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NEW LIFE

MARCH 2011 • Issue 205

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GOOD NEWS STORIES

Kids’ meal confirms ILL girl’s healing SEE PAGE 3

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CELEBRITIES SHARING STORIES OF THEIR FAITH SEE PAGE 5

MINER REMEMBERS UNDERGROUND MIRACLE SEE PAGE 2 FOR FULL STORY

DAD URGES YOUNG TO LIVE IN PEACE

PRAYER PLEASE... Justin Bieber and, inset, his mum Pattie Mallette

Bieber’s mum pleas for protection prayer THE mum of teen pop sensation Justin Bieber has called on fans to pray for him…to keep him from the seedier side of showbiz. Born-again Christian Pattie Mallette said her son recognised that his singing career was a gift from God and also sees it as his ministry. But she said he still needed prayer to keep him from the temptations of the “dark side” of the entertain ment industry. “He’s my son and I’m accountable by God and by the law to protect h i m , wh ic h i nc ludes covering him spiritually,” she told reporters as his new 3D documentary movie Never Say Never was released last month. “J u s t i n ’s f a i t h i s strong. God plays the main role in his life, but he’s young and hasn’t

come completely into himself yet. So what I can do is pray, teach and continue surrounding him with strong Christian influences.” Ms Mallete employs a “travel pastor” when they are on tour as well as a Christian tutor to develop Bieber’s knowledge of the faith and to provide a “great moral base” for the star, who turned 17 on March 1. Speaking to Bieber’s many Christian fans, she added: “This is a dark industry. I’d like to think that Justin and his music is a light in the darkness. “M y praye r i s for Justin to be protected against the temptations of the industry.” ● Bieber has donated a portion of the proceeds from his latest album to children’s hospitals in America, saying he wanted to help others.

I FORGIVE MEN WHO KILLED MY SON THE dad of a teenager who died after being run over, shot and stabbed by a gang has forgiven his son’s killers.

Antoine Ndjoli has also urged young people to live in peace and told parents to take their children to church because he believed they would stop violence if they “knew the Lord”. Mr Ndjoli’s 17-year-old son Johnson was left fighting for his life after the attack left ● Continued on Page 3

FORGIVING KILLERS... Antoine Ndjoli

‘Parents should take children to church’


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• Issue 205

Christianity is ‘under attack’

Top cop: pray for the police

PRAYER PLEA... Chief Constable Matt Baggott

FORMER Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has launched a campaign aimed at speaking up for Christian values in public life. The former archbishop unveiled a leaflet as part of the campaign, warning that Britain’s Christian culture is “under attack”. I n t he lea f let, L ord Ca rey, who ret i red a s A rc hbishop of Canterbury in 2002, says: “I am proud of our tradition of tolerance and our hisLord Carey toric commitment to welcoming the stranger. “Yet what many people don’t realise is that it is the Christian faith that underpins these great strengths and that has enriched our nation in so many other ways. However, this rich legacy is under attack. “In spite of having contributed so much to our civilisation and providing its foundation, the Christian faith is in danger of being stealthily and subtly brushed aside.”

Students back lessons in RE

STUDENTS have put Religious Education top of the class in a new poll. Most think RE is a ‘valued subject’, while 80 per cent said it promoted a better understanding of different faiths and beliefs. Even 77 per cent of sixth formers and school leavers who described themselves as atheists, supported a wider role for the subject in the national curriculum. The survey, conducted by the Church of England, comes as the Government announced plans to boost humanities-based subjects in schools.

Give your neighbours a

A POLICE chief is urging Brits to pray for cops. Matt Baggott, Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, urged delegates at The Mandate conference: “Pray for your police. Get to know them. Pray they’ll do a great job. “Pray they’re protected – and pray that policing itself makes a huge difference. Then I think we’ll see a great transformation taking place.” Ch ief Cons Baggott reg ularly talks about his faith in Christ and often visits churches and organisations around Northern Ireland to give his testimony. He told a meeting of the St Finnian’s Men’s Society: “‘I have a living faith in Jesus Christ.” And Chief Cons Baggott also recalled how his father, a confirmed atheist, started praying when facing a major life-threatening operation. “During that time he had a very personal encounter with Jesus and his life changed forever,” he added.

chilean miner tours uk and tells his amazing story

I only survived mine hell because of God ONE of the Chilean miners has told how Christ rescued him and 32 others during a tour of the UK.

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Jose Henriquez took to the stage at a number of churches and cathedrals to testify about the God who saved him and the other 32 miners. They were trapped deep underground for more than two months last year. After experiencing the presence of God so powerfully, Henriquez is travelling the world to share his testimony and tell others about his faith. Th is particular accident, Henriquez believes, is being used by God to reveal his love and invite the world back to him. “There are so many accidents that happen every day. We know that thousands of people die every day, but this particular accident for some reason God took hold of it in a very special way,” he said. “I haven’t come here just to have fun. I have come here because my heart is so grateful to give testimony to this God of mercy and God of grace. “The only reason I am here is because there is a living God who is alive.” Hen r iquez’s message for people in Britain was to seek God today: “Please do not wait to have to suffer an accident in order to find God or seek him.” To have even survived the first 17 days before contact was made was a m iracle in

Jose Henriquez praying in London and, left, reunited with his wife after the miners’ dramatic rescue itself. With only a few cans of tuna and biscuits for food, the men joined in obligatory fasting, sometimes up to three days at a time, just to make the food last. When it became evident that only a miracle would get the men out alive, it was Henriquez, known as the “pastor” of the group, that they approached to guide them in prayer. The miners came from different denominations and some were atheists, but all 33 took part in the prayer meetings. “We had one desperate prayer cry and one purpose together. We all were praying ‘Lord open up a door of escape. There’s no other way unless you do it,’” Henriquez said. The prayer meetings soon evolved into Bible studies, with He n r iquez preac h i ng from memory, and the singing together of worship songs. It was as the men continued to pray daily that the presence of God started to be felt more powerfully, Henriquez recalled. “In the beginning there was such chaos and desperation. We all reacted in so many different

ways. But through prayer God changed our hearts and we came together in one purpose. We began to lose our fears and gained hope.” The first big test of faith came when the first drill missed them but rather than giving up, it only spurred them on to pray to God even more that he would help the rescuers locate them. When the second drill came down, it glanced off a rock at just the right angle to enter the chamber the men had gathered in, says Henriquez. “Everyone, even atheists, agreed that it was a miracle,” he said. After that, the men prayed twice a day. Food, medicine, a nd messages from fa m i ly members were sent down the shaft but it was when they each received their own small Bible that the change in the men became even more profound. “The Bible study and preaching of the Word began to change lives as it always does,” said Henriquez. “Nobody can deny what they lived through down there. We are witnesses of the power of God and what he did dow n there,” said Henriquez.


