My story started in 1965 in a small village in the valleys of South Wales.
My passion as a teenager was to ride my motorbike on the mountains around my hometown of Pontlottyn.
My parents dragged me along to church throughout my teenage years, even though I tried every argument possible to stay home and go out on my bike with my friends.
At the age of 14 I tried to make sense of life and started observing the lives of the people around me. I have always been a thinker and never one to just go along with the crowd or take on board popular opinion.
Some of my friends didn’t believe in God and seemed to just live for the moment. Other friends had chosen to make God a priority in their lives and I went through a challenging stage in my life when I wanted to understand if church had any relevance to my life. My older brother had chosen not to go to church anymore and got into so many messes from 16 to 20 that it put me off the idea of forgetting God altogether. I asked Jesus to come into my life around that time and remembered a preacher saying that when I did that, Jesus took responsibility for my life. My friends never understood why I would still choose to go to church in my teenage years, but as I saw it, why wouldn’t you want to have the creator of the Universe on your side. I like the thought that God had a plan and purpose for my life and if I followed his principles for life I was guaranteed a great future.
On days when the weather wasn’t good for motocross I loved to play keyboard or with my synthesiser. Music played a big part of my childhood and I would spend hours learning songs. When I wasn’t practising keyboard I would be playing with something technical!
I loved taking things apart and had great fun fixing things.
I taught myself to play guitar at the age of 16 and led worship at my church. It was easier to transport than my keyboard and I took it all over the country playing in churches in local towns and villages.
School wasn’t my favourite place and I longed for the day I could start work and do something different.
My goal at 16 was to become an Electrical Engineer. I sent off loads of applications, but jobs were scarce and there were lots of better qualified applicants. I remember talking to God and telling Him that I could really do with His help. Miraculously I was shortlisted from 2000 applicants for 1 job in a local factory. I got the job and worked really hard to learn all I could. I won 1st and 2nd place in my first 2 years in the apprentice of the year awards for South Wales and after a 4 year apprenticeship at Hoover Ltd. Merthyr Tydfil I qualified as an Electrician when I was 20 and continued working in the washing machine factory for a further 5 years. This time taught me a lot about self-discipline and applied logical thinking and I flourished in this environment.
At 21 I got married and my Daughter Adele was born when I was 22 and I worked hard to provide for her and build a home.
When I was 25, my employer made big cut backs in the workforce and I volunteered to take redundancy allowing me to explore a career change and try something new.
I started selling sports and leisure wear in factory sales, markets and through party plan. I went into partnership with my brother and father and we soon opened several retail sports shops in 4 towns. The business quickly expanded and we opened a wholesale sports warehouse and started supplying other sports retailers throughout the country. In an attempt to diversify we started selling football and rugby kits for teams.
I met up with an Indian manufacturer based in Birmingham and built a great relationship with him. Our company bought a large number of team football kits from him and one of his neighbouring businesses and started to advertise throughout Wales. Over the next few years our business grew and customers travelled from far and wide to purchase team kits from us. We sponsored the Welsh Football League for 3 years and became an official supplier to the League of Wales and the Football Association of Wales. We were the largest football team supplier in the country and business was very successful.
Through non business related issues my marriage of 10 years ended when I was 30. I struggled to come to terms with this situation and spent many days in the next few years trying to work out what my life was all about. The business continued to grow and I buried myself in my work 7 days a week, but inside I was not happy with a lifestyle that was filled with just making money and feeling like I was on a treadmill that was not taking me to where I should be going. Attending church and my relationship with God had always helped me to keep the real meaning of life in perspective and I realised that there was more to life than just running a great business.
In 1998 at the age of 33 I was trying to make sense of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The Bible says that the sum of a man’s years on Earth is 3 score years and ten which is 70 years in today’s language. I appreciated that some lived longer and some didn’t make 70, but I felt conscious that I was approaching the half way stage.
In the summer of 1998 a sales rep called on my business trying to sell me advertising in a local newspaper. This female rep, called Julie, told me that she went to church and that she was bringing up 3 children on her own whilst working full time. Over the next few months I built a good relationship with her and we went out a few times as friends with the children. As our relationship grew we were both aware of the pain that we had experienced having gone through broken relationship and divorce and were cautious about getting things wrong again. I asked Julie if we could be more than just friends and she was reluctant to make that step for what felt like an age!
We started officially going out with each other in October of that year and quickly realise that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We got engaged at the end of the year and set a date to get married in February 1999. We took the family to Florida and got married in a hotel garden overlooking a lake.
Whilst our relationship was great, taking on step children proved to be a challenge. This was made all the more difficult by disgruntled ex-partners whose actions and attitude caused all sorts of issues for us as family.
To cut a long story short, after 2 1/2 years of marriage, Julie’s 2 sons went to live with their father and my daughter went to live with her mother. This was a very emotional time for us all and made us reassess what was important to us.
We decided to end our careers and spend some time away processing our situation. We travelled in the States for 3 months visiting some great places and took the opportunity to attend churches and Christian Conferences seeking inspiration for the next stage of our journey. My Uncle, Selwyn Hughes, who is a UK Author and founder of CWR (Crusade For World Revival) had given us some advice on places he had visited in America in the past few decades. We came back to the UK for a few months to check on the family and went back to the US for a further 3 months. At this time we visited Christ For The Nations Bible College in Dallas, Texas and sat in on classes for a week as part of our travels. We felt very at home at the College and felt that it would be a good place to attend for a year as we prepared ourselves for the future.
We applied and were accepted. (The next sections is very brief and will be expanded on soon)
Having trained for 2 years at CFNI we were invited to spend some time as Missionaries in Zimbabwe. We eventually lived in Africa for 11 months before being invited to help a church in Wellington Somerset UK. We arrived in Wellington England in July 2005 and soon took on the role of leading the church.
We have had an exciting 10 years in leadership and grown so much in this time.
Having served faithfully for 10 years we felt the time was right to hand over the leadership of the church and charity from July 2015 and to move on to the next adventure with God.
Watch this space for more details!
MORE COMING SOON!