News and Articles
20 May 2020
My journey began locked up in Winchester Prison. Through reading a Gideon Bible, I came to faith in Christ Jesus and within months I started preaching the gospel.
Now, after 60 years of preaching the good news on three continents, I am again in lock-up. Just like my first prison, I am allowed exercise once a day and I long to be free again. However, it looks as if this lock-in is going to be longer than the last.
If you know me, you will be aware that I have four passions in life. Family, evangelism, Ukraine and cycling. Like so many people of my age, especially those who are vulnerable due to health issues, family has been at a distance. Thank God for Facetime, Skype and, yes, Zoooom! Cycling is no longer with the wind in my face and the joys of the countryside, but stationary on my new exercise bike.
Right up to the middle of February, I was in Ukraine with my ticket already bought for the next trip. No thought then that I may never again see my beloved country, where I served for 28 years. I confess, there were tears when I was forced to cancel my flight.
Ironically, my last preaching assignment was at Chatsworth Baptist Church, to celebrate the anniversary of being welcomed into the church membership after my baptism on 28 February 1960. I recall that, as I came up dripping from the baptistry, the congregation sang:
I am trusting Thee for power,
Thine can never fail.
Words which Thou Thyself shall give me
Two weeks earlier, I had stood on a chair, on the corner of Chatsworth Way and West Norwood High Street, and told shoppers that God had forgiven my sins and washed me whiter than DAZ washing powder. Over the years the words of that baptismal hymn have rung in my ears as prophetic, and so they have been.
Now, like the Apostles Paul and John, at the end of my life I am marooned. But wait! Did it stop Paul? Did it stop John? No! Paul told the Christians at Philippi that his house arrest in Rome had worked out as a benefit for the gospel (Philippians 1:12). So it must be for me. I have spent the past weeks, setting up a studio and a new website.
With my friends in Ukraine, we now have everything in place for me to continue a ministry in Ukraine through writing and video, Yes, I’ve been tearing my hair out, putting together new equipment and learning how to use it. (Old dog - new tricks.) Writing new material, even my first children’s story. Suddenly, I have a new lease of life. I’m 79 in July and I tell myself that Moses was prepared by God for a ministry to start when he was 80.
And so, these four remain: Family, evangelism, Ukraine and Cycling. Different? Yes, but the passion still burns.
To God be the glory.