Conway and Mandy
| || Conway - My life before I became a Christian was shaped I suppose, by my upbringing. In our family, like so many, church was a place you went for weddings and funerals. God was someone I felt fairly sure existed, but could get by without. After all, I had good health, a wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters, a good job and a nice home. What else would I need? Something though was missing. My life was like a jigsaw puzzle, all the bits seemed to be there, but I was never able to find the final piece to complete the picture. I was restless. There had to be more to life. |
Thankfully, God never gives up on us - His arms are always open - and He came through for me. Not in some blinding flash or revelation but in a much gentler way. A gradual shepherding of my life that brought me more and more closer to him. One example of his guiding work in my life, culminated in my wife and I plucking up the courage to go to Cavendish Community Church (now Christ Church) one Sunday morning in 2000. Our eldest daughter, Joanna had already joined the CCC Youth Group with Rochelle, a school friend of hers. Jo said we would enjoy church and we should give it a go, so we did. What an eye opener! It wasn’t just the songs and music. It was the people, the welcome, the friendship, the kindness. Seeing what Jesus had done and continued to do in their lives was powerful witness to me. At the end of the service I remember saying to myself ‘This is what I’ve been missing. Fill me God with some of what these folks have’.
Now I had a hunger for God. I wanted to know him more. To cut a long story short, in the following months we began to go to church more often and later did the Alpha Course and joined a Cell group. It was during one of the Alpha sessions about the Holy Spirit that I felt compelled to trust in the Lord Jesus and take that leap of faith and accept his gift of salvation.
Without doubt, that was the best thing I have ever done. I have found that missing piece to the puzzle of my life. Sure, I still have questions and doubts, and sometimes I wonder if I am worthy of His love, but that doesn’t stop me from having a growing, day-to-day relationship with Him. My life now has a purpose and peace that was never there before. I have a new perspective on life. Worldly things are no longer so important to me. I see how events, conversations, “chance” meetings, thoughts, and open doors are ways that God reaches out to show that he is close-by and at work in my life. Now I start each day with the sure hope and confidence that I am going to meet Him in heaven when He comes again. That truth alone brings a smile to my face and a bounce in my step every day!!
Mandy- I started my Christian life going to Sunday School as a child,…..sent, I think, so that Mum could get on with the Sunday roast in peace!
At 10 years old, I asked Jesus into my heart…. But when I was 14, I rebelled, and didn’t want to go to church anymore – none of my friends went, and I felt the odd one out.
In 1979, I met Conway, and in 1982 we married.
In 1985 and 1989 Jo and Lisa were born, we were truly blessed. I had a loving family, good friends, and plenty of happy times, I thought I had it all.
Jo was friends with Rochelle and, after being introduced to Cavendish herself, Jo said we should give it a go!
After our first visit to CCC we were unsure and just dabbled a bit, occasionally coming on a Sunday, then as we got to know the kindness of everyone we became regulars.
All my life I have had scoliosis and it has not been a bother, but in 2001 I started getting dizzy spells, which were becoming more and more frequent. After many tests the doctors diagnosed vertigo, linked to the wear and tear on my spine. It took a while to get the medication right and during this time, through bouts of what seemed like endless dizziness, I turned to the Lord for guidance and His help to endure those times without fear and to know that it would pass – He showed me that if I put my trust in Him, He will watch over me and that nothing will be too much for me to bear.
Since then, I have learned to turn to the Lord on a daily basis, through prayer and Bible reading.
From the words of a song by Kathy Trocolli………..