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Issue 205 • NEW LIFE 3

KIDS’ MEAL CONFIRMS GIRL IS HEALED I forgive my son’s killers says father NEW LIFE

IT’S FINGER LICKIN’ GOOD FOR HANNAH Rare illness could have proved fatal

HEALED... Hannah Terradez. Inset, Andrew Wommack, whose tape her parents listened to

IT was the happiest meal any child had ever eaten. Little Hannah Terradez wolfed down chips, chicken nuggets and cola, and then asked for some more. For parents, Ashley and Carlie, the fast-food meal was the sign their daughter was on the fasttrack to being healed of a lifethreatening illness. And it all started when they were given a dusty teaching tape that had lain in the back of a drawer for years. Carlie explains: “Hannah had been born with a rare autoimmune condition. “Whenever she ate something, she couldn’t keep it down. She even vomited baby milk and by the time she was three-and-a-half, she was only the size of a nine month old baby.” Doctors tried everything, including feeding her through a tube directly into her stomach. Nothing worked, and Hannah was wasting away before their eyes. One day the anguished parents set off from their Essex home to drive to London’s famous Great Ormond Street Hospital for yet another appointment. Their old car did not have a CD, so Ashley asked Carlie’s mum, Carol, if she had any tapes they could play on the journey. Carol rummaged around in a drawer and found one by a man called Andrew Wommack. It was something to listen to on the trip. As they listened, they heard Andrew say, “God doesn’t want us to be sick.” When he returned home that night, Ashley looked up Andrew’s website and found he could download all the teachings for free. He

listened to the teaching called God Wants You Well over and over again. Ashley says: “I wondered if I could meet Andrew, so I looked at his schedule and saw he was speaking at a conference in the UK the very next day!” The couple wanted Andrew to pray for Hannah – but nothing seemed to go right. Every time they tried, something happened and they couldn’t get to see him. On the last day of the conference, Hannah was in so much pain she wouldn’t stop screaming, so they took her into the crèche. A lady came in, prayed with Hannah and quickly went to fetch Andrew.

Line rings the changes of gang members’ lives A CONCERNED Christian has created a phone line dedicated to helping gang members, prison inmates and those caught up in crime. Gangsline was launched in October last year by Sheldon Thomas. And since its launch, several gang members, keen to leave behind their destructive lifestyle, have been in touch. 
Soon-to-bereleased prison inmates,

fearful of being draw n back into crime, have also contacted the Gangsline freephone number.
 Mr Thomas, a former ga ng member h i msel f, has been a Christian for 11 years, and started the project because he believes that young people need mentoring and support to leave beh i nd a criminal lifestyle. You can call Gangsline on 0800 0329538.

MARKING ANNIVERSARY... HM The Queen

“When Andrew came”, says Carlie, “he just smiled and said, “Piece of cake for Jesus!” Andrew prayed a simple prayer, told the disease to go, and told Hannah’s body to be restored, in Jesus name. B y t h i s t i me, H a n n a h w a s asleep. When she woke up, mum and dad told her that Jesus had healed her. Hannah smiled and said “Good” and that she wanted to go to McDonalds! But they couldn’t find a McDonalds anywhere and ended up at a KFC, which Hannah said, “Would do just fine!” “We boug ht he r c h ic ke n … and she swallowed it – and fries and fizzy drink and cake and ice

cream. She just stuffed it all in, grinned and ran around the restaurant! She was healed!” Hannah went on to recover completely and Ashley and Carlie sold their home and moved to Walsall to attend Andrew’s Bible college. Today they live in Colorado Springs in America, where they work for Andrew’s ministry. ● If you’d like to hear the full story of Hannah’s healing, you can watch Ashley and Carlie’s testimony at www.awmi.net/extra/healing/hannah or if you would like it on DVD, the first 25 people to contact Andrew Wommack Ministries Europe on 01922 473 300 will be sent one free of charge.

Queen joins celebrations of the King James Bible THE Queen has told Britain’s celebrity sports stars that the Bible is in a league of its own. And Her Majesty praised the King James Version, celebrating its 400th anniversary this year, as a masterpiece which has “given us the most widely recognised and beautiful descriptions of the birth of Jesus Christ”. The Queen has often spoken about her faith, once saying, “To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”

● Continued from Page 1 him in a coma for nine months. But his brave battle to survive finally came to an end in January last year in Kings College Hospital, London, where Mr Ndjoli and his family had kept a daily bedside vigil. Speaking during a youth crime conference last month, Mr Ndjoli said he and his family had coped because of their Christian faith. And he said he did not hate the two boys who were found guilty of carrying out the vicious attack on Johnson. The 49-year-old from Catford, South London, said: “My family is only coping because of the strength of God.” Johnson was not part of a gang, but brothers Dwight and Derrell Callendar had mistakenly identified him as one of his friends, Mohammed Turay, who they’d earlier had an argument with. They rammed Johnson with a van they were in, shot him and slashed him with a knife before speeding off. Mr Ndjoli, who has set up the Johnson Memorial Fund to raise awareness of gangs and knife crime, said his family had forgiven the killers and felt no hatred towards them. He said: “When I saw Johnson’s murderers, who have now been sentenced, I felt very sorry for them. “They did it because of lack of knowledge and education. I have no time to hate them. When you hate someone in life, you’re only destroying yourself.” And he urged young people to consider the consequences of their actions and told parents to take their children to church. Mr Ndjoli told attendees at the ASIC Youth Crime Conference, held at Peckham Library, in south London: “Live your life in peace, children, for this is a temporary life. “The advice I will give to these parents is that we must stand strong and bring our children up in the way of the Lord. “The community needs to take their children to churches. They would never do what they are doing if they knew the Lord.”

Rise in food aid ORGANISERS of a scheme that provides free meals say that demand for the service has doubled in the past year as families struggle with their finances. 
 The Ch ristian-inspired Storehouse Project caters for people who are homeless, poor or have addictions. John Williams, from the Southend Vineyard church, which runs the service, said more and more people were turning to them for food and hot meals. 
 “We had just under 1,000 people using the service 12 months ago, we’ve now got in the region of 2,100,” he said. 


Aretha Thanklin! SOU L d iva A retha Fra n k l i n has thanked her fans for their prayers following her ‘highly successful’ surgery. A community prayer vigil was held in Detroit for the singer, ahead of the surgery for an undisclosed medical condition. In a statement issued in New York, the singer said: “God is still in control. I had superb doctors and nurses who were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country.”


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4 NEW LIFE • Issue 205

£100k for Haiti school rebuild plan

WORLD NEWS ROUND-UP

Helping is the focus for firm

A GROUP of Methodists has handed over £100,000 to help rebuild a school in Haiti. W i r r a l M et h o d i s t s were proud to hand over a c heque to sta rt t he rebu i ldi ng of Leveque Methodist School in Portau-Prince. The total cost of rebuilding the school of eight classrooms is put at £180,000. For details about the fundraising efforts visit, w w w.w i rra l method ist. btck.co.uk

USA – A Ch r ist ia n compa ny i n A merica is helpi ng people w ith their spiritual blindness – by helping them first with their physical eyesight issues. Eyes of Faith Optical in West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, pledged to give a free pair of reading glasses to faith oriented mission groups for every pair sold through the website, www.restoringvision.com. Co-founder Jim Schnieder said: “There are so many people in developing countries who can’t work or read because they simply can’t see. We can change many lives by giving the gift of sight with Eyes of Faith.

