Issue 42 Â£1.99
Films Interviews Real Life Stories And more.....
(In alphabetical order) Entertainment One Films Twentieth Century Fox
Editorial Team: Peter Bell Sara Bell
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JAM Magazine Contributors: (In alphabetical order) Peter Bell Sara Bell Tom Elliott Peter Gladwin - Out of Ashes Jerry Parr & the guys from St Mark’s School Linvoy Primus Gemma Tuson - Be Loved Vital Signs - Marvin and Nick
Real Life Stories
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Intervie ws Real Lif Storiese
Issue 3 9 £1.99 26/08/2015
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Answers for page 35: A) Venice, B) New York, C) Rio, D) Tower Bridge, E) Disneyland, F) Mount Rushmore, G) Las Vegas, H) Sydney, I) Buckingham Palace, J) Eiffel Tower, K) Ayers Rock Answers for page 4&5: 1: Fish and chips, 2: chicken korma, 3: sweet and sour pork, 4: beef in black bean sauce, 5: happy meal, 6: beef kung po, 7: donner kebab, 8: peri peri chicken, 9: sausage and chips, 10: chips and gravy, 11: magherita pizza, 12: chicken chow mein, 13: egg fried rice, 14: chicken tikka masala, 15: prawn crackers
CONTENTS: 4. Take AWAY
Can you unscramble the words?
14. No WAY Out
Peter’s amazing story!
22. Another WAY
Interview with Linvoy Primus
30. A WAY Through...
Interview with Gemma, JAM founder!
6. Vital Signs
Interview with Nick and Marvin
10. Throw AWAY Lines Some funny one line jokes!
12. AWAY Supporters
Quiz - What sort of supporter are you?
18. AWAY with the Fairies 19. When you’ve been AWAY Can it really be true?
26. Up, Up and AWAY You can’t hide!
34. Cut AWAY
Are we guilty of a Cut AWAY view?
39. Carried AWAY The effects of Alcohol
The joy of coming home
27. AWAY in a Manger God thinks you are worth it!
36. A WAY of Life
A look at Captain Fantastic
40. A WAY Back Jesus is the WAY
20. Give It AWAY
Some quotes on AWAY!
28. Far, Far AWAY
A look at the film TROLLS
38. Throw AWAY Comments
What you say has an effect - Wordsearch
41. AWAY We Go
Building houses in Mexico
Anyone for Take Away...? Take Away food can be a quick easy solution to the question, ‘What’s for tea?’ For some people it becomes a way of life, every Friday it is take away. There is nothing wrong with the occasional take away but it can become a problem if it becomes more than that, both in terms of money and health. For anyone who is watching their cash flow take away is a more expensive way of eating than cooking at home and for those watching their calories it is often laden with them! We are constantly bombarded with messages about healthy eating and exercise being good for us and hopefully as a nation we are taking it onboard, rather than hoping we can get away with it… But we also have to watch what we put into our minds too. If we fill our minds with rubbish then we shouldn’t be surprised when it comes out in our thoughts, words and actions. So watch what you feed your mind on because what goes in will come out - just as your physical diet affects your body, your mind diet affects you too! Can you decipher the popular take away dishes in the list below?
1 ship chins fad
5 pa may help
_ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
2 knock rice ham
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
6 keep fog bun
_ _ _ _ / k _ _ _ / _ o
3 outspoken rewards s _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / s _ _ _ / _ _ _ k
4 see ace leaf back bin bun _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
7 nan broke bed 15 car prank crews
_ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
8 pinker rich piece
_ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _
9 ship us a sand cage
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
Some clues if you are stuck: 1: Salt and Vinegar…? 2: Not too spicy!
10 shy paving card
_ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
11 a maize ritz graph _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _
12 whom nice check in _ _ _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _
4: Fancy a change from baked beans? 5: The way to a kids heart? 7: After a night out? 8: Some like it hot? 9: When you don’t fancy fish? 10: Just up north? 11: Boring Italian? 12: Anyone for noodles? 13: When boiled isn’t enough? 15: Free when you order…?
13 fierce red gig _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _
Answers on page 2
14 aka milk chat sea nick _ _ i _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ k _ / _ _ _ _ _ a
Together Nick and Marvin form Vital Signs, What is the message behind your music? a hip hop collective that aims to bring the Marvin - We want everyone to party and have fun - only joking! Basically whatever you are going through the message of Jesus to people through their answer is Jesus. Our music is quite gritty. It is Christian music. We caught up with them to find out music because it points people to Jesus but we talk about real stuff that we or our friends and family have been a little bit more… Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Nick - My age is secret, no one knows my DOB! No, I'm 33 and I work for the Message Trust. I started as an intern at the Message then worked for the prison ministry. About 3 years ago we formed Vital Signs and I'm the front man! Marvin - I'm also 33. I like basketball, reading, creative writing, music, sports and gym stuff.
What do you do?
Nick - We go into prisons and schools to tell people what we have been through, where we are now and how Jesus has changed our lives.
Why are you called Vital Signs?
Marvin - In hospitals they check your 'vital signs' to determine whether there is any life and we are here to show people how Jesus can bring them new life. Those vital signs in hospital bring hope and show life, if they are flat-lining hope is fading and life has gone. Also Jesus used a lot of signs when he was alive and it vital to see the signs that God sends us.
through. For example the song 'Throw Away' is about addictions and how we need to throw away things that are bad for us. We touch on subjects that other people might shy away from such as drugs, pornography, crime, gang culture, anger issues or child sex exploitation. We want to bring life and hope through our music especially to those who are struggling. Nick - There are a lot of messages! You could say the main message is that there is hope and God loves you. We didn’t believe that before but now we know it is true and want people to hear that. If you listen to Bugzy Malone, Skepta, Stormzy, Future, DJ Khaled or JayZ then you will like our music.
Why is the new album called Starving Hearts?
Marvin - There are many verses in the Bible that talk about life flowing from the heart. We believe that people’s hearts are starving and that they try to fill the void with stuff like sex, money, drugs and alcohol but these things only bring temporary satisfaction. Only God can fill the void and fulfil your needs. Hopefully the music is food for your soul!
Do you have a favourite song on Starving Hearts and why?
Marvin - I like all of them but some have grown on me through performing and seeing people’s reactions. ‘Puttin’ in work’ is a really exciting up tempo song and I like ‘Don’t suffer in silence’ because it addresses mental health issues and problems in general. It encourages people not to ‘suffer in silence’ but to get help because God is with you and thinks you are valuable. Nick - I like everything but I guess I’d say ‘Throw it away’ because it is a reminder to get rid of stuff that is bad rather than holding on to it. As a Christian I can see that addiction is an evil, horrible thing and people are slaves to it. People are addicted to all sorts of things, not just drugs and alcohol, that they need to throw away so they can move on but it can be difficult because they often provide security, identity and familiarity.
When did you become a Christian?
