Stories that tell of lives changed forever
The people of New Life
Click on the names below to read a story…
My quest for adventure, love and purpose took me to many places…
…but at the age of 24 I found myself without hope, dependant on drink and drugs to get me through my inner loneliness and despair. The good news was that Jesus loves me and that he died for me on the cross and that he rose again and wanted to come into my life.
One day, my friends said that we had been invited to someone’e house for a meal and that they were Christians. Inside I was shaking but as I walked through those doors the presence of Jesus was there, I felt his love and mercy, and when I spoke to the other people, the love of Jesus melted my heart. It was so strong that I gave him my life.
That was 33 years ago.
He changed my thinking and my heart, and I felt like a new person with hope and purpose, and I’m forever grateful to Jesus.
I grew up in a Christian household and gave my life to Jesus when I was very young, around 7 or 8 years old…
As I went through school I struggled with accepting who I was. I wanted to create a new identity for myself, in particular that wasn’t a pastor’s kid. I felt that I had been brainwashed into faith and to try and push it away I started a journey of deceit, lying, forging signatures, stealing from shops, clubbing and bowing to all sorts of peer pressure from my friends.
This made a real mess of my mind, emotions, friendships and faith. I was living a double life – going to church every Sunday and youth summer camps every year but outside of that the guilt and shame of my secret life consumed me. Later, during university, I chose to take some modules of philosophy to try and somehow re-wire my brain to accept another belief system; I was seeking any truth than the one I had been raised to believe. I spent a year in Greece during my third year at university looking into universalist ideology which would also be the essence of my dissertation.
But it was there in Thessaloniki, Greece one night with no music, no other people, no other influence that I had the most incredible encounter with God as his presence filled my little apartment and brought me to my knees. I remember feeling sick with shame as I knelt before the Lord and then undeniably feeling His incredible forgiveness washing over me as he told me I would always be his child whom he loved. The reality of his presence in the room was just so tangible to me. Shortly after then I was married, and as they say, the rest is history! But as I look back now on those difficult years God was so constant and faithful. He protected me in situations I put myself in that could have gone horribly wrong. Everything that I turned to, to try and run from his love disappointed me, but his love never failed. Being in his presence is like coming home to who I have always meant to be – the best version of myself. His faithfulness, his love, his mercy and his truth are the joy of my soul and song in my heart forever.
God’s timing for our lives is perfect down to the smallest detail.
When we surrender our will to Him, the challenges we face become opportunities for miracles.
Recently we bought our first home here in England. I wasn’t at that place of fully abandoning myself to his perfect will for our lives and God had to take us on a learning journey to show us what it truly meant to trust in Him. A few months before we were due to move, I received a fraudulent telephone call from an engineer from our internet provider. He claimed that there was a problem with our laptop and that someone had breached our private security. He suggested I check my bank account to ensure no money had been removed. At the time everything felt credible to me, so I allowed him to gain access to the PC. The engineer also claimed to be part of a special fraud division looking for the support of the public to catch criminals. Over the course of half an hour, the engineer managed to gain complete control of the computer and by bringing up a fake screen was able to withdrawal the money that we had saved towards our Stamp Duty from my bank account. We were in a predicament as we did not have the money for the stamp duty but we were too far down the process of buying the house to pull out of the contract.
My immediate response was to contact all the relevant authorities to report the fraud and hope that somehow we would be able to get the funds back. We began to pray and trust God for a miracle.
I have deliberately written the word trust in italics because up to that point this was just a word that I would use hoping for God to answer a prayer. While I was praying one morning, God gave me a picture. The picture was of a stage coach being drawn by eight wild horses. He said to me that when we face challenges, it can feel like life is out of control, just like being carried along on a stage coach of wild horses. Our instinctive human reaction is to want to pick up the reigns and take back control – take charge of the situation. But the challenge God placed before me was when challenges or troubles come, who is actually in control you or me?
Trusting in God has got to be more than just a word we say, it means letting go of the reigns – not worrying about ‘tomorrow’. It requires abandoning all negative thoughts, sleepless nights, despair and hopelessness, and replacing it with a determination to quieten your mind and wait on God, seeking His clear direction and perfect timing. The waiting can often be the hardest part and the natural tendency is to worry, because as humans, we want instant results.
Whichever way we turned, everything seem to be pointing to that reality that we were not going to get the money back and that we would have to find some alternative plan to pay for the house.
Amazing enough, shortly before we were due to pay the stamp duty, the full amount taken was deposited back into my bank account!
God has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is a God of detail. He is interested and cares passionately about every second of our day. Trust requires more than just the spoken work, it is a conscience act of submission and obedience to Him.
When I was 21 years old, I picked up the Gideon’s New Testament that I had been given when I was at high school, aged 14…
…This new testament was used by Father God to bring me into His Kingdom and introduce me to my Saviour and Friend – Jesus.
