The Meaning of Christmas

23 Dec

advent advent wreath burn burnt

Once more the festive season is upon us and it’s time to stop and reflect on the true meaning of #Christmas. It’s not about all the commercial adverts we watch on the television. It’s not about giving material gifts to friends, family and acquaintances. It’s not about all the glimmer, shows, and talk about looking out for your neighbour and the homeless.

Whilst these things like being generous, #compassionate, thoughtful, kind, has a part to play in society and is #biblical, these should not be demonstrated for a season only but for all times. Love is the key to Christmas. It’s all in celebration of God’s gift of love for the whole Human race, in sending His Son Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of the World. Those who dismiss the reason for Christmas should ask themselves what exactly are they celebrating. The song writer Isaac Watts says: Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God but servants of the heavenly King may speak their joys abroad. Sadly for many Christmas is just a time to be merry.

Christmas reminds me of the birth of Jesus Christ, how he came to die for the sins of the world, it reminds me that He is alive and pleads for me in glory. This same baby whose birth is celebrated at Christmas came to offer us hope of #eternallife. He gives peace to those who are troubled, rest to the weary, solace to the distressed and brokenhearted, comfort to those who mourn and healing to those who suffer pain. We do not need to look far to see the downhearted, they can be seen on the streets where we walk, in our homes through the news on the television and on the internet. Nations are fighting among themselves; hostility among the human race is growing; sending caravans of people seeking to find refuge and a safe place from warfare. Thousands of people risk their lives on small boats to escape to somewhere other than where they reside. Others are walking for thousands of miles seeking to find refuge and a safe place from warfare, and destruction. The hope of being able to find peace and security elsewhere is not always viable as most Countries are not willing to accept them and there are those who say no #peace could ever be found among men in this world.

The world in which we live, the nations in which we live is far from being peaceful. There is little peace in the lives of men, women and children everywhere. We hear the term rest in peace when someone dies, and it would seem that people’s perception of finding peace is through death alone. However peace is possible here and now. Scripture tells us turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34: 14) The fact is that Christ Jesus came into the world to offer us his peace as a gift from God, and this peace is freely available for those who will put their trust in him. This peace is not just an absence of strife it is being in harmony with God. We sing joy to the world the Lord has come: let earth receive her King, let every heart prepare Him room. It’s about being #reconciledwithGod so that we might find the very thing we all lack, which is #PEACE, and live the life that God wants us to live.

The prophet Isaiah tells of an age when men will live without fear of war, in fact he speaks of a time of peace and tranquillity when people and vicious animals will live in harmony. He refers to the time when Christ reign over the earth. Scripture say in that day the wolf and the lamb will lie down together, and the leopard and goats will be at peace. Calves and fat cattle will be safe among lions, and a little child shall lead them all. The cows will graze among bears, cubs and calves will lie down together, and lions will eat grass like the cows. Babies will crawl safely among poisonous snakes, and a little child who puts his hand in a nest of deadly adders will pull it out unharmed. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain. (Isaiah 11: 6-9a). What a time that would be when all proclaim Jesus Christ as LORD of ALL.

This Christmas I pray that the WORLD will experience this peace the Apostle Paul describes as ‘The peace that surpasses all understanding’, and celebrate the Christ that is taken out of Christmas.



Hope to the hopeless

12 May



As we approach the end of #MentalHealthWeek we at #WAYSIDE have been sharing some reflection on our work in this field during the early nineties and beyond. As a small #grassrootsorganisation we are proud of our achievements in standing for what we believed in even though this topic caused persecution and great pain at the time. We believed #Godcalledus to care for people suffering the effects of #mentalillness. Through this #intervention we saw the great suffering experienced firsthand by many who were abandoned not only by society but by some friends /relatives as well.

Throughout the years we have #ministered to professional sufferers as well as the ordinary individual and over a period of time we have seen the #impactourlove,  #affection #compassion, and care has made to each person. Accepting people as they are helps to maintain their dignity, #selfconfidence, and #selfworth. It helps them to feel  #included instead of excluded from society enabling many to become #empowered enough to take hold of their lives again. Looking back at the many letters of thanks received we are grateful to God for what we have accomplished over the years.

Today it’s good to know that there are those churches that are now beginning to educate the wider community on #mentalhealthissues. Twenty six years ago when we began this subject was taboo. It was hard to access funding as a Christian organisation and we experienced great hardships.