CHEQUE IT OUT... (l-r) The Rev Marcus Torchon, Minister from Haiti serving in Bromborough, Neston & Willaston, The Rev Dr Leslie Griffiths, Superintendent Minister at Wesley’s Chapel in London who served in Haiti, The Rev Jim Dobson, Superintendent Minister of the Wirral Circuit and Mr Steven Schroeder, treasurer of the Wirral Circuit

Church lends hand in flood

SCHOOL CHIEF THANKS GOD FOR MIRACLE

i escaped shooting by crazed gunman Charity sees Christianity on increase

CHRISTIAN Charity Gospel for Asia has reported an increase in people becoming Christians in countries where believers are persecuted. Daniel Punos, of GFA, said: “Many times the people who were the ones who initiated the persecution are the first ones to realise Christ’s love. It’s pretty amazing to see that.” While a few states in India h ave pa ssed a nt i- conve rsion legislation, Punos says that’s not stopping people from turning to Christ. It’s making Christianity more mysterious. He said: “They’re very curious why certain things are being passed against Christians. So they start asking questions about Christ. That provides a platform for evangelism. And many respond.” Daniel said that while believers aren’t asking for persecution, they do understand. “They’re the ones saying that the Lord is actually using this for good,” he added.

A SCHOOL official who survived a shooting has told how God saved his life.

Bill Husfelt, superintendent of Bay City Schools, was at a school board meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, when a gunman started shooting at point blank range. Bill said: “I knew the good Lord was there with me. It’s a miracle that other people weren’t shot. You can say there are no miracles, but I just witnessed one. There is not enough time for you to convince me that God wasn’t in that room. I thought the Lord was beside me, but I realised later that he was in front of me.” The drama unfolded at a routine board meeting after the floor was opened up for public comment. The gunman, later identified as ex-convict Clay Duke, started spray painting a red V on the wall.

SHOCKING Bill said: “I thought this guy is really mad about something and he’s going to great extremes to tell us. It was shocking.” When Duke finished spray painting, he whirled around with a gun in his hand and pointed it directly at the school board. Duke told everybody to leave the room except the men, which included Bill, an attorney, and four male board members. “I’m goi ng to d ie a nd somebody else is going to die,” Duke

THANKFUL... Bill Husfelt

NEW ZEALAND – A church swung into action after floods inundated the a rea of Ca nvastow n i n New Zealand. Pastor Tom Hatch and 15 volunteers from the Elim Church in nearby Bleinham helped in the clean up. Pastor Tom said: “Canvastown was blocked from both sides after torrential downpours overnight and had been largely missed by emergency services. The working bee was about community and helping each other out.”

Luke at that for success!

JAMAICA – A patois translation of the book of Luke from the Bible has gone down a storm on the island of Jamaica. “The Scriptures have the greatest impact when you hear it in your mother tongue. So this translation to Creole is affirming the Jamaican speaker’s language, and it is very, very powerful,” said Rev Courtney Stewart, general secretary of the Bible Society of the West Indies. A patois translation of the entire New Testament is expected in August 2012, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence.

On a mission for outreach announced. Displaying extraordinary calm, Bill began to talk to the man. He explained: “We couldn’t go anywhere. He had us up against the wall. We didn’t have any other option but to try to reason with him.” Bill later credited his remarkable calm to his faith, and his certainty about his final destination in heaven. Bill recalled the moment that Duke fired: “His whole demeanour changed. His eyes were very deep and there was a little smirk on his face. I knew he was getting ready to pull the trigger.” As Bill pleaded for his life Duke fired off his first round directly at

him as he dove for cover behind the desk. The bullet lodged in a 200-page book. Calmly and methodically, Duke paced to the left around the large desk, firing rounds at other board members who scrambled for cover. Bill recalled: “We were on the ground and bullets were f lying an inch or two over our heads. One bullet went through a drawer and stopped just short of a board member.” Part-time security officer Mike Jones, a retired detective, opened fire on Duke from the side of the room, wounding him in the leg. Duke fell to the floor and used his own gun to commit suicide. No one else in the room was harmed.

ZIMBABWE – Christian charity Operation Mobilisation is to pioneer a new range of training initiatives in Zimbabwe this year. The initiatives are aimed at equipping local believers for outreach and mission service. Church and youth leaders will be trained in sports ministry and a month of prayer is being organised with congregations across the country.

It’s double joy for Verna, 91

USA – A 91-year-old scored a double whammy after being named Evangelist of the Year and also winning a role in a modern day film about the life of King David. Dr Verna Linzey was given the award by the Military Bible Association, and filming on the movie Iniquity has already begun.


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Bibles in pubs call PUBS and shops should serve up Bible readings, a bishop has said. The Rt Rev Paul Butler says sports halls and even YouTube are ideal ways to get the Bible out of church and into everyday life. This year sees the 400th anniversary of the King James Version, regarded by many people as the best English Bible translation. Bishop Butler wants to highlight the special place of the Bible in our culture. He said: “Although the Bible has been praised by some as the most beautiful book ever written, it is also a fact that many young people have never even heard of it. According to a new survey, 51 per cent of under 35s have never heard of the King James Bible, and yet it has been described as a work that was far more influential than Shakespeare in the development and spread of the English language.” One project aims to create a complete reading of the King James Bible on YouTube. The readers will be made up of actors, sportsmen and women, musicians, politicians and anyone else who wants to take part. Bishop Paul hopes that every lectionary Bible in churches will always be open, and at a passage that would make sense for visitors to read, who may have called in unexpectedly.

Volunteers helping out

A GROUP of caring Christians have helped hundreds of revellers during their first year operating as Town Pastors in Stowmarket. The voluntary organisation first hit the streets of the town in December 2009, one of eight town pastor schemes across Suffolk. Over the last six months, the town pastors have escorted six lone women to their cars or homes and given advice or support to 360 young people under 18. They have also helped to calm down 20 difficult situations, given out 51 bottles of water and removed 316 potentially dangerous items like bottles and glasses. The town pastors provide help to those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, using space blankets to keep them warm and ensuring they get home safely with a family member or friend. 
 Inspector Gary Duncan, from Mid Suffolk police, said: “They have done an excellent job.”

Prayers for car thieves

A PREACHER has vowed to pray for the thieves who took his car after breaking into his house and stealing the car keys. The crafty crooks removed the letterbox cover of Rev Barry Unwin’s front door in New Barnet before stealing the keys to his Renault Traffic people carrier. Rev Unwin is the vicar of the town’s St James’s Church, and as well as using the car for his family he also drove people to and from community events. He said: “We’ll be praying for whoever stole our car – I bear them no ill will, and long that they will return what’s been stolen and learn a new way to live with Jesus in the driving seat of their lives.”

