Everybody has a story to tell and members at Creech believe they have a very important one to tell! You may have heard that it is in fact 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'! But each one of us has a different perspective, a different way in which God has touched our lives, and so what you'll find below are just some of the personal testimonies from friends of Creech of how God has touched their lives and the impact He has had on them.
This is about a little boy who had gone into hospital to have his tonsils out. He was around 7 years old, and while he was there, a man with a white coat came to his bed and sexually abused him. He did not know or understand what was happening to him, but from that day on he became a very withdrawn and frightened little boy. All he wanted was for someone to love him and look after him but there was nobody there for him. He was not given proper clothing or decent food and everything in his house was very dirty. His mother used to beat him with a cane for no reason and his father totally ignored him unless he was also giving the boy a beating in temper. Depression was all the little boy knew. One day, because his mother didn’t want him around, or so he believed, he was sent to church. He had never been to church before. This particular evening, a man was giving his testimony of what God had done in his life. At only 8 years old the little boy did not understand anything the man had said, but the one thing he did know, was that he left the church feeling different and happy for the first time in his life. He walked back home that night and to his amazement, he was not afraid of the dark. It was as though he was floating. As soon as the little boy entered his house however, the happiness and feeling of safety left him instantly. He once again felt alone and unwanted, and was devastated that the wonderful feeling had gone. This little boy grew into a man but nothing changed for him. In order to protect himself he had become very violent. He started to drink and became an alcoholic in order to cope with the intense and ongoing pain deep within him. He got so low he even tried suicide on a number of occasions. No matter what he tried he could not change anything so he decided to live a lie. To those around him everything would appear normal and he buried the pain deep inside himself. He got married and when this relationship failed he went from one relationship to another, still just wanting to be loved. Each relationship failed and he ended up very lonely and lost and eventually suffered a breakdown and was hospitalised for a few weeks. A few years later he decided to find out if there was a reason to life. He looked into a number of religions but always came away feeling lost, lonely and empty with no sense of self-worth. One thing he had believed throughout his life was that he would die when he was 45 years old. He remembered the feeling he’d had as a boy when he went to church and wanted to feel that again, just once before he died. With this in mind he felt pulled to go to a Christian church. And after going there for a few weeks, the feelings he had felt as a small boy returned, and he knew he needed to do something in order to keep them. He spoke to the pastor who explained to him who and what Jesus was and suggested they pray together. That night the angry, hurt and lost man gave his heart to Jesus Christ. On Easter Sunday he was baptised. He was 45 years old. The death, he always knew would happen at this age, happened but it was the death of his old self. He was born again, a new man and his life changed from that day on. Jesus healed all of the hurts in his life and promised never to leave or forsake him.
That was 18 years ago and although he has sometimes found it hard following Jesus, he has never lost that peace and wonderful feeling of being loved that he felt on his first visit to church as a boy. Jesus has kept his promise and has never left him or forsaken him, even when mankind has. That little boy was me, Colin
When I was three years old my parents and I moved to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where my father took on work as an engineer. Things were fine until my father died in 1981. I was twenty-two years old living at home with my mother. Without my father's income we began to find it difficult to make ends meet.
As a child my mother had made me aware of God but He was not significant in my life. My parents were nominally Christian but we never went to church and I never opened a bible. My only experience of church was musty old buildings that made no impact on me at all. I only recall praying once and that was during my National Service in the Rhodesian Army. One night we were attacked by a large number of terrorists. With bombs exploding around us and intensive gunfire I prayed that no-one would be hurt or killed. Although my prayer was answered I still felt no call to God. It was not until I left the army and in my twenties that I went to church. A neighbour invited me to a service at the Pentecost¬al Christian Centre in Bulawayo. It was a revelation to me. The service was in a modern building and the worship songs, played by a band, were similar in style to the music of the time. It all seemed so relevant to my life. Within six weeks I gave my life to the Lord and was baptised with a hundred other people. Three years later my mother and I, with the increasing problems in Zimbabwe, were forced to leave the country behind and move to England. Shortly after, my mother had a stroke and we moved to Taunton to be near my sister. God's hand was in the move as in Taunton I met my future wife. The Lord has been with me for some time now and I feel He looks after me and loves me more each day. I put my confidence in Him and if I come across a problem I know He is always there to help me.
