personal stories

Susanna

Susanna grew up in a Christian home, believing in God. But her faith was severely challenged when she, as a budding teenage dancer, had to undergo surgery that risked leaving her paralysed. Read how her trust in God was forced to grow, here.

Jackie

Outwardly successful and happy, Jackie was yet hiding her inner sadness and despair behind a mask. An uncertain prayer to an uncertain God led to a wonderful liberation. Read how, here.

Geoff

Over 54 years ago Geoff experienced the dramatic removal of guilt that was to change his life for ever. Read how he discovered lasting peace, here.

Dorothy

Dorothy was religious, but blind to her spiritual pride and deadness. Through the persevering influence of her daughter, finally dry religion gave way to living relationship with a loving God. Dorothy describes her story as 'Two loves that would not let me go'. Read more, here.

Susanna's story

Having grown up in a Christian home and attended Church since I was born, I don’t remember a time when I did not believe in God. I definitely had a good understanding of the fundamental core of Christianity: that I was a sinner, that I was loved and that there was forgiveness and salvation in Jesus’ death and resurrection. But as I was aware from the age of 8, I didn’t know if I was necessarily a Christian, seeing as I knew the information but the way I lived my life wasn’t much changed by it. I was greatly challenged in later years, by taking part in evangelism that took me out of my comfort zone. Two years ago, in terms of my own spiritual position at this time, I had confessed my sins to the Lord and repented of them multiple times and, I suppose, expected to see or feel a dramatic change; a few times I plucked up the courage to share my thoughts with Mum and would leave the conversation thinking ‘this was it’ from now on I am going to ‘live a different life’. However, the next day I would feel embarrassed to bring up what happened the night before, finding being so vulnerable and open about my personal thoughts really awkward and so my life would continue in the same way until the next ‘moment’.

Unfortunately for me at the time, my next ‘moment’ didn’t take such a regular form; in 2013 I was told that I had a scoliosis, which is curvature of the spine, and that much to my protestations would need to undergo the major surgical procedure of having my spine straightened. Having been told the operation would take place at the beginning of September 2014, and the beginning of year 11, I was really bewildered as to why God would let this happen, particularly considering the fact that I took Dance GCSE and would need to choreograph and perform various routines. When praying and asking for healing I would almost try and convince God of the advantage for him in preventing me from going through the surgery: if I was miraculously healed it would be such a witness to all the doctors and family and friends who were involved, but of course it would also be a massive benefit to me in that I wouldn’t have to go through with it. But as the time came nearer, I found myself with no choice but to completely rely on the sovereignty of God in this situation. Of course, I had to listen to the dangers of such major surgery in that I could be paralysed, but I reminded myself that God moved the hand of the surgeon and whatever the outcome it would be a part of his perfect plan. I thought of Joni Eareckson, who became paralysed by a diving accident at the age of 17 but went on to use this disaster as a means of outreach; this was clearly God’s plan for her life; far more fulfilling than had she lived a life of worldly distraction without him. In my human weakness and inability to control what would happen to me, I offered myself up to him, that I had no idea what my life would become, but he did. Mum had asked so many people to pray for the morning of the operation that heading into the theatre. I don’t remember feeling much fear at all, and it must have been confidence in my Saviour. I am grateful that the surgery had no complications and I made a quick recovery.

Throughout my life my Dad has suffered with schizo-effective disorder, giving him depression, irrational thoughts and mood swings. I don’t remember what I thought of this when I was younger, whether I wasn’t aware of it, or perhaps he was not as ill as he is now. As I grew older and learnt more about the effects and causes of his suffering, I did find myself questioning why God had allowed him to have this illness. It wasn’t so much that he was ill as I have been granted the understanding that through God’s mercy it is often in the darker times of life that we are forced to draw closer to him in a way that we probably wouldn’t if everything was fine. It was more the fact that at times it seems like Dad’s illness prevents him from drawing closer to God: he can’t attend church, pray or read his Bible without being crippled with depression. I still can’t say I understand why he has this, but as I contemplate the situation more, I think, why do I expect to know the purpose in God’s plans? The truth is that all things come together for the good of those who love Jesus. It’s a promise, and there is great reward for those who can put their trust in God even when they don’t understand his ways.