God is Grace
God is Peace
God is Hope and Healing
God is Faith
God is Joy
My Lord and King Revealing.
| ||I would say I have been a believer the best part of my life but I have only been a Christian for the past nine years. It all started when I went to my first Christian conference, Mandate, in Belfast, Northern Ireland in November 2000. I came home feeling the need to change my life. I had this overwhelming desire to shed all things in my life which I knew were wrong, but I didn’t want to leave my non-Christian friends along the road. |
I loved to play the fruit machines and would make any excuse to get out of the house to play them. So I gave up all forms of gambling which I had participated in and I had to change my bad habits at work. I could swear with the best in the heat of the moment and I would leave God at number two dock gate on my way in and pick him up on the way home. I began to take books to work and my bible and it was strange how many conversations would start when some one would ask 'what are you reading?' and there he was, God was right beside me in the work place, and I discovered so many men at some time in their life had something about church they could recall and I realised how close some men were to God.
My first success in my new life of evangelism was one young man who came up to me at work and said 'I have seen your picture at Cavendish Community Church' (now Christ Church) and I thought 'what must this man think of me?' I didn’t behave much like a Christian at work in those days, this was all part of my change, so we started to talk. He didn’t go to church but his wife and young family did. He could see that I was different after my return from Belfast. He told me he was trying to understand things and come to Church but it wasn’t easy. Whilst I was at Mandate I bought a book called Exploring Christianity. I have no idea why I bought that book. I had already done an Alpha course so I thought it would be a good idea to give it to him to read, so I did. He came to church and since then he has been baptised in the Christian faith- this was all the confirmation I needed that God wanted me to be an evangelist.
As for my non-Christian friends they now know where I am and I still love to meet with them to play snooker, golf or go fishing. They pull my leg from time to time but I have got them thinking about the fact there is more to life than just existing. With God beside you anything is possible.
| || Lou's testimony at her baptism service- When I was about 6 or 7 I started to come to Cavendish Church (now Christ Church) with my family. We were introduced to this church by a friend who mum had known for many years and because of the welcome and friendship we received my parents decided that this was the place for us to stay, to worship. From then onwards I have always been encouraged by my parents to come to church every week. |
However I didn't become a Christian and want to take control of my faith until the first year I was old enough to be in the youth group at the Living Water Christian conference. I had been to the children's group in the previous years, but I had just seen them as a fun get-together, where we all made stuff, and sang songs about God. However that year wasn't the same. I saw how God worked through the older children around me, and it was very different. I saw God in a different light and although I found it all quite overwhelming, I liked what I saw and I wanted to have the same relationship with God as these older children did. So I decided to give my life to God, and let him begin working in me properly.
Throughout my time at this church I have been supported by many people both with their friendship and their spiritual knowledge. I feel I have been helped by many different people to grow spiritually.
The friendships I have with these people and with Christians outside this church are very precious to me. I feel very encouraged by my Christian friends, and I always find that my closest friends, have little ways of reminding me just how wonderful God is, whether they are aware they are doing it or not. This helps me not to drift away from the wonders of God.
I went to a youth conference called Soul Survivor for a week, and this really uplifted me. To be with thousands of young Christians; all spending a week worshipping God was so special to me; I learnt so much both from the teaching sessions and from others around me. It boosted my faith, and help me to see how effective ministry is, as well as helping me to grow closer to God.
At Soul Survivor I decided that I would like to do something to dedicate my life to God, but I wasn't sure whether baptism was what I or God wanted, so I asked God to somehow give me a sign, and he did!
Rochelle and I went shopping in Felixstowe one morning, and once we had finished we sat down and talked for ages, she asked if I wanted to get baptised with her, and I guess that was the little sign I'd been waiting for.
Everything has fallen into place from there, everyone has been so supportive and helpful in so many ways. I want to leave you with the words of a chorus of a song from Soul Survivor that we sung a few times, and the words really hit home.
'Forever God is faithful, Forever God is strong, Forever God is with us, Forever'.