Issue 205 •

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

AGENCY FINDS STARS TO GIVE TALKS

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CELEBS SHARING STORIES OF FAITH by Becky Barlow

YOU might expect to find celebrities spending their spare time at book signings or opening trendy restaurants. But scores of stars are signing up to visit churches to tell people about Jesus. Boyzone singer Shane Lynch, pop star from Eternal Kelle Bryan and two-times world champ boxer Nigel Benn are just three high profile figures who have signed up to the Lighthouse Agency so that they can share their Christian faith. The organisation was set up by Dave Bemment, who came up with the idea after running a successful tour with top TV comics Cannon and Ball in the 90s.

BRILLIANT He said: “It was an amazing time. We did the Cannon and Ball Gospel Tour with 50 venues and 50,000 people. It was a really brilliant time but it was only for a season.” Despite this success, Dave longed to get back to his roots – village evangelism. “My heart had always been in the local church because I was in a little village church for so long,” he explains. “I wanted our events to be as reachable to the village church as the city church.” In 1997, Dave’s dreams were fulfilled when he launched the Lighthouse Agency, as a ministry to bring celebrities for one-off testimony events in local churches. “The whole objective is to support the local church in their evangelism,” he said. “Often we find up to 50 per cent of those attending can be non-Christians. We have Nigel Benn and when he speaks, a lot of the local boxing clubs show up and it’s a great opportunity to witness to these guys. We see ourselves as the facilitator between the artist and the church.” The celebrities make themselves available for various outreach

STAR LIGHT... Former Eternal star and soloist Kelle Bryan, right, is one of the celebs who are part of the Lighthouse Agency, run by Dave Bemment, above. Others include The Bill star Graham Cole, below left, and Boyzone’s Shane Lynch

events including breakfasts, Alpha evenings, conferences, church outreaches, evangelistic events and dinners. With 27 guests on the books as diverse as Kym Mazelle from Soul II Soul, to Graham Cole from ITV show the Bill, to John Gaughan from 60’s band Herman’s Hermits, there really is something for everyone. Dave said: “We cater for all ages – children, family, teenagers, senior citizens, men’s or ladies’ only events – whatever you need, we try to provide.” So how does Dave find his celebrities? “Sometime the celebrities come to us and other times if I feel it on my heart, I’ll contact them,” he

explained. “I believe that this is God’s ministry and he brings them. We always meet up with them first

and then ask them to go away and pray about it and talk it over with their pastor.”

Youth worker turns down U.S. for Southport Paul McMichael

A SCOTTISH youth worker turned down a job in America to work at a church in Southport. Paul McMichael, 32, turned down a position with Youth With a Mission, who offered him a job in Boston, to take up the post as children’s pastor at Lakeside Christian Centre. He said: “I really felt that God was

calling me to stay in the UK and work at LCC.” It was when his father passed away two years ago from cancer that Paul really started to think about his calling. “It made my calling clear,” he said. “I had a lot of time to think and pray about things and it made me

really want to step out in faith. My dad was a major part of my life and adjusting to life without him was not easy. But my faith in Jesus gave me the strength to continue.” Paul now oversees all of the youth and children’s activities at LCC, as well as developing their schools work.

HOW NURSE ADDICTED TO PAINKILLERS DITCHED DRUGS ... SEE P9


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NEW LIFE • Issue 205 NEW LIFE

Issue 205 •

FORMER GANGSTER TERRIFIED DRUGS DEALERS AND ROBBED THEM OF THEIR CASH Former kickboxing world champion Stephen French had found the perfect crime – robbing from drugs barons. But when his daughter was born he knew he had to change his lifestyle before he wound up dead. The question was, how? He talks to Becky Barlow

H

e was nicknamed “The Devil” and was feared throughout the underworld of Merseyside. His name struck fear into the most dangerous of criminals, having spent most of his adult life in brawls, bust-ups and run-ins with some of the nation’s meanest thugs. But following a Damascus Road-style encounter with Jesus, Stephen French has seen his life turn around from leading gang member to a born-again believer who now helps prevent crime in his neighbourhood. Stephen, 51, told New Life: “How can a guy that was called The Devil now be so devout in his belief? Because Christ has intervened in my life! “I know that Jesus exists. I’ve been given a new identity in him because my slate has been wiped clean. I have a new life! Everything I do he sees and I hold myself accountable to him. “The fact that I’m even alive is testimony to the power of Jesus. Never underestimate the power of his greatness. I feel humbled to walk the path he has chosen for me. “They called me The Devil but now I’m a warrior for Christ.” Stephen now acts as a mediator between the street gangs that he was once in charge of, working for Increase the Peace (IPP). He also runs a rehabilitation scheme giving jobs to young men who’ve been in prison, teaching them life skills and helping them gain employment. Rewind 20 years and Stephen’s life was very different, however.

‘THE DEVIL’ turns TOUGH MAN... Stephen French enjoys luxury during the height of his property firm’s success. Inset, Stephen with daughter Abbey. Far right, Stephen at an event with Mike Tyson

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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 a ­ llows 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

● Ex-thug survives six attempts to assassinate him...

TERRIBLE The dad-of-two was a gangster, and he invented the perfect crime – robbing drug barons of their huge fortunes. Knowing they would never report the crime, he raided their fortified mansions and tortured them with horrifying violence until they paid up. Through this crime, known as “taxation”, he netted vast sums of money from some of Britain’s richest and deadliest crime lords. “I did some terrible things,” he admitted. “But that was the Stephen French of then, not the Stephen French of today. Things happened to me and to friends and loved ones around me which made me take stock of my life and where it was going.” Stephen’s criminal career began at the age of 12 when he started fighting. By 1981, the year of the Toxteth riots, he was heavily ensconced in the criminal underworld. “That’s when I truly came of age,” he remembered. “I became a typical angry, young black man. The Toxteth riots led to Liverpool becoming a no-go area.” This was the perfect context for the cocaine explosion of the 1980s, which Stephen was to become a part of. He sa id: “At the t i me I was heav i ly involved in martial arts. I was the world kickboxing champion. As a result of that I became involved in security work. I ended up running the security for all the clubs in Liverpool. I quickly found out that if you control the front of house, you also control what goes on inside. “I found a niche in the new crime of taxation. Taxation was basically torturing drug dealers and relieving them of their cash. We knew they wouldn’t report it to the police because they were drug dealers! It was like the perfect crime because it went unreported. “Working on the doors it was easy to find out who had what – all I had to do was keep my eyes and ears open. So prolific was I at this and so fearsome was my reputation that I was given the nickname, The Devil.” By the end of the 80s, Stephen had built up a fearsome reputation and had amassed a fortune from robbing drug dealers. But

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

● And he forgives the five people who shot at him

to jesus christ!

when his daughter Abbey was born in August 1994, Stephen began to take stock of his life. He said: “I knew that the way things were going, I was either going to end up spending the rest of my life in jail or, worse, dead. “I had this little bundle of joy in my hands and I knew I had to stay out of prison and safe from harm if I was to be able to give her the chance in life she deserved. It really was a moment of epiphany for me.”

