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NEW LIFE

FEBRUARY 2011 • Issue 204

TV’s top cop reveals who has stolen his heart...

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GOOD NEWS STORIES

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A woman abused as a child reveals how she overcame her trauma to help other victims READ HER FULL AMAZING STORY ON PAGE 5

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LIFE MACHINE WAS SWITCHED OFF

MY MUM CAME BACK FROM THE DEAD Daughter prays at hospital bed

SOUNDS GREAT... Ava with evangelist Nathan Morris

Hearing restored in baby’s left ear A BABY who was born deaf in her left ear has had her hearing miraculously restored. Ava Dominguez, who is four months old, had failed six hearing tests and was declared stone deaf in her left ear by medics. Her mother, Heather, brought her to a Christian healing crusade in Mobile, Alabama, where she received prayer by British preacher Nathan Morris. Afterwards, she went to the doctors where the baby surprised everyone by passing the test.

prayed Heather said: “I went to the doctors and the tests would come back failed, failed, failed. But I knew Jesus could heal my little girl so we kept going for prayer. I came to the revival in Mobile eve r y t i me t he doors opened and prayed and prayed a nd prayed! I saw lots of people get-

ting healed and I wanted to k now, ‘Why isn’t it happening to my baby?’ Someone then told me that healing happens in God’s time, not ours. “I went to the doctors, and Ava took the test, but this time the results came back that she had passed! The report said she has 100 pe r ce nt hearing in her left ear whe n be fore she wa s totally deaf.” Eva ngelist Morris – whose meetings at the Bay of the Holy Spirit Rev iva l i n Mobi le a re aired on GOD TV – said: “Behind this miracle is a story of a persistent woman who knew that if she could get her child to Jesus, she would receive her miracle. “We have seen many miracles at the Revival, but this one stands out. We thank Jesus for this fantastic healing which has even been confirmed by medical experts.” ● For more details, visit www.bayrevival.org

DOCTORS were amazed when a woman came back to life after her life support machine was switched off.

Nigerian Margaret Oyebanki miraculously opened her eyes as her family were earnestly praying for her recovery. Her daughter, Oyebola Bello, said medics at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading were baffled at the sudden turnaround. She said: “The consultant came in and said, ‘Did she just open her eyes.’ I said, ‘Yes, are you surprised?’ He answered, ‘Yes, because this woman was dead!’ Another consultant came and l Continued on Page 3

MIRACLE MUM... Margaret Oyebanki, left, and her daughter Oyebola Bello


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• Issue 204

Church is given away on eBay

Timely advice for couples...

TOP TIPS... Paul Finn and his wife Janice

A CHURCH celebrated its grand reopening after the original building was given away on eBay! After attracting the attention of the local and national press, the building was given to a climbing club and can now be found halfway up a Welsh mountain. This meant that Calvary Christian Centre at Macclesfield could turn their attention to rebuilding. Senior elder Christine Davies said: “Th is amazing building is a testimony to the members who raised most of the funds themselves from their own savings, pensions and the like. “A £50,000 grant was also given by Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN), as the building is not just a church, but a real community facility provided to enable the provision of senior citizens clubs, youth clubs, children’s activities and all sorts of social events for the local community.” T he bu i ld i n g w a s of f ic i a l l y opened by the Mayor of Macclesfield David Neilson.

A PASTOR has urged couples to spend more time together. Paul Finn, who leads Riverside Family Church in Southampton, said couples should take advantage of the Valentine’s Day celebration and re-engage with one another. “Every husband should never cease romancing his wife because it keeps the marriage fresh and alive. When we make the choice to love each other every day we are emulating Jesus, and our marriages cannot help but be enriched and blessed. He sa id: “Each yea r I pla n a weekend away for my wife Janice on her birthday and I try to make it a secret destination so that the surprise element makes it all the more special. “Janice and I believe that couples should confess, ‘I love you’, to each other every day. It is a positive confession and a healthy choice. Right feelings follow right choices. When we choose to love each other, love grows and grows.”

Wedding site’s a massive hit WRITER TURNS BACK ON CAREER AFTER SON NEARLY DIED A W EBSITE designed to encourage church weddings has seen the number of visitors jump by 75 per cent in ten months.
 The Archbishops’ Council’s site www.yourchurchwedding.org was visited 242,000 times in the months up to October 31 – up from 139,000 during the same period in 2009.
 The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, said: “When the country is particularly focusing on the heartening news of a Royal Wedding, it is tremendous to see that so many people are thinking of taking the same journey into married life with a church wedding.”


Give your neighbours a

I won a Bafta but now I’ve got a better prize! HAVE you heard the one about the comedy writer turned property tycoon who gave it up to unite Britishborn South Asian Christians? Well it’s for real!

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Manoj Raithatha is representing and encouraging unity among Britain’s estimated 75,000 South Asian Christians after a radical conversion himself. The 38-year-old says it was the near-death of his toddler son Ishaa n that led h i m to Christ. He said: “My two-year-old son was taken to St Thomas’ Hospital in London with severe breathing problems. Having been incubated, Christian friends set up a prayer vigil. “After five days in the intensive care unit my son suddenly bolted upright in bed. Miraculously he was healed.” Manoj and his wife Maria visited their local church as a mark of respect to their Christian friends. They continued to attend services and began considering the claims of Jesus Christ. Within weeks, the couple committed their lives to Christ and so joined Soul Survivor Church in Watford. “It was by God’s grace and love that my son now lives and it is also by God’s grace that I’ve been given an altogether new direction in life,” he added added. Ma noj sta rted h is ca reer