Wayside has been working to prevent people from entering the mental hospital since 1990 through its caring programme of services to #enhance the quality of life for those suffering from depression and the elderly. Funding is hard to acquire and very time consuming. What can you do to help the situation that is again prevalent in society? #mentalillhealth could happen to anyone, but all do not need to be hospitalised, some only need to know where to turn in times of distress. We cannot perform the work alone, others must pay their part without our presence and other likeminded organisations the situation would become much worst.

We now need the support of the community to fight this illness that is destroying #young people. I challenge you today to #helppreservethiswork.

#Mentalillhealth can happen to anyone and is no respecter of persons, who knows you may need it in the future if not now. Help Wayside to care for those who have lost the strength to care for themselves. Read about the humble beginnings of the Wayside Community Centre Visit:

Behind a frowning Providence

1 Mar


It’s such a wonderful thing to go out in #faith on #God’smission and witness first hand the ways in which he provides for you. Previous to my calling I have read numerous books by #Missionaries of how they did nothing but pray and God provided for all their needs. Naturally this was exactly what I presumed would happen to me so I spent hours praying for help, did nothing in particular to promote the service except through word of mouth, and people came in their numbers.

After realising that God was calling me to care for the #lonely, the #depressed and #isolated it was then that the need for premises  arose. With no idea of how to go about starting an organisation God sent along people who had the skills and knowledge to direct me in the right way to go. After securing Charity status the Organisation was set up and we were on our way.

After experiencing blessings upon blessings our situation then changed dramatically. People got well and moved on, others emigrated to their countries of origin. Funds ceased from coming our way, bills pilled up as our situation worsened with less people in attendance.

According to what I’ve been told this should not be happening  unless I have strayed from God. I Knew that I was #praying, seeking #God’sguidance, and #servinghim as much as I could. I sought God for advice on how to continue meet the needs of those individuals in our care.

Waiting on God can be quite exhausting physically. We prayed and fasted – nothing happened. Every avenue we tried failed. and it seemed that God himself had abandon us. We were waiting on God to answer our  prayers and  remove barriers, obstacles, and mountains so that we could see answers to our prayers.

For us waiting meant crying out for strength to cope in the struggles faced, for the help and support needed to carry out the task  and for financial support. At this time we were left with only six people meeting on a daily basis and not enough funds to pay our way. Yet, in all this struggle I clearly heard God saying: “keep the door open if it’s only one person attending”. I replied: “God that person will be very expensive to keep.”

I never expected to wait on God and in so doing have to experience #suffering, feeling broken, #abandoned, isolated, ashamed, loss and #unloved by God. However amid the feelings of #abandonment and #brokenness I always  knew that God was near and close at hand.

In obedience we decided to organise a jumble sale event. We publicised the event as much as we could even in other areas outside our district. We felt certain that people would turn up, but on the evening to our utter dismay only two people came. I was disappointed and #heartbroken. I could not understand what was happening to us. I felt very much ashamed as I had re-assured everyone that we would raise a substantial amount of funds on the day.

The outcome made me very emotional. I was broken and wept openly before the volunteers that evening. I did not care who was there. As far as I was concerned I was speaking to my heavenly father and if any one wanted to listen in on the conversation that was okay with me. So I wept and poured out my heart to God openly and  unashamedly. I told him of the frustrations, the hardships, the workload, the time and effort it took to organise the event and then failing to make it a success. I told him how disappointed I was and wondered whether he cared or even had compassion for me. I wept so much that at times I gasped for breath and thought I’d suffocate in so doing.

We had tried everything, now we’d come to a dead end. We could do no more, and then in that time of utter #lossness and #hopelessness God turned up. Suddenly I felt his presence as he comforted me. I became overwhelmed in his love as he wrapped me tenderly to his heart. The experience  made me  rejoice as I’ve never done before. I was singing, dancing, and laughing all at one. It was as though God has taken away my pain and #reassuring me of #hispromises and filling me with #joy. I heard him saying:

I do understand. I too feel your pain but all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8: 28)

The overwhelming love that I felt was also poured out on the other sisters who joined me in singing and  rejoicing. All at once we found ourselves going up the stairs to the little Chapel where Thomas was heard playing the keyboard and we all joined in praise and worship to God.

