Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Thy grew up on a small farm in a church-going family. She always wanted to teach and completed a BA (Bachelor of Arts) and teaching diploma in South Africa and a Masters and Doctorate online with Regent University, a Christian university in Virginia Beach USA where she lectured online for seven years. She loved being a radio journalist for a Christian radio station and produced and presented various programmes for 17 years. She also trained Sunday school and other voluntary Christian teachers. Married to a pastor, she threw herself into church work and joked about being the ‘unpaid curate’.
As a little girl, Thy loved her mother’s garden, especially at sunset. Her relationship with God began when she marvelled at a rose called ‘Peace’ and decided whoever made it must be wonderful. Over the years the most difficult times were the most precious. That was when God moulded and shaped her faith. He gave her peace even after the loss of her only daughter and proved Himself to be more wonderful than she had ever suspected.
“Imagine the sadness – Shirley fills my heart with such delight at first, is such a lovely bubbly little girl full of mischief and initiative and ability … and then, as she gets older her difficulties surface and she struggles. Seeing the glass as half full, finding relationships very difficult, clinging on where she can – she manifests the beginnings of clinical depression. What I remember most was that she cried and cried and cried. She was always crying …
And I become so sad, not understanding what is going on but crying with her. We cry together for more than thirty-three years ….
Now, 44 years on, God has miraculously brought me to a place where I have had my perspective changed and I can rejoice ….”