Manoj Raithatha teaching drama and English at a secondary school in South London before becoming a fulltime writer. He went on to write a Baftawinning TV series My Life as a Popat, based on an Indian family living in Harrow. His first play BBA and Proud (stands for British-born Asian) won an Edinburgh Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival, and was commissioned to tour UK theatres. A lthough Ma noj cou rted success as a play wright, he says it didn’t pay well enough to buy h i m out of a sm a l l house in a less-than-glamorous part of the London borough of Wandsworth, so he decided to hedge his bets as a property speculator. Manoj set up Summertime P ropert ies as a dea ler a nd landlord. Soon, he brokered one of the UK’s single biggest residential deals by buying Clarence House in Leeds at a cool £34.5m. A nd, as we l l as h is bigspending in Leeds, Manoj emptied the developers’ shelves in London, Bradford and Sheffield, where he bought and sold a

block of 140 flats near the city centre. Miraculously Manoj’s business survived the recession, although it is no longer the success it once was. B u t , u l t i m at e l y, i t w a s Manoj’s conversion to Christianity in 2008 that was his biggest turning point. Nowadays, Manoj is studying theology at St Paul’s Theological Centre, in South Kensington, London to complement h is role working as national coordinator for the newly-formed South Asian Forum (SAF) at the Evangelical Alliance. The SAF was formed earlier this year to unite and support Ch ristia ns, orig i na l ly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who are now living in Britain. Manoj said: “At one time my main focus was on making money and being successful in business. Nowadays, my ambition is to bring together fellow South Asian believers as well as connect with people of other faiths.” Ram Gidoomal, chairman of SAF’s Steering Group, commented: ‘For too long South Asian Christians have not had a voice. But, with the appointment of Manoj, we can look forward to fostering greater u n it y a mong chu rches a nd representation to the w ider community.” Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, added: “This appointment reflects our commitment to support believers of all backgrounds.”


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Issue 204 • NEW LIFE 3 NEW LIFE

My mother came back from dead

Pop star tells how she ditched drugs A CHART-topping pop star has been performing her hits and telling people about her Christian faith. Kym Mazelle is best known for her hit Young Hearts Run Free, which was later included in the Hollywood blockbuster Romeo and Juliet. She also teamed up with funk band Soul II Soul. And she performed several numbers spanning her career at Chelmsford Christian Centre. Associate Pastor Mike Preston said: “Kym was full of energy, is passionate about God and has an incredible voice. She occupied the whole stage and her years of experience and professionalism shone through, but the heart of her message was what Jesus did for her.” In between the songs, Kym told her story, beginning with where she started out in the music industry, on to her time in the clubs in Ibiza, her drug use and how she found Christ and was set free. Mike said: “She told how, after she’d made a commitment to Jesus, she was invited back to the clubs in Ibiza, so she went back performing her new material and telling her story of how she found God.” Kym became a Christian in 2003. She said: “My biggest prayer is that everyone gets touched by God and that they come to the knowledge of him. His love is just so beautiful and so sweet that everyone needs to taste it – to taste and see that the Lord is good!”

Kym Mazelle during her visit to Chelmsford Christian Centre

TRAIN PASSENGER HELPED LEAD RAF GIRL OUT OF DEPRESSION

I went off the rails... but now life’s back on track Project sees 150k return to churches

A W HOP P I NG 150,0 0 0 pe ople have returned to church since the launch of a Christian project seven years ago. The growing Back to Church Su nday sc he me h a s at t racted enough people to fill Wembley Stadium and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium combined. L ast yea r, more t ha n 3,500 churches welcomed back just over 50,000 people for Back to Church Sunday, which was held on September 26. Statistical returns from participating churches suggest that an average of 18 people returned to each participating Church of England church having received a personal invitation. 
 They were greeted with an especially welcoming Sunday service on the day. Parishes in each of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses were joined by congregations from Churches Together in Scotland, the Church in Wales, Baptists, Methodists, United Reformed, Salvation Army and Elim Pentecostal churches nationwide, among others.

by James Hastings

A STRANGER’S smile on a busy commuter train got Sarah Bird on the right track with God. The RAF girl’s life had gone off the rails as a teenager, leading to bouts of depression, an eating disorder and failed suicide bid. But after she paid a stranger’s fare, Sarah got a ticket for a trip to the Holy Land, a new career and a brand new life in Jesus. Sarah’s journey from misery to miracle started a few weeks before that encounter one cold night at London’s King Cross station. For most of her life, she had suffered from depression and loneliness.

crying Her family split up when she was just 15, and she fell out of touch with her parents and older brother. Sarah relied on cigarettes, alcohol and even coffee to get her through the day. “One night in 2005 I fell on my knees, crying and shaking,” she explains. “I cried out to God. I told him he needed to show up and help me. “I would give it all back to him and stay faithful if only he would show up. “The passage he gave me as I reached for my rather dusty Bible was, ‘I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who will feed you with knowledge and under-

Sarah Bird, whose life changed on a train journey

standing’ (Jeremiah 3:15).” On the night she went to catch the train to Peterborough, Sarah felt an inexplicable urge to withdraw £40 from a cash machine. A woman sitting next to her gave Sarah a warm smile, before placing a Bible on the table. Sarah always carried her small Bible and placed it next to the woman’s. Just moments later the guard told the stranger her ticket was not valid for that journey. “God very clearly spoke these words to me, ‘Pay for your new friend’. “I put the money on the table and said, ‘please allow me to pay as a gift’. The lady seemed taken aback and initially refused, but at my insistence she very graciously accepted.” At Peterborough stat ion, the st ra nger prayed for Sa ra h who promptly burst into tears. But a few

● Continued from Page 1 said the same thing. They were really, really shocked. A nurse then came in and said, ‘This woman was dead! What happened?’ I replied, ‘I don’t know, but God is an exceptional God! This is just one of the many miracles that God can do.’” Ma rga ret, 65, was i n t he U K visiting family last year when she suddenly collapsed and stopped breathing. She was put on a ventilator and doctors told her relatives to say their goodbyes because the machine would be turned off within a couple of hours. But committed Christian Oyebola and husband Olalekan began to pray. Oyebola added: “Two consultants came and told us that they’d done everything that they could and that the only thing keeping Mum alive was the ventilator. I said, ‘God, please give her another chance.’” A nd God answered Oyebola’s prayer in the most spectacular way – when all hospital and medical staff had written Margaret off, God stepped in and saved her life. “My husband and I went out of the room and we started to pray. I said, ‘God I’ve asked Mum to come to the UK to rest and see her grandchildren, not to die. Please do a miracle. I know the medical people have written her off and are saying that she can’t live, but Jesus you are the resurrection and the life and I believe that you are able to bring her back to life.’” Doctors removed the ventilator and five minutes later, Margaret amazed everybody when she opened her eyes.” Shocked hospital staff transferred Margaret to intensive care where tests showed that there was nothing wrong with her. After ten days in hospital she was released with a clean bill of health. Oyebola said: “I’m so happy that God gave her another chance. What an awesome God we serve that he can bring my mum back to life. I thank God for the great miracle of saving my mum from the brink of death. I will forever serve and praise him.”