Jesus is called our Saviour as He has literally saved us from the fires of hell – yes they do exist! We all know we do wrong sometimes and what Jesus has done is take the blame, by His death on the cross and given us a way to know God’s love and forgiveness for the wrong things we do and think. Not only did He do that, He also conquered death by the power of His Holy Spirit, He died and three days later rose again from the grave – witnessed by many! When I die I know my spirit will be taken by the Holy Spirit to live with my beautiful God in heaven and so death has no sting for me.
All those years ago, I remember standing in my dining room crying out to God, if You are there, You are going to have to show me! Almost immediately I had the overwhelming compulsion to pick up the New Testament and start reading, I now realise it was God’s Spirit leading me. The lovely thing about the Gideon’s Bible is you can look up how you feel and you can also look up life subjects and it leads you to what God says in His Word. I desperately needed to know if God is real.
It took me three weeks to read the New Testament and I searched and questioned God. At the end of the three weeks I decided I wanted to know this God of the Bible and I wanted to know Jesus and live His Way. About two weeks after this, I was travelling through some beautiful countryside and I had the most wonderful sense of not having to search anymore, as I now knew that God had created this earth and everyone on it; at the same time I experienced the most incredible power coming over me and through me. I felt in my heart Jesus saying not to be frightened it was Him and now I realise it was Him giving me His Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit is the part of Him that He gives to us to seal us and make us His, His Holy Spirit also gives us the power to live the way God wants us to live, as it is impossible to do this on our own. We need His Spirit to lead us and guide us and help us to be the person our Father created us to be and we need His Spirit to help us do any work He shows us to do for Him. He promised when He went into heaven that He would send His Spirit to us and He does this for everyone who puts their trust in Him.
I am now 56 years old and can honestly say I have never regretted deciding to follow Jesus, He truly is my most faithful and loving Friend and understands me like no other person. He understands my humanity and how it can be very difficult to live on this earth, as He has done exactly that! There is nothing I have gone through, whether easy or difficult, where He has not been right by my side and looking out for me. I have a sense of safety and peace about my life as I know He will never let me down. I love to share my life with Jesus, we have fun and He helps me through the times that are not fun. He is truly my best Friend. I enjoy my life thanks to Him!
I come from a Catholic background, but even when I was Catholic I always felt God’s presence…
…and Him speaking to me through my conscious. My parents were very religious and used to enforce the same upon me. I always had questions about many aspects of Catholic beliefs around Mary, Infant Jesus and so on. Nobody could answer my questions and I was always told to just follow. This did not satisfy me and I kept looking. My friend recommended me to a bible based church where I started to study the bible through a sealer bible study group. All my questions was answered biblically without any human rational. This started to make me think and gave me the conviction. Later I realised that it was God guiding me to follow the truth and not any man made religion.
That was the start and I constantly kept growing in the knowledge and fear of Him. As I kept growing in the Lord, I started to feel that God has a great plan and purpose for me. I am a man of dream, determination and destination and God has used that quality of mine to build His kingdom. Today, everything I do is for His glory. No matter what material success I would have, it will be for His glory and for His purpose. I have realised that seeking God is the most important task and while I do that, He will fulfil my desires and all other other things that will be added to me. He is no debtor and I have seen in my life that he has always fulfilled the hidden desires of my heart and even when I give up, he has not forgotten and will bring it to pass at the right time.
I can never cease to give thanks for all that I have experienced of the goodness of God from such an early age…
…I was never born with a bible under my pillow nor with a silver spoon in my mouth. Yet I remember the day that Jesus Christ came up close and personal over 59 years ago. He change my life and gave me a hope that goes beyond this earthly pilgrimage. I know his love and his perfect peace in-spite of all the challenges I have been through. I am privileged to be married to a special person who also has come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Let me reassure you that God does answer prayer . He can become a true friend if you put your trust in him . Remember He is only a prayer away.
Some three years ago our family was devastated by a tragedy that occurred in our home…
…very early in the morning, before it was light. As a result of this our family was temporarily shattered into pieces and family members had to be suddenly and painfully re-located, hundreds of miles away from each other. This separation lasted several months and caused extreme heartache for us all. As a family, this was the hardest thing that we had ever faced. There were times when we were on our knees in the valley, with our faces in the dust, crying out for God’s intervention, unable to understand why our cries were not immediately answered.
However, we now realise that God was using this opportunity to shape us and to mould us and to teach us valuable lessons about His grace, His love, His faithfulness and His utter commitment to us. Had we not experienced this tragedy we would not be who we are and where we are today. Through this separation each one of us individually learnt to rely on God in a way that we had never needed to before and His faithfulness was unending. As we look back at that time we are all amazed at how He was with us in every little detail and how there wasn’t a single day when He did not uphold us and keep us safe.