Nick - Before I came to work at The Message I had 12 years of drug addiction and dealing. I was lost and living for what the world would tell us is the secret to happiness - sex, drugs and rock and roll! I had been raised by a Christian mum but between ‘97 and ‘99 I was heavily addicted to different drugs including crack cocaine. It was a very unstable path and I tried to kill myself several times because I owed serious amounts of money to people. I had been brought up to pray so I asked God to help me but nothing seemed different so I forgot about him. As I was about to try to commit suicide for the fourth time a friend took me for a ride in his car to drop some money off. Whilst we were there someone told me the situation I’d got myself into had been sorted; it made no sense and made me realise God had answered my prayer. I began to think there must be a purpose and plan for my life. So did everything change? I started to pursue God through church and Christian friends, I guess I tried to incorporate Jesus into my life but I didn’t have a relationship with him so I fell back into
a life of crime and drugs. This carried on for years until one day in 2008 when I woke up knowing I had to go to church. I’d been to various events over the previous year and that morning I just couldn’t shake off the need to go. I believed in God but wanted to live my life on my terms. A man was talking about God and how Jesus was coming back to the earth. He was giving people messages from God and then he said, ‘There is someone here who isn’t a Christian and I need to pray for you!’ I didn’t think it was me but then I felt a ‘check’ in my heart and I was thinking, ‘OK, God I’m done with this life, I’m tired of living my way so if this is me I need to know so let him look me in the eyes!’ I believed in hell and I didn’t want to be going there so I surrendered my life as best as I knew how which for me meant giving up the right to be cool and not being bothered about what other people thought of me. Then the guy asked if anyone was called Nick and I froze, I was still thinking there must be someone else called Nick but then I heard a voice say, ‘This is what you asked for son.’ I now know that was the Holy Spirit speaking to me but at the time I was a bit freaked out. I went to the front and the guy told me God loved me and knew me even before I was born. It was hard to take in that God could love an addicted drug dealer like me but I surrendered my life to Jesus because I had encountered him in such an amazing way. Did you start going to church? To start with I used to go after the service and spend time with the minister. He looked at the book of Corinthians with me which talks about who we are in Christ. All my life I had been told I was a bad lad and yet the Bible was saying I was a new creation, I was holy because of Jesus. I stopped selling drugs and smoking weed and felt I needed to tell people about this Jesus, who I hadn’t been too sure about, who had changed my life! I enquired about working for The Message and the rest is history…
Marvin - I have been a Christian for 3 years. I grew up on
a rough estate and some of my friends broke into houses, were into drugs; some eventually moved on to armed robbery and were involved with gangs. I was associated with the gang by friendship rather than being part of it. Unfortunately a rival gang didn’t see the difference and were after me and my friend. It wasn’t a situation where you can sit down and have a chat, people were getting threatened, shot and stabbed. I had a reputation for fighting and not being scared but it is different when it’s not a fair fight. Did you get hurt then? No, looking back it was miraculous. I sometimes slept at a music studio and the rival gang broke in looking to attack my friend. They were wearing masks and had guns, I thought my time was up as they would have shot first and asked questions later! They looked in every room in the warehouse apart from where I was. I’d always believed in God and this got me thinking. The gang were still after me and I did what a lot of people do, I prayed an emergency prayer, ‘Help me!’ Contd overleaf
I couldn’t go and speak to the gang to explain but someone mutual spoke to them and came back and told me everything was sorted. I was still wary as I knew people can say things they don’t really mean but I saw a couple of them in town the next week and they were fine. I was getting ready to run but they just acknowledged me and went on their way. What else happened to make you think about God? My girlfriend and I should have been on one of the trains involved in the bombings that rocked London in 2007. It was the route we took yet somehow we both overslept even though we had set our alarms. We woke up to the news of the devastation. I had to have a throat operation to remove a polyp from my vocal cord. It was very painful and the doctor warned me I might have to learn to talk again. I was devastated to think I might not be able to rap! I had to have speech therapy and it was so painful I had to take time off work. As I tried to get to sleep one night I felt this powerful, yet peaceful presence around me and I knew it was God. I started thanking him and my throat was completely healed! I knew God had turned up and healed me so I knew what God’s presence felt like but didn’t really know anything about a relationship with him. I thought being a Christian was about being religious and following rules. Then my cousin died unexpectedly in her sleep. She was only 22 and I’m sure she had plans for the next day but suddenly it was all gone. I’d been going to church on and off and I guess I was thinking I’d give my life to God when I was ready but this made me think maybe I didn’t have all the time in the world. It threw me and I went off the rails with smoking weed, drinking and girls. I hadn’t given my life to God although I knew he was real. Then I started
having panic attacks and I remember saying to God that he could have my life because nothing I was doing was helping. I started going back to church and a year after my cousin died I gave my life to God, got baptised and it’s an ongoing process.
How does your faith affect your daily life?
Marvin - In a major way! It is the driving force that we live for not just a 9-5 or Sunday type thing. From the minute we wake up faith is important because it changes how you view things. Nick - The reality of living with the Holy Spirit inside you each day completely changes everything. You see things differently because you have a relationship with God How amazing is it that the creator of the universe lives in me!
What is your favourite take away?
Nick - I had curry last night, I think that would be my choice. You need to have a few people round to get the pizza vibe but I know what Marvin will say! Marvin - Pizza - I can eat a 10” by myself, so pizza at the moment.
What would you not be able to live without if you were a castaway on a desert island?
Marvin - The obvious answer is Jesus but he is in me so I wouldn’t be without him so I’d say some sort of music. I’d probably be rapping to myself so maybe an iPod or phone so I could write some crazy albums… Nick - Have I got food? If there is food then the only thing I’d be missing is a wife. If I didn’t have a wife then I’d want food!
Where is your favourite place to get away from it all?
Marvin - there are lots of places I like to go to get away from it all. I have family in New York, Grenada and more locally Barrow in Furness so I find it easy to chill in these places even though they are very different. I’m glad there isn’t anywhere we can go that God isn’t with us though! Nick - I don’t have a specific place but I would love to go to Iran. I have been to a few places but there is nowhere particular that I’d like to go back to. When I’ve been to a few more places I’ll let you know which is my favourite.
Are you good at throwing stuff away?
Nick - I throw away! Marvin - I need to throw some stuff away now. I give clothes and other bits to charity. If you aren’t using it then there is no point in keeping it but it can be difficult to part with sentimental items like stuff I’ve written and awards I won at school so I do keep those.
Have any throw away comments really affected you?
Marvin - Unfortunately people often don’t think what they are saying and it can be hurtful but I think it comes down to perspective. I try to remember that my value comes from Jesus and not what people think of me. When people say something that previously would have
angered or upset me I now try and react with love. So I guess how I handle those situations has changed.
What is your favourite bible verse and why?
Nick - I wouldn’t say I have a favourite because different ones are relevant at different times. I do however love 2 Corinthians 5 v 17 which talks about us being a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come! That was really powerful for me as a new Christian as I couldn’t believe I was ‘new’. I knew I had a lot of bad stuff from my past so it was amazing to realise God saw me as brand new because of Jesus. If you want to understand being ‘new’ have a look at Romans 5. Reading the bible is an important part of growing as a Christian because as you read it and think about what it says your mind is renewed and you start to see things and think differently. Marvin - I agree with Nick that there is great power in understanding that Jesus gives us a new nature. I love it that you can read the bible over and over and see different things each time. I am often reminded of Philippians 4 v 6 which talks about us not needing to be anxious or worried but to pray about everything. That is a great thing to remember!
You can check out more about Nick, Marvin and Vital Signs @ www.vitalsignscollective.com
liners! HAThrow HAaway HAoneHA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA HA HA HA H It is good to laugh and there are plenty of jokes out there. Some comedians are known for their stories, others for their rude brand of humour and others for their one liners. There is even a category at the Edinburgh Festival for the best ‘Throw Away’ line and being voted ‘Best Joke’ is a really big deal. Here are a few from recent years… My dad has suggested that I register for a donor card. He’s a man after my own heart. Masai Graham 2016 I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans-free. Darren Walsh 2015 I’ve decided to sell my Hoover … well, it was just collecting dust. Tim Vine 2014
I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa. Rob Auton 2013
What do we want!? More research into a cure for ADHD! When do we want it? Let’s play swingball! Joe Lycett 2012 I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Nick Helm 2011
On a more serious note what will I be remembered for…? What difference am I making to other people’s lives? Do they feel good in my company or do I, like a bad joke, make people feel uncomfortable?
Worth a moment to think about but here are some more one liners to make you laugh, hopefully!
When my daughter was born she had jaundice, she was small, round and yellow. we called her Melony. Milton Jones My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
I changed my password to “incorrect”. So whenever I forget what it is the computer will say “Your password is incorrect”. Wife: “I look fat. Can you give me a compliment?” Husband: “You have perfect eyesight.”
Politicians and nappies have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA They’re always telling me to live my dreams. But I don’t want to be naked in an exam I haven’t revised for... Grace The Child I asked my North Korean friend how it was there, he said he couldn’t complain. A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
Venison’s dear, isn’t it? Jimmy Carr
I saw a sign that said “watch for children” and I thought, “That sounds like a fair trade.”
I was at an ATM and this old lady asked me to help check her balance, so I pushed her over.
