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I am the Cactus Man

I am the Cactus Man, and I live in the Cactus House where I have 2,500 cacti divided into almost 1000 species. It is one of the largest collections in…

I am the Cactus Man, and I live in the Cactus House where I have 2,500 cacti divided into almost 1000 species. It is one of the largest collections in Denmark.

I have collected cacti for 40 years, and I have travelled all over the world to look for cacti. I bought my first cactus when I as a young man moved out of my parents’ house, and I saw it bloom the following year. That year I joined the Nordic Cactus Society, where we now have 200 members – and 196 of them are men. Why it is like that, I do not know.

I have been deeply fascinated by cacti throughout my whole life. In the springtime I water them, and they grow, sprinkle with joy and turn green, and suddenly the buds begin forming, and then they bloom withsome amazing flowers – but some of the flowers only bloom for 3, 12, 24 or 48 hours.

And when they have finished blooming in the fall, they sink back together and some fall into one third of their size before they start growing again in the following spring when I water them. But I have to becareful not to give them too much water; because they will drink so much that they will crack.

When I do not collect cacti, I take photos, go fishing in my boat, or carve wooden plates and bowls.

I love nature.

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Elo, Denmark   

 

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Sometimes I feel that I need to pray twice …

I was raised in a family with almost 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses on both sides of the family, and when I became 14, I was baptized. I have always had faith…

I was raised in a family with almost 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses on both sides of the family, and when I became 14, I was baptized. I have always had faith in God, and I feel obliged to treat everyone with kindness. That means a lot in the way I live my life. Ialso feel obliged to God to be diligent.

I met my wife when I was 25. She was a virgin, and I was her first boyfriend. Being a Jehovah’s Witness means that you have to be married before you have sex, and preferably to a Jehovah’s Witness.

Jehovah is a kind of a great-grandfather, whom I respect. I see the Creator, Jehovah, as the one who created it all because He loves people, and because He loves me. It is incredible, that the highest ruler ofthe Universe is interested in all of us.
Jehovah has given us the call to be outreach and to proclaim about the Kingdom, but I must honestly admit that I sometimes have to pull myself together to go door-to-door because it might not be pleasant. I pray to God before I go out, and I feel it helps – and sometimes I feel that I need to pray twice before I knock on a door. Going door-to-door is probably good for me, but I do it for Jehovah.

Sometimes it is very uncomfortable. In Denmark we have freedom of expression, as long as we don’t talk about religion. But some people are so rude, and some even lose their temper and I am facing threats as well as personal comments, and very often people say ‘I pity you’.
It must be because they think we are forced to do this, and because we don’t do it out of our own free will. They might even think that we are not particularly clever, or that you must be stupid to be a Jehovah’s Witness.

We often bring our two small children with us when we go door-to-door, and we have told them, that not everyone believes in what we do.
I put Jehovah first, and then my family. I do everything I can to support my wife and our two little boys.

The most important thing for me is to respect life.

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Silas, 31    

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One second that changed my life…

On February 28 this year it will be eight years since my life was changed forever. It was a rainy Sunday, and my wife and I had just closed our…

On February 28 this year it will be eight years since my life was changed forever.
It was a rainy Sunday, and my wife and I had just closed our antique store. I asked my wife and our two sons – age 9 and 15 if they wanted to join me for a walk down the road with our dog.
Minutes later our family was torn apart just 100 meters away from our home, when we were hit by a car that suddenly drove across the road and directly into us.

We were thrown into every corner of the world, and I do not remember any more.
When I woke up in the hospital several days later with many broken bones and badly damaged lungs, the doctors told me that my wife Lotte was dead.

Lotte and I had been together for 34 years. We met in school when we were 16 years old. We fell in love, moved in together, and we made our dream of opening an antique store come true.
When my wife died, my first thought was to travel to Greece and drown myself in red wine. What else could I do? It was unbearable. What would become of us all? Would I ever be able to walk again? All these things were running through my head in the midst of this huge grief – and I missed the love of my life.

But then I realized that I had to take care of my two kids. I had to go on. I had to live. Life would continue. But there was so much I had to learn. I had never cooked before and I did not know how to keep house.

Today I have metal plates and screws implanted in the entire left side of my body, and because of the injuries in one of my hands; I can no longer play the guitar. But I survived and my sons survived. And I still have the antique store.
The accident has not affected my beliefs – because I have none. We live and we die. That is it …

A few years ago, I got a new girlfriend, and in fact, she was also my girlfriend when I was 14 years old. Her name is Ninna.

Life goes on.

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  Rene, 59

 

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