KILLING The killing of his best friend, Andrew John, had also had a profound effect on Stephen. “On June 8, 1991, my blood brother and lifelong friend Andrew John was gunned down in the street,” he said. “I was in Wormwood Scrubs on remand at the time accused of a crime that I did not commit. It was the one and only time I was in prison. They guy who killed Andrew also had a reason to kill me – it was a gang-related thing. “Two weeks before Andrew’s murder my mother, a devout Roman Catholic, came to

When I became a Christian I was sorry and felt sickened by what I had done

see me and told me that I was in prison for protection because something dreadful was going to happen. Two weeks later Andrew was murdered. “I believe that if I wasn’t in prison it would have been me. After he was murdered the case against me disappeared and I came home. It’s only in retrospect that I realise it was the hand of God that saved me.” Determined to go straight, Stephen set about starting up legal businesses – even acting as bodyguard for Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson during the filming of gangster flick, 51st State – but his enemies weren’t willing to forget his past crimes. “I began to work store security for car showrooms, industrial estates and retail

outlets,” he explained. “I was a free guy but people were still after me. I’ve survived six assassination attempts, the last one being in March 2009 when somebody fired five shots at me.” Stephen was adamant that he wasn’t going back to the life of crime and continued to build up his property empire.

PROBLEMS But when a business partner went bankrupt and the bottom dropped out of the property market, Stephen began to suffer cashflow problems. Involved in educating gang members about the danger of guns, Stephen was experiencing more and more threats on his

life from past acquaintances who didn’t like him working with the police. “I began to feel low and that was when the devil knocked on my door,” he said. “Once again I felt the old rage begin to rise. I started to think about finishing my enemies and taking from them the money that I needed. I made the decision to return to my violent past even though it had been 13 years since I’d last committed a crime. “As I lay in bed that night I resolved that the next day I would get up, wait for night then go and murder the people that were trying to kill me. “I reasoned that this clean life that I was living, the refusal to attack my enemies and the desire to want to help my fellow man,

wasn’t working for me. But I also prayed for forgiveness and understanding.’ Stephen’s prayers were answered the next day when a visit from the postman changed everything. In the morning post was a Bible. “When I took the Bible in my hands, everything just lifted,” he said. “I heard the words aloud in my head, ‘Your test is over my son.’ I took this as Jesus my Saviour revealing himself to me.

STRANGER “I came to realise later that our Lord will only test a person to what he can actually bear and I had reached my breaking point. I was taken to the brink of no return. “I forgave the five people who had shot at me and I learnt to walk away. When I gave myself 100 per cent to Jesus, my life began to improve.” A complete stranger named Paul, who had seen Stephen on TV and had learned his street name from the Internet, had sent the Bible. Although there was no house number, the postman, who also turned out to be a

Christian, made sure that the package was delivered. That was in November 2009 and now Stephen attends a church in the heart of Toxteth where he once ruled the streets. But when he first walked through the doors he was shocked at his reception. “They told me that my walking through the door was the answer to their prayers,” he said. “My name had been on their prayer chain for four years.” Stephen has detailed the acts of violence he committed in a new book about his life, appropriately entitled The Devil. He hopes to use the profits to fund the Andrew John Memorial Skill Centre named after his murdered friend. “When I became a Christian I was sorry and felt sickened by what I had done but back then I was angry and didn’t have a dream,” he said. “Jesus is now my Lord and Saviour. My financial problems have lifted themselves. The Lord opened a door for me which solved all my problems. I’ve taken the road from the devil to my redeemer.”

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.

FREE

FOR EVERY READER DAILY INSPIRATIONAL BOOK call 0845 6040401 or log on to www.ucb.co.uk

7


6

LOG ON NOW: www.newlife.co.uk

NEW LIFE • Issue 205 NEW LIFE

Issue 205 •

FORMER GANGSTER TERRIFIED DRUGS DEALERS AND ROBBED THEM OF THEIR CASH Former kickboxing world champion Stephen French had found the perfect crime – robbing from drugs barons. But when his daughter was born he knew he had to change his lifestyle before he wound up dead. The question was, how? He talks to Becky Barlow

H

e was nicknamed “The Devil” and was feared throughout the underworld of Merseyside. His name struck fear into the most dangerous of criminals, having spent most of his adult life in brawls, bust-ups and run-ins with some of the nation’s meanest thugs. But following a Damascus Road-style encounter with Jesus, Stephen French has seen his life turn around from leading gang member to a born-again believer who now helps prevent crime in his neighbourhood. Stephen, 51, told New Life: “How can a guy that was called The Devil now be so devout in his belief? Because Christ has intervened in my life! “I know that Jesus exists. I’ve been given a new identity in him because my slate has been wiped clean. I have a new life! Everything I do he sees and I hold myself accountable to him. “The fact that I’m even alive is testimony to the power of Jesus. Never underestimate the power of his greatness. I feel humbled to walk the path he has chosen for me. “They called me The Devil but now I’m a warrior for Christ.” Stephen now acts as a mediator between the street gangs that he was once in charge of, working for Increase the Peace (IPP). He also runs a rehabilitation scheme giving jobs to young men who’ve been in prison, teaching them life skills and helping them gain employment. Rewind 20 years and Stephen’s life was very different, however.

‘THE DEVIL’ turns TOUGH MAN... Stephen French enjoys luxury during the height of his property firm’s success. Inset, Stephen with daughter Abbey. Far right, Stephen at an event with Mike Tyson

NEW LIFE www.newlife.co.uk

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 a ­ llows 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

● Ex-thug survives six attempts to assassinate him...

TERRIBLE The dad-of-two was a gangster, and he invented the perfect crime – robbing drug barons of their huge fortunes. Knowing they would never report the crime, he raided their fortified mansions and tortured them with horrifying violence until they paid up. Through this crime, known as “taxation”, he netted vast sums of money from some of Britain’s richest and deadliest crime lords. “I did some terrible things,” he admitted. “But that was the Stephen French of then, not the Stephen French of today. Things happened to me and to friends and loved ones around me which made me take stock of my life and where it was going.” Stephen’s criminal career began at the age of 12 when he started fighting. By 1981, the year of the Toxteth riots, he was heavily ensconced in the criminal underworld. “That’s when I truly came of age,” he remembered. “I became a typical angry, young black man. The Toxteth riots led to Liverpool becoming a no-go area.” This was the perfect context for the cocaine explosion of the 1980s, which Stephen was to become a part of. He sa id: “At the t i me I was heav i ly involved in martial arts. I was the world kickboxing champion. As a result of that I became involved in security work. I ended up running the security for all the clubs in Liverpool. I quickly found out that if you control the front of house, you also control what goes on inside. “I found a niche in the new crime of taxation. Taxation was basically torturing drug dealers and relieving them of their cash. We knew they wouldn’t report it to the police because they were drug dealers! It was like the perfect crime because it went unreported. “Working on the doors it was easy to find out who had what – all I had to do was keep my eyes and ears open. So prolific was I at this and so fearsome was my reputation that I was given the nickname, The Devil.” By the end of the 80s, Stephen had built up a fearsome reputation and had amassed a fortune from robbing drug dealers. But

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

● And he forgives the five people who shot at him

to jesus christ!

when his daughter Abbey was born in August 1994, Stephen began to take stock of his life. He said: “I knew that the way things were going, I was either going to end up spending the rest of my life in jail or, worse, dead. “I had this little bundle of joy in my hands and I knew I had to stay out of prison and safe from harm if I was to be able to give her the chance in life she deserved. It really was a moment of epiphany for me.”

