Marital status: Married to Pauline
Occupation: Groundsman for Vertas
Last Holiday: Caravanning
What Car Do You Drive: Ford Ranger
Which bit of technology would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island: Mobile phone
What was your first car: 1977 Ford Escort Mk 2 Ghia 1.6
Favourite Book: The Bible
I hope this gives you some background to the work
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; I Corinthians 1:27
Well I think this sums me up, with not really a qualification to my name, and a sheltered upbringing, God had given me a vast task, so every so often I would think about Moses when he told God he didn’t feel up to the assignment that he had been given.I was born on 6th July 1968 and I have two sisters and one brother. My parents married in 1965 my older sister Jane was born 1966, my younger brother Mark in 1970 and my younger sister Ruth in 1976. We were brought up in a little village called Athelington in Suffolk, England. The first 10 years of my life was very much a countryside upbringing. We all went to a small primary school in Wilby, the next village to us. It was really my mum driving us to primary-school that I learnt to drive. I was very much fascinated by watching her, and how she made the car move about by turning the Steering wheel, moving the gear lever and pressing the different pedals. Driving began as soon as I could reach the pedals. Without my parents knowing, I would drive the car backwards and forwards in their driveway with my brother sitting beside me. Mark and I were members of the Boy Scout’s that was really the only time we ventured out. Normally once a year with the Scouts we would visit different parts of East Anglia. (Mum also encouraged us to learn to play the piano having lessons for three years.) The first encounter of hearing about God was around the age of seven. A gentleman at the local agricultural show in Suffolk whom my mother knew (her previous employer) introduced himself and asked how we all were. In the next breath he started talking about the Bible and how Noah was able to keep all the animals on the Ark. This I found very unusual why anybody should be interested about that old book, the Bible, and what it has to say. His name was Mr Ted Rose. God again would use this man for another brief encounter later on in my life.
In 1978 we moved to Horham, a move of one mile. Well, weren’t we real global trotters! The new property was a small farm, with livestock (pigs) and two acres of arable land where we would grow potatoes and wheat. One of the neighbours was a Farmer, Tom Havers who was a good Christian man, I knew that he went to church each Sunday and did not swear, and had a care and kindness about him. He was the first person to give me the opportunity to actually drive. On this particular day he asked me if I could drive. I was about 12 years old at the time and with tongue-in-cheek I answered “yes”. He asked if I could move his vehicle off the field. I jumped at the chance I can remember how thrilled I was.Mark and I would help out my father on the farm in the evenings and weekends. We lived to what I would term as a sheltered life. I say this but not with any regret or sadness because we had a very happy childhood.It was really when I got to high school I found there were so many intellectual people this was when I really lost interest in school. There were people with stylish clothes,superb intellect and were attractive. I was none of these. The impression given to me from different people was that I might be unemployed at the end of my school life. I would term myself as one of the dim and weak. As a family we had very little money. Seeing my school friends with money made me rebel and this caused me to start stealing from my parents and others. I was caught and soon reprimanded. All I kept wishing for was that one day I could be like my school friends. In the evenings and weekends all my interests and thoughts were to one day be able to work on a farm. If you asked my school friends now, to which individual would you think may possibly be involved in motorsport? Who would have such abilities? Who would you consider to do such a thing? I would be one of the last people to ever be thought of. Mark and I fooled around with mopeds or anything with an engine. I even recall Mark and I setting fire to my parents car (this was accidental and only a small electrical fire, “trust me”!). With more interest in motor vehicles, repairing, riding, driving (and setting fire to!) than in school work, as Mark would say “Paul would bend them I would mend them”. Each year there was a summer Holiday Bible club held in the village, and where it would be taught how the Lord Jesus Christ had come to save. As children we attended this, also on Sundays as a family we occasionally would go to church. This was only because our parents encouraged/forced us. I can always remember when living at home with my parents how at night if I ventured into my parents’ bedroom, my dad on his own would be knelt by his bed with his hands together, praying. This had an effect on my life.