A new game on the cards

days later she had tears of joy when a Thank You card arrived on her desk at work – followed by an invitation to go on a trip to Israel. The stranger turned out to be an ordained evangelist called Elaine Roberts, who later baptised Sarah in the River Jordan. “Elaine became my very dear friend, spiritual mother and mentor. Just as God had promised all those years ago – ‘a shepherd according to my heart’ – he remained true to his word.

restored Sarah’s health was restored as was her relationship with her family and they are now very close. She adds: “Elaine offered me a position as her personal assistant at World Mandate Ministries, exactly a year after my last day of service in the RAF. All things are possible with God!”

A CHRISTIAN version of popular children’s games Top Trumps has been released. Testament Trumps aims to help children learn more about Biblical characters and values. The game features Old Testament heroes such as Moses or Samson. In addition, the pack also contains special cards requesting the player to name all Ten Commandments, or all Ten Plagues that struck Egypt. Testament Trumps creator Steve Strongman said: “They are a bit of fun but have a serious message. I want schoolchildren to enjoy playing the game but also to take on board the decent values the cards represent.”

Glamour lunch

SUPERMODEL Caprice added a touch of glamour to a special church lunch for the homeless. She served up the special treat to over 80 homeless women at the Church Army’s Marylebone Project in London. Caprice said: “This is a great project to be working on. I really enjoyed meeting everyone.”


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4 NEW LIFE • Issue 204

WORLD NEWS ROUND-UP

Evangelical centre opens USA – The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has dedicated a new facility for the global evangelical community in New York. This is the first time since its establishment over a century ago that the WEA has a centre to gather and unite Christian leaders. Although the Evangelical Centre will serve many functions, CEO Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe said he hoped the centre would be, first and foremost, a place of prayer for God’s kingdom to come. He said: “In all the activities that will take place in this place, prayer w i l l become the most st rateg ic because that’s what Jesus asked us to do – pray for his kingdom to come.”

SHOWING COMPASSION... Ceri and Tim Griffiths with villagers in Sierra Leone

Joy as couple see lifetime vision take shape A COUPLE of ex-missionaries saw a lifetime vision start to take shape when work started on a children’s village in Sierra Leone last year. Tim and Ceri Griffiths, pastors at Crayford Christian Fellowship, established Compassion Africa in 1990, a few years after returning from Sierra Leone where they worked as missionary relief workers. The former teachers set up the

charity after witnessing the ‘appalling’ poverty and huge problems endured by the people of the West African nation.

MEDICAL Their Compassion Africa Children’s village is the latest project. It will include a multi-purpose community centre, skills workshop, school, after-school facilities, a

medical centre and playing fields. Pastor Tim said: “The Compassion Africa Children’s Village will rescue and rehabilitate children who have been orphaned or are in need. “Our village will provide a cohesive, co-operative, organised community in which well behaved and lovingly disciplined children will live in families of four to six

people at a time.” Each house built from locally manufactured brick will be individually designed and have its own garden. A community-based training programme will run in the village for residents in the surrounding area, which will cover personal and spiritual development, life and leadership skills, vocational and creative arts skills.

BILLIONAIREs’ pledge to give wealth away Villagers turn to Christianity

A HAITAIN village has been transformed after trading voodoo for faith in Christ. A decade ago, Gramothe, a small village about an hour from Port-au-Prince, had no school, no clean water and hardly any jobs. Five voodoo temples dominated the v illage, and there was no church. But following Christian evangelism by Willem Charles, founder and director of Mountain Top Ministries (MTM), villagers have turned to Jesus. Andrew Dewitt, a board member of MTM, said there are now schools, a medical clinic, a water line system, a church and homes for residents. He added: “The country of Haiti has been through devastating things. But there are pockets in Haiti that are actually transforming from poverty and voodoo to prosperity and Christianity.”

A CHRISTIAN billionaire couple have joined other high profile names and pledged to give away their fortune.

David and Barbara Green, who own Hobby Lobby in the US, have added their names to the Giving Pledge, which is the brainchild of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and American investor Warren Buffet. The Greens are among the latest billionaires to pledge to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. “God has blessed me with a wonderful family, a successful business and outstanding employees. I do not take these blessings lightly,” Green said in his pledge letter. “I a m honou red to joi n th is remarkable idea called The Giving Pledge.” For David and Barbara Green, giving has always been part of their business model. David said: “Coming from a family of preachers, the idea of giving back has been part of my life as long as I can remember. When Hobby Lobby was created in the early 1970s, I was committed to use profits to help ministry work. “Hobby Lobby has always been a tool for the Lord’s work. For me and

PHILANTHROPISTS... David Green, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet my family, charity equals ministry, which equals the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The Greens have contributed to missions throughout the world, as well as orphanages and ministries in the US and many other things. The idea of the pledge came out of discussions among philanthropists, all of whom said how giving had made their lives richer. The project was launched last June and invites the wealthiest American families and individuals to help address society’s most pressing problems by giving away at least

half of their wealth. Buffet, the third richest person in the world, has pledged to give away more than 99 per cent of his wealth during his lifetime or at death. The Giving Pledge, the billionaires stressed “is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organisations.” The Greens join New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and at least 50 others in making the bold pledge.

Reaching out on an iPhone ME XICO – A Br it i sh pr iest h a s enabled a Mexican mother to reach her Hispanic community in the US through Bible apps on the iPhone. Mexican Laura Hercha translates the Rev Victor Robert Farrell’s devotions into Spanish, making them available to Hispanics across North and South America. Laura said: “Pastor Farrell’s meditations are not just ‘light’ meditations. They are ‘meat’ for Christians. They really make you reflect on so many things. “Sometimes I am translating and I have to stop because God moves my heart so much with a meditation that I have to get on my knees and weep and repent, or pray and be thankful for something!”

Climate plan is welcomed MEXICO – Christian development agency Tearfund has welcomed an agreement reached by political leaders in Cancun to address climate change, but says more funding is needed to get it off the ground. Political leaders were able to agree a package after two weeks of discussions at the UN climate talks in Mexico. The agreement includes a multibillion-dollar fund to help developing countries meet the costs of adapting to climate change and acknowledges the need for further reductions in carbon emissions.

Prayer book sales rocket WORLD – The seventh edition of the highly-acclaimed prayer encyclopaedia, Operation World, has sold more than 90,000 copies in its first month. Collectively, all the Operation World editions have sold over 2.5 million copies. “Since 2001 (the sixth edition), G o d h a s b e e n doi n g a m a z i n g things,” said Jason Mandryk, author of Operation World. “For example, hundreds of previously unengaged people groups now have believing communities in their midst.”


