives on in that church. People still talk about him very fondly as a real representative of Christ on Earth. There is a song that we sung there called “HistoryMaker”, which is a Hillsongs song, apparently Grant just loved that song. Now whenever I hear it, I think of that young man who tragically died while serving the Lord. I know the big gap he has left in the lives of his family in Wellington and in South Africa. Grant, You were an amazing young man.
Suzanne Clark ( Hokum)
I am his Mom, 11 long years now my darling son, forever missed. At least you in the presence of Jesus. See you in eternity
Grant had a huge impact on my life and I wanted to share the story of our journey together with you – almost 17 years later.
God told me to go to Wellington from Dunedin shortly after I started following Christ. He told me that He would help me find new friends and it wasn’t long after that I met Grant. We hit it off as mates right away, both sporty, loud, confident South African boys with the world as our oyster. Grant convinced Alan and Dawn to let me move in with them while I sorted my life out and learned how to become a stronger follower of Christ. One of my favourite memories was when we were in Petone one night at a pier. I lit up a cigarette (I started smoking when I was 11) and Grant asked me: “Charl, why do you want to smoke?” The question jarred me as I hadn’t really asked myself that in light of my new life. That night Grant led me through a prayer as I scrunched that last pack of cigarettes and threw it in the water. That was a huge turning point in my intimacy with God and the memory of that night serves me often when I think about obstacles that God has lead me out of.
In early 1999, Grant and I went to a Christian music festival called Parachute where I got some information about a surfing/snowboarding DTS with YWAM at Great Barrier Island. Grant had a lot of influence in helping me decide to go. I met my wife, Jodi, through YWAM and we have been married for almost 16 years. We have 3 beautiful young children.
I think about Grant often. I cry about him often.
Kathy, I never got the chance to meet you but Grant often talked about you. He loved you very much. Thank you for the way that you have raised your son. He was that friend that God had set aside for a very fragile turning point of my life and I will be forever grateful that I had the honour of being led by Grant into a deeper relationship to God.
Looking forward to hang out with you in heaven one day my Bru,
Hi Charl, Just saw your reply now. How Wonderful for me to read that he helped you so much. I am so proud of him and it was so good to know how much he loved me. Where do you live?
Mike is my husband, I am Kathy, Grant’s Mom.