Standing in the park, I was wondering why a Frisbee gets larger the closer it gets. Then it hit me. Stewart Francis
I got an odd-job man in. He was useless. Gave him a list of eight things to do and he only did numbers one, three, five and seven. Stephen Grant I had an argument with one of the seven dwarfs. He wasn’t happy. Rebecca Humphries The early bird gets the worm but the late worm gets to live. Jonny Lennard
Hedgehogs - why can’t they just share the hedge? Dan Antolpolski I have kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it. Ken Dodd
Instead of “the John,” I call my toilet “the Jim.” That way it sounds better when I say I go to the Jim first thing every morning. Rudy T. Monkey
A man got hit in the head with a can of Coke, but he was alright because it was a soft drink. Two fish are in a tank. One says, “Hey, do you know how to drive this thing?” I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Becoming a vegetarian is a huge missed steak.
I’m very good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet. I don’t know why. Chris Turner When I call a family meeting I turn off the house wifi and wait for them all to come running.
A man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him glass of water. A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.
Away Supporters! There are different types of supporters. There are the ‘sit at home and watch it on the telly’ types, the supporters who go to every home game and then the ‘die hard’ supporters who go to every away game as well. These last ones are really committed to their team and are out supporting them at every opportunity. Of course not everyone has the luxury of being able to travel to away matches or own a season ticket but how we live life can be viewed in a similar way. Are you the sort of person who watches life go by from a distance? Do you eagerly ‘follow your team’ when it doesn’t mean too much disruption for you? Or are you really committed to your ‘cause’ no matter what anyone else thinks? Take a look at the questions below and see what sort of person you are! Your team is playing away, do you….. A) Stop at home? B) Travel to see them wherever the game is? C) Depends how far away it is - there is always the tv? Friends are having an argument, do you…… A) Not get involved at all? B) Wade in and try to stop them? C) Try to see it from both sides and offer constructive advice? The season is changing, do you…... A) Not notice? B) Start wearing different clothes straight away? C) Change your wardrobe gradually as the weather has a habit of being fickle? You are having a party, do you..…. A) Only invite very close friends and people who you think will make you look popular? B) Invite anyone and everyone? C) Invite friends and try to include some people who are often left out? At school, do you…... A) Only talk to your friends, why bother with anyone else? B) Talk to everyone? C) Mostly talk to friends but are polite and kind to everyone? On your ‘favourite’ bands album, do you…... A) Only know the popular ones? B) Know every word of every song? C) Listen to them all at various times but have some favourites? Your friends are involved with a project to improve your local environment, do you… A) Not get involved, it’s too much effort? B) Offer to help with anything and everything and end up taking over? C) Help when you can and offer constructive advice when asked?
For social events, do you…… A) Do everything very last minute, that’s if you remember at all? B) Have everything planned down to the last detail ages beforehand? C) Get most things organised early but always have a few last minute bits to sort out? At school people are talking about Christianity, do you…… A) Pretend you haven’t heard and avoid them? B) Tell everyone what you believe whether they are interested or not? C) Say what you think and allow others to have an opinion too? At a party, do you…… A) Try and blend in with the background? B) Take centre stage and show off at any opportunity? C) Be yourself - sometimes loud, sometimes quiet? Your friend needs some help, do you…… A) Pretend you have something urgent to do so you can’t help them? B) Offer your help but take over and try to boss everyone around? C) Offer to help and ask what they would like you to do? A teacher asks for help, do you…… A) Pretend you didn’t hear and leave class as quickly as possible? B) Volunteer straight away and try and coerce others to do so? C) Depends who the teacher is but generally you offer to do something? Friends from your old school want to stay in touch, do you…… A) Ignore them, you’ve got new friends now? B) Try and involve them with everything? C) Spend time with each set of friends and occasionally mix the groups? You are at your friend’s house, do you…… A) Expect them to entertain you? B) Tell them what to do and make all the decisions? C) Have fun whilst deciding what to do together? Did you get a mixture of answers or did one stand out? Take a look below…… If you answered mostly A - Well you aren’t known for being supportive and helpful. If you were
supporting a team it would be from a distance with as little effort from you as possible and certainly not involving anything that might put you out. Life tends to focus round what you need and want rather than a more open, inclusive view that involves thinking of others as well as yourself. If you were ever at a match you’d probably be too busy with your own stuff to actually encourage or support your team. Maybe you need to refocus…?
If you answered mostly B - You are keen to be involved with everything and anything. But be careful
you aren’t a bundle of fire that can be hard to control. Your enthusiasm can be a bit daunting and overshadow others, occasionally leading to you being too bossy! So still be enthusiastic but bear in mind that sometimes people just want support rather than you taking over. Don’t be like those overwhelming parents at sports fixtures that try and tell everybody what they should be doing - it’s ok just to sit back and enjoy things.
If you answered mostly C - You seem to have found the balance between support and taking over. You try and encourage others with what they are doing without needing to march in and completely dominate a situation. You are not afraid to offer advice but are happy to watch and enjoy rather than attempting to referee all the time. You are keen for the team to do well and are happy to be a team player rather than a lone ranger!
NO WAY OUT! After a rough start to life things didn’t improve for Peter Gladwin, in fact his life story appears to be one disaster after another that eventually led him to the side of a bridge in Halifax when he felt there was NO WAY OUT. Thankfully God had other plans and his life was transformed when his sister told him about Jesus. We asked Peter to tell us his story...
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do now?
burns and the left side of my face was terribly scarred. Not a great start in life! I was in hospital for three and a half years for operations and physio. Till the age of I am married to Sarah and we have 3 gorgeous kids. 7 I was in a wheelchair and I was in pain a lot of the I am a full time evangelist which means I go all over the world telling people the good news about Jesus. I time. I wondered if it would ever stop. The callipers have just come back from Australia and we do a lot of I had to wear were uncomfortable but they helped me walk again. work in UK churches, Polish prisons and orphanages; we have even been nominated for a government award for our work in Poland. We have also been to Canada, South Korea and India. We go whenever and What was your family life like? wherever we are given the opportunity to tell people I grew up in a very rough area of west Yorkshire. the good news about Jesus. There were a lot of drugs, crime, violence, alcoholism, and immorality. My dad didn’t work due to illness and had a problem with drink and gambling. He and Mum were always fighting, especially over the fire, with Can you fill us in on your early childhood? each blaming the other! So home life was pretty grim As a child I was involved in a very serious house fire. with poverty and stress being huge factors. I did have I had been placed on the rug in front of a coal fire friends but we were all in the same poverty trap so while my mum just nipped next door. A burning piece many of us were thieves and worse. By the age of 10 of coal fell out of the fire and onto the carpet starting all nine children were put in care because my parents a fire. My sister who had been in the kitchen couldn’t couldn’t cope. I have forgiven my parents but even reach me so ran for my mum but my mum couldn’t they would admit they weren’t great role models. My get to me either as the front door had shut behind my role models were older lads on the estate who were sister! The fire service turned up and hosed the front fighters and druggies. It is a miracle I survived at all. room down expecting me to be dead. Instead they heard a faint whimpering from under a sheet of plaster that had fallen from the roof and covered me. That plaster actually saved my life though it didn’t prevent me getting badly burnt. Both my feet had to be partially amputated, my body and legs suffered 65%
Did life get better or worse as you got older?
How did you become a Christian then?
Unfortunately it didn’t improve. At 13 I spent 3 months inside for theft and was then on probation. When I was 15 a friend and I were on a bus and a gang of 16 lads got on. My friend had already had an altercation with them at a club and as a result they beat us up. One pulled a knife and stabbed my mate in the back then, as he lunged towards my chest with this blade, I managed to turn away but he stabbed me in my right arm. The knife went in so deep that he severed the tendons in my right arm. I was in hospital for four months and lost the use of my hand for two and a half years. I remember thinking,
It was incredible really! I’d lost my girlfriend and three year old son, I’d gambled all my furniture and woke up one Sunday after a drinking, gambling binge wondering what I’d done. I felt guilty and remorseful as I looked round my empty house. I decided I’d had enough and went to a bridge in Halifax where the eighty-foot drop would have ended it all. I was on the edge when I spotted my mum’s block of flats out of the corner of my eye and something inside me said, ‘Don’t do it yet, go and see your mum!’ So I did. She had never seen me in such a state as I’d always put on a mask, pretending everything was fine. I told her how I felt there was no way out for me because I couldn’t get off drugs or stop gambling. She made me a cup of tea and rang my sister who I didn’t know had become a Christian just eight weeks before. A guy had walked into her butchers shop asking if he could put
‘Why me? What have I done so wrong that my life is such a mess?’ When I came out of hospital I turned to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain. It didn’t work because although drugs promise everything they deliver nothing. I was a total mess for years after that and my late teens were spent being drunk, immoral and gambling.
