Tim Davenport formerly at Monkton Combe School, now at Beechen Cliff School coaching hockey, says:
My Mum is a Christian and we always went to church when we were younger and I guess I automatically assumed that that made me a Christian. It wasn’t until I started working at a Christian school that I realised it didn’t. I’ve always prayed and I’d never had problems speaking to God but it took a while for me to realise that I was asking lots of God and giving nothing back. I spoke to a Christian friend about this and he explained to me what it meant to be a ‘proper’ Christian. I started attending St. Bart’s with him and one Sunday I was made aware of the Christianity Explored course that was starting.
I decided to go along on my own, which was a big step for me as I’m not the best at meeting new people. Looking back, I would say that God clearly had me in his sights as I felt no form of nerves or apprehension and I really enjoyed the first evening. We had a meal and got to know each other and the course leader, Charlie Ward and I just felt really at ease.
As the course progressed I felt a sense that God was pulling me towards him and everything became so clear for me. On the final night I said a prayer and committed my life to Christ and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Christianity Explored is a great course and I would recommend it to anyone who might be thinking about becoming a Christian. It is a great place to learn about Jesus Christ in an informal, friendly setting.
Alfred Chiang a Bath University student from Hong Kong says:
I did not grow up as a Christian. It was only when I came to Bath that I began to seek God. At the beginning of term, I was stressed with my academic work and life at University and was a bit homesick. After going to the Welcoming Event organised by the Bath Chinese Christian Fellowship, I went to one of their meeting one Saturday as I wanted to find out what Christians do when they face difficulties and about the joy they had as followers of Jesus.
As term went on, I realised I am a sinner but that Jesus died on the cross for me and was raised from death so that my sins can be taken away. His sacrifice not only saved me but also showed me how God loves me as His child, and has given me a new hope and joy. I realised Jesus is my Saviour and the one that I should follow. Near the end of term, I decided to become a Christian and follow Jesus. Now I have seen what God has done and given me, and I just want to glorify him.
Being a Christian has made a huge difference to my life. I can pray to God, to praise him and thank him for what he has done for me. I can pray for my needs, but also I’ve learned how to pray for others – I can really rely on God. When I sin, I confess it to God and because God is faithful and just, I can be forgiven. I want to serve the Lord in a way that pleases him – I decided to serve on the committee of the Chinese Christian fellowship. I want to live according to God’s word and to grow in Him.
My name is Friederike and I am married to Nigel. We are parents to two great lads, James and John.
Several years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and what followed were probably the most challenging months in our lives but also very exciting ones as we were able to see God’s love and care for us very clearly. With the diagnosis our minds went numb, the disbelief set in followed by a sense of devastation. I am young, got two young children (the boys were only six and four then), it doesn’t make sense. There must be a mistake somewhere….
But there wasn’t. We know that as Christians we are not immune to suffering and our faith and trust in God was challenged. We felt like the disciples in the storm on the lake, (Luke 8), a big storm blew in our lives and it was very frightening. But we also know that as Christians we belong to a great God who has promised us to be with us whatever our circumstances, and to take care of us and give us everything we need.
There were other events during those months which really challenged us. On the day of my surgery James fell out of a tree and was quite seriously injured needing to go to the High Dependency unit in Bristol. Then my mother died very suddenly, only a few weeks into the chemotherapy treatment.
Looking at these situations from a human point of view, they were very scary. But like the disciples in the boat we called out to God. Lord, help us. I do remember visualising bringing my burden to the cross and asking the Lord to take care of them because they were just too heavy for me. (Jesus says to us: come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Matthew 11 v 28)
And God stilled the storm. He gave us a peace into our hearts which could not be explained in worldly terms. He looked after us in many ways, providing friends who would visit and care and also providing unexpected financial help. We found that trusting the Lord is something which we have to practise…. It is an act of will. For some the challenges might not be health but relationship issues, work problems or financial challenges. In all these situations God calls us to trust Him.
If we look onto the stormy sea coming towards us we get frightened. But if we look onto the Lord and trust in Him and in His care for us we get the strength to deal with the challenges which are upon us. That was our experience.
Now a few years on I am well, but of course we do not know what the future holds for us. That is probably just as well because we might not like it…
The words of the following hymn have been a great a source of comfort to me (and still are) and have helped me to focus my mind.
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depth of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.