On January 12th, we welcomed two members into the church at the Confirmation service with Bishop Michael (Lichfield). Diane and Lisa have been kind enough to write down their testimonies and these are reproduced here.
Life has been difficult for me since the day I was born and I have made many, many, wrong choices. And mistakes, but I have always been aware of God’s existence and that of His precious son Jesus. The world and everything in it were obviously created including humans. I was brought up in Devon and attended the local Baptist Chapel and Sunday school. I have looked at different religions and studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses for a while. I have been praying and reading the Bible alone for years. My brother, who is a Free Church Minister, urged me to find a church to get some fellowship. Christ Church Christians have been both welcoming and friendly. I feel that I have finally found my place for worship and I wish to be baptised and confirmed as part of my ongoing spiritual journey. I fully understand that the forgiveness of sins is an undeserved gift from God through the death and resurrection of His perfect Son Jesus Christ who died for me and I look forward to Jesus Christ’s return in glory and the hope of everlasting life.
As a young teenager, I was lucky to have my best friend – a devout Christian – and her parents introduce me to Pathfinders. Something I attended quite frequently and was involved with until my college days, where sadly that change in direction, as well as my best friend moving away found me attending Church and Pathfinders less and less – have to say though my beliefs never changed and always remained strong.
Jump ahead many years later to 2018 – I am now married to a wonderful man and between us we have a beautiful daughter – that day, for me an amazing thing happened. A close friend, whom I had met through my daughter’s primary school moved here to Stone – my lovely friend Claire. Visiting her new home in September 18, over a catch up and coffee, my life changed. From that day forward I was to restart my journey back into faith, following the Lord – the bonus was, along with Claire. That day it became apparent that Claire was also a Christian.
It was apparent to us that we had both had had a fairly turbulent and rocky year – a year I myself spent looking closer at ‘me’ as a person – assessing life in general – friendships especially. I’d been suffering with some anxiety and a born worrier didn’t help! I was feeling my life was on a rollercoaster journey. Claire was feeling very much the same and amazingly it came up in conversation that we were both Christians and both yearned to go back to Church. After an hour of chatting over coffee we both agreed that we felt we were ready to work on our faith, return to Church and rekindle our connection with the Lord – this was a calling from God, he brought us together that day and gave us some of the peace we were yearning for. That was the day we hugged, cried and chose Christ Church as our new Christian home – a place of peace and love to start our new journey to become closer to God.
That day I will be forever grateful for – we have certainly not looked back since – have become the closest of friends and are now building on our friendships with our new home here at Christ Church – we even took ourselves out of comfort zones by hosting one of the Advent windows back in December – our found strength all came from God that day, we couldn’t have done it without him.
All these changes made me realise how amazing God is. He sent his only son to die for us that we may all be forgiven – and forgive us all he sure does. For all the times over these past years I chose to step back in the shadows, always believing but avoiding – the Lord always stood by me – he never let me down. He never walked away from me. Was forever there, watching, waiting – waiting for me to step back into his light – ready for me to feel his peace, his presence- to reconcile with him. I stepped away, he never did…
This is now my time to step back into his light, I believe he sent me that message through Claire. The person who at my times of deep worry or anxiousness reminds me to turn those negatives into prayer and faith.
I am very thankful to the Lord for bringing Claire and myself together – she is one of the truest of friends – someone I can chat to about anything – someone with such a kind heart, a warm and loving person – but best of all a fellow Christian whom we can talk about all things Christian and Godly. Together we take this journey – a journey that I pray will help us both to grow and establish and strengthen our faith in the Lord. For me to be confirmed is such a special milestone to reach, in this my 50th year – a step onwards and upwards, I pray the Lord will guide me and bring me closer to him.
I am so lucky to have made new friends here at Christ Church – friends whom for me have become my Church family I want to thank them all for making us feel so welcome from day one. And very grateful to Paul for helping me to reach this day, the day I confirm my Christian beliefs to our most gracious Lord.