Surely nothing else went wrong...? It seems unbelievable but at 24 I was drunk one night in the city centre and was thrown 16 feet in the air by a ‘hit and run’ driver! I was left for dead with a smashed skull and right femur and the rest of my body a mess. It all just felt so crazy -- ‘Why was life hammering me again?’ Then at 27 my dad committed suicide after years of depression, drinking and gambling. My life just seemed to be one disaster after another and I felt broken and that there was no way out for me. I had no chance of recovery.
What did you think about God at that time? I remember seeing people going to church and feeling envious. I thought they were nice people with nice clothes who’d got their lives sorted when mine was a complete mess but I didn’t really think about God at all.
up a poster advertising a local Christian event. She’d agreed and as he left he told her that one day she would become a Christian. She didn’t know what to make of him and didn’t think any more about it until she spotted him a few weeks later going into a church. She went in to see what it was all about and became a Christian! She told me over the phone that Jesus had a plan for my life and could restore my life as well as breaking the chains of gambling, drugs and alcohol. In those few minutes I gave my life to Jesus and it is something I will never forget. I saw a vision of Jesus standing in the corner of the room holding his hands out to me saying, ‘Come to me and I will give you rest.’ She took me to church that evening and I saw Jesus again, this time standing behind the minister. I went forward for prayer and in the background the song Amazing Grace was playing:
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. God opened my eyes to see that Jesus is alive and we can have a personal relationship with God through him.
Has it been easy since then? It’s not been easy but it has been an incredible journey. I’m alcohol, gambling and drug free, I have a new mind and heart, a beautiful wife and kids, I’m free from the pain of the past and have written 2 books and most importantly I have the privilege of sharing Jesus with people. If someone had told me all this when I was at my lowest I wouldn’t have believed them because it seemed impossible but God always has a plan. After 2 years God called me to go to Bible college, where I met my wife and managed to graduate despite my academic failings. In fact God can use your failings to reach other people because you understand where they are coming from. I worked in a drug and alcohol rehab facility, then took a job with the probation service. I thought with my criminal record I wouldn’t even get an interview but I felt God prompting me so I applied. I was tempted to lie about previous convictions but knew I had to tell the truth so ticked the ‘yes’ box. I did put I would like to discuss this further if selected for interview and amazingly I got the job having been on probation myself as a 13 year old. I also did some work with young offenders and at a prison before working as a court liaison officer, mixing with judges and lawyers, providing the courts with the necessary information regarding sentencing!
It has all been an incredible turn around, quite literally God has taken me out of the ashes! How did the charity ‘Out of Ashes’ develop? In 2007 I felt God call me to set up ‘Out of Ashes’ and it is now a global charity with twelve people on the team. It has been an amazing vehicle to share the good news that Jesus can transform lives. It has all been through the grace of God in our lives, my capabilities took me to a bridge, but thankfully Jesus had other plans! Instead of throwing myself off the bridge I threw myself on Jesus and he still leads and guides me each day. It is not always an easy journey and many times I’ve let him down but he has never let me down. I take any opportunity, whether that is magazines, TV or radio, to share how a relationship with God can transform life. In one Polish prison I was sharing this good news and one of the inmates started screaming at me. I thought I’d said something to upset him but the warden told me he was asking why nobody had told him about Jesus before! Jesus wants to give you peace, security and life to the full. That sums up what he has done for me - taken me out of the fire and given me new life!
What is your new book, ‘Out of the Darkest Place’ about? My new book is based on the biblical story of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9. He was taken from the royal palace at a young age and dropped by his nursemaid, which left him crippled in both feet. He spends his life in a desolate place called Lo Debar. The book looks at how we can all end up in dark places where God seems distant but that God is working all the time in the background - he hasn’t forgotten us.
There is no place we can go or anything we can do that can prevent God loving us and having a comeback plan. God offers security, comfort, strength and peace and can rescue us from any dark place!
What would you say to someone who questions that Jesus is the only way? Well, I say that Christianity is unique because Jesus is
Do you have a favourite Bible verse that has kept you going?
1 Samuel 2 v 8 - ‘He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.’ I’ve come from the scrapheap and ashes both physically and spiritually!
What is your favourite take away? A good Indian curry - pretty boring!
What could you not do without if you were a castaway? I’d love to say my Bible but would have to say my family!
Where do you like to go to get away from it all? I like to walk around Salisbury plain with my wife.
the only person that has risen from the dead and said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ There is so much Are you good at throwing things away or are confusion now, so many supposedly good ways to you a hoarder? choose and people do have to make a choice. I can throw things away unlike my wife who is the hoarder!
Jesus was either a complete lunatic or he was The Way! You can contact Peter via Many different accounts of his life, from all different perspectives, all point to the truth that he is the way.
Any throw away comments that have really impacted you? An old man once told me that Christianity is like playing darts; you start hitting the door then you start hitting the board, then the doubles, then the trebles and eventually the bullseye. You need to keep on walking with God even if it seems like you are hitting the door or missing the bullseye. This has helped me continue when things have been tough.
Away with the Fairies...? Some people would tell you that Christianity and believing in God is for people who are ‘away with the fairies!’ In other words it’s only make believe and not wor th their thought or time. They relegate God to the same position as Father Christmas, the Easter bunny or Fairies - the stuff of childhood stories but not for rational, scientific, intelligent people.
What do you think? Have you ever considered whether God is real?
If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead where was the body?
After all nobody could really have risen from the dead could they…?
The Roman soldiers didn’t take it or they would have produced it when the disciples claimed he had risen. The same is true of the Jewish leaders, they had nothing to gain by hiding the body. What about the disciples you might ask.? Well plenty of them died horrible deaths refusing to deny the resurrection, would they have done so if they knew it was a lie?
But what about looking at the alternatives?
So what are we left with?
Or whether Jesus is who he claims to be? Or have you just ignored the question because you think it isn’t important?
In the words of Sherlock Holmes, ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’
‘Away with the fairies’ or a logical conclusion? What do you think?
WHEN YOU’VE BEEN AWAY....
I spend far too much time sitting on motorways, in my car, not literally of course. On route home from a gig this week I glanced at my Sat Nav to find the ETA saying 01.00AM. This is nothing unusual and my wife is used to me stumbling around the house in the dark, trying not to wake a baby or step on the cat. After multiple diversions and midnight traffic queues the ETA was prolonged for an additional 2 hours, making it a 3AM arrival home. My heart sank as I used one hand to find the Kit Kat bar I had purchased for that extra boost of sugar rush at this time of need. Reading service station has become like a second home to me. I’ve drunk their coffee, used their toilet & they’ve even tweeted me personally! I feel like we are no longer acquaintances, but friends. Whilst I’ve grown to enjoy service stations and love visiting places across the UK, there is nothing like coming home when you’ve been away for how ever short a time.
story of the Prodigal Son, a young man who left home and wasted all that his father had given him. Similarly, God created us to be in relationship with him, to live life in all it’s fullness by following his instructions, but we have often chosen to run away from God’s great plans and desires for us. This, without a doubt, leads to dissatisfaction, meaning we search for it in other places, with no success.
The great news is that, even though we’ve run away, God is still calling us home and when we choose to return, he welcomes us back with open arms and throws the greatest party in history.
Don’t stay away from God - he is just waiting for you to come home!
Nothing brings me more joy than hearing my Sat Nav lady say the words... ‘You’ve arrived at your destination’, albeit sometimes a little early, but hey, right there is an opportunity for a surprise visit to the neighbours! Many people today have not yet returned home spiritually. In the Bible Luke tells the
Give it Away!