In that moment of frustration I was reassured that all is not lost that God was very present in our situation. That suffering hardships brings us closer to understanding the ways of God. It enables us to trust him in the darkness of our lives and to keep a quiet heart.  It gives us a new concept of who is in charge of all our situations, and that he is able to get us through in his time, and he did so miraculously for us.

The Hymn writer William Cowper wrote: Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace: behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.

We may not always understand why things happen as they do, nevertheless I’ve learnt that nothing can stop God’s constant presence with us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Rom 8: 35,37).

Yes we have gone through much trials and tribulations but my mission has  survived  I  will tell my story truthfully of a loving Father who cares, sustains and provides for his Children. He does so in ways they may not always understand. All we need to do is trust him for his grace and favour. Blessed be his holy name.

Overcoming #emotionalstress to build a #safeplace in the community

19 Feb


Lack of self confidence has been the ruling force in my life for many years. Criticism about the simple way I lived my life helped to suppress my development in confidence and drove the real me into hibernation.

Living my life contrary to my true nature failed to make me feel good about myself. Having a life that is dictated does nothing to make anyone feel secure. Living this way made me feel I had no goals to reach for myself. No ambitions to achieve, No decisions to make for my life and this made me feel voiceless and just an object.

For years I harboured bitterness in my heart towards those who made my life a misery. I felt they ruined my life through their constant criticism. I tried my best to please them and found I could do nothing that would change their opinion of me. I never felt appreciated, no one encouraged me, Instead I felt rejected, unloved, scorned and afraid of life until a spiritual experience changed my life forever.

That experience brought about the peace I longed for in my life. I still get depress on occasions but it does not have the powerful effect on me as it did previously. I am now more aware of my emotions and can take control over them. Allowing emotions to rule your life has destructive powers. Whilst I concentrated on what others were doing to me I overlooked the fact that I was the victim of my own emotions. Those bad feelings drove me into the wilderness and that’s a place I do not want to re-visit.

We all make choices every day, some good, some bad. I have made some bad choices i.e. I choose to remain silent instead of standing up for myself. I choose to hide my emotions because I wanted praise for being submissive to being insulted, harassed, and scorned.

When I finally came to my senses I realise that I had done more harm to myself than those that despised me. Holding grudges against others is destructive. It does not allow truth to be seen clearly. A distorted view of life does not allow self to be seen in an imperfect way, instead it allows you to be constantly eroded by your actions until your situation becomes hopeless.

After having that encounter with God I became confident, secure, and happy.  I began to look at life differently and took notice of other people’s plight and wanted desperately to help restore the lives of those suffering the effects of stress an illness that has been my constant companion for many years.

This new vision of life reminded me of a hymn written by William Tidd Matson(1833-99)

Lord I was blind! I could not see in thy marred visage any grace

But now the beauty of thy face in radiant vision draws on me.

For tho hast made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak

The dead to live, and lo I break the chains of my captivity.

Once upon a long time previously I had dreams for my life as every one else, but I had lost them along the way, only to find them when Jesus made my heart his home. This is summed up in one of my poems entitled Second Chance;

Out of the wilderness of life I stand,

And looked through the tunnel of time

From whence I’ve travelled years ago

A Lass with dreams most beautiful.

I took but one step and met my destiny

Too proud to let any one know

That I had fallen at the pit of despair

Along with my dreams and hopes.


Years went by while I lay

With my face into the ground

Each time I tried to raise my head

I was pushed further in the sand.

 Then one day Faith passed by

And lent a helping hand

He stood me firmly on my feet

And brushed away the sand.


He recovered my dreams

And laid them at my feet

My emotions became the better of me

And I stoop to pick them up.

 Now that we are reunited

I shall guard them with my life

In case someone else should steal them

And destroy me once again. 


 First steps

I opened up my home and started a #prayer group. These meetings were different from the traditional church prayer meetings.They were to be a means of helping people know the love of Christ Jesus and enable them to build confidence enough to share their opinions in open discussions. This created a space where people could come and openly talk and pray about their fears, disappointments, grieves, doubts, hopes, and above all faith in God.

Sharing our lives in this fashion gave people a new freedom to openly share their feelings/emotions. Many conservative people were now openly expressing their faith for the first time in their lives. People found new hope and meaning for their lives and many Friendships developed. They also found it easier to cope with their situations. I offered counselling and befriending sessions. Later on, a helpline was introduced to provide support to the shut-in.

