I was born in 1964 and brought up in South Yorkshire. I have been married now for 28 years. Before my marriage, my interests were football, going to the pub and just having a good time, and I still wanted this life to continue after marriage. Neither my wife nor I had any interest in Christian things.
Two beautiful girls were born to us. Our eldest daughter had a serious illness and died aged six years. The loss of our child affected us both terribly and, in my ignorance, I actually acknowledged God in a way, because I blamed him for the pain and suffering that I felt.
I had little love and felt no compassion for anyone or anything, probably because I hurt so much. I didn’t know where to turn. I had been a strong man, but my strength had failed. I was actually quite selfish in this. At the back of my mind, when I felt the pain of losing my child, I would think, ‘Why me, why me?’
I had always been employed in factories and construction work and loved going to the gym. For a time, I was a doorman or ‘bouncer’ at various venues. At first, I relished the atmosphere created by being in nightclubs and pubs. Then I got a job on the railway, which I enjoyed, and eventually had the opportunity of an office job, which involved working shifts and having days off work.
Through history to the Bible
I began to fill my time off with reading local and family history and, through this, I felt drawn to the period of history which included the Reformation and how this affected our nation.
I began to read the Bible. I was drawn to God’s Word and would wait for my wife to go out to work and then I’d open up the Bible. Hours would go by which only seemed like minutes.
Then, in the area of Bingham Park, in Sheffield, I heard a preacher speak in a way that was real of salvation through Jesus Christ’s death at Calvary. I could not grasp all that was done at Calvary until a godly man, through a phone call, explained to me the meaning of Christ’s cross.
It was then that I felt my need. I went to my bedroom and asked the Lord for forgiveness. I shed tears and the assurance of his forgiveness filled me.
Why me? The impression that people have left on my life cannot compare with the love from God felt in my heart. From that moment on, I felt the need to ‘Go tell!’ and share this great news of the love of God with others.
I also felt the need to thank God in worship. I was hungry to hear his Word. Where could I go? I did visit a few places, but was drawn especially to an evangelical church, because everything there seemed to be about Christ — centred with a love for the preaching and expounding of God’s Word, the Bible.
There was also love shown in the church to all who came within its doors. I brought my mother, who was in a wheelchair, and she commented about the atmosphere of love in the church. Why am I here? To glorify God in every facet of life, at home, at work and at church.