I was born in Coventry, England in 1957 into a Catholic family. My mother took me to mass every week, which I hated! I left school at fifteen and began working in the hotel trade. Then at sixteen I joined the merchant navy seeing many parts of the world, but at the same time drinking, drug taking and going with women.
It was about this time that somebody gave me a gospel tract called “Holy Joe” and it’s the first time I had a realisation of God, or any knowledge of God, and it had an impact on me at that time, but there was no conversion on my part!
In 1975 I came to live in Northern Ireland because my parents were now living there. It was the height of the troubles and did not do my nerves any favours. A local bar 200 yards away was blown up killing three people, and the night before I had been drinking and playing pool in the same bar, God spared me.
By 1979 I decided to return to England and stay with relatives I had in Manchester, working in various jobs etc. By this time I met Stephanie and we were married within the year, my son died at birth but we went on to have two girls, Fay and Eve. At the time of his death Stephanie wanted to kill herself but we got over it, you have to really.
In 1981 I got a job in social services working with the mentally ill and mentally handicapped. It was rewarding work but at times very stressful. One day I started looking through an old “Good News” Bible we had in the house, and happened to look in Leviticus (the third book of the Old Testament). I noticed that eating pork displeased God, and promptly decided to stop eating all pork products including bacon and ham etc. I would then go to the pub in the evening and get drunk with my mates, having no understanding of scriptures whatsoever or my incredible hypocrisy. This is how crazy it can get if you try to come close to God on your own terms and with an unrepentant heart.
A few years later Stephanie and I split up due to my adultery. I moved into a flat on my own and as the months moved on, work became very stressful and my health began to suffer and I was diagnosed with M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) So by 1991 social services pensioned me off and I decided to return to Northern Ireland. Although my illness improved slightly, I never really recovered.
In mid 1996 a routine cholesterol test showed up very high levels, this scared me into some weight training at a gymnasium, and after three days working out I knew something was wrong and I felt very strange. So I immediately stopped, and exactly thirty days later on November first 1996 I collapsed in a heap of weakness, and was virtually bedbound for the next two years. I even had to drink through a straw as I was that fatigued I couldn’t lift a cup.
It felt like the end of the world to me, two years of feeling so ill. I decided I would give it six more months to recover or kill myself. My two girls kept entering into my head and I thought, “How could I do this to them?’ What I didn’t know was that the Lord God was in total control of events and was about to save me.
In mid 1998 I started looking through a small New Testament that found its way into my hands. This time I wanted to know the Lord, the truth and the reason for everything. A couple of weeks later I asked God to save me and asked Christ to be my Lord and Savior. My heart was just broken before Him. Psalm 34:18. So many of us have to be brought to our knees in this life. Some curse God for this while others thank Him for showing them the error of their ways.
A word of caution here, if you have been hearing the Gospel preached or given tracts over the last few days, weeks, or even years, please repent now as you are not guaranteed tomorrow!
Anyway, some weeks later I thought, ‘Where in the world am I going to find a group of people (The Church) that has the Bible as final authority?’ Well, The Lord took me to the States via the internet, to Pastor David Cloud’s website which had a list of Bible believing Churches in various places. The nearest to me seemed to be Bray Hill Baptist Church in Belfast. So my mother and I travelled to Belfast and the Pastor and his wife invited us to lunch. He then told me there was a sound Church in Dundalk, Co Louth, only ten miles from my home.
The lord will always come through for you when you keep trusting Him. Psalm 18:30
The lord has blessed me greatly in the last year (2003). I made a vow before God that even if my health improved only slightly I would deliver Gospel tracts to the Catholic people of South Armagh. This has come to pass, and at least twice a week I’m able to deliver the truth to many homes. What an awesome God we have! And we owe it all to Jesus Christ who took our sins on Himself and brought us back to God! Amen.