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Testimony - Peter

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Picture of Peter
 

I was 15, standing in assembly at the Magnus Grammar School at Newark, when my pal whispered in my ear, “Pete, Betty N. wants to go out with you.” And that was the beginning of my Christian journey! I pretty soon found out that Betty attended the London Road Congregational Church in Newark, so I started walking my dog that way just in time for the Sunday service to end — and happened to bump into her for a chat. She was a very attractive young lady! Soon afterwards, I was leaving my dog behind and joining her in church, where I eventually became a full member and “received the right hand of fellowship”. They were great times; a youth fellowship on Fridays, a drama group, tennis — oh, and Sunday worship — which I enjoyed — but can’t honestly remember much about.

But then one Sunday, two years later, we had a visiting American evangelist preacher. For the first time, I heard the message that Jesus Christ had died on the cross in order that we could have forgiveness for all the ways we had messed up in our lives. All I needed to do was face up to my need for forgiveness, thank Jesus that He had died for me and accept Him as my Saviour — and this I did. That great verse from John’s Gospel, chapter 3, verse 16 became truly meaningful, For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

That was a turning point in my life. Before, I had enjoyed the services for the worship, friendship and social life, but it hadn’t fundamentally changed anything. After that decision there were, I’m sorry to say, still lots of things in my life that were wrong and needed forgiving, but the direction of my life changed. I knew that my past sins were forgiven and that the Holy Spirit working within me would help me to live the Christian life. I knew that I wanted to serve God and my fellow men and women. So I set about learning about my new faith with Bible study and prayer. I even thought about going into the ministry, but that was mere vanity.

Instead, I went into the RAF for my two years’ National Service, where my faith grew as I lived all my spare time with the Methodist community in Mundesley on Sea, near my RAF Station. Then I went off to Teacher’s Training College for two years to study divinity and become an RE teacher, where my heart was. Thus I came to Nottingham and taught RE at Player Secondary Boy’s School. All went well until I fell in love and got married.

Then came the lean years — years of buying and making a home, raising a family and forging a career — and my faith and worship went on the back burner. After 23 years, my marriage ended in divorce, not acrimonious but deeply saddening.

But God had not finished with me! Two years later, married to Elaine, I came to live in Gotham, a small village in South Notts. We quickly joined the local Anglican church, where we were taken into the hearts of the congregation, and befriended by really caring Christians. Soon we became regular worshippers, took over the Pathfinder Youth Group, joined the Parochial Church Council and really devoted our time to every aspect of church life. My faith was rekindled. Through regular worship, prayer, Bible study and the support of loving Christians, I grew close to my God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Now, I feel His influence in my life every day and it gives me a deep sense of joy and peace.

Of course, it hasn’t made me perfect and every morning I need to begin by saying sorry to God for my past mistakes and accepting His loving forgiveness, then praying that in the new day, I can, with His grace serve Him. I am very fortunate in having a wife, Elaine, who is also a committed Christian, so we travel together through the adventure that is the Christian life. For me, it is a deeply rewarding adventure, still with the same purpose that I found all those years ago in Newark, of seeking to love and serve God and my fellow men and women, and to grow closer to the Lord Jesus. I highly recommend it to you!