This shows that no matter what we've done, or how we are feeling, God is always there.
| ||Obviously I had heard of God, obviously I had heard of Church, it just wasn't for me, that's all. Heidi, my girlfriend (now my wife) had been going to Cavendish Community Church (now Christ Church) regularly and I thought that I would go along, partly just to see what it was like and partly just to be with Heidi.|
When I got there it was a bit of an eye opener, there were people who were really enjoying themselves, laughing, singing, dancing, and clapping, just so happy - I had not experienced this before. I also found the people very welcoming and when I spoke to them, many had such a sense of inner peace that it was captivating. The realisation slowly dawned on me that I was missing out, that even though I had a good job, a home, a girlfriend, etc. there was still something missing - and these people had it! Perhaps there was a reason for everything after all?
I decided to go on an Alpha course, this is a free course run by the Church to introduce Christianity to those who want to learn and have questions - I had lots of questions; 'What about other religions?', 'Why do some people suffer?', 'Is there a heaven?', 'Is there a hell?', etc. As the course progressed I felt more and more uncomfortable because I realised that my main fear was of dying. I thought that this was it - 70 years and then you're gone.
I began to pray, I wanted this peace, I wanted to be with Heidi in heaven, I wanted life to have a purpose and I wanted to know God, personally, as others did.
Then one night, as I prayed alone, asking for Jesus to come into my life, I saw a vision of the sun rising over a dark street. I saw the brilliant sun and felt the burning heat and I knew for sure that this was the light of Jesus shining into my dark life. There was a God, and he wanted to know me. It was a wonderful feeling - hard to explain, certainly supernatural.
After this experience, my concerns with my questions and worries slowly melted away. I wouldn't say that I no longer have questions, that life makes complete sense, or that I have no problems. However, now I never need to face those problems alone, there is always someone to share them with, no matter how big or small they are. And of course, I now know that because of me giving my life to Jesus, I need not fear death.
My advice to you is get to know God, come to an Alpha course and ask those questions you always wanted to ask. What harm can a couple of hours per week for a few weeks do? - and it may just enrich your life.
Greg and Julie Weston
| ||We came to Cavendish for the first time in 1995 after moving from London. We were attracted to CCC (now Christ Church) particularly by the informal style of services, it was a breath of fresh air after the more traditional church which we had come from. We love the modern worship songs with words you can understand and relate to, and the way the church is full of families which means it doesn't matter too much if the kids make a bit of a noise. |
We have three children: Emily (13), Jack (9), and Katie (1). As a family we value the children’s groups and youth groups very much, where the children can make friends and learn about Jesus and the Christian faith. Emily and Jack have especially enjoyed Dazzlers where they are able to bring their school friends and have lots of fun playing games, doing crafts and cooking etc. As a family we also enjoy our annual visit to Sizewell Hall on the Church Weekend away, with lots of time for fun games, and teaching as well as being able to spend time with people and get to know each other better.
We also very much agree with the mission statement of CCC, "To know Christ more and make Him known". As Christians we have God and want to get to know him more and more and as we do we find that we just long to share with our friends and community just how great our God is.
| || Hello folks. I am one of the 'wrinklies' but all through my life the Lord has been my strength, right from the time when I asked him into my life to take charge and give me a healthy baby. Through all the joys and sorrows, bereavements, marriage break-up, happy remarriage he was there with me, my rock. When my husband died of cancer after seven years together my lovely children were there with Christian friends to support me and I praise and thank God for them.|
I found work at Felixstowe and was able to move to Butley Road, enjoying Christian fellowship at St Philips Church. There I joined with CCC (now Christ Church) when they came there whilst waiting to build near Cavendish Park. Through the years I have enjoyed much Christian fellowship and comfort and experienced many answers to prayers, two of which I will mention ie: prayer for my back problems and the granting of my home, a lovely bungalow instead of my house in Butley Road. I have been in my bungalow on Grange Road for more than 15 years now and it is wonderful. I have failed Him many times but he has always brought me back.
Some times over the years I have been given a picture to paint and I try my best. I have met some wonderful folk along life's road and I aim to keep travelling along with our Heavenly Father.
Yours in Christian love, Mary