KILLING The killing of his best friend, Andrew John, had also had a profound effect on Stephen. “On June 8, 1991, my blood brother and lifelong friend Andrew John was gunned down in the street,” he said. “I was in Wormwood Scrubs on remand at the time accused of a crime that I did not commit. It was the one and only time I was in prison. They guy who killed Andrew also had a reason to kill me – it was a gang-related thing. “Two weeks before Andrew’s murder my mother, a devout Roman Catholic, came to

When I became a Christian I was sorry and felt sickened by what I had done

see me and told me that I was in prison for protection because something dreadful was going to happen. Two weeks later Andrew was murdered. “I believe that if I wasn’t in prison it would have been me. After he was murdered the case against me disappeared and I came home. It’s only in retrospect that I realise it was the hand of God that saved me.” Determined to go straight, Stephen set about starting up legal businesses – even acting as bodyguard for Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson during the filming of gangster flick, 51st State – but his enemies weren’t willing to forget his past crimes. “I began to work store security for car showrooms, industrial estates and retail

outlets,” he explained. “I was a free guy but people were still after me. I’ve survived six assassination attempts, the last one being in March 2009 when somebody fired five shots at me.” Stephen was adamant that he wasn’t going back to the life of crime and continued to build up his property empire.

PROBLEMS But when a business partner went bankrupt and the bottom dropped out of the property market, Stephen began to suffer cashflow problems. Involved in educating gang members about the danger of guns, Stephen was experiencing more and more threats on his

life from past acquaintances who didn’t like him working with the police. “I began to feel low and that was when the devil knocked on my door,” he said. “Once again I felt the old rage begin to rise. I started to think about finishing my enemies and taking from them the money that I needed. I made the decision to return to my violent past even though it had been 13 years since I’d last committed a crime. “As I lay in bed that night I resolved that the next day I would get up, wait for night then go and murder the people that were trying to kill me. “I reasoned that this clean life that I was living, the refusal to attack my enemies and the desire to want to help my fellow man,

wasn’t working for me. But I also prayed for forgiveness and understanding.’ Stephen’s prayers were answered the next day when a visit from the postman changed everything. In the morning post was a Bible. “When I took the Bible in my hands, everything just lifted,” he said. “I heard the words aloud in my head, ‘Your test is over my son.’ I took this as Jesus my Saviour revealing himself to me.

STRANGER “I came to realise later that our Lord will only test a person to what he can actually bear and I had reached my breaking point. I was taken to the brink of no return. “I forgave the five people who had shot at me and I learnt to walk away. When I gave myself 100 per cent to Jesus, my life began to improve.” A complete stranger named Paul, who had seen Stephen on TV and had learned his street name from the Internet, had sent the Bible. Although there was no house number, the postman, who also turned out to be a

Christian, made sure that the package was delivered. That was in November 2009 and now Stephen attends a church in the heart of Toxteth where he once ruled the streets. But when he first walked through the doors he was shocked at his reception. “They told me that my walking through the door was the answer to their prayers,” he said. “My name had been on their prayer chain for four years.” Stephen has detailed the acts of violence he committed in a new book about his life, appropriately entitled The Devil. He hopes to use the profits to fund the Andrew John Memorial Skill Centre named after his murdered friend. “When I became a Christian I was sorry and felt sickened by what I had done but back then I was angry and didn’t have a dream,” he said. “Jesus is now my Lord and Saviour. My financial problems have lifted themselves. The Lord opened a door for me which solved all my problems. I’ve taken the road from the devil to my redeemer.”

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.

FREE

FOR EVERY READER DAILY INSPIRATIONAL BOOK call 0845 6040401 or log on to www.ucb.co.uk

7


Issue 205

LOG ON NOW: www.newlife.co.uk

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Nurse was addicted to taking painkillers Man found hope in rehab centre A NURSE has told how God helped him turn his life around after he became secretly addicted to painkillers.

John Hagans’s life had hit rock bottom when he met Sally Livingstone who runs Livingstone House, a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Birmingham. He recalled the moment he entered Livingstone House: “God was in every room, in every molecule of air that I breathed. God was present and, boy, did he let me know. “I felt for the first time in my entire life FOUGHT that everything was going to be OK. WhatADDICTION... ever my fears, I would be restored.” John Hagan Although he’d already undergone a physical detoxification, John knew his life still wasn’t right I did give my life to God.” and he kept going back to LivJoh n’s stor y of add iction ingstone House. Over the next began when he was in a car weeks and months, John spent accident in 1996. At his worst all his spare time at the house point he was taking 80 painkilland began to use his skills as ers a day. a nurse to help others. But he He said: “I did not fulfil the admits that he was still retistereotype of the junkie, lying cent to invite Jesus Christ into and stealing from family memhis life. bers and society to pay for the He said: “I’m not somebody next fix. I was a professional who just jumps into things. addict, one who maintained an I have a scientific mind and air of respectability, dignity believe what my eyes can see. and outwardly a sense of care I wasn’t just going to give my and concern. life to God like they kept telling “One day I finally reached me. I believed that I was already that rock bottom that is often a Christian because I’d been talked about. The drugs had raised a Catholic. stopped working for me. They “But gradually what they were no longer took away the pain. saying began to make sense and They contributed and made it

worse.” When John lost his job after his addiction was discovered soon after the birth of his first child, he realised he needed to get clean. Desperate, he turned to Christ. “I prayed that the Lord would help me, show me the way to live, and let his will be done in my life and not mine,” he remembered. “I prayed for the first time in my life and meant it. And when I prayed, I heard the following words, ‘Do what is right in my name.’” I n 2003, Joh n sta r ted to attend various 12-step meetings and underwent a painful un-medicated detoxification. But he still felt that there was

something missing. He said: “I did everything I could. I went to meetings, spoke to people and prayed, but I felt that I was mentally slipping. Although I was no longer using substances and was starting to become stable in some areas of my life, something was missing and I prayed for help and guidance.” It was whilst at one of these meetings that he first met Sally. He now works alongside her as the registered nurse at Livingstone House, providing medical care to addicts. He said: “It’s given me back my self worth and respect and a purpose. It is my pleasure to serve God and to work alongside evangelist Sally Livingstone.”