‘Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more.’ These are the lyrics of a song we used to sing at school. They might be a bit corny but there is certainly an element of truth to them. Do you really love someone or something if you don’t actually act in a way that shows it? Love isn’t just a feeling it should be an action! In the Bible it says, ‘Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions’ 1 John 3 v 18. If we love someone it should show in the way we behave. The quotes below all contain the word AWAY - Take a look at them and see if you agree with the ideas… We should never let material things get ahead of God or become so important in our lives that we can’t walk away from them if He tells us to. Anything you own that has a hold on you is a problem. Joyce Meyer A good snapshot stops a moment from running away. Eudora Welty Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. Mark Twain
Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away. Charles Caleb Colton For me, personally, when I’m afraid of something - when you’re afraid of something, normally you try to go away, you try to avoid it. Instead of avoiding it, to overcome your fear, I believe you need to embrace it. Georges St-Pierre Her friends say she is very funny. At a family dinner, she stood to go, and the footman very properly pulled her chair away. At that moment I asked her a question and she sat down again, except there was no chair. Everyone, including the Queen, laughed and laughed. Prince Andrew I’ll admit it: I’m a control freak. I am. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it 110% or there’s no point in doing it at all, especially if the work takes me away from time with my husband and children. Victoria Beckham Do what you love; you’ll be better at it. It sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this one right away. LL Cool J The magician and the politician have much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing. Ben Okri
If I have made an appointment with you, I owe you punctuality, I have no right to throw away your time, if I do my own. Richard Cecil
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. Ronald Reagan
In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer. Sometimes my prayer was ‘Help me.’ Sometimes a prayer was ‘Thank you.’ What I’ve discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my Creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away. Iyanla Vanzant When I come home, my daughter will run to the door and give me a big hug, and everything that’s happened that day just melts away. Hugh Jackman
You take away all the other luxuries in life, and if you can make someone smile and laugh, you have given the most special gift: happiness. Brad Garrett Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Steve Jobs
One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! Winston Churchill Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away. Elvis Presley
Running away will never make you free. Kenny Loggins It’s important to celebrate your failures as much as your successes. If you celebrate your failures really well, and if you get to the motto and say, ‘Wow, I failed, I tried, I was wrong, I learned something,’ then you realize you have no fear, and when your fear goes away, you can move the world. Sebastian Thrun
I had a dream that my dad passed away and that Jesus came into the room and he was basically knocking on my door, saying, ‘Hey, you need to find out more about me.’ So that Sunday morning I ended up going to church, and that’s when I got saved. Russell Wilson The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. B. B. King As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion. Antisthenes A bell’s not a bell ‘til you ring it, A song’s not a song ‘til you sing it, Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, Love isn’t love ‘til you give it away! Oscar Hammerstein II As a young boy growing up in rural India, most of what I knew of the world was what I could see around me. But each night, I would look at the moon - it was impossibly far away, yet it held a special attraction because it allowed me to dream beyond my village and country, and think about the rest of the world and space. Naveen Jain
From a young age Linvoy thought he knew what would bring him happiness and satisfaction - he wanted to be a professional footballer. But he discovered that fame, money and your dream job don’t always live up to expectations. Becoming a Christian has changed his perspective and he has found the contentment he was looking for in another way.
He tells us about his journey… Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Linvoy Primus and I’m a former professional footballer. Having retired 6 years ago I now speak at lots of events, sharing my faith or encouraging others, and do voluntary work with Christians in Sport in terms of mentoring. I also work with a design company developing technology for learning.
Did you always want to be a footballer?
From around the age of 8 I knew that was the pathway I was going to go down, but I didn’t know how far I’d get. Back then the avenues to get into professional football weren’t publicised as much so it was a case of playing footie with friends and hoping one day to play professionally. At 14 I had the opportunity to go further when I was scouted by Charlton so my dream was coming closer.
Was it an easy journey to becoming a professional?
No, I think you realise once you are in the set up that there are a lot of good footballers and they all want the same thing. You experience a different form of pressure because the opportunity to become a professional is close and you don’t want to make mistakes, you want to please the manager and you have to
overcome any insecurities over your own ability. I guess that is a life thing really, the path to success, whatever that looks like, takes hard work and has lots of ups and downs. It was a challenge to stay fit and be consistently good rather than bad!
What teams did you play for?
I started with Charlton from the age of 1420, then Barnet, Reading and Portsmouth, where I was for 10 years.
Can you tell us about your football journey?
I signed my first professional contract when I was 18. It was a dream come true especially when there were 60-80 lads who had all trained together hoping for the 2 spots that were available! But having got a contract that was when the hard work starts because I was up against men rather than boys in terms of team mates and opponents. I struggled with injuries and wondered if I would ever make it to the next level.
questioning life in general. Then I got an offer from Portsmouth and we thought we could start again somewhere new and when I got to the end of my career I could play golf because that’s what footballers do! Life was ok for a few months but then Trish was unwell again and although I was playing footie all the enjoyment had gone from it; it was just a job rather than something I really loved. I suffered from injury so sometimes I played well and sometimes I didn’t.
So how did you become a Christian?
So I was doing something I loved but it was challenging and stressful too. Then at 20 I was told they weren’t going to renew my contract and I was devastated. It is horrible to be told you aren’t good enough and are no longer required. So for the next 8 years I played with a lot of fear; I was trying to please everyone and frightened of making mistakes. I became a different person to mask the pain I was feeling and I played with anger instead of enjoyment. I signed for Reading so we moved out of London, bought a house and a car and had our second child. So on the outside everything looked great and you’d think I’d be happy but I was still dissatisfied and wanting to prove Charlton wrong for letting me go. At the end of my contract with Reading I thought of finishing football; my wife wasn’t well, we were lonely and I’d been ripped off a couple of times by agents. It felt as if people were friends with us just because I was a footballer rather than really caring about us as people and we considered going back to London where people knew us for who we really were. I guess I was
We were introduced to some people who were Christians and they invited us to church. To be honest I thought of church as a cold building with a boring guy speaking to old people but went with them. I was surprised that it was a modern building and people were smiling. Then a guy got up to speak and spoke about how he’d had everything in life but still felt empty. I was fascinated because he could have been talking about me but then he said that Jesus had changed his life and I was a somewhat sceptical. I left with a lot of questions so I asked my fellow footballer Darren Moore about his faith. I knew there was something different about the guy at church and Darren; I could just see peace and contentment in their eyes. In the end I just thought to myself, ‘I need what they’ve got!’ I’d thought football was going to give me happiness but even with fame, money and the ensuing lifestyle it didn’t give me peace - but Jesus did. I recognised that God wanted a relationship with me and that Jesus had died on the cross to make that possible. So I said a prayer and asked Jesus into my life. Nothing dramatic happened but 6 weeks later when I had a knee injury Darren and the team chaplain, Mick Mellows, prayed for me and I was healed. It was a real encounter with Jesus and I knew he was real. I remember telling Jesus I’d do whatever he wanted me to and I felt totally at peace.
Did becoming a Christian affect your football?
Yes, it did. I began playing for God rather than just for myself or the team. Early on Mick gave me a Bible verse that talked about doing everything to please God rather than man and that kept me going when things were tough. There were times when I didn’t make the team or other players would laugh at me for being a Christian but I learnt not to take it personally and trust God. contd over leaf...
By the end of the year those same players were asking me to pray for them and we were soon having prayer meetings and Bible studies as 9 players had become Christians or joined the club as one. We even held Alpha courses for the fans. Football became what it should have been, a really enjoyably sport to play but the main thing for me was representing Jesus.
Have you ever felt like turning away from your faith?
Retiring has been a huge challenge for me and my family because our identity was so tied up in football and it has been hard to rediscover ourselves. Parts of that journey have been difficult and I have questioned what is going on or why things are happening but I have never been tempted to turn away! I have had too many encounters with Jesus and seen what he has done in other people’s lives to doubt his existence and love for me, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t cried, screamed and questioned at times. God has brought me on an incredible journey and sometimes you just have to trust him!
How does being a Christian affect your way of life?
I wake up every day being thankful for sleep, the new day, my family etc. I also read my Bible and then pray whilst walking the dogs! I try to apply and live by what the Bible teaches and what God says to me through it. I don’t always manage it and sometimes I realise I haven’t spoken to God much that day. I try and include him as much as possible even in silly things like getting my train on time, being aware of people’s needs and everyday stuff. It is something I am working on!