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Issue 204 •

woman sets up charity to help victims

I’ve now put abuse hell behind me WHEN Kim Myers launched her charity with her Baptist minister husband David to help the victims of sexual abuse it was particularly poignant.

Kim herself had been a victim of severe sexual abuse as a child. But through the power of Jesus Christ in her life, she has overcome her past to such a extent that she can now help others who are going through the same hell. “Aisha Ministries came out of my desire to help others who’d been abused,” she explained. “Aisha means ‘life’. I want others to know that even when they’re in a really bad place, there’s life after death if you want it. “I grew up believing that all I was good for was as a sexual object for men. I had no selfesteem and no worth, or least that’s what I thought.” But at the age of 12 something happened that changed a

young Kim forever and would shape the rest of her life – she met Jesus. “I had an amazing experience. I would pray to Jesus – ‘Lord help me.’ One night I had a dream about Jesus. In my dream I asked him, ‘How do I know it’s you?’ “He opened his hands and there were cuts on them. ‘That’s my love to you,’ he said. “I knew then I had to hold on to him forever. That changed my life, knowing that, despite the pain I was going through, there was hope at the end of it. “Every time I was abused I would envisage that picture in my head. I vowed from that day, that no matter what I was going through, I was going to trust God, because he’d promised me that I was going to be OK.” Kim clung to this promise through her teenage years as the abuse continued until the age of 16, when she finally told a teacher and the abuse came to light. During her teenage years, Kim was diagnosed with a cyst on her ovary but a routine operation left her in severe pain and,

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HELPING OTHERS... Kim and David Myers

seven years later, the hospital admitted mistakes were made which had left her with a perforated bowel. She said: “For ten years now, I’ve been in and out of hospital, had 30 operations and been seriously ill.” But rather than let the situation get her down, Kim’s faith in Jesus’ promise has carried her through. She said: “I was baptised at the age of 13 and my Scripture was Isaiah 43:2, ‘You will walk through the waters and not drown and walk through the fires and not be burned.’ That Scripture keeps me going.” And four years ago, Kim defied medical predictions when she became pregnant through IVF and gave birth to a little girl, Grace. She added: “I’ll never doubt God again. He promised me at 13 I wouldn’t drown and he would keep me, and he has. “People think that because you’re a Christian you’re invincible, but we’re not invincible because we’re living in the world. But God gives us hope.”

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WORKING together to bring you the good news

tune in New Life works in partnership with UCB (United Christian Broadcasters) who are now broadcasting nationally on DAB radio. For great Christian music, discussion, chat, regular news bulletins and lots of fun, UCB is great, contemporary radio for the whole family. Listen on DAB radio across the UK or online at www.ucbmedia.co.uk

explore christianity We’re also working with Alpha, the course that ­allows people to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting over ten thought­provoking weekly sessions. The courses are free and are usually run in the evening, and include a meal or refreshments. To find a course near you, see www.alpha.org

Find a church We’re also working with Find a Church, who run a brilliant website listing the details of more than 42,000 UK Christian churches. Simply tap in your postcode for help to find a great church in your area.

the BIBLE MATTERS The Gideons are well known for their work distributing Bibles to schools, hospitals, hotels etc. If you want Jesus to make himself real in your life, and don’t have a Bible, The Gideons will be happy to provide you with a Testament completely free of charge.

The ABC of how you can become a Christian...

A Admit that you have done wrong that Jesus died so that you can B Believe be forgiven, and ask God to forgive you The Bible says, ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).

‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16); ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us’ (1 John 1:9).

C Commit yourself to living God’s way

Jesus said, ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). Log on to www.lookingforgod.com for more help.

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Issue 204 •

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

THE BILL STAR TALKS ABOUT HIS FAITH AND HIS DAYS AS TV FAVOURITE PC STAMP

t! r a e h y m le to s s u s e J . .. p o It’s a fair c He was known for years as PC Stamp on The Bill, but actor Graham Cole is also a committed Christian. James Hastings met him

S

unhill star Graham Cole played it for real when he researched an explosive new storyline.

The popular actor appeared as PC Tony Stamp in ITV’s The Bill for more than 20 years, before the show was axed last year. He regularly went on patrol with crack officers from London’s Met police force to see how the real boys in blue operated. But on one trip during a terrorist alert, Graham found his TV character taking over when he arrived at a pub at the centre of a bomb scare. “The place had been evacuated and I strolled into the snug looking for the bomb,” he smiles. “It was the sort of thing PC Stamp would do. Suddenly a senior officer shouted at me to get out. He asked ‘what would you do if you found the bomb?’ I thought for a second then quickly left the pub.” Millions of fans were devastated when PC Stamp was axed from the show. The producers said they wanted to appeal to a younger audience, which meant culling older characters.

disappointed But just as few months later, it was announced the programme itself was being wound down. No one was more disappointed than Graham. He adds: “The media wanted to know if I was glad it was coming to an end because I’d been kicked off. I can honestly say I bore no animosity. I loved The Bill, still do and was sorry to see it end.” Devout Christian, Graham, said he loved it when his on screen role mixed with his off screen appearances – especially when he was working with the Met to help research his character. “One time I was sitting in a police car with a real officer when a guy came over, stared at me for a minute then told me I looked just like the actor from The Bill. “A lot of young black lads would approach me because they could identify with PC Stamp. He was a down-to-earth sort of guy anyone felt they could talk to. “I suppose he was the sort of beat Bobby people remember from their childhood, but because of changes in the system, is not as common as he used to be. I really liked playing him.” Ironically, Graham had never played a cop before he joined Sunhill’s finest and was originally only signed up for a fight sequence. However, his character became so popular, the producers wid-

A DIFFERENT BEAT... Graham Cole, left, during the Royal Television Society Awards. Above, Graham as PC Tony Stamp during his days on the long-running drama The Bill

ened his part and he became a stalwart of the show. “I played over 160 different characters in plays, TV and musicals before I became PC Stamp. When I started on The Bill, I’d be in the studio until 6pm then off to a theatre for the evening performance of Jesus Christ Superstar or some other play. “Whatever job you have, I think it is important to always be professional. I made sure I turned up on time, knew my lines and gave my best.”