Radio listeners rally after hearing plea for help CHRISTIANS rallied to help a man who made a desperate plea on a national radio station. The man wrote to Premier Radio, a Christian station, to say he needed prayer because of a financial crisis. To his surprise, the station was inundated with help from listen-

ers who offered to pray. The man appealed to John Pantry’s breakfast show. He wrote: “Please pray for me as I feel like giving up. I have no money, no job and feel like God has given up on me.” Mr Pantry said: “I’m always surprised by

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the generosity of Premier Radio listeners, and the way they responded to lift this caller’s burdens only reinforces the fact that God blesses them, and this show.” Premier Radio broadcasts on DAB nationally and on FM around London.

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

NEW LIFE

Issue 205 • NEW LIFE 9

COMMENT From dark to light YOU may be reading this knowing that you or someone you love is having a tough time. Everyone has moments in their lives when they hit rock bottom. Whether it’s the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one or just life generally getting to us, many reasons are behind that feeling of being low. Sometimes we can be left feeling so low that we feel we’re in a darkened room and are just desperate to see light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s in those times you may have feelings that are so strong, you want to do something destructive to make you feel better, such as taking revenge. In the Bible, Jesus talks about being in the darkness. He’s not just talking about our feelings, but warning us against the forces of darkness – the evil that shrouds us from time to time and leads us to those thoughts of “getting even”. That’s why Jesus says he is “the light”. It does not matter how tough life gets – and Christians go through the same trials as those who do not believe – by believing in Christ and recognising the sacrifices he made, we stay away from the darkness. Jose Henriquez was literally in the dark – along with 32 other men who were stuck in the same mine. But because of his faith in Jesus, he didn’t let the darkness surrounding him stop him seeing the light of Christ. And the fact that his faith shone brightly in that pitch darkness attracted those without faith to find out more. Jose was able to talk about his faith with a captive audience. And sometimes that’s why God chooses those moments when we are in the dark to let us know he is there for us. To find out more about “the light” of Jesus, check out our useful contacts on Page 7.

BIBLE QUOTE OF THE MONTH “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” Colossians 1: 13 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

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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) Bury S t E dmunds , 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. 

HUDDERSFIELD Elim Pentecostal Church, Grace Centre, 23 St Johns Road, Huddersfield HD1 5BW welcomes you to their Sunday services 10.30am and 6.30pm. TE: 01484 535 554 Web Site: www.huddelim.org.uk  (EB18)

maidstone Welcome to Grace Community Church which meets at Grove Road, Mangravet (near Police HQ), Sundays 10.30am. Enquiries: 01622 664 940 (DP53)

L ighthouse ( ely , cambridgeshire) A loving, growing, ­p raying 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)

RETFORD Retford New Life Church Centre, 26-32 Bridgegate, Retford, Notts. Morning Meetings 9.30am & 11.30am. Children’s Church 9.30am & 11.30am. Sunday Evenings 6.30pm. Everyone welcome. Contact 01777 711377.  (CA36)

New Life Community Church Main Hall

Rainham School Girl’s

CANTERBURY Trinity Community Church. Meetings Sundays 10.45am at St Stephen’s Junior School, Hales Place, Canterbury. Tel: 01227 459 785.  (CA06)

(between Highfield Road & Derwent Way), Rainham

Gillingham

Meet every Sunday 10.30am A warm welcome awaits you

CHATTERIS FenLife Christian Church. Sunday 10.30am and 6.30pm. King Edward Centre, Railway Lane, CHATTERIS. 01480 385001. www.fenlife.org.uk (EQ51)

For information on other meetings phone Allan Smith 01634 264410 (CF42)

leicester Narborough Road Christian Fellowship. Meet at The Brite Centre, Braunstone Avenue. Services: Sunday 10.30am. Tel: 0116 2891 395 or 0116 2897 804. All welcome.  (AB25)

(AS88)

EVERY MONTH

RUSHDEN Full Gospel Church. High Street South, Rushden. A family Church that loves God, each other and those in the community. Sundays 10.45am & 6pm. Enquiries telephone: 01933 418 002.  (DC19) Saffron walden, New Life Church. Shire Hill. Sundays 10.30am & 6.30pm. For details call Pastor R Ellalasingham on 01799 506045 email: mail@nlpc.co.uk (FR19) SHANKLIN Isle of Wight, Living Waters Fellowship, 29, Victoria Avenue. Sundays 2.30pm (Service). Wednesday Home Group 10.30am (Bible Study). Thursdays 10.30am (Prayer) 7.30pm Monthly also Saturdays 7.30pm Monthly (Intercessory Praise & Worship). Enquiries & Newsletter (01983) 863683, livingwaters.iw@btinternet.com or livingwaters.iw@gmail.com. (CA52)

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Issue 205 •

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

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PGA star tells of difficult times before finding success Debbie tells

why her life is oar-some

● Continued from Back Page in God and it’s a big part of my life.” Debbie is now in training for London 2012. It is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication in the sport she loves. She also recognises the role she has as a model for young people. “God has given me this ability to row, and I’m in the rowing world as an ambassador and as a witness for Christ. “There is a pressure. I have to remember that I am representing Christ, and that’s not always easy at times in such a pressured environment.

by James Hastings

banter “You get the banter, but it’s a very good-natured group. There’s never any hostility. Lots of very good conversations, lots of surprising conversations.” Her faith, Flood says, ends up providing her a centre of gravity in a challenging environment. “God is the centre of my life, and I’ll always come back to that, even if it’s not every hour, every day. “If things aren’t going the way I want them to go, yes, I might be moody. But at the end of the day I’ve got to trust that God’s got me where he wants me to be.”

If Tiger Woods is the golfer every fan wanted to be, then Tom Lehman is the golfer every fan believed they could be.

The former Open Champion and five times PGA Tour winner, has known his fair share of bunker moments. For nearly a decade, Tom, 50, hardly notched up a win and was even forced to stand down from the PGA. But the American star explains that during those lean years, God was his “spiritual caddy” who guided him out of the rough. “The Lord helped me to see what is i mporta nt i n l ife,” he smiles. “At the start of my pro career, I went from doing things for God’s glory to making money and being a success just for myself. “It took my being knocked way down to realise that God wanted me to be his man. I said ‘God, I want to be whatever you want. If you want me to quit golf, I will. If you want me to be a golfer, I will. Take me where you want and I’ll follow.’”