At that time Social exclusion, injustice and inequality were widely experienced and talked about. We decided to call a meeting to find out what the people wanted to see happening in the community. Many people voiced their concern about the impact the economic decline was having on the lives of local people. Serious poverty was prevalent, whole families were unemployed; others lived in bad housing conditions, suffered from stress, and remained lonely and isolated in their homes. These people felt trapped in a recurring cycle of stress/depression and hopelessness. It was said that those situations also contributed greatly to the deterioration of mental ill health experienced by many members of the community.

The situation cried out for a community centre that would take a person’s physical, social, and spiritual needs into consideration and provide care for the whole person.

As more people began to tell others about the meetings, my home became a Drop in so I packed up my job to be there for the community. It was at this point that the seriousness of the situation was fully realized and we set about seeking ways for further development and became a registered Charity in 1989. We provided a programme of activities that would help to heal the lives of the vulnerable.

Never in my wildest dream would I have considered providing care and support for others when l was in need of support myself. Having gone through many years of stress, I was not in a fit state of mind to help anyone previously; even though one of my ambitions was to have a community centre to care for others. However by the grace of God this became possible when I yielded myself to Christ Jesus and was healed of a broken heart. God was now able to use my life to have a great impact on the lives of countless broken individuals.


Stepping out in faith

We started out without any funds what-so-ever. We organised Social/recreational activities, outings to places of Interest and a lunch club. Grateful people brought provisions to keep the Club going, and to help with the outgoings. I began to attend every meeting possible to gain information of the various services in Hackney around mental health issues.

We organised workshops on this topic in an effort to break down the stigma around mental health issues that existed. Attended training courses and took up membership with various voluntary sector organisations in London. This helped to gain support that would better equip us to meet the needs of this client group.

In an effort to fundraise we organised jumble sales, Caribbean evenings and barbeque events. We baked cakes and sold them at Christmas bazaars and so on. Catering for community groups events, salvaged discarded items from skips to recycle, took clippings from plants and I would go out in the garden in the rain to stick the cuttings in the soil so we could cultivate plants to sell. We also began to raise small amounts of funds from trusts.

All this time there were those who continue to refer to me as being worthless and confused whilst others asked if I knew what I was taking on. What about insurance, premises, renovation, staff etc., and what makes you think you could carry out the task they asked? The comments brought back memories to my past life when I lived in fear of the future, and the opinions of men. Now the only voice I tend to listen to is the voice of God who called me to this mission, and I would succeed come what may! I do believe the word of God which states: “I could do all things through Christ who strengthen me”. (Phil 4: 13) Therefore I never allowed any one to succeed in putting me down, and then rejoice when I fall. With this thought in mind I said “I am determined to succeed in this mission come what may. This organisation will be unique. With Gods help it will survive in this community”.

And it has survived these twenty seven years thanks to the faithfulness of God. Wayside Community Centre was feature in several media Publications for its work these include:

The Shaftsbury report on the effective work of faith communities

The Medical Journal (Working with students from St. Bartholomew and

St.Mary’s Hospitals).

The Voice newspaper

Hackney Gazette

City and East London Focus Magazine.

A short Film around Active aging shown at a conference at the European Commission in Brussels One of the sessions was recorded at the Round Chapel.

A Channel 4 program you deserve this house

The Wayside Community project aim to help improve the quality of life for people suffering the effects of stress/depression. Our service users are encouraged and empowered to take ownership of their lives. This is achieved by teaching them how to live a happier, healthier, lifestyle.

Our input helps to reduce social isolation to a number of local people. Wayside recognizes, the multi cultural people living in the Borough and now has extend its services to include people from Cuba, Spain, India, Italy, France, and other Countries. Our doors are open to anyone who needs our support. Many people from these countries are now volunteers at our centre and charity shop.

We provide a place for people to meet, engage and most importantly to be heard. Our intervention includes providing: A health programe which provides elderly people the chance to keep fit in a fun and safe environment

Educational projects which help to equip local people with the tools and skills necessary to assume control over their lives and livelihoods

Recreational events which provide people who are socially isolated the chance to explore new places and develop friendships.

A Charity shop to help people assess affordable goods to help maintain their dignity and feel good about their appearances.

The shop also helps bring the community together and promote social inclusion. It also provides a small income to help sustain the organisation.