B

ut no matter how demanding his schedule became, Graham always found time to pray, read the Bible and go to church. “My parents were Methodists and some Sundays we would be at church three times. I liked church but, by the

age of nine, I was rebelling,” he adds. “Like many people, I wanted to do things my way and felt church got in the way. “When I was 14, I went to a Billy Graham meeting in London where I was amazed at how he spoke about God’s love. At the end, he invited people to get out of their seats and come down to the front to give their life to Jesus. When he made that invitation, I just knew I had to accept.

prayer “It was l i ke G od was spea k i ng through Billy Graham to me. Nothing could stop me going down to the front.” Since that day Graham says he has never stopped loving Jesus, praying several times a day and knowing that

Jesus loves him and cares for him. “I started going to an evangelical church. I loved the music and style of worship. I used to think of prayer as a chore. Now I pray all day long, maybe just little prayers to thank God for my day and all my blessings. “He is my friend, and I love being with my friends. I tell him what’s on my mind and listen to what he has to say to me.”

G

raham has a message to people who feel God has forgotten them or those who don’t believe an almighty God cares about them individually. “When people tell me they don’t think God loves them, I suggest they really need to listen to him. God tells us what we should do and how we should

live because he loves us and wants what’s best for us. If at times our lives seem messed up, it’s not because God has abandoned us. It’s more because we have resisted him, trying to find happiness our own way. That won’t work.” Graham is well known as one of the hardest working actors on and off the stage. He attends over a hundred charity events every year, working with groups such as Childline, the Scout movement, football and cricket clubs and churches up and down the country.

games He has strong ideas about how society treats children: “Recently, I was playing street cricket with some lads in South London. We had a great time but all some people could say was,

Don’t blame God for what we do. It’s easy to delude ourselves that God doesn’t exist yet we see his wonders every day.

‘Isn’t that dangerous? And what about paedophiles?’ “We need to take the streets back. We need to let boys play games like football and rugby because that’s what they like. Let them have a knock-about and get dirty. He also has some advice for the socalled New Atheists like Prof Richard Dawkings: “When people ask why God causes wars and strife, I reply it isn’t God but humans. Don’t blame God for what we do. It is easy to delude ourselves that God does not exist yet we see his wonders every day in other people and in creation. “I ask any atheists, ‘What is your last thought just before you drop off to sleep?’ God loves you. All you have to do is say yes and let him come into your life.”

A simple message Following his conversion at the age of 16, Dr Billy Graham – who Graham Cole went to see at the age of 14 – became one of the bestknown evangelists of the 20th century. His message remained consistent through a long ministr y and was simple and direct: “Choose Christ as I did. Mankind is sinful, but through Christ those sins are forgiven and people can live in peace.”

EVANGELIST... Dr Billy Graham

7


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‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16); ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us’ (1 John 1:9).

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NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

THE BILL STAR TALKS ABOUT HIS FAITH AND HIS DAYS AS TV FAVOURITE PC STAMP

t! r a e h y m le to s s u s e J . .. p o It’s a fair c He was known for years as PC Stamp on The Bill, but actor Graham Cole is also a committed Christian. James Hastings met him

S

unhill star Graham Cole played it for real when he researched an explosive new storyline.

The popular actor appeared as PC Tony Stamp in ITV’s The Bill for more than 20 years, before the show was axed last year. He regularly went on patrol with crack officers from London’s Met police force to see how the real boys in blue operated. But on one trip during a terrorist alert, Graham found his TV character taking over when he arrived at a pub at the centre of a bomb scare. “The place had been evacuated and I strolled into the snug looking for the bomb,” he smiles. “It was the sort of thing PC Stamp would do. Suddenly a senior officer shouted at me to get out. He asked ‘what would you do if you found the bomb?’ I thought for a second then quickly left the pub.” Millions of fans were devastated when PC Stamp was axed from the show. The producers said they wanted to appeal to a younger audience, which meant culling older characters.

disappointed But just as few months later, it was announced the programme itself was being wound down. No one was more disappointed than Graham. He adds: “The media wanted to know if I was glad it was coming to an end because I’d been kicked off. I can honestly say I bore no animosity. I loved The Bill, still do and was sorry to see it end.” Devout Christian, Graham, said he loved it when his on screen role mixed with his off screen appearances – especially when he was working with the Met to help research his character. “One time I was sitting in a police car with a real officer when a guy came over, stared at me for a minute then told me I looked just like the actor from The Bill. “A lot of young black lads would approach me because they could identify with PC Stamp. He was a down-to-earth sort of guy anyone felt they could talk to. “I suppose he was the sort of beat Bobby people remember from their childhood, but because of changes in the system, is not as common as he used to be. I really liked playing him.” Ironically, Graham had never played a cop before he joined Sunhill’s finest and was originally only signed up for a fight sequence. However, his character became so popular, the producers wid-

A DIFFERENT BEAT... Graham Cole, left, during the Royal Television Society Awards. Above, Graham as PC Tony Stamp during his days on the long-running drama The Bill

ened his part and he became a stalwart of the show. “I played over 160 different characters in plays, TV and musicals before I became PC Stamp. When I started on The Bill, I’d be in the studio until 6pm then off to a theatre for the evening performance of Jesus Christ Superstar or some other play. “Whatever job you have, I think it is important to always be professional. I made sure I turned up on time, knew my lines and gave my best.”

B

ut no matter how demanding his schedule became, Graham always found time to pray, read the Bible and go to church. “My parents were Methodists and some Sundays we would be at church three times. I liked church but, by the

age of nine, I was rebelling,” he adds. “Like many people, I wanted to do things my way and felt church got in the way. “When I was 14, I went to a Billy Graham meeting in London where I was amazed at how he spoke about God’s love. At the end, he invited people to get out of their seats and come down to the front to give their life to Jesus. When he made that invitation, I just knew I had to accept.

prayer “It was l i ke G od was spea k i ng through Billy Graham to me. Nothing could stop me going down to the front.” Since that day Graham says he has never stopped loving Jesus, praying several times a day and knowing that

Jesus loves him and cares for him. “I started going to an evangelical church. I loved the music and style of worship. I used to think of prayer as a chore. Now I pray all day long, maybe just little prayers to thank God for my day and all my blessings. “He is my friend, and I love being with my friends. I tell him what’s on my mind and listen to what he has to say to me.”