An Olympic effort on way

breakthrough Tom was born in Alexandria, Minnesota where he attended university, graduating with a degree in business. Although he turned pro in 1982, he struggled at first to become a leading player. He spent most of the 1980s languishing in no-man’s land until his breakthrough in the PGA, becoming PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1996. He also came to faith slowly even though he grew up in a Christian family. As a teenager, he was swamped with a depression that life was meaningless. “I was an athlete and a student and it seemed that my whole life was wrapped up in having to be good at what I was doing. “I felt I had to be a success for my parents, my college, my coach,

even for God or I’d be letting them all down.” A friend invited Tom to attend a meeting for Christian athletes. It was there he first heard Christians talking about how God loved them – just for themselves. “I realised that God valued me despite my failures,” he said. “I suddenly knew I did matter. That was an incredible thought that choked me up. It made me realise I was important. I asked

God to come into my life and all my feelings of guilt just washed off my shoulders. “I felt peace and a contentment I had never known. “I tell people that there are ups and downs in life. For so many of us, happiness is derived from how well we perform. So the message I try to convey is that we are unconditionally loved, and we are eternally accepted by God, regardless of our successes or failures in

business. Or in life.” Tom was able to relax and concentrate on his golf as well as his life. He soon saw success including the 1996 Open win and his numerous PGA trophies. “Victory is great but ultimately it is empty. Even the thrill of winning the British Open fades. What lasts is a relationship with God and with others. “God loves me and ultimately that is all that matters.”

Rhino I’m on to a winner, says rugby hero Jamie RUGBY star Jamie Jones-Buchanan says God has helped him be a winner on and off the park. The Leeds Rhino player is a hero to fans and respected by players. But when it comes to getting his priorities right, Jamie insists he’d drop-kick everything for his love of Jesus. “I believe everyone is attracted to God, it just comes out in different ways. “I attend the City Evangelical Church in Beeston on Sundays and I am trying to set up a group with some lads at Headingley, including some from rugby union and some cricket players,” he says. “I’m fortunate to have a great group of friends at the Rhinos. There’s a

bit of fun and banter in there too, but Christianity is a big part of my life. “We have a chaplain called Steve, he comes up every week or every other week. “It’s not about ticking boxes, like saying ‘I’ve done this today so it makes me a good person.’ I think actions are a by-product of faith, not the other way around.” Jamie puts a high priority on his family life. Married to Emma, the couple have three children. “I love my family, I love having children, it’s hard work, don’t get me wrong, if one of them wakes up in the night, it can wake all three up and then it’s just carnage, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s nothing really. They’re a big part of my life.”

GOD LOVES A ‘TRIER’... Jamie JonesBuchanan

EAGER Christians are already planning ways of spreading the gospel at the London 2012 Olympics. Lay Witnesses for Christ International (LWFCI) has been a strong presence in Olympic ministry since their work at the Los Angeles games in 1984, winning the respect and faith of many of the world’s greatest athletes and sports lovers. Dr Sam Mings, the president and founder of LWFCI is working towards the set up of outreach strategies in every Olympic host city. The organisation has developed many events including the popular Evening with the Olympic Stars. “LWFCI in each Olympic city gets teamed with a major city church, so it becomes a local mission effort and this is a key to the Lord’s awesome blessings,” said Mings. The Evening with the Olympic Stars has the support of Olympic icon, Carl Lewis. Lewis is not only a LWFCI board member, but the keynote speaker at each event. During a recent LWFCI awards night, Lewis declared that London 2012 would be an ‘open door for those sharing Christ.’

Not hit for six!

HE might get a bit of stick from his team mates, but cricketer Nicholas Ferraby sticks to his guns about his Christian faith. Nicholas, or ‘Ferbs’ as he is known amongst his colleagues, is a batsman for Kibworth CC and the Cambridgeshire County side. He said: “Most of the time the guys like to make banter, calling me a ‘Bible basher’ and stuff, but this can often lead to great opportunities to speak about my faith in a relaxed way.” Ferbs, a member of Christians in Sport, said: “It’s a great encouragement to know that I’m not alone.”


FULL STORY – PAGE 11

I’M OUT NEW LIFE REASON I’D KICK CAREER OF THE INTO TOUCH ROUGH!

SEE PAGE 11

SPORT

It’s nice and Olympic rower reveals her driving force kneesy for Hernandez!

WHY MY LIFE IS OAR-SOME OLYMPIC rower Debbie Flood may be going for gold at the London games but she says God has the number one spot in her life.

Debbie, 30, has just added the women’s quadruple scull race in the recent world rowing championships in New Zealand to her tally of medals. She is regarded as one of Team GB’s best medal hopes in 2012 – even though she took up the sport by accident. “I was always sporty and was doing judo, getting into the judo squad when I was 16,” she explains.

PRAYING BEFORE PLAYING... Hernandez’s prayers are a familiar sight for Man Utd fans MANCHESTER United’s new super striker says prayer is the best peptalk. Javier Hernandez admits he prays on the pitch before every kick-off. And the Mexican centre-forward confesses he asks God to keep not only his team-mates but the opposition players safe from serious injury. Hernandez, who is k now n as Chico by the Old Trafford fans, is not afraid to admit that faith is a big part of his game. “I always pray on the pitch before a game. It is an important routine for me but it is not superstition,” the 20-year-old forward explained. “I like to pray. I talk to God and I ask him to take care of the health of both teams because the worst thing for a sportsman are injuries, and there are a lot of accidents on the pitch that nobody wants. “I like to ask God to take care of me, because he gave me the opportunity to play.” Chico burst onto the Premier League scene with an astonishing nine goals in his debut season. Both his dad and granddad played professional football in Mex ico, which he says has helped give him the right grounding to deal with the fast paced premiership. The youngster has already been compared to United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which he admits is flattering. “Ole is a legend at Manchester United. Usually people compare me to my dad or granddad,” he said. “I’m only 10 per cent of what Ole was. I need to work harder and keep improving to become like him.”

FITNESS “I did a lot of running with my dad and when he injured his knee, I went to the gym with him. “Someone suggested using the rowing machine to keep up my fitness levels and I started doing good times. I went on two sculling courses and found them fun and the people very friendly.” Since then, Debbie has amassed three world-championship golds including last year’s when, along with her teammates, she beat the

defending champions Ukraine. Debbie is also well known for her strong Christian faith. Brought up in a Christian family, she was 17 when she gave her life to Jesus. “I was in the youth group at Guiseley Baptist Church in Yorkshire when I heard the pastor say I had to make a personal commitment, so I went home and did just that,” she said. “Ever since that day, I have grown in my faith. It gives me a bigger perspective on life. You go through highs and lows, but he’s never not there. I don’t think I’ve ever doubted I’m a child of God. “My faith is really important to me. I look back on my life and see that I have been put in these places, which appear to be random, but as I see it I have found something that I am really good at and God has put me here as a witness for him. He has got my life in his hands and this is where he is taking me. “Everyone in my team knows that I am a Christian but they see that I am just a normal person, I get on with my rowing, I train hard, I’m not strange because I’m a Christian but I believe ● Continued on Page 11

Local Local contact contact details: details:

GOLDEN GIRL... Debbie Flood

Published by New Life Publishing Company, PO Box 777, Nottingham NG11 6ZZ. Tel 0115 824 0777. Printed by Yorkshire Web, Barnsley. Tel 01226 734410. New Life Newspaper is printed on 100% recycled paper.


New Life March 2011 issue 205  

Stories of faith and inspiration to bring you hope

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