I was 32 years old when I found out my husband was seeing another woman. Slowly it ate away at me and destroyed my life. The sourness showed in my face and the words that I spoke. I stayed married for the sake of our two children but finally after eight years I sued for divorce. The divorce took three years and all that time my one thought was I’d betrayed the vows I’d made before God. Somehow, it was my fault. It wasn’t that church played any part in my life but I’d always believed in God. My parents didn’t attend church but they sent my sister and me to a convent school as my mother thought the nuns would make us into nice girls. To me, God was a loving God and as long as I was good enough I’d go to heaven. Now, here I was breaking my oath to God, and I thought that if I were to die, I’d go to hell. In desperation, one day I went into a church and sat alone in a pew pouring my heart out to God. I was worried I'd lose my house and my children. I was close to a total breakdown. I said to God, “If you show me how to get out of this mess I’ll follow you for the rest of my life.” I said it without really believing that God would answer my prayer. Shortly after, I attended an auction of vintage steam machinery to help me value some items that figured in my divorce. At the auction, a complete stranger befriended me and through him, I found myself going to church, but not a church like any I’d experienced before. It was lively, exciting and full of joyous people. I didn’t know what made them so happy but I resolved to keep coming back until I found out. One night it clicked. For the first time I became aware of who Jesus really was. That he was the way to God. I didn’t have to work to please God I only had to receive the gift he freely offered through Jesus. There was I a grown woman, forty-four years old, and for the first time I understood. That night I became a Christian. My divorce had left me angry and bitter but as I trusted God more and more all that anger and bitterness slipped away and I was able to forgive. God blessed me with a greater confidence in myself. God blessed me in my life with a new loving husband. God blesses me still.
Shirley's Story: 'Hope from Purposelessness'
I was relatively happy with a husband and two children, but began to wonder what life was all about. Surely we didn’t come to live on earth for 70 years, die and then that was it. There was a purposelessness about it all. I started looking at other people and in some, noticed a deep tranquillity and peace in their lives. I gradually got to know them better and asked them what made the difference. They told me they had received eternal life and a new hope in their lives, and that one day they would go to heaven. I enquired for a long while with my questions being answered by them along the way. Then I went along to a concert at the village chapel and at the end I received eternal life and that new hope too.
I now experience that hope and peace in my life as well. I feel fulfilled and have a purpose for living. I know God’s love for me has given me a purpose – to tell others of His love for them and that they also can receive this hope. Life is no longer mundane, and I can honestly say that God has always been faithful to me from that day to this and that was 28 years ago. I know that I have eternal life now on earth and that one day I will go to Heaven. What an amazing knowledge and hope for the future!
On my 70th Birthday, someone reminded me of the hymn, “All the way my Saviour leads me”. It wasn’t one of my favourites but since that time I have come to know the truth of the words.
I lost my mother as a small child but my father and his sister brought me up. Being an only child the Lord blessed me with special friends, some of whom I am still able to visit and share happy times... “DO YOU REMEMBER?!” etc, etc….
The Lord gave me a loving and very dependable husband for almost 50 years. We were also blessed with a son. It was a bit like Hannah from the Bible who said, “for this child I prayed”, as we had to wait a while for our family to arrive and then there was the bonus of a daughter! Both our children came to trust the Lord Jesus and went on to marry Christian partners.
I lived in Essex for 50 years but now I have returned to my “roots” in the West Country. I am so blessed to have been led to Creech and have found friendship and fellowship. I can sing MY hymn now with great assurance.