G

raham has a message to people who feel God has forgotten them or those who don’t believe an almighty God cares about them individually. “When people tell me they don’t think God loves them, I suggest they really need to listen to him. God tells us what we should do and how we should

live because he loves us and wants what’s best for us. If at times our lives seem messed up, it’s not because God has abandoned us. It’s more because we have resisted him, trying to find happiness our own way. That won’t work.” Graham is well known as one of the hardest working actors on and off the stage. He attends over a hundred charity events every year, working with groups such as Childline, the Scout movement, football and cricket clubs and churches up and down the country.

games He has strong ideas about how society treats children: “Recently, I was playing street cricket with some lads in South London. We had a great time but all some people could say was,

Don’t blame God for what we do. It’s easy to delude ourselves that God doesn’t exist yet we see his wonders every day.

‘Isn’t that dangerous? And what about paedophiles?’ “We need to take the streets back. We need to let boys play games like football and rugby because that’s what they like. Let them have a knock-about and get dirty. He also has some advice for the socalled New Atheists like Prof Richard Dawkings: “When people ask why God causes wars and strife, I reply it isn’t God but humans. Don’t blame God for what we do. It is easy to delude ourselves that God does not exist yet we see his wonders every day in other people and in creation. “I ask any atheists, ‘What is your last thought just before you drop off to sleep?’ God loves you. All you have to do is say yes and let him come into your life.”

A simple message Following his conversion at the age of 16, Dr Billy Graham – who Graham Cole went to see at the age of 14 – became one of the bestknown evangelists of the 20th century. His message remained consistent through a long ministr y and was simple and direct: “Choose Christ as I did. Mankind is sinful, but through Christ those sins are forgiven and people can live in peace.”

EVANGELIST... Dr Billy Graham

7


Issue 204

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How my faith is now the fabric of my life! Paul turned back on drugs parties

Paul Vivian with wife Blanca and their children

PAUL Vivian knows what it is like to sail on a millionaire’s yacht as well as to wait on tables – and clean the toilets of Spanish bars!

The working class lad from Grimsby enjoyed a colourful life that took him from drug parties in Europe’s hottest nightclubs to California’s sunny beaches where anything went – and usually did. But in a worldwide search to find himself and the meaning of life, Paul, now 45, says he has finally found his true identity – in Jesus. In a bid for some sort discipline in his life, Paul signed up for a 12-year stint in the RAF when he was 18, which saw him travel all around the world. On the surface, he was all smiles and fun. However, inside behind, because they were part he was incredibly lonely and of me,” he explains. was taking drugs. “Now I realise that we are all After a troubled RAF stint, created with a God-shaped hole Paul decided to make a fresh in our hearts and the only thing start, so he hitchhiked to Spain that will fill that longing is the where he landed a job working very presence of God. Without on a yacht. He did a variety of God, I tried to fill that space jobs to pay the rent and was with drugs and sex. It would delighted when a millionaire never work.” businessman asked him to look Paul had grown up in a famafter his hilltop castle while he ily where neither God nor the went on an extended holiday. Bible were ever mentioned or Almost 30, Paul still had no taken seriously. The only time direction for his life, filling he heard the name Jesus was as his loneliness with drugs and a swear word. casual affairs. One night, Paul’s heart was “I thought that by leaving heavy. Alone in his room, he the country I could escape from had a real encounter with God, the drug scene. But I found that which was to change his life. the problems were in me, and Hating the rollercoaster ride I couldn’t simply leave them of sex, drugs, emptiness, false

love and repeated relationship break-ups, Paul asked God for a sign. He prayed for a sign and one morning while walking along a Spanish beach he saw one – a sign! “It was a large poster which said in bold letters Jesus Is Alive,” he smiles. “I thought, well let’s find out more. I went to this church and was impacted by the simplicity and love those people had. I immediately, and I mean instantly, felt at home. With the help of the pastors, I asked Jesus to help me, forgive me and to heal me, because I knew I was a mess. “I felt this incredible peace come upon me, as Jesus came into my heart. I still had a lot

of problems and things to sort out, but I knew life would be different.” Paul decided that he needed to spend time alone with God and went to fast and pray for a week at a retreat on top of a mountain. While there, God healed him of the asthma that he had suffered from since he was six years old. Today, Paul lives in England w it h h is A rge nt i nea n w i fe, Blanca, whom he met in the church in Mallorca, and their three young children. He runs a successful fabric company that makes Bible Hero bedding, underwear, clothes and CDs featuring the Bible stories of the characters on the bed covers. ● See www.truthfabric.com

Church celebrates opening of £500k youth building A CH U RCH ce lebrated the opening of its new £500,000 youth community building with a visit from their local MP. B u r ton E l i m Pe nte -

costa l Chu rch was delighted when MP Andrew Griffiths said he felt ‘a great energy’ in the congregation. The new site is directly opposite the

ma i n church bui ldi ng, and was formerly a rundown retail outlet, which the church demolished to make way for a new purpose-built building

Puzzle corner. Sudoku

Crossword

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Solutions on the right

ACROSS 1. Twelve (5) 4. Hoard (5) 7. Unaware (9) 8. Gape (4) 10. Wore away (6) 12. Birds of prey (6) 13. Notion (4) 16. Large spider (9) 18. The lowest point of anything (5) 19. Implied (5)

DOWN 1. Journal (5) 2. Menagerie (3) 3. World’s longest river (4) 4. Secret or hidden (6) 5. Bustling (7) 6. Abated (5) 9. Placed a bet (7) 11. Thinner (6) 12. Consumed (5) 14. Proficient (5) 15. Female relative (4) 17. Part of a circle (3)

k now n as The Cor ner. Pastor Robert Styles said: “The Cor ne r w i l l now host much of the church’s extensive midweek programme as well as being

available for other local community use. “Andrew Griffiths MP commented on the energy that could be felt in the local congregation.”

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

NEW LIFE

Issue 204 • NEW LIFE 9

COMMENT Mysterious move? MANY people will have said it and not realised just how true the comment is: “God moves in mysterious ways.” But it’s true that God moves in the way only he knows – and when he does, lives really do change. This is very true of Sarah Bird, who found herself greatly depressed and constantly fighting suicidal feelings. But God had a plan. His plan was that Sarah would meet a woman on a train who would lead her to her Saviour – Jesus Christ. Some would dismiss the fact that Sarah felt the urge to withdraw money she didn’t need as simple coincidence. But again this was all part of the plan that allowed Sarah to open her heart to the evangelist she met on her journey. Time and time again, we see God moving. In New Life this month, we report on people who have been able to put behind them past hurts, such as Kim Myers, who was abused as a child. No one could really blame Kim for getting angry about the way she was treated, and who would be surprised if she wanted revenge? But instead Kim decided to ask God for help, and he has led her to reach out to others who have ended up in the same situation. Now, Kim leads others to Jesus, who tells us to forgive. Maybe you are like Paul Vivian on this page, and desperately searching for an answer to where your life is going. If that’s the case, it’s just possible that God has it all planned out, and that he led you to read these words because he wants you to find out more about his love and the love of Jesus. You can ask him into your life right now, or why not visit a local church or join an Alpha Course, where someone will be happy to help and pray with you. See Page 6 for more details.

