Hi, My name is Pete and this how I came to be a Christian.  I was brought up in a Christian home my mother being a member of The Salvation Army from before I was born so it was natural that, as soon as I was old enough mum took me along to the Sunday School.  I soon established myself as one of the worst behaved kids they had there and was kicked out more times than  I can remember.  This went on until I reached the grand old age of eleven, when a number of us were taken out into the "big hall" and we were led to the "mercy seat" where we asked Jesus to come into our hearts.  At the time I understood absolutely nothing of what all this meant and just did as I was told.  The only thing I was sure of was if I asked Jesus to come into my life and I meant it, then He would.  When I reached the age of twelve I was given the choice of continuing to attend or doing my own thing.  Guess which one I chose.  Well, what was the choice, keep on going to the army or bothering with my friends?  I promptly left and never went back.

As a teenager I went into everything with gusto!  By the time I was seventeen I was a seasoned boozer and street fighter.  I would go to work on Friday morning and then after bolting down some tea go straight to the pub and stay there until closing.  My weekends were just more booze, we all were the same.  Every now and again the Salvation Army would come into the pub where I was to sell the "War Cry" and boy would they come in for some stick!  I just kept quiet until they left.

At the age of eighteen I met my future wife, who was three years younger than me.  I treated her so badly it makes me ashamed to remember it!  I would stand her up all the time in favour of going out with the boys, it must have been of God that she stayed with me.  We were engaged after three years and married in 1979.  After some years my wife met her cousin in town who told her that she had a new life by knowing Jesus in a personal way.  She came home and said that her cousin had gone all religious.  I knew what she meant because of my background and pretty soon my wife decided to accompany her to a meeting.  When she came home she told me stories of people standing and clapping and getting quite carried away with it all.  After attending a few more meetings she came home and told me that she too had come to know Jesus as her personal Saviour.  My response was that it was ok for her but that she should leave me out of it altogether!  However, after being nagged constantly I was dragged along to a rock gospel bar-b-q and as been as I've always liked that type of music it was no hardship really for me to go with her.  The one thing that impressed me most of all was that these people were, ok a little crazy but they seemed to be genuinely happy.  After I attended a few more meetings I heard the gospel preached for the very first time.  Don't forget that I was brought up going to the army and in the meantime both my wife and myself attended our local Church in Wales (Anglican).  It doesn't say much for the church that I went the first 28yrs of my life without hearing the true gospel!  All I had heard up to this time can best be described as a social gospel.  That is a gospel that is designed not to offend in any way and to "attract" people.  However, the biblical gospel makes it plain that "without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin..."Heb.9:22.  All the Old Testament sacrifices pointed towards the once and for all sacrifice of Christ on the cross and in fulfilment of prophecy He was called: "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Jn.1:29.

Anyway, when a response was called for I was abolutely determined not to move and so gripped the underside of my chair for dear life.  However, after the service the minister challenged me personally and I just knew that In the sight of God I was a sinner and that all my church attendance in the past counted for nothing!  So by the grace of God Jesus came into my life in September 1985.  Since that day life has not been easy. we lost a baby girl after one hour of life and I lost my father.  Plus the fact that after twenty-five years my kidney transplant failed and I have been receiving dialysis treatment for two years now.  I have to say though that the good times have far outweighed the bad!  SInce my conversion I have had a hunger and thirst for the word of The Lord and was ordained into the ministry in 1992 and in Christ have gone from strength to strength.  I have looked after the church we now attend for about a year in the late 90s and was the minister of a local Baptist Church for 6 1/2yrs having to resign becouse of my dialysis treatment.

I have found the truth of the Apostle Paul's words when he said: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Phil. 4: 13.

Hi my name is Chris.  I went to Sunday school as a child although I was not brought up in a Christian home.  Even as a young child I longed for heaven, I remember at ten years old lying on a grass verge close to my home and looking up, longing for God to take me up in His loving arms and take me to be with Him in heaven.  Even though I never experienced His love, I knew He was there.  I had never heard the gospel in Sunday school and looking back I can remember as a fourteen year old my uncle giving my mother a large bible, I opened it and my eyes fell on the verse which reads: “except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of heaven”.  At the time I had no clue as to what this could possibly mean.

As time went on I stopped attending Sunday school and was more interested in going out with my friends.  Years later I met and married my husband Pete, only for him to fall seriously ill not long after we were married.  I hadn’t given God all that much thought for years until Pete received his first kidney transplant.  I prayed that if God got him through then I would seek Him.  The Lord answered my prayer and that Christmas Eve I decided to attend a Midnight Mass held at our local Anglican Church.  I didn’t know it then but I was searching for God in the wrong place.  When Pete was well enough he too came along to the church.  We attended for four years being both christened and confirmed as members and we thought we were set for heaven.  However, during this time our lives changed in no way and we continued on just like before, church made no difference at all!  In church the gospel was never preached from the pulpit and the only time Jesus was mentioned was at Christmas and Easter time and then He was either on the cross or in a manger.