My next encounter believe it or not was six years later at the age of 13. One winter night I heard a knock at the door. I opened it and there was Mr Ted Rose once again. He came to ask how my parents were. I told him my parents were out for the evening and he replied that he would call again another day. Just as he was turning away he turned back and asked me, “do you read the Bible?” Well of course I didn’t want him to think that I was such a bad person so with a quick reply I told him “yes” but in reality I was lying. I remember being given a Bible and how I tried to read it but couldn’t understand. In the last year at school all I had been looking forward to was leaving. With the help of my parents I found work in a small village called Occold, which was four miles away. This was on a arable/livestock farm. Some of the men that I worked with had children around my age and they encouraged me to go to the local Baptist church youth club. I made friends plus always had an enjoyable time but I felt when it came to the epilogue that this was not for me. The God of the Bible and Jesus was mentioned, and that he had come to save those that were lost. That’s all I can really remember. I had too much that I wanted to do with my life to be limited with masses of do‟s and don’ts.As I approached my 17th birthday I got rather tired of going to the youth club. One Sunday afternoon a Jehovah Witness came to the house. I answered the door and there was an attractive young lady (at this point my hormones took over as they do at this age! well that‟s my excuse) and I listened to what she had to say. I took interest, bought a book and started to read. Creation was mentioned and this started me thinking maybe there really was a God, maybe there is a purpose for life and a reason for living. I had been working for a year on the farm (earning £25 a week and you have to remember I’d never had so much money. I thought I was a millionaire) with a day release at college. I had an enjoyable time. I even went to Wales which is, the other side of the country with my college friends for a week. This was the furthest I had ever adventured out. What an experience, but college life was now coming to an end. Approximately at this point I met my wife to be Pauline. Her father was foreman at the farm so I had to be on my best behaviour at all times especially when taking her out. I started saving and planned to start driving lessons. At 17 I passed first time and straight away wanted to buy a car. The problem is when you have got the means to get about, you forget God and feel more in control. You can go places and no one dictates to you where you can and cannot go and you’re not bound by parents so much. This gave me great freedom, something I had never had. My older sister was in London and training to be a midwife. While there, she came under the sound of the Gospel and became a Christian. She started talking to me and Mark at weekends when she came home, and it was not long after this Mark started to attend the youth club at Occold and a short time after this, he was converted. Seeing such achange in Mark started to make me think. I can remember Mark and Jane asking me did I believe in God, and I replied by swearing back and telling them “that of course I *** believed in God” and was offended and thought, who do they think they are, so superior to me.
But God was not going to let me go that easily. For some unknown reason I started to attend the youth club again and when it came to the epilogue issues concerning God,Jesus and the Bible, I started listening more carefully. I also started attending the Sunday afternoon and evening services where all they seemed to speak about was sin. This offended me, and realised that sin was something that I needed to be saved from, so I still kept attending. At work I started to pray, telling God that if he’d do different things for me I would be a good person and give my life to him. Conversion is a very wonderful yet strange event. It didn’t seem that I could barter with God, that everything for my salvation had been done through Jesus Christ and that no matter how much ‘good’ I promised God, I realised that nothing I could do or had done, would make me right with God. That was the reason why Jesus came to die on the cross and take away my sin. So one night in April 1987, just before going to sleep, a friend of my sister was staying over. His name was Ian. He was from Barbados, he was training at the same hospital as Jane. Mark, Ian and I had all been chatting about God. Being in the same bedroom we spoke till the early hours of the next morning. I was struggling at this point thinking that God would not accept me for all the wrong I had done in the past, but Ian calmly said “don’t worry” and then fell asleep, and that night I confessed my sin all my lying, stealing and all other immoral things I had done. I know that Jesus came to save me from hell and I had to turn from my old ways to his ways and I gave my life to the Lord. Knowing that the way ahead might not be easy, I knew Jesus would be with me. Matthew 28 v 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” Amen The next morning when I woke up life had a completely different aspect. I cannot describe what had happened, but I know this, that I had a reason for living. Answers to some deep questions disappeared, why was I me, and what was the purpose for life, I had an existence before, but now life and to the full. Jesus said “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly”. John 10:10. I realised what ever happened in future days, I knew God would take care of me. The weight my sin had been lifted. I remember a friend at work commented that I was always smiling. I tried to explain to him what had happened. Even other friends said to me, we will they would see how long this lasts, “ It’s just another phase you’re going through”.
Now over 26 years later it’s been a long phase! Praise the Lord.