RichardI was brought up a Quaker. There were no sermons, no songs and nothing to hang my life on. I realized that my parents had some sort of belief but it didn’t really impact me. So when I went away to college, neither the Christian gospel nor Christ had any impact on my life. The first week or so involved going along to the clubs and partaking of their beers or wines, but I went to the Christian Union (CU) which offered free food which was OK. They said that if I was a Christian there would be Bible studies and talks and so on, but that if I wasn’t a Christian, but wanted to know more I could sign up for a meeting once a week for a term and see what it was all about. I went for that because I knew nothing and unbelievably wanted to find out more.

Those few weeks changed my life! They talked about the idea whether Christ is dead or alive, what the disciples would have had to make up if Jesus was dead, what a church should be like, comparing other religions to Christianity and so on; I didn’t know why but I had an overpowering feeling that what was said was right, but I didn’t want to believe it so I postponed it for a bit. I got on with life and doing everything I was supposed to do. I didn’t want to become a Christian, but a friend invited me to a Christians in Sport ‘do’ and the speaker said that he thought sports people didn’t become Christians because they were getting along all right on their own etc. He asked several sports captains why they hadn’t become Christians and they said they didn’t know. That was the final nail in the coffin and I gave in to Christ a couple of days later. I remembered the words from “God, the Hound of Heaven” by David Scott, being chased by God, and I believed that to be true in my life and I finally gave up and gave my life to Christ. I was 19 and that was the end of my second year. The CU gave me a Bible and a set of Bible study notes and I read the first set of notes which came from Jeremiah 29 verses 1-13 where God said “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Here was a man without a future, and God said stick with me and you’ll have a future.

During my third year I attended the CU a lot. I wasn’t sure what to do with my life after finishing college and due to a hang-up with being a Chemical Engineer I was fresh out of ideas. Somebody suggested I apply for a spot on Careforce, a Church of England gap year scheme. I did and got a job with a barge down at Tollesbury called Memory. It was a fantastic year with me grounding my faith in real life.

Gradually people started to ask what I was going on to do next, but I just I didn’t know. People kept saying, why don’t you do teaching, to which my answer was, no! Gradually I got the feeling that God might be telling me something and I applied for a PGCE and have lived the life of a teacher ever since. I am just starting my 28th year in teaching, having done nothing else.

I teach science and one of the questions I am astounded by is about God and religion not mixing. Rubbish! My religion says that’s God created the world and my science is a way of explaining how he did that. I not only have the who, but my science gives me the way he did it. Pretty amazing don’t you think!

I’ve always had a sense of God being at my side throughout the good and the bad. I’ve got married, had two children, both of whom don’t believe in God and suffered on stroke which I am still getting through. The future looks uncertain but I know I am secure with God there beside me and I can live my life to the full.

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