My Saviour has truly led me all the way and I am quite sure He will lead me to the end of my journey and to the home He has prepared for me. This will be the same for you if only you trust Him too. Avis passed away in 2010
In my early twenties I joined the Ambulance service as a paramedic. I witnessed people, their lives totally devastated by death or injury, shouting out loud in desperation to a God they had never known. At those moments my focus on God was sharpened and I was grateful for the relationship I had with Him through Jesus Christ. I hadn't always been a Christian. My parents were not church going people but because we lived in a small village, my younger sister and I attended Sunday School and the weekly church club with all the other children.
I stopped attending Sunday School when I was nine but continued with the club and the annual church camp. During the school years my parents divorced and I lived with my mother which made me more independent and self-sufficient.
I left school at sixteen and took up a four year engineering apprenticeship with Marconi. At the start of my apprenticeship I met up with my old Sunday School teacher who encouraged me to come with him to his small local chapel. For as long as I can remember I'd believed in God and the truth of the bible but it had never been a reality. In no way did I associate Jesus with God. It was only through the clear teaching of the people at the chapel and their unqualified acceptance of me dressed in Doc Marten boots and bomber jacket, that led me to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I realised being a Christian was not about memorising bible texts (which I had done avidly in Sunday School) but about a personal commitment to Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I made that commitment and I was baptised.
My work moved from engineering to the NHS, for many years as a paramedic but latterly in a management role. I married at twenty-one and I am blessed with two teenage children. My faith is central to my life and my marriage. It has given me purpose and direction. I live with the absolute certainty that God is always faithful and dependable. His work in my life is ongoing.
I was 8 years old when my mother died of a heart attack at the time of World War II. My father was in his seventies and unable to cope with bringing up three girls and a boy on his own. The family split up and I was fostered out for a year. I hated my foster home and ran away, so my aunt arranged for me to join one of my sisters and my brother at the Muller Children’s Home in Bristol, a Christian Foundation.
Before then, my only experience of church was attending with my foster parents. I found it cold, unloving and full of ritual. But at Muller’s I learnt about a loving God and a personal Saviour in Jesus who died for me. I was very happy in the Muller Home and it wasn’t long before I gave my heart to the Lord.
When old enough I trained in domestic work as a cook in the Muller Home at Backwell, near Bristol, where I met my first husband. He wasn’t a Christian when we met but became one at a Billy Graham Crusade and then we got married.
Together we had five children, a handful at any time, but my second eldest daughter was born mentally handicapped and deaf. The stress and worry of looking after her and the other children brought me near to a breakdown of my health and on doctor’s advice and with great heartache we placed my daughter into care. I was so glad that Jesus was with me during this time as He was the rock that helped me to cope. Without warning, after twenty-five years of marriage, my husband left me for another woman and I struggled to bring up my teenage children alone. With little money coming in we were forced to live in a two bedroomed farmhouse riddled with damp. To make ends meet I worked as a school cook. After 5 years my husband divorced me. At a Muller Reunion I met my second husband. We were not married for long before I had a severe stroke at the age of sixty-five leaving me badly disabled. It was all too much for my husband who left me and I was alone again. Looking back at my struggles in life often with no money and living in harsh conditions I never doubted that my Lord was with me. He has strengthened and comforted me in my suffering and I have drawn closer to Him. I am closer to Him today than I’ve ever been in my life and I count myself as truly blessed.
I was brought up in a Christian home and expected to attend Sunday school and Church on Sundays but left this behind in my teens. I returned to the church for a short time when I was first married but because of family pressures, which included a violent husband, I turned away from God and even blamed him for the bad decisions I had made. Although both my parents remained faithful to God until they passed away, this did not have much of an impact on my life.
About 3 years ago, my second husband and I were invited to attend an Alpha course at Creech St Michael Baptist Church, which we reluctantly agreed to attend, as I was very unwilling to let God back into my life. This changed when after one session I learnt that 2 of the ladies were in another room praying for us while we were listening to the Alpha course, asking God to open our eyes and ears to hear God’s message. I was completely overwhelmed that 2 people I scarcely knew were willing to spend their time in that way.
This was the catalyst to my believing in my heart what I already knew in my head, that Jesus loves me and died on the cross for my sin. Knowing this is a great source of comfort and joy every day, as I continue to try and walk a closer walk with Him.