Stories of Leighton Buzzard people finding hope through faith
An unsightly caterpillar, its range of movement restricted to a few square feet after a while becomes a butterfly that will spend the rest of its life as a living miracle, flying above the earth.In a similar way Jesus said we can be changed. He said, “You must be born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified).” You can find his words in the Bible, see John’s gospel, chapter 3.
Find out how some of our volunteers have been changed
Debbie’s Story— from unbelief to belief in God
Debbie thought she’d re-built her life after meeting a new husband following a volatile first marriage.“Andy took care of me and the children and for the first time I was happy, ” she recalls.The new couple married, opened a flourishing communications business and eventually had a daughter of their own.
But in 2005 Debbie, now 56, developed Parkinson’s Disease eventually forcing her to “take a back seat” from work. “Things started to unravel…Our marriage was struggling…The world around me seemed dark and hostile and I felt completely alone,” recalls Debbie.
“I felt completely alone”
Yet it was in her darkest hour that Debbie believes she met God supernaturally. “Prior to that He played little part in my life. I’d rarely stepped foot in church let alone picked up a Bible. “What little I knew about Jesus was from school assemblies and I thought the Bible as mere fairy stories.”Yet it was through creative writing of her own that Debbie believes God ‘spoke’ to her. “I suddenly started to write about not matters of faith, but things to do with good and evil. I started to see the world in a very polarised way.“I started to realise there is a very evil presence in this world. Then I realised if people can believe that, there must be a very opposite too. I knew I needed to turn to the God stuff!”
Debbie prayed for the first time in her life. She’d only thought of Jesus as a good man telling good stories but her agnostic world was about the change.
She prayed and everything changed
“Suddenly I prayed, pouring my heart out and being truly sorry for all my wrongdoings. It really was the outpouring of the build up of many things over many years. I really was asking for help.”
Yet Debbie could never have imagined the help she would receive days later, back in August 2015. “I woke in the night to a rushing sound much like the wind. It filled the house! Simultaneously, a presence I intuitively knew to be the spirit of God, invaded my whole being and filled me with knowledge – God’s message to the world.”
Feeling different after her strange ‘God encounter’, Debbie needed to get away and drove over to her mum’s house – with few belongings and no real plan. But God had a plan. After getting involved with a village church, Debbie returned to her husband after three months as a “much stronger person”. She’s now a member of Hockliffe Street Baptist Church from where the grandmother of two volunteers as a neighbourhood chaplain and in Open Door.
Wendy’s Story- how she found peace
Where can we find peace? This is one of the questions I asked Wendy, one of our Open Door Volunteers. Like many of us her life has not always been easy, and she remembers one time that was particularly hard. It was a big shock when her husband, Brian, suddenly died. Wendy said she felt all alone and no one to help her, she had one child still at school and another with a baby to look after and she wondered how she’d manage. She said, “I felt like giving up. I just wanted to curl up and die”.
“I felt like giving up”
Fortunately, she had some good friends at church and they were worried about her and arranged for her to take a short holiday away.While she was away and on her own one evening, she remembers going outside and shouting at God. She was so upset. It was then that she saw a star shooting across the sky and she felt the strong arms of God around her. Then there was a sense of great peace. No one else was there with her and she is sure that God had sent one of his helpers. An angel had come. She felt so happy she remembers she started singing.
God had sent one of his helpers
Wendy feels sad about the state of the world today and all its bad news. She wanted to let us know that she can’t wait for Jesus to come back again as he promises. She knows that when Jesus comes back he will sort this world out and make it new. Like all Christians who have a relationship with God she knows that one day she will have eternal life and a place in heaven with Jesus. She says how great it will be to sit before the Lord like Mary did (the Bible story of Mary and Martha is found in Luke chapter 10) and to ask him to explain all the things we do not understand.
One day she will have eternal life and a place in heaven
Why did Wendy start to follow Jesus? Wendy always believed in Jesus from a little girl but when she became a teenager she says, “I put Jesus on the back burner.” This went on until she moved to Leighton Buzzard from Hemel Hempstead and the then minister from Hockliffe Street Baptist Church, came to visit and invited her to church. She came and she says, “Jesus became real to me and I was baptised a year later.
Her advice is “to love the Lord God Almighty and to come to him for a happier life. If you do not have God to fall back on in life you are lost”. Don’t leave it too late to turn to God. Admit that you’ve done things wrong in your life. Ask God for forgiveness. We have some free booklets: “Can I Forgive Myself” and “Forgiveness, Making Sense of It” (please contact us through the contact page).