How do you deal with things when life seems to be running away from you?
That is what’s happening at the moment and again it’s something I’m working on. Generally I try and work stuff out myself and then if I’m getting frustrated or struggling, I will eventually call out to God. What I should be doing is asking him to help from the start, but that is a difficult thing to learn. I realise I need to work on it because I know deep down that God knows best and has all the answers so why do I try to deal with stuff in my own strength…?
Have you any examples of when it has looked as if there is no way through a situation and God has provided a way?
About 2 years after I became a Christian a pastor’s son wrote thanking me for speaking because it had helped him and gave me this Bible verse, Jeremiah 29 v 11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ It really came alive to me because I understood for the first time that God had a plan for me and that has helped me in tough times. When I retired I became an ambassador for Portsmouth FC but was made redundant after 2 years. It was quite a shock and the supporters and staff took it badly but I was ok because I was thinking, ‘OK God what have you got next?’ I believe that if he closes one door he will open another and it was at this time that I started to do talks on a regular basis because I had the time. In the last few years I have spoken at more than 500 events around the world, something I’d never have envisaged but God opened the door for me. Rather than worrying that there was no way through redundancy or nothing for me to do I just waited to see what God would do!
Any examples of times when God has taken things away that have turned out to be good for you and your family?
I wouldn’t say God took football away but when it went, which it was always going to do at some point, it turned out to be good for us as a family. It was and always will be a big part of our lives but now our identity is so much more than just football. For me it has allowed my passion for mentoring, speaking and seeing young people fulfil their potential flourish. If I had stayed in football those attributes might have stayed hidden…
Any throw away comments that have really impacted you?
Well the obvious one is my Bible and if I’m allowed anything else the whole set up of Sky TV with electricity as well….
Where do you like to go to get away from it all?
I like to walk along the beach or in the forests near where we live.
Are you good at throwing things away or you a hoarder? I’d say a mix. If I get a moment I will go for it and throw stuff out but occasionally I will hoard so a bit of both! www.linvoyprimus.com
People often say I’ve got a real gift for speaking and communicating. When people first started saying it I wondered whether they were just being nice and didn’t really mean it. As I have travelled around more people have said it so I started to believe it and see it as confirmation of what I should be doing. A negative comment, which made me think about how I approach stuff, is that sometimes people say I’m too ‘full on’. In the past this might have made me give up talking about my faith but I just can’t help it. If people are asking questions I give them straight answers. I really enjoy it because I can see how God changes people’s lives.
Do you have a favourite bible verse that has kept you going? There are a few at the moment. Jeremiah 29 v 11 talks about God having a plan for my life, to give me a purpose and a future. Psalm 20 v 4 - ‘May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.’ And another that seems to cropping up a lot at the moment is Isaiah 60 v 1 ‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.’ Someone gave me that with a word of prophecy they had for me and it seems to be coming to life again as we are moving into new stuff and trusting God to lead us.
What is your favourite take away?
I’d have to say Indian. The rest of my family don’t like it so I don’t get it often.
What could you not do without if you were a castaway?
Up, Up and Away! Sometimes it is nice to get away from things. When it’s cold and miserable here, which is quite often because we live in Manchester, it’s lovely to imagine sitting on a beach somewhere hot and sunny with nothing to do but soak up some rays. Sometimes it’s people we want to get away from! Maybe we are upset with someone or they are annoyed with us, but whichever it is we would like to be somewhere else, anywhere in fact where we can guarantee not to bump into them. It is not so easy with God - the Bible tells us that there is nowhere we can hide where God can’t see us (Psalm 139 v 7 - 12). We can’t run away from God! But the great thing is that God loves us. He is not wanting to beat us with a big stick for messing up, he wants to forgive us and help us start again but we have to ask. So don’t let pride or a misconception of God stop you from coming to him - he loves us and wants to show us how to live our life in the best way possible.
AWAY IN A MANGER
Don’t ever be deceived into thinking that you aren’t good enough or worth anything! Jesus came into our world because he loves you! He came as a baby, away in a manger, with the sole purpose of dying to save you. It wasn’t a plan that went wrong or an unexpected hiccup, dying was always where his life was leading. Thankfully the plan didn’t end there and you and I can have a relationship with God himself because Jesus didn’t just die, he rose again.
God thinks you are worth it…
We all have dreams of how we would like life to be but often reality is far away from them. The film, Trolls, revolves around a typically optimistic troll called Poppy and her mission to rescue her friends. They have been captured by the Bergens, who are only happy when they have Trolls in their stomachs! She is helped on her adventure by Branch, an overly anxious and grumpy troll. They must work together to bring back their friends and there is no shortage of musical mash-ups along the way! Are you more like Poppy who sees everything as an opportunity and through positive eyes? Or are you like Branch who always imagines the worse and sees problems even when there arenâ€™t any?
Life is full of uncertainties and problems and no one is immune, but how we deal with them is important. Do you believe God can help you in the situations you face and more importantly have you asked him to do so....? Photo credits: Twentieth Century Fox
A Way Through... We have known Gemma for a long time! In fact it was Gemma who started JAM magazine over 15 years ago. Gemma has been working on a new project called ‘Be Loved’, a course aimed at inspiring each individual to pursue their identity through the bible, and which provides a safe space to explore positive life choices. We asked Gemma about her story, life choices and how God has provided a way through… A bit of background… I grew up in Poynton and now live in Heald Green with my hubby Mark and 2 children who are 8 and 6. A long time ago I was the founder of JAM magazine!
Why did you set up JAM? I did a fashion degree and in my last year I had to choose between fashion design and styling. I was really interested in teen magazines so I did work experience with a well known one in London. I loved it but I didn’t like some of the content. When I finished I had to decide between moving to London or staying in Manchester. I felt that moving to London wouldn’t be good for my recommitted faith so I stayed in Manchester. Whilst at a Christian conference they got all the young people up on the stage and prayed over them and at that moment I had the idea to start the mag so I did.
So when did you become a Christian? My Mum had always believed in God but didn’t go to church every Sunday. She flitted around but then found one that became her home when I was 13. I went along occasionally if I wasn’t horse riding. Then at 14 I started going properly, joined the youth group, became a Christian and I got baptised when I was 16.
Has it all been easy since then? No! It wasn’t long before I was dating one of the youth, who was a lot older than me and because I wasn’t rooted in God and didn’t have a firm faith I started to compromise. I had one foot in church and one foot going along with what all my friends were doing! I didn’t have a strong relationship with God that impacted my lifestyle till I was in my 20’s.
So what changed? I was partying too much, going out, getting drunk and into boys and things. I came to a point where I needed to make a decision which way I was going to go. I made a decision to follow Jesus and stepped away from some of my
friends and pursued God. It was difficult at the time but showing my friends I was serious about my faith led them to take a look at their lives too and they are now Christians and going to church.
How did you meet Mark?
So what did you do then?
I had set up JAM magazine and I was at a Christian concert by The World Wide Message Tribe (TWWMT), where he was the sound engineer. I recognised him as someone from my uni! I’d seen him all the time because he was in the same building as me. I didn’t remember him because I fancied him but because I was intrigued as to why this tall, skinny guy wore ridiculously baggy jeans! It turned out that he toured with TWWMT in America and got his jeans there even though they weren’t on trend here! Anyway I went up to him and started talking about uni. After the gig we all went out and that was the start of us hanging around together. I wasn’t really interested at first and just wanted to be friends! I was 22 and had just got life back on track with God, was doing JAM and been baptised for the second time. I felt close to God and I didn’t want anything to spoil that. My relationship track record wasn’t great so I was wary of getting derailed. I didn’t feel I was good at relationships and making wise decisions. I eventually realised I had feelings for him and it developed from there.
You guys adopted JAM in February and we were due to be married in the October. Dad died in the September so it was a good job I had passed on the mag because I couldn’t have coped with moving out of home, getting married and the mag on top of Dad’s death!
So why did you decide it was time to move on from JAM? Both me and my business partner Suzi were engaged and she was moving to Swansea. It would have been tough to continue by myself and then my dad was diagnosed with cancer. All I can really remember is feeling I couldn’t cope which is when you guys stepped in and took over.
