John’s Story

I was born in Southwest London in 1962 and did not grow up in a Christian family, in fact I went to Sunday school twice whilst a young boy and found it very boring and never went again. I left school at 16 with no real qualifications and as I had been in the army cadets for three years I signed up to serve in the British Army.

During my 13 years in the army I served several tours of duty in Northern Ireland during the conflicts. I also served in the Falklands War in 1982 and first Iraq war (Desert Storm). In 1991 I left the army and began my civilian life.

I met the most wonderful girl in the world in 1996 and four years later in 2000 was going to marry her. My life was complete, or so I thought.

Three months before we were due to get married I came home from work one evening and found my wife to be in bed with my best friend. My whole world fell apart. After throwing my friend out I sat down and spoke to my fiance and she confessed that she had been having an affair with him for three months. That was it; the end of the relationship.

Two weeks after the split I took 50 paracetamol tablets and tried to slash my wrists. I didn’t want to live anymore.

Although I survived my suicide attempt I lost the plot and I stopped going to work. This caused me to fall into rent and council tax arrears and in August 2000 I found myself homeless when I was was evicted from my council flat.

I slept rough in different areas all over London using day centres to keep clean to get close washed and to get affordable food. I used to go to food handouts in London the majority of which will run by Christians. One evening 8 April 2001 I was invited to attend an evening service at Southwest London in your church In Putney by a team from that church that provides food every Sunday under Waterloo Bridge. I agreed to go that is a purely selfish reasons as I wanted to warm on that freezing cold and wet Sunday evening.

I sat in the assembly hall of the school where the service was held and when the worship team began playing we all stood up to sing. Much to my amazement I was singing along to “Come now is the time to worship”. I am normally very conscious of the fact that I can’t sing so this seemed very odd to me as I don’t normally sing in public. The next song was “My Jesus my Saviour” and again I was singing along but felt something staring in me but did not know what it was. By the end of the service I felt

at peace, something I had not felt for so long. The time of ministry was held at the front of the church and anyone who wanted prayer could go forward for it. I watched as people went forward and eventually I went forward and got prayed for and gave my life to the Lord that night.

I eventually got off the streets in April 2002 and moved to a shared house run by Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness and I was baptised on 12 December 2002.

I found my faith at the age of 39 and have had the privilege of serving the Lord in youth work as a street pastor and thank God I found my faith when I did or may not be alive today.