Activities include: Gospel aerobics, Gentle chair exercise, Zumba Gold , Art & craft, Diabetes workshop Prostate Cancer and healthy eating workshop, Knitting & Crocheting We also provide: Outings to the seaside & places of interest, Guitar lessons, Sewing classes, Tea dance, and Christmas parties, and IT skills. Prayer and Bible study are held separately and open to all. We also partner with several international ministries over the years. I continue to marvel at how God can take a broken vessel and use it to bless hurting people in his own way. To God be the glory . Great things he has done. Visit and








The journey to finding God

30 Jan

person-clinic-cross-religion-54333.jpegOn spring bank holiday, May 1987, as I left home to walk the short distance to catch the coach to Derbyshire: the day seemed like any other day of the year. The neighbourhood was quiet and calm as people were still asleep. On this particular day I was among several members of our church party attending the final celebration weekend convention held yearly at Cliff College.

Cliff College was established in 1883 and provides theological and practical training in Christian evangelism, service and ministry for Methodism and the wider Church to students of all denominations and many countries.  The College is situated in Hope Valley in Derbyshire, in the beautiful Peak District National Park.

My only knowledge of the place was that one of my church sisters’, Carole, had studied there for a year and had invited others from our church to attend the various yearly conventions. On our way there I felt a sense of happiness to be travelling outside London for the day unaware that this journey would prove to be the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

As soon as we arrived we were confronted with the view of hundreds of cars, caravans, tents, and numerous coaches. Then there were those on foot. People seemed to be coming from everywhere.

The service was conducted in the open air with a make shift rostrum. A group of singers led the worship, which was very vibrant. From the expression on the people’s faces you could see they were happy to be there. They were smiling; more over they were very welcoming and made every effort to make space for us to find a spot. Their singing was joyful and their entire bodies were caught up in the act of worship. Some raised their hands in adoration, whilst others clasped their hands as if in prayer and occasionally people yelled Hallelujah, Amen, thank you Jesus. This was unusual to me; however I settled down unstirred by the emotions of the people around me and waited for the preacher to be announced.

As he began to speak it was as if he had mysteriously picked me out from among the crowd of people. He seemed to speak to me personally and every word spoken made a demand on my life. His voice penetrated into my entire being, which made me feel conscious that the congregation too was aware that his message was directed to me. This preacher was making a demand on my life telling me I had certain duties to perform in the church, and I certainly was not prepared to get involved there. By now I was beginning to feel very uncomfortable and had a great urge to leave the meeting. I simply switched off and went to a pity party with myself thinking of my own sad state of affair of the heart, the breakdown of my marriage, which was very painful. How was I going to cope? What would become of me? These were a few of my questions. I was not particularly good company and was getting rather critical of this group of people who seemed so full of themselves. Clapping, smiling even looking happy in Church: whatever next? I thought.

The church where I worshiped was quiet in contrast to Cliff College. In fact, all four churches in the circuit were quiet and reserved. Our church in particular could be full on Sundays and yet you’ll be forgiven if you were passing in the street for believing that only a few people worshipped there. The singing was soft and it was one of those places where no matter how hard you listen you could not hear the voice of the other person standing next to you. Peradventure someone came to church whose voice could be heard above the pitch of the others everyone turned to see who had violated the sacredness of the atmosphere.

This place was certainly different and instead of welcoming that form of worship I rejected it because of its vibrancy.

At the end of the meeting we made our way in search of somewhere to sit and eat. Once outside I was made even more aware of the vast numbers of people who had come to the convention.

The multitude of worshippers filled the park as far as the eye could see. They were coming from the upper tent, the Terrace, the children’s meeting, the big tent, and the lower tent. People were ascending and descending the hill, some were sitting in groups on the grass at the top of the hill others were sitting around their caravans. The beauty of the colours of their clothing amid the green grass and the surrounding hills was magnificent to behold. The sound of music mingled with the voices of children filled the air, and I could picture a biblical scene with Jesus on the hillside of #Galilee and a multitude of people coming there to hear him speak. I had never been in a place as this before. The scene was mesmerising, as I stood and gazed at the beautiful Derbyshire hills I said truly: “God is in this place”.

As we sat down for lunch the feeling of unease came again. There is definitely something spooky about this place I thought. The message about getting involved in the mission of the church was being transmitted in my brain and I was hearing it loud and clear so much so that I felt the urge to run away once more.