Ever since I started coming to Truro Evangelical Church in March 2015, I have felt such a part of the Church family and learned what it really means to BE a united fellowship. Nick, the pastor, has faithfully applied the Bible Christian living, and I have been really blessed by his teaching. But even as people around me were being baptised between then and now, I found it difficult to even contemplate talking to anyone about being baptised, everything within me challenged putting myself in such a vulnerable position. However, here I am today being open because I have reached this point where I don’t want to live in any other way. In recent months, I feel like I have had my eyes opened to the shallowness of our world, where body image, drink, drugs, sex and materialism promise fulfilment but cannot satisfy; although I am not immune to the distractions of this world, with the help of the Holy Spirit I am more and more able to stop and re-evaluate situations to meditate on the cross and what it meant for Jesus to make the ultimate sacrifice. When God is not at the centre we will forever be questioning, there must be more than this? So I have decided to take this public step of obedience because deep down I know I can do nothing but depend on God in his goodness, and that is what I intend to do as I leave all familiarity behind for a new phase of life at university. The Lord and his Word is the only consistency in a world that is constantly changing, and it is here that I base my assurance.

 
Jackie's story

Many years ago I found myself in a hopeless, helpless state. A place in my mind where nothing made sense, I had become extremely cynical and could see no point in anything. The world seemed to be a place of suffering. Happiness had become an elusive state of mind that didn’t last and I didn’t expect it to; it never had and couldn’t be trusted.

 

I had my own business, I travelled, I had friends, and my life outwardly was that I was ‘doing okay’ but inwardly I had arrived at a place where peace didn’t seem to exist. To my friends and family my face was false; a mask that I hid behind. I would laugh and smile and joke around; I was very good at this deception.

 

We can all have things in our lives that damage us and I am part of a fallen world, just the same as everyone else. My father, whom I loved, was a chronic alcoholic; and I carried that shame. I don’t want to bore you with my life story, but I do want to tell you about the love and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Not only does he save us from ourselves, but his blood, shed for us on Cavalry’s tree, saves us from the penalty of eternal death.

 

How I arrived at the place where my heavenly Father plucked me from the mire and stood me in the sunshine of his grace, is another story (I may be able to share it another time when I fully figure it out for myself); but arrive I did. I believe the enemy did try and stop me though. A letter that was sent, one that would have stopped me being in the place where I was supposed to be, never arrived (that was a postal error that I can be thankful for!). My mind was so distorted and tormented by this time, that I was looking for a way out. I wanted oblivion and played with the idea that a bottle of sleeping pills may give me the peace I longed for; but even that road held no escape. How could I bring such devastation on my family. I was trapped; no way out. Little did I know then that my idea of a way out would have held no peace; and little did I know then, what awaited God’s perfect timing in my life.

 

That perfect timing came one cold, snowy morning, before the house, where I was staying at the time, stirred. Halfway across the world in Vancouver BC I got down on my knees and asked a God I didn’t even know existed, to prove himself to me because I was desperate.

 

This bit is hard to write, even now, after thirty five years or so of my life. The memory of first meeting that divine love, a love that transcends time, a love that entered my soul so deeply, a love that knew the number of hairs I have on my head, moves me to tears.

 

I offered this God I was talking to nothing, other than a hope that maybe, just maybe, he was there and could hear my cry. Amazingly, he proved to me over and over again that he was there, until I was bursting at the seams with this truth. I could have flown back home without the aid of the plane! Amazing Grace could have been written for me – I once was lost but now was found; was blind but now could see! My spiritual eyes had been opened; I believed because he had shown me that he loved me. I was found because he loved me. He then showed me I needed to repent of my sins, that I was saved by his grace alone (we are all sinners in a fallen world) and what his death on the cross and his shed blood meant to mankind.

I am still the same imperfect person that I always was, but I am saved, changed, and washed clean – covered by the blood of the Lamb – God’s only Son.