BIBLE QUOTE OF THE MONTH “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.” Psalm 7: 10 Editor: Peter Wreford Advertising: Barry Wilson

Editorial office: New Life Publishing Co, PO Box 777, Nottingham NG11 6ZZ, UK Email: editor@newlife.co.uk Telephone: 0115 824 0777 Website: www.newlife.co.uk

We welcome your letters and comments regarding any of the issues raised within these pages. Write to the Editor at the above address. Back copies: previous issues are available while stocks last, at cover price plus £1.00 handling charge, inc. p&p, per order.

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KEEP THIS PAGE TO HELP YOU FIND A NEW DIRECTION IN LIFE... ALTRINCHAM The Upper Room Christian Fellowship, The Downs. Sunday services 10.45am and 6.30pm. Enquiries: 0161 282 6676. (CA09) BIRMINGHAM Bromford Bridge Church Centre (AoG), Bromford Drive. Sundays 10.45am and 6pm. Minister Ivor Davies. Tel: 0121 748 7081 Mobile 07745 100 942. (AG30) B U R Y S T ED MU N D S, Suffolk. The Christian Resource Centre (a Pentecostal church). Oakes Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP32 6PX. www. crcministries.co.uk 01284 761000. Service times: Sunday 10.30am and 6.30pm. All the family will be made (EQ05) very welcome. CANTERBURY Trinity Community Church. Meetings Sundays 10.45am at St Stephen’s Junior School, Hales Place, Canterbury. Tel: 01227 459 785.

L I G H T H O U S E ( E L Y , CAMBRIDGESHIRE) A loving, growing, praying family church. Sunday celebration 10.30am & 6.00pm. Enquiries phone: 01353 662 228. Email: info@lighthouse-ely.org.uk. Web www.lighthouse-ely.org.uk. Also Christian Bookshop 01353 667 004. (DU35)

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Life now adds up for football finance guru LOG ON NOW: www.newlife.co.uk

A FORMER football finance expert has revealed how God changed his life and turned him into one of the nation’s best-known Christian preachers.

Brummie David Carr acted as a financial go-between for players and clubs. Some of the country’s top stars would pay his company to negotiate their pensions, contracts and personal financial issues. He worked with the likes of Manchester United’s Brian Robson, Villa striker and now Sky commentator Andy Gray and Liverpool legend and BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson. “I would work with lawyers and would act as an alternative to an agent. I would bill the footballers on an hourly rate. I would do ten hours’ work and charge £2,400 but an agent would charge £42,000 over two years. I didn’t want to rip anyone off like some agents did. “I would run the finances for these footballers who really needed some good advice. Many of them got married young and too soon because they lived away from home

Former pundit Gavin a great time studying!

● Continued from Page 1 having moved up from local radio to working as a regular expert for BBC TV. 
 And his new life has been far from a walk in the park. “The studying has been hard,” he said. “It’s been the hardest two years of my life but the most rewarding. I joked with my classmates once that I had played in front of 100,000 people in a Cup final at Wembley but I was more nervous about my Hebrew vocabulary test!” Recently Peacock has moved on to studying more practical skills, such as preaching and how to serve the com mun it y, work i ng w ith a small evangelical church in Banff. “You have to be a shepherd to your flock,” he says. 
 “I feel my primary calling is to be a preacher. I have been working at Banff Park Church and I preach there about once a month,” he says. “I don’t wear a dog collar, it’s quite casual, but I do wear a suit when I preach. There is normally about 120 to 140 in the congregation.”

‘I turned to h-earo after Tyson bite...’

BOXING hero Evander Holyfield has revealed he turned immediately to God after famously having his ear bitten by Mike Tyson in 1997. Holyfield, who won four world titles, says the infamous Tyson clash made him a better person. The boxer, nicknamed ‘The Real Deal’, said: “You get bit on the ear and people say, ‘You must still be mad. You must be a ng r y’. But I prayed straight after.”

David Carr

Go-between to legends has new job as preacher

and they needed people to counsel and help them.” It was a miracle that Dave – who now travels throughout the world preaching the Christian message – was able to work in such a highprofile career. As a boy, he had great struggles, suffering from five major phobias, which caused him to hyperventilate near people, animals, water, medical work and darkness. He had made a decision as a seven-year-old to follow Christ, but as a teenager was acutely dyslexic and had developed an uncontrollable temper. But as an 18-year-old, an encounter with God radically changed his life when he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Within two years he was reading perfectly, was doing maths

quickly in his head and had been healed of all phobias. He had also gone from having a dead-end job to working in finance. The dramatic turnaround continued, and within five years of being filled with the Holy Spirit he was lecturing around the world and had started to manage the finances of more than 700 footballers. Dave, now 65, said: “I was in such a mess before God’s power came upon me and transformed me. I can’t take any credit for any of what I’ve seen and done. It’s all been down to the hand and the call of Almighty God. “The Holy Spirit changed my life. My phobias didn’t go straight away but I had to break those fears because there was no way I could be a successful businessman or preacher if I was afraid of people. I was scared of medical work and the dark but I’ve had all my teeth reworked and I can’t sleep with the light on nowadays! My dyslexia completely went and I’ve since authored five books.” During this time God was preparing Dave for full-time Christian ministry. He would often go to advise a player on financial issues but

return having counselled them and acted as a chaplain. He started a church, Renewal Christian Centre in Solihull, with just four people, training one day a week as a minister whilst running his football finance business. The soccer stars were aware of Dave’s ministry passions, and he became known affectionately as “The Rev” among the game’s highearners. And his faith was certainly put to the test following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, which resulted in 96 deaths as Liverpool away fans were crushed on overcrowded terraces. The Rev was brought in to counsel the staff, who he was able to comfort and help following the tragedy. Dave said: “The Hillsborough disaster was an awful time but it was a great privilege to be able to help those staff who were terribly upset and hurt following the tragedy. “I certainly believe the Lord was preparing me for ministry. I was working with real people in real circumstances and learning what life was really all about.”