As I pondered over the situation my thoughts went on the bookshop up the hill. I loved reading and thought it would be good to browse around in the shop and see if anything on display caught my fancy.  Feeling more relaxed I began the short walk in search of the shop. On the way to the Terrace I remembered passing a sign that showed the position of the shop, so I went directly there. I was only there a few minutes when a friend who had arrived to the weekend celebrations ahead of us, approached me.  She was quite happy to meet up with me, but somehow she seemed to be in a hurry and quickly pointed out two books she thought I should read. Together we went to the checkout and paid for the books, the Holy Spirit and you and Nine 0 clock in the Morning.

She then invited me to the lower tent to hear Rev Colin Urquhart speak. In her excitement she told me all she knew about him. He was an Anglican Priest previously, but he was now an Evangelist and: “You‘ve got to hear him” she insisted. I had nothing against this man of God, but I was not particularly interested to sit among people who instead of sitting quietly and listen to the preacher respond with #hallelujah and #amen and this #Jesus thing. “Why were they saying his name so often?” I came to the conclusion that they were new to #church and thought they had to say his name. In my heart I was protesting: “No I’m sorry, but I’m not going.”  but I did not want to let her down.

All my life I‘ve tried to please others; never wanting people to think badly of me, after all this friend was enjoying the #conference. She happily told me what I had missed over the past few days. The bible study, Morning Prayer meetings, speakers, walking along the prayer paths, the new friends made etc. I could not tell her how uncomfortable I felt being there so I went along quite unwillingly to the lower tent. I did not know at that time that my life would never be the same.

Up to that period of time my life was a boring one. I was a very sensitive person, who took offence for the simplest of things said about me, kept very much to myself and I did not make good company. This meant I had no friends and was the worst off for being lonely and isolated.

I was brought up in a small country village in the Caribbean in a family that kept very much to themselves, which meant I had a very reserved upbringing. We lived across the road from the Methodist church that my family attended religiously every Sunday. The little chapel was used for Christian worship and sufficed as a school that provided education to children from the age of five to 16. My village and those from other areas also used this chapel/school.

The chapel was a hive of community events, as it provided various social activities organised by missionaries who taught several Irish and English folk songs.

I was very shy and particularly choosy in my dress sense. Unlike other girls of my age who wore ordinary below the knee dresses I liked mine ankle length. I also felt unable to have my arm, chest and back exposed and people referred to me among other things as being old fashioned, stupid, and why can’t you be as everyone else? I was constantly being criticised and felt very unloved, rejected, and condemned just for being me.

So here I was at Cliff College with various emotional feelings. I felt alone, abandoned, rejected and thought that there was definitely no hope for me finding my dreams come true. Now I was hearing testimonies of people who had similar life experiences. In communicating their life story they told of a loving father who came to their rescue when they called, they spoke of heartaches, pain, rejection, abuse suffered in silence and the bitterness they harboured in their hearts and of the release and freedom found as they invited Jesus into their lives.

I had never been at a place where I’ve heard of wonderful things like these. I felt myself wanting to be free from my pain, and gradually I was opening up but remained sceptical.

These were young people: I was now 43 years old and I still felt rejected, unloved, humiliated, scorned etc. “God, I will like to have a testimony, but why are they talking about Jesus so much.” I thought. Up till then I very rarely heard people calling on the name of #Jesus or even asserting that he did something for them. Were these people real? Again, I felt uneasy and wanted to make my exit, as I was about to do so a young man sitting somewhere along the pew decided to get up and beckoned me to his seat. We exchanged places just at the point of introducing the speaker the Rev. Colin Urquhart. Perhaps I’ll stay and listen to him after all. He came from the Church of England they won’t dare express themselves whilst he’s speaking.

He invited people to give their lives to #Christ. Even though I was brought up in the church, had attended #Sunday school regularly, at the age of 12 attended reception classes, learnt my catechism and made a commitment to follow Christ and was finally received as a member of the Methodist Church this didn’t feel right for me. As I reflected on these things I became aware of a headache that I had all day. I was beginning to feel miserable again, I thought about the difficulties of my life and of my longing to find peace, and happiness. As far as I knew peace could only be acquired in death, right now my life seemed to be of no real value what so ever. In fact, I was fed up of life.

As the minister prayed for people to accept #Jesus as #Lord of their lives I finally thought I might as well give him my life. I needed his #intervention and without any more #resistance I closed my eyes and said: “Jesus you can have my life. I don’t want it anymore. Have it. Here, catch.” I threw myself in the hand of Jesus and as he caught hold of me immediately I felt as though a large burden had fallen off my shoulders and I was filled with the most wonderful sense of #peace imaginable. From that moment I had no recollection of the people standing there in the tent with me.