Did your dad dying have a longer term impact? Yes, it did. It was a really weird time. I was getting married but I didn’t want to leave my mum and move out of our family home. My dad should have been walking me down the aisle, not my brother. People were telling me I was doing really well and being very brave. The wedding is a bit of a blur to be honest, on one hand I was really happy and yet really sad too. I didn’t feel brave, I just felt that I had to keep on going so I just put on a brave face and pretended I was coping with it all. Inside I was really angry with God! How could he let my dad die just before my wedding day…? It had a massive impact on my relationship with God.
In what way? I just went through the motions of going to church and saying everything is fine, but I didn’t pray because I was really cross with God. I didn’t want to cry and tell God how angry I felt. I stayed silent for 6 years. Then we started a new church and I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t in a good place with God and that I had some major negative issues to deal with. So I went for counselling. I also read a book called ‘Love Wins’ by Francis Chan which was very helpful as it changed my perspective on life. It talks about how, if the world and life was all a movie, my part would be tiny and I certainly wouldn’t be the main character. I’d been looking at stuff from the point of view of me being the ‘all important’ character whereas in fact life is all about our relationship with the main character Jesus! I was seeing it as my wedding being spoiled and my happily ever after ruined. But when I stepped back I could see that God had been answering my prayers, Dad had become a Christian before he died and though he had left me he had gone to be with Jesus. This new perspective made me shake myself and reassess where I was and what I was doing…I started to press back in with God and now I’ve got a really deep relationship with God the Father.
So where did ‘Be Loved’ come from? I have always done creative stuff and I worked for an agency doing creative workshops. The trouble was that the work was based in the Midlands and the South rather than up North so it meant a lot of travelling and staying over. So I decided to do one last one and then I was going to set up an Etsy shop, make some really pretty things and have a blog about how to make and mend stuff. I had this nice instagram world all worked out in my head. On the way there I had a sense that this would be significant. At first I didn’t enjoy the workshop, it was hard going. But over the week God showed me his love for those girls and when I left I cried all the way home. I felt God was saying to me that he still wanted me to work with and inspire young people. JAM had been the start of that for me but there was more to do. I started having dreams and ideas for ‘Be Loved’. At first I was thinking of writing a book but as I plotted the chapters I realised they could be sessions for a course. It took me about a year to finish but I didn’t know what to do with it so I went back to being creative and sewed for a bridal company. Then I injured both my hands and though it was a hard time for me as I couldn’t do anything creative, God used the time to nudge me into finalising the course. I prayed about it and added a journal to the course so that participants could track their progress and have something to keep as a reminder.
Are there any more ideas in the pipeline? Hopefully yes! Just waiting to see what God leads me to do next.
So you can’t use your hands for sewing at all now? I’m not supposed to, though doing a small amount should be ok if I’m careful. I have hyper mobility syndrome which affects all my joints and can lead to arthritis. My hands have been overused in positions they aren’t really supposed to be able to achieve so I have to do physio and be very controlled with my movements. But good can come from a bad situation; I never felt completely fulfilled with sewing because I was thinking, ‘Why am I doing this?’ And the answer was just for money. Now I am doing something where there is a point and I am helping people not just doing something to get paid.
Some quick-fire questions to finish…
What is your favourite take-away? All of them! No, I guess Indian is my favourite but I have started to go along lines of more authentic Indian not just the bog standard tikka masala.
What would be your favourite ‘away day’ location? We have a National Trust card so we usually go somewhere on their list, Dunham Massey is my favourite.
Are you good at throwing stuff away? I’m a hoarder who every so often will have a big clear out but then regret it! I have a lot of stuff that has come with me through the years like teddies and photo albums. I am quite sentimental.
If you were a castaway on a desert island what couldn’t you live without? Well you are usually allowed a book so I would have to say my Bible because once you have read a book you’ve read it but the Bible you can keep on reading and reading. That’s quite spiritual so I’d also want a massive supply of chocolate and some photographs.
Can you think of any ‘throw away’ comments that have had a negative impact on you? Only thing that comes to mind is that I can’t sing in tune and people tend to tease me about it so I don’t sing. So in church I can be very self-conscious because I have voices in my head from over the years like, ‘Don’t give up your day job!’ My best friend and her family all sing and we would have come in from a night out at the pub and sing in the kitchen. I’d love it but then they’d say, ‘Can you turn it down a bit Gem’ and I’d be really deflated!
What would you say to people who say Jesus can’t be the only way? If they are right and it turned out that there were other ways to God then I’d still be really happy with the way I’m living my life for him, helping people and trying my best to spread love and inspire people.
And finally do you have a favourite Bible verse that helps when things are tough? 1 John 4 v 19, We love because He first loved us! And Philippians 4 v 13, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
You can check out ‘Be Loved’ @ www.be-lovedbeloved.com
The upcoming film ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’ got me thinking about how much we know about our friends and neighbours and what they know about us…Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis are intrigued by their new neighbours, The Joneses, who maybe aren’t as they seem… We are all very good at showing others a ‘cut away’ version of ourselves; often we only let people see what we think they will like rather than the whole us. In the same way we only often see a ‘cut away’ version of others and never really see the full picture. The feeling that we might not be accepted or that we might be judged is often what causes us to ‘cut away’ the bits we think will be less pleasing. Thankfully God isn’t like that - he knows exactly what we are like, not just our ‘on show’ version and amazingly he still loves us. Obviously we still do things that he doesn’t like but he never stops loving us…
Keeping Up with the Joneses Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox
We thought it might be fun to see if you can recognise these famous places with only a small ‘cut away’ picture…. Answers on page 2
A WAY OF LIFE
aptain Fantastic is a film that might not be suitable for all (15 rating) but we were interested to look at the idea of being part of family who are brought up far away from other people in order to instil in them their parentâ€™s values and life choices.....
ringing your kids up to fend for themselves, enjoy nature, have a broad education, be physically fit, be untainted by commercialism and to be critical thinkers would seem to be a great way to do things. This is just what Ben and Leslie Cash set out to do when raising their 6 children in the forests of Washington State, but things don't always go to plan. Leslie is diagnosed as being bipolar and even in their idyllic setting she is struggling. So despite their misgivings she is admitted to a hospital close to Ben's sister in Sacramento, where she takes her own life.
Photo credits: Entertainment One
en and the family have to deal with their grief and the anger of Leslie’s parents who blame Ben and his ideals for their daughter’s death. When they visit his sister Ben and the children begin to see that, although they are very intelligent and self sufficient, they lack skills to help them understand and survive in a more conventional setting. So was their upbringing wrong? Was Ben to blame? Or were Leslie’s parents too embroiled in their own way of life to see anything good in a different approach? You can make up your own mind!
here aren’t any definitive summaries as to what makes a great family and upbringing. Our circumstances and values vary and even with exactly the same upbringing people turn out differently.
God doesn’t ask us to be all the same as each other but he does ask us to be the best we can be, where we are and with what we have.
Throw Away Comment...
ABLE BRIGHT BRILLIANT FABULOUS FAITHFUL FANTASTIC GENEROUS GORGEOUS KEEP IT UP KIND LOVELY
f n b e a e t t e l u t e h a
a o o n l o n e s b l a g t v
n r t d b e p e r a c k r g o
e e w t l i s i r n t e o s l
d s n a t l g s p o w n g c n
e o t u r h e m u c u b a m u
d l p q t m l w u h s s s f i
TALENTED THANKS USEFUL WARM WELL DONE CLUMSY DON’T BOTHER FAT GROSS IDIOT
t n a i l l i r b a e k k m d
s u o l u b a f b n f i n o i
s u s t u p i d t c u n a r o
y l e v o l a b l e l d h o t
y l g u f a i t h f u l t n r
e a s o g w i h e k m s o i b
v u t u d c n b e d s i u c l
LOSER MISTAKE MORON NOBODY NO CHANCE STUPID THICK UGLY UNLOVABLE UNWANTED USELESS
keep it up
s s o r g y p u i r y m s k e
In the grid below you will find two different lists of words. There are those which build people up and make them feel good about themselves and those which tear away at people’s confidence and self worth. Which list are you most likely to use? Maybe you need to think about how you use words and what effect they have on the people listening…The Bible says, ‘Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit - you choose,’ Proverbs 18 v 21. So what are your words bringing to the situations you find yourself in and to the people you meet?
