A bit of family background! I was born in 1989, in Swansea, and was brought up in a non-Christian family. My parents did go to Sunday School as children, but that was because they were forced to and opted not to go again when they had the decision. I also have a brother who was in exactly the same spiritual position as me – dead!
I went to my primary school as a kid (like every other kid in the UK). There was one particular day I remember hearing about Christianity. I don’t remember much about the talk, but I remember the scene because I was wearing a Fireman Sam outfit then. Nothing really spiritually significant happened from then on until the age of 8. As a normal child, I was in my kitchen waiting for dinner when there was a knock on the door. It was my next-door neighbour. He, as well as his family, were Christians but both of our families got on so well together. Anyway, back to the story.
He had come over to see if my brother and I wanted to go to their church for a children’s meeting. He told me that there would be Bible stories, songs, praying, games, food… The latter two sealed the deal for me. My parents were willing for us to go, so off we went. I remember going to the church and feel as if I had gone back in time. The church is a Baptist church, so you can guess how old it is (it was built in the 1800s by the way). The meeting went well, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So I went again the week after. I don’t actually remember much about the Bible stories, but I do remember the singing, which I still sing to this day.
As I had turned from primary school into secondary school, I was moved from the children’s Friday Club (so called because it was on a Friday) to the YPF (Young People’s Fellowship). This was one of two turning points in my life. Since I was older, wiser and more mature, the stories and talks were much more hard-hitting, serious and challenging than what it was in the Friday Club. But I was still disappointed because when I joined YPF, I promised myself that I will find God. But it hadn’t happened. However, there was a lifeline.
If you, the readers, hadn’t heard, in the UK, there is a summer camp known as the EMW Camps. It is placed all over Wales, except for one which is just outside the border (i.e. in England). Each camp was either outdoor camping or indoor camping. I had heard this from one of leaders of YPF.
He has always gone on these camps, whether as a camper or as a leader. I was so intrigued by what camp would offer me, so I took a camping form and opted to go to an outdoor camp in Dyffryn Ardudwy, along with 2 other members of my youth group. It was an outdoor camp, and I was really looking forward to it.
We arrived in Dyffryn Ardudwy, which is in North Wales, after a 5 hour bus journey. My first impression was “Wow!”. It was in a field which had mountains on one side, fields on the other sides and a beach which was 5 minutes away. It was a beautiful place. I hoped that my week would be just as good. During the week, we went to the mountains for a 5 mile trek, went into the local town centre for a browse and went to the beach in the night.
However, more importantly, we had tent Bible studies where we studied with the other members of our tents as well as our tent leader. We also had a meeting where we read the Bible, sang songs and also prayed. Many people were affected, and I think a few people gave their lives to God, but unfortunately, I hadn’t met Him. I went home, looking forward to meeting my dear family, but disappointed that my life hadn’t changed. But I didn’t give up hope, and decided to go on another camp next year, but in a new location.
It was the time of year for camps again, so I opted to go to Quinta, with my brother. This is the camp that is in England, but is very close to the border (literally a 2 minute drive). It was an indoor camp and, I was told, the best Christian camp possible. I was not mistaken. This camp had everything I could ask for. An all weather court, large fields and woodlands, a hall and an outdoor swimming pool. But was God there? That is what I was waiting for.
This week was the greatest one I have lived. We had a five-a-side football tournament, played Capture The Flag in the woods, played Leg Wrestling (which I was officially champion) and went to Drayton Manor (one of the greatest theme parks in the UK). As with Dyffryn Ardudwy, I had dorm Bible studies, and we also had meetings. I loved this week up until the last night. We had a meeting like no others.
Like the previous meetings, the meeting began with the funny parts. As soon that had finished, we would normally have a Bible study with the Chaplain of the week. However, on this night, people were able to give their testimonies. These testimonies must have been out against me, because I was touched and challenged by what was said. It proved to me that no matter the background of your life is, if you are willing to give your life to God and admit that you are a sinner, then God will let you into His Kingdom.