The Marquee that contained hundreds of people suddenly seemed to be empty except for the #Spirit of God at my side and me. Suddenly I could hear the preacher speaking in tongues, but in English I heard a voice calling me by name (Jean), and telling me what he wanted me to do. I wondered how he knew my name and how did he find me among such a crowd. When at last I was able to open my eyes I found that the people were all there and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that something #miraculous had taken place. Even the atmosphere seemed changed; inside me was a hushed silence. My very soul was at peace and from that moment I had no recollection of the rest of the service. I was simply lost in wonder pondering over the mysteries of God.

I’ve heard the phrase born again but I had no idea how this came about now I had experienced a change and I suddenly knew. The person who stood there in the spot where I stood was not the same creature now. A transaction had taken place and I knew I was born again. “Why didn’t I learn about this mystery before?  Did everyone in the tent have the same experience?” I was deep in thought and was not aware of the time until a tap on the shoulder by one of my colleagues made me realise it was time to leave the meeting for the three hour journey home.

As I ponder upon the event of the day the words of two hymns came to me, one was by John Newton:

 Amazing grace how sweet the sound that save a wretch like me

I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see.

Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come

God’s grace has brought me safe thus far

And he will lead me home (John Newton)

The other hymn was by Charles Wesley:

And can it be that I should gain

An interest in the Saviour’s blood?

Died he for me, who caused his pain

For me, who him to death pursued

Amazing love how can it be

That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


 Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light

My chains fell off, my heart was free

I rose, went forth, and followed thee

 No condemnation now I dread

Jesus and all in him is mine

Alive in him, my living head

And clothed in righteousness divine

Bold I approach the eternal throne

And claim the crown the through Christ, my own. (Charles Wesley)

I’ve sung those hymns in church since childhood without understanding their true meaning. Now for the first time I understood the hearts of the men who penned those hymns. They too had met with the risen Christ and had left something powerful behind for other people to reflect on the grace of God. I felt free, and was later to comment that before I went to Cliff College I was a sluggish caterpillar with a diet of cabbage leaves, but by the time I left I’d become a butterfly with a totally new diet prepared for me.











26 Jan


Before any individual can #succeed in life, he/she has to put up a fight to #overcome the daunting situations that present themselves in the person’s life. Having a #vision means encountering problems and discouragements galore. It can even cause family friction which will certainly lead to #isolation and #loneliness. Twenty-six years ago I found myself fighting a battle I never started. The moment I embarked on the #mission of caring for the welfare of others a #ragingstorm arose around me. I was accused of every immoral act and wickedness I never knew exist. The accusations were enough to deter me from going through with the work. The areas of the attack came from within a very loving circle, and relationships were broken beyond repair. But by the grace of #God and a #passion to bring about change in the lives of people the mission is still alive and active. Perhaps you have a vision and finding it a #challengingexperience and have even considered walking away from the task: before doing so read my book #WhenGodIntervenes. This #inspiringbook will give you #renewedstrength, determination and #confidence to #pursue the #vision. You will then find that behind every success there are several #obstacles to #overcome.

Who said it was easy serving God?

16 Jan

Gray Stone on Grassy Field during Under Cloudy Sky during Sunset

Serving #God can be dangerous even in this society. People are being persecuted simply for laying down their lives for the gospel. At the age of 14 I had accepted #Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, but through the lack of teachings I was unable to grow spiritually. For years, I felt my life wasn’t what it should be, and that there was something more to being#Christian than just going to #Church on Sundays.

New meaning

I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams that simply through attending a #Convention I could come to #know Christ in a personal way. Being someone who liked to please others I went unwillingly with a friend to this particular tent meeting. Within half an hour I had recommitted my life to #Christ Jesus and found new meaning to my life. The burden and cares of this world that I carried over the years fell off and I felt free.

I had found a new and vibrant way of expressing my faith. The day I made my commitment I was told to go and bring comfort to the broken hearted. Having suffered bouts of depression over the years I knew how it felt to be lonely, broken , sad and living without hope. During a crisis situation prior to my conversion I realised no one was available to offer any support or #comfort that could help me through the difficult times of my life. I pondered on the fact that the #Church did exist but asked myself what is the Church for? If it could not offer #healing, #direction, and #love: what was the point of belonging to such an institution. In my own despair of finding support, I then began to take notice of other people.  I suddenly realised that my own personal circumstances was not isolated. The reality was that there were many others like myself who had various unmet needs that was not being addressed.