We are all guilty of speaking before we think! Some more than others let their mouth run away with itself without engaging their brain first. We might call it a ‘throw away comment’ thinking it is something that can just be discarded and forgotten about but don’t be fooled by the old proverb that says ‘sticks and stones my break my bones but words will never hurt me!’ This is a load of rubbish! Words can have very powerful effects on people for good or bad. When we ‘bad mouth’ or label people the effects can be long lasting and difficult to deal with.
Carried Away...? The trouble with alcohol is that it makes it difficult to make wise decisions. What is obviously a stupid idea when you are sober doesn’t sound so bad when you are drunk. You lose the ability to think straight and therefore can end up doing things that you regret in the cold light of the following morning. ‘Then alcohol said put that on facebook, it’s hilarious - but alcohol was wrong, so very wrong!’ ‘The forecast for tonight is alcohol, low standards, and poor decisions.’ Laura Kreitzer, Love’s Paradox ‘When my pals in high school were starting to drink, it always looked unappealing to me. I would be at a big party and see one of the popular girls or football players completely wasted, puking and acting a fool and think to myself, ‘There’s nothing cool about that. I never wanted to be that out of control.’ Kathy Griffin
So what is it that makes drinking to excess seem the norm and obligatory? I think it is the sad fact that many people don’t think they can have a good time unless alcohol is involved. They feel it is necessary rather then optional. The need to fit in also plays a part as for many standing out or being different is not an option. They would rather ‘go with the flow’ than feel isolated. ‘It is sad that people need alcohol to make them happy.’ Habeeb Akande
Even when bad things do happen as a result of alcohol people tend to think it won’t happen to them. Over the last few years, as my kids have been growing up, we have seen or heard of some very unpleasant examples of drinking too much which are far from being funny or happy for the people concerned, even if at times amusing to those around.
Wetting yourself or worse Throwing up over your friends new carpet - Breaking furniture Getting into fights - Falling over and breaking bones - Being arrested - Having your stomach pumped - Dropping your phone down the toilet - Having your purse stolen - All of which are bad enough but nothing compared to being raped or dying which has also happened to people we know. That might seem harsh, after all you are just out to have some fun, but for some people we know the stark reality is that too much alcohol can be fatal.
So don’t get carried away by drinking and thinking it’s cool - you could end up getting carried away in very different circumstances!
A way back...?
Sometimes life can look as if there is no way forward and no way back…Thankfully God specialises in providing the way! He doesn’t say, ‘Maybe if you try really hard and do your best you will be good enough…’ nor does he say, ‘as long as you are sincere it doesn’t matter what you believe.’ The Bible says that Jesus is the only way to come to God - John 14 v 6 puts it like this, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’
Life can seem hard and maybe you don’t know which way to go or how to get back on track but God does! He wants to lead you through the adventure of life. It will have its ups and downs but he won’t leave you to fend for yourself, he wants to guide and help you. The question is whether you are willing to let him…?
‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ 40
Away we go… F
or many the summer is a time to get away, relax and have some ‘me time’… But around the world there are millions for whom life certainly isn’t a holiday! Jerry Parr took some youngsters from his school out to Mexico to help with the work of ‘Amor Ministries’, a charity that builds homes for struggling Mexican families. Jerry and some of those who went with him tell us about the experience.
erry - A couple of years ago two students from St Mark’s School, Bath, went on an Urban Saints Rebuild project and came back to school very excited about what they had seen and experienced!! We started planning to join Urban Saints and Amor Ministries last year for our first trip to Mexico on their Build Hope initiative. We took 7 students last year and their responses helped recruit more this year.
There were 15 students who were willing to work hard raising their own trip money. Bag packing, Mexican meal organising, car washing and baking cakes were just some of the things we did to raise money and awareness!! The money paid for our experiences and the materials for the house we built. At the end of the five day build we were able to hand over the keys of a newly built and plastered house to a Mexican family as their home. One thing that we learned about was ‘justice’, helping our neighbours get what they are entitled to, be it education, food, water, sanitation or indeed a roof over their heads.. Simple words but they were really brought home to us. This theme of justice will impact our school as we unpack all it could and should mean to us!
What some of the ‘builders’ thought:
ugo - I’m 16 and live with my Mum and sister. I like acting and am agnostic. I wanted to go on the trip to help people and we built a house for a poor Mexican family. For me the highlight was handing over the keys to the family. I thought the trip would be harder than it was; it was amazing and I would love to go again but not without friends.
owan - I’m 16 years old and have just completed GCSEs at St Mark’s School. I decided to go on the Rebuild Mexico trip because I wanted to visit somewhere I’d not been to before and be with my friends. I wanted to see with my own eyes what poverty was all about and to help make adifference to a family. The highlights were giving the keys to the family and meeting people from other UK schools. The lowlights were dealing with people who did not pull their weight and the harsh reality of what poverty was all about. After this trip I think I have become a bit more interested in world affairs and have picked up some DIY skills. I don’t know that I’d go on the same trip again but might do something similar in the future. I was surprised by the poverty and the way people dealt with it although this is what I expected to find.
atthew - I am 16. I live with my mum, dad and two older sisters. I like to play video games and I enjoy going to the cinema and watching movies. I am a Christian. I went on the trip because I wanted to make a difference somewhere in the world and this was a good opportunity. The
highlights were helping to get both roof frames on the house and when the concrete slab was complete. Since the trip I have been more aware of conserving water. The trip was pretty much as I expected but there were a few surprises too. I’d like to go again or do somehting similar.
odie - I’m 15 and one of 5 children - my parents are amazing! My hobbies change although my main one is netball. I really enjoy looking after children, helping people and knowing I’ve made a difference. I don’t have a faith but I do think it’ll change after I look into it. I wanted to go on the trip to open my eyes to see how other people are living. I wanted to help a family by giving something to them which is so little to us but the universe to them. To be able to change their future, make it brighter and encourage them that everything is possible, like building a house in 5 days, was fantastic. Highlights: the flight was amazing, with lush food; everyone soon got to know each other and they were all so, so nice; having meetings at 7:30pm, some sad, some happy and they were unforgettable. In terms of lowlights it was a bit boring sometimes, like having the same food but I do understand that was all they had. It was hard to see the children not wearing nice shoes or clothes and being a little dirty, that really upset me. The trip made me reconsider my view of God and Christianity and I’m more open to look into it. I’m more open minded about everything now and won’t be complaining about my life because others are so much worse off than me.
I didn’t think there was so much poverty and I would definitely like to go back. I’d like to help as much as I can and maybe even start a career in it. It would be living a dream to work for Amor and seeing families happier and much healthier because they’ve got a secure house. It was a real pleasure to go and I really would recommend it. It was a lovely trip, hard in some places but it was totally worth it. I loved every second. This is what we got up to: Friday 8th July - travelled to San Diego, which included hours on a coach then a shocking 10 hour flight. Saturday 9th July - travelled to the border, crossed over and then on to the campsite. We put up our tents, sorted everything out and rested before the hard work began! Sunday 10th July - we separated the sand and gravel, mixed the cement and laid it down. We didn’t quite finish it but we had 4 more days left! Monday 11th July - we finished the cement at the end of the day and made walls in between. Tuesday 12th July - made the walls and roof all day and eventually we put them up. They were
standing, woo! Wednesday 13th July - we finished the walls and the roof. We chicken wired everything. Thursday 14th July - our last day and all hands were on deck! We did the stucco and finished the two layers before finally handing the keys to the family. Unfortunately the grandpa and daughter couldn’t make it but the grandma did! It was emotional. Friday 15th - packed up the tents and waited for the coach to take us back over the border and we did some shopping! Saturday 16th - we had a ‘lazy day’ but went to see some part of San Diego which was beautiful. We got back and had time in the swimming pool and packed for the next day. Sunday 17th - it was our last day so we had a big meeting and got t-shirts which say ‘hope is...’ We then waited for the shuttle bus to arrive to take us to the airport! We checked in and were soon on our plane to go home. Monday 18th - we travelled home where we greeted the ones we missed and couldn’t wait to tell them about our amazing, life changing experience.
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