Just as I thought that was that, they played a song that summed up the night. It has since become my favourite song and the Psalm behind it has become my favourite Psalm. The song is called “When I Was Lost” by Kate Simmonds. As soon as the song started, I could feel the room get smaller and the room lit up. I could sense that God was there and that He wanted to speak to me. Everyone was pouring out their souls and were worshipping and rejoicing in His Name. I was singing the song, but I remember that I didn’t have any feelings behind it. When the song finished, everyone sat back down and prayed. I could see that everyone was affected by this night. I went to bed at midnight so that I could get an early night. The Chaplain came into my room and had a chat with me. He asked how I enjoyed the week (these words aren’t the exact words, but it is similar).
Chaplain – How have you enjoyed this week?
Me – Really enjoyed it. Best week of my life. I could sense that God was here tonight.
Chaplain – Well, I hope that you will accept Him as your personal Saviour. Good night and God Bless
Me – Good night.
I woke up the next morning, looking forward to meeting my parents again. I was anticipating for the bus journey home. After a lot of goodbyes to mates that I had made that week (but had sadly lost all the contacts to), I stepped foot on the bus. When I was on the bus, I had a sudden, over-whelming feeling of guilt. I may as well note now, the night before, I had prayed to God to show me if I needed Him.
On the bus, I was thinking of what I had done to feel so guilty. The only thing that I could think of was slide tackling a girl while playing rounders in the week. I didn’t intend to do it, I accidentally caught the girl (and most of the earth) and took them with me. I had apologised which she accepted. I felt guilty but not enough for the feeling I had at the moment on the bus. I tried to get rid of the feeling by positive thinking, like scoring the winning goal for Swansea City in a cup final.
That didn’t work!
Then the coin dropped in my head. I had just been on a Christian week, looking for God. Is this God telling me that He is forgiving of my sins or was it just my mind. Needless to say, God then came into my life and from the 5th August 2004 (day I was converted), we had a good relationship!!!
My brother later told me that he had met God on that week and had since given his life to God.
God also answered one of my prayers. I had prayed for about 2 months prior to my conversion that my parents would be saved as well. My mum started to go to a church with a friend, and eventually got my dad to go as well. My mother gave her life to God around the same time as me, whereas my dad gave his a couple of weeks after my mum’s conversion. So you can see that God does listen!
We went back to my church and told our pastor who had the biggest smile on his face when we told him. Since the conversion, I had stopped my blasphemies to God, and has now respected people more. I became involved with the church’s Easter Holiday Bible Club, went to Beach Missions in North Wales and also on another Christian Camp, this time in the Gower (in Swansea) and for one weekend in June each year.
On 26th or 27th November 2006, myself and three other members of the church congregation became baptised. It was great to tell people my story, and to tell the people how God was, is and always will be great.
In preparation of my testimony at my baptism, I was given a tip to give an advise to Christians and Non-Christians. So here they are!
Christians – Be proud in what you believe in. If people want to cut you down, let them. You have God on your side and He will never leave you. God gives us strength and through Him, all things are possible.
Non-Christians – Never give up looking for God! It may take 1 hour, a day, a month or a year. No matter how long it takes, it will be worth it, I promise you! If you are reading this and think that God still doesn’t exist, then read this bit.
In an Religious Studies lesson in secondary school, we were studying about a Christian in the 1300s (?) who made up a theory about Creation. He asked a group of people (think they were scientists) how the world was created. They replied atoms smashing into each other. He replied, “How did they get here?” in which they gave another answer. He kept asking “How did they get here?” until they gave an answer “We don’t know” or “It just was there.” When he had heard this, he said “They weren’t there by accident, God put it there.”
After reading this, I realised that God did make the World and all thing in it and surrounding it. Something doesn’t appear there because of accident. You don’t expect MP3 players to grow on trees, they are built in a factory. You get what I mean? If not, please leave me a comment so I may be of some help.
Thank you very much for reading this and hope God will be with now, and always.