 
Geoff's story

I was born in Sticker, and my earliest memories are of attending the local Methodist chapel and Sunday school. When I was 15 I saw a film on the crucifixion at the cinema, and was challenged by an evangelist afterwards. Then, when I was 17, I left school and got a job in local government. At this point I began to pray, and considered I was a Christian because of my religious observances and reasonably upright life. But I realise now that I had been mistaken.

 

About two years later I was invited to a mission meeting at Nanpean where I heard someone speak about how they had been converted and come to personal faith in Christ. I also heard gospel preaching, that we were all sinners and needed God’s salvation, and was challenged by this. I went regularly to these meetings, which were later held at Fraddon. People were being converted through these meetings. I thought I already was a Christian, and didn't need converting. But through much preaching I was caused to consider my real standing with God. This went on from November through to February. Another young man was saved on first hearing the gospel, and that challenged me deeply.

 

During one of those meetings I clearly saw my need of God’s pardon as a sinner. I knelt in the aisle at an altar call, called out to God, and was saved. Immediately, I felt my burden of guilt and sin was removed and replaced by the peace of God. Then I truly prayed!

 

I told my family and workmates about what had happened to me. I also met with Christian friends. I even spoke in public about it. For the reserved young man I was, that was amazing! God changed me from living for myself to living for Christ. God’s word and prayer became alive.

 

This event happened over fifty four years ago, but to this day I have proved the faithfulness of God through prayer and His word, as he has been with me, leading me through the many ups and downs of my life ever since.

 
 
Dorothy's story

My mother very sadly died when l was only eleven years old. My uncle and aunt, who already had five children 'took me in'. They were very kind and very poor. After the war I was introduced to a very lovely man who became my husband. The marriage produced two children, a son and a daughter. I recall that the thought of becoming a mother filled me with delight and also fear. What a huge responsibility, could I, could we cope? However, the children did survive! We had the children christened as we thought that was the right thing to do. However, we really had very little knowledge about what it meant to be a Christian. Through their childhood we took the children to church intermittently, but again, with little understanding.

At the age of twelve my daughter was preparing for confirmation along with her school friends. As the classes progressed she became very concerned as she really didn't understand what she was supposed to be committing to. She did not want to proceed any further and was not confirmed. I was disappointed. I offered my help, but it was a case of 'the blind leading the blind'. I really was so confused about Christianity. Had l failed my duty as a parent? I asked myself "Where is God?” There must be a Being, a Force, I thought. One looks at the glorious creation, the order and renewal of all things as the seasons change. A new life as a foetus emerges from it's mother's womb to live independently, as God gives breath. What a miracle, it can't all be chance.


A few years later my daughter was about to leave home. She had recently become a Christian and her priorities had changed. Her thoughts then turned to me: “What about Mum in her confusion.” She was concerned that I should come to understand what it meant truly to be a Christian. I was invited to a weekly Bible study, but I did not want to go. I considered myself a moral, religious person. I thought, "What could this group of people possibly teach me, a mature person". OH, THE SIN OF PRIDE. My daughter tried to explain her conversion to Christ, but l remained very confused. Finally, I ran out of excuses for not attending the Bible study and reluctantly went along to lessen the relentless pressure she was putting on me. I met a group of people gathered in a home specifically to study the Bible and pray to God. These people knew and loved God, they had peace with God, they had been born again, and I wanted this for myself. The new birth is a gift from God given on repentance of sin and faith in the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. I knew that all my striving and church going to find peace with God was not the way. Jesus said, "l am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus also said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). These scriptures spoke to me. My sinful rebellion against God was over. I felt compelled to pray and ask God for His forgiveness, although I still had some doubt whether he would answer my prayer! Praise God he did answer and gradually l knew a growing relationship with him through the work of his Holy Spirit.

There have been highs and lows in my faith over the many years. God has always proved faithful and has kept me. Looking back I can see that he has led me all the way and now at ninety-two years of age l look forward to an eternity in heaven with him. What a prospect, a certainty!
I thank God for his great patience, mercy and grace towards me, a rebellious sinner, now a child of God.



 

Tregolls School

Chellew Road

Truro

Cornwall

TR1 1LH

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