Ministering to the “Outcast of society”

In 1987 Six months after my encounter with God. He directed me to start a #prayer group. I packed in my job as a care Assistant and made myself available to those who came. Within three months there were thirty eight people attending prayer meetings. My home had become an open door to the community of suffering people and this had caused a great offence not only to members of my #Church but to my family as well. At that time many incidences of violent attack on members of the #community was attributed to people suffering mental disorders. Relatives and acquaintances said I brought shame on the family in associating myself with people termed ‘dangerous’. I felt despised and isolated as several individuals wanted nothing to do with me. For the first time in my life  I began to encounter persecution.

Before surrendering my life to Christ people saw me as a good person. Now that I had given myself to be used by God to bring comfort to those suffering the effects of mental illness I was accused of being evil, worthless, insane, and confused.


I had no special qualifications to give expert support to these individuals, except that I had gained a City and Guild certificate in Community Studies. This two-year full-time study of life from birth to retirement had given me some insight into the various conditions that presented themselves in these individuals. Apart from prayer this enabled me to use those acquired skills to give good counsel with relation to the taking of medication, getting them to talk about their feelings and involving them in group work, so as to help them to become motivated. This simple act of caring led to the birth of my organisation #WaysideCommunityCentre, with no funding what so ever.

I was trained as a local preacher and I’m carrying out my duties in the Church now for the past twenty seven years. However I still feel rejected for my dealings with victims of mental ill health and the reason why we are not being recognised for the hard work and dedication provided over the years. I personally feel like a recluse  even though the organisation is credible and reaching out not only in our community but also internationally. Do you believe it’s easy serving God?

Hostility among nations

2 Jan

pexels-photo-818252.jpegCan there ever be #peaceinourworld? After all the hostility seen among nations, the fear, pain, and suffering experienced by groups of people in our world there are those who may not know what it means to have #peace. “Peace is an occurrence of harmony characterised by the lack of violence, conflict behaviours, and the freedom from fear of violence”. (Wiki quote)

We hear of the violence in the Middle East and North Africa with nine civil wars going on in Islamic countries between Pakistan and Nigeria. Over two million Syrian forced from their homes and none of these wars shows any signs of ending. Then there’s the plight of over sixty-five thousand Rohingya people who had to flee Myanmar to Bangladesh. We also hear about the abuse, pain and humiliation suffered by children, young people, the elderly, and those caught up in modern day slavery in our own part of the world. Then there’s the blatant discrimination of refugees landing in the West, and one could almost emphasise with them as so many of us have experienced rejection in a foreign land, among strange people ourselves.

What is it that possesses mankind to believe that they have some claim to a certain part of the world or that their race or culture is superior to others? Have they not heard; all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the grass of the field, the grass withers and the flowers fall. (1 peter 1:24). Those who show power over others need to know that there’s someone who is more powerful than they are who holds the key to life and death in his hand. His name is Jehovah, God Almighty, he neither slumbers nor sleeps. He is very much aware of the atrocities carried out by vicious men/women throughout the world. He is known as the Comforter, he promise to wipe away every tear from the eyes of the broken hearted and those who mourn.

The prophet Isaiah tells of a time when hostility between peoples will be a thing of the past. He speaks of a time of peace and tranquillity when hostile man and vicious animals will live in harmony. He refers to the time when Christ reign over the earth. Scripture say in that day the wolf and the lamb will lie down together, and the leopard and goats will be at peace. Calves and fat cattle will be safe among lions, and a little child shall lead them all. #Isaiah 11: 6-9.

To believe that peace is available to all can be a hard thing to imagine. The fact is that #ChristJesus came into the world to offer us his peace as a #giftfomGod. This is a state of quiet or tranquillity from agitation as from fear/ terror. Quietness of mind, calmness, a quiet of conscience, and this peace is freely available for those who will put aside malice and strife against their fellowmen and turn to him. We have all experience hurt in one form or another and #forgiveness is the key to #findingpeacewithGod and each other. I pray that Men, Women and Children throughout the world will experience HIS peace and live in harmony with God and one other beginning today.