Tim Tebows to a higher authority...

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

11

Faith helped me after a trying time Lesley Vainikolo

E NGL A N D r ugby w i nge r Lesley Vainikolo has scored the ultimate conversion – finding faith in Jesus Christ. The 17-stone Gloucester star, who originates from Tonga, says faith in God has help him cope with the deaths of his brother and father. Lesley was “lucky” enough to be raised in a Christian home, he says. “Mum and Dad brought us up to follow the right road. I’m lucky to have my faith. “I carry my Bible with me everywhere. My mother gave it to me for my 17th birthday. Before each game I read a few passages, bless my jersey and my team, and bless the other team. Then I go out there to do battle.” Lesley’s brother died of heart trouble at 37, but the rugby ace isn’t worried about suffering in the same way. “He was the first (in the family) to die that way, and I was very concerned. I went straight to the doctor for a check-up. Thank God, everything was good. My brother meant a lot; so did my dad, who died last year. The only way I can repay them is to live out their memories and look forward.”

Archery ace: My target is to be witness

HE stands at 6ft 3in, but American Football star Tim Tebow realises he’s pretty small in comparison to his true hero. The 23-year-old Denver Broncos star is a devout Christian, vowing that his faith in Jesus Christ is more important than any sporting achievements. He told reporters: “For me, every day includes four things: God, family, academics and football, in that order.” Growing up in a Christian family, Tim began his walk with Christ as a six-year-old. He has regularly travelled with his missionary parents Bob and Pam to the Philippines, to lead evangelistic crusades and minister in orphanages. He said: “Meeting all of those different people who have nothing and are poor gave me an appreciation for what me and my family have and provided me with the perspective of taking nothing for granted.

important “It also allowed me to see the affect that I could have on those people. For some, the belief in Christ is all that they have and is much more important than money or material possessions.” Tim attends the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. He recently showed his commitment to the church when he played Goliath opposite a six-year-old boy as David in the church’s children’s musical. For Tebow, stay i ng spi r it ua l ly grounded includes leading a Bible study in his apartment on Sunday nights. Attended mostly by fellow football players, Tebow said the athletes “spend time talking about the Lord”.

Issue 204 •

GENTLE GIANT... Tim Tebow

ARCHERY expert Kisik Lee says his role as a national coach is secondary to his faith in God. The Korean (pictured below) has become a mentor to Christian athletes, saying that being a witness for Christ is more important than training them at their sport. He told reporters: “I’m the witness of Jesus, not just an instructor. I have to encourage them how we can change in Christ.” L e e , 53 , i s t h e coach of the US Archery Team, while he has also had spells with his native South Korea and Australia. He puts his team through numerous exercises in the build up to tournaments, including expecting them to read the Bible. One of his team, archer Brady Ellison, was baptised by Lee. Lee believes having a strong faith makes for better archers, because it helps to quieten their minds. Speaking of Ellison, he revealed: “I give him six tasks a day, including reading the Bible and education. Sooner of later, if they can see God through me, that’s what I want to try to do. I’m not God, and I can’t drive them to God, but I can pray for them.”


NEW LIFE

SPORT

HOW LIFE’S NOW ADDING UP FOR FORMER FOOTY FINANCE GURU FULL STORY – PAGE 11

I’m Gavin a great time as I study!

TIM TEBOWS TO HIGHER AUTHORITY FULL STORY – PAGE 11

It’s a giant admission from Botha

MATCH OF THE PRAY... Gavin Peacock has plans to be a church leader

FAITH VIEWS... Bakkies Botha HE strikes fear into his opponents, but South African rugby star Bakkies Botha is a gentle giant at heart. The 31-year-old is one of his nation’s top players, and he is also a committed Christian. He shocked fans recently when he said he cares more about Christ than he does about his career. “Before I start my day, I read my Bible and pray and I do the same before I go to bed,” he said. “Your time with God every day is your most important appointment. My religion comes first, then my family, then my job.” It is often claimed that Bakkies, real name John Philip, kneels in the changing room before every game and asks God to forgive him for the damage he is about to do to his rivals on the pitch! He laughs because he has heard this so many times. “I do pray before each game but it is to thank God for giving me the talent to play at the highest level. In return I promise him I will play to 100 per cent of my ability in every game. ‘We are not put on earth to be big rugby players, to live in big palaces. It’s not about Bakkies Botha getting 50 caps. I believe God has put us in this position to make a difference to his kingdom.”

MIDFIELDER AND FORMER TELLY PUNDIT PLANS TO BE PREACHER A FORMER Newcastle and Chelsea midfield star has swapped the warmth of a Match of the Day pundit’s chair for a small church in the Canadian Rockies. 
 It was t wo yea rs ago that Gavin Peacock decided to move h is w ife, A ma nda, a nd thei r two children, Jake and Ava, to Canada so that he could study theology with the intention of becoming a church leader. But he says that despite having to get accustomed to a new way of life, he believes he’s following a calling from God. Gavin said: “I left England after Euro 2008, when I had been working as part of the TV team for the BBC. And not long after I was living in a small town in

a strange country, getting up at seven in the morning to study Hebrew at eight, followed by ancient Greek at 10. And I wondered, ‘What have I got myself into?’” 
 He may have wondered, but God evidently knew exactly why – with the quietly spoken former midfielder declaring he had felt ‘compelled’ to join the ministry as he read his Bible at home. 


CALLING Peacock told The Independent: “When I got the call to enter the ministry I just felt like that was what I was meant to do. I feel compelled to do it. “I was in my study reading my Bible when it seemed someone had highlighted the words on the pages. I suddenly felt the calling to preach.” 
 A Christian since his teenage years, Peacock added: “I could have studied in England but we

had been out here on holiday a few times and we just thought, ‘Let’s make a real break away from ever yth i ng.’ Com i ng to Canada was like stripping things back; I couldn’t trade off my name. No one was going to give me a hearing because I was Gavin Peacock, ex-Chelsea captain.” At first it was quite hard, being away from everything I had known – family, friends, football. And it was not like we were in Florida, sitting by the swimming pool. It was really cold and that was hard to get used to. 
 “For the first time, also, football was not a part of my life at all. It’s not like going to Spain or Italy, or even the US. In Canada they have very little interest in soccer.” 
 After a great life as a footballer, Gavin created an impressive second career as a pundit, ● Turn to Page 11

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New Life February 2011 issue 204  

Stories of faith and inspiration to bring you hope

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