During that time I was expecting our second child.  We had already been blessed with a little girl, Charlotte and it was at this time that I met my cousin while out in our local town.  I remembered hearing from the family that she had “gone religious” but I really didn’t know what the word meant as she was anything but!  I had grown suspicious of the word “religion” as I was now bored with church as the whole building stank of “religion”.  To my shock my cousin told me that unless I knew Jesus in a personal way I was going to go to hell and being confirmed and christened would make no difference at all.  She told me that only the blood of Jesus could wash away my sin and make me clean in God’s sight.  At this time my uncle had died and she said quite openly that he had gone to hell.  These were strong words and I felt shattered by them.  Nevertheless, The Lord dropped an awareness into my heart that day and I remember thinking what hope was there for me?  I had searched for God and had not found Him, not even in church with stained glass windows and everything!  My cousin then invited me to her church.  The first thing I noticed was it was just an ordinary building, not a stained glass window or crucifix to be seen anywhere.  The hymns were different too, catchy choruses sung to guitar and keyboard.  Then there was the people, they had a genuine joy and were not afraid to express it, there was clapping and even a bit of dancing!  I too wanted this joy, the joy of knowing Jesus personally and after more visits I knew that The Lord was calling me into a relationship with Him. Even then though there was a battle going on within me.  Jesus was showing me His way, a better way but I wanted to keep on going my own way.  I was at a crossroads.  It should have been an easy choice but I still wanted parts of my old way of doing things, like I had in the Anglican Church.  For weeks the battle went on but this was real, Jesus was real and was calling me and I couldn’t deny it any longer.  I went along to a Sunday night service at Peniel determined not to respond to the altar call, should there be one.  However, The Lord had other plans and in my mind’s eye I saw a picture of Jesus dying for me on the cross and my heart melted and all my barriers just fell down and I knew that I had to surrender to Him at once!  Only the blood of Jesus could wash away my sins and make me a new person and in Him I could find total forgiveness and acceptance with God.  Then that old verse from The Bible made sense: “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”Now in His time He had showed me the answer and at last I understood!  Looking back I could see His hand of protection on me, saving me out of many potentially dangerous situations and bringing through to this crucial moment. 

My husband got saved seven months later but life was still difficult.  There was no “honeymoon period “as we lost our second baby and Pete lost his father soon after.  I thank The Lord that His hand was on us and He brought us through.  A year later we were blessed with another child, Joshua.  However, Joshua was not a well child and the doctors informed us that he would need an operation to save him but he was so little and so sick it was doubtful if he would survive the procedure.  We just cast ourselves on The Lord, put him on a prayer chain and cried out to Him for our son and He heard us.  The kidney that was poisoning his body just dissolved and he began to recover.  Joshua still needed a lot of hospital attention and in later life would need a kidney transplant.  Why The Lord did not heal him completely I do not know but The Bible says that He does all things well and he is in good health at present and I am grateful for that!  Through this time we had met many people that we were able to share The Lord with and still He is opening doors for us in this way.  Jesus never promised to take us out of the storms of life but He did promise never to leave us alone and we know His words to be true. 

I was always an independent person and here I was with a sick husband and child to look after, so I had to look to Him for all I needed both physically and spiritually.  The Christian life is not easy and I suffered with my nerves and other problems.  I asked The Lord for patience and He answered my prayer but not in the way I expected.  It certainly wasn’t easy for our Lord, He went to the cross not around it and sometimes He takes His child through painful experiences that we may come to rely on Him alone and not on any other plan or person.  Also there is the fact that He is making us more like Him with each passing day and this process is known as sanctification.  My own health has gone downhill fast.  I have discovered that I have suffered with a genetic condition that has left me unable to walk outside the house (I can walk only short distances) and I have to use a power-chair. With all this I asked The Lord to give me a sense of humour, which He did and we have been able laugh every day and through all situations and the Bible says that: laughter does good like a medicine.  I thank God that His grace is sufficient for us.  It is sufficient that He saved me and had mercy on my soul, it is sufficient that my name is written in The Lamb’s Book of Life.  What a privilege it is to be a part of His family.  Jesus has turned my mourning into joy! 

The Bible teaches us to rejoice in everything.  It’s easy to rejoice when all is going well but when all is not so well and storms of life threaten to overwhelm us then is the time to praise The Lord.  The Bible teaches us that we can be more than conquerors through Him that loves us i.e. Jesus.  When Jesus and His disciples came to the outskirts of a city called Caesarea He asked them two questions, the first was: “Who do the people say that I am?”  He received varied answers to this and then He asked: “But who do you say that I am?”  Caesarea was a centre of religious activity at that time and it was as if Jesus was saying, look in the light of all these religions, who do you say that I am?  The same question is asked today and the way you answer will decide your eternal destiny.  Will you answer along with the disciple Simon Peter when he said, You are The Christ, The Son of The living God?

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