Shirlee McKeown

 

I was born with a hole in my heart. As the years went by my health deteriorated and I spent alot of my time sick and in and out of as successfully operated on.  It gave me a second chance at life.  My parents sent me to Church, Sunday school, Youth Club and Summer Bible Clubs and it was at these times and at Primary School that I heard the word of God.  It was at Etta Coulters Summer Bible Club in the Johnston Memorial Hall in Beragh that I decided that I needed to give my life to the Lord.  I believe that God had spared my life, I was glad he did and I felt that I needed to give my life back to him so that I might live it for him.  We are told in Gods word that He does not promise us that life will be easy just because we are saved but He does promise to be with us.  Many times I was aware of His help but other times it was only when I look back that I saw Him there carrying me through those times.  He was with me when I lost my first daughter to still birth, when my second son had to have heart surgery at 6 weeks and when I had to have minor surgeries. There have been times when the way has been dark but I thank God that although I felt lost and confused He was by my side.  I thank God that He has taught me to have faith in His decisions for my life.When I was diagnosed with MS 2 years ago I finally realised that God was trying to get my attention.  He wanted me to stop rushing and running and to sit quietly and listen.  I still have the tendency to rush into things, all with good intentions but then MS symptoms remind me to take things easy.  I believe He has His reasons and I am not afraid because He has promised me He will be with me.Life can be tough and it is great to have someone by your side to help you and this is the privilege of walking with God, He will always be with you.  I could not have got to where I am now if it was not for Gods company.

 

David Young

 

I was brought up as a child in the country going to Sunday school and church, as I moved into my teenage years the things of the world were of more interest to me than the church.  After I got married to Joy I started attending church and it was during a vacancy and probably for the first time I started to listen to what was being said. I can remember clearly, leaving church one Sunday knowing in my heart that I needed to get right with God.  One night as I tossed and turned and found sleep impossible as I was under so much conviction of sin I gave up trying to sleep and went into the front room, knelt down beside the sofa and best as I knew how I prayed "Jesus, I believe you are the son of God and I want You in my life". I went back to bed and as I lay there I worried if God would accept me. Just as the Bible says, "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" came into my soul and I just knew I had been forgiven.  I now know that it was Gods holy spirit drawing me to himself and I am so thankful to Him because I do not deserve any of his goodness, his grace or mercy. My prayer would be as I live my life at home, at work or within church life that others would be drawn to our lovely saviour.  I know that I fail Him many times and let him down but he is such a forgiving God and picks us up again and again when we fail.

 

Kenny Clements

 

Regular attendance at Sunday school and Church was an integral part of family life when I was growing up.  The influence and example of my parents and those involved in our congregation had a positive effect on my formative years.  It was a challenge from one of my Sunday School teachers that first began the work of the holy spirit in my life.The assurance that he often spoke of was something I knew deep down I did not have.  It was during a mission held in our church in 1970 that I came to experience that assurance of my sins having been forgiven and knowing Christ as my saviour.  During that mission, quite a few became Christians including many young people and we were very much helped to grow by the influence of the late Henry Gray and his wife Mary.  The example they gave in terms of giving of their time and God-given talents is one of the reasons why I along with others remain involved in the life of the congregation today.  The good news of the gospel has the same power to transform lives today and give the true meaning of life that so many are seeking.My Christian faith has always been a roll up your sleeves one as this is the example that Christ gives us.  If Christ gave a helping hand to those in need, then we need to follow that example.As a couple, Janet and I are approved foster carers for the local Health Trust and see this as an opportunity to give a helping hand to others experiencing difficulties of various kinds.  I still feel passionately about the role of our church and although we face many challenges we need to thank God that he is in control and will lead and guide us into the future.May each of us exercise the obedience he calls us to and together see his kingdom come where he has placed us.

 

Richard Scott

 

I grew up in the country enjoying open spaces always busy doing something.  Most Sunday mornings we would be sent to a neighbours Sunday school, then returning from that quite often taken to church.My life was great and things were going well when at 19 my world crashed in around me! I broke my neck playing rugby leaving me paralysed from the neck down.  I became reliant on somebody to do basically everything for me and it was a transition that I found anything but easy.  I found much of my anger directed at God, how could he let this happen?  Why me? What have I done to deserve this? It took some years to properly come to terms with things.I was feeling that something was missing from my life. I just could not place what.  One evening I felt a sudden strong need to look into Christianity, searching the Web and reading through various Christian websites was when I came across an example of a prayer inviting Christ into your life.  I began to pray asking for forgiveness, inviting him into my life.  As I was praying I felt warmth throughout my body and an unbelievable feeling of comfort such as I had never felt before. I knew then of the love and forgiveness the Lord blesses us with and I had found what was missing in my life.Now, waking up each day I am thankful to God for another day, my family, my carers and all the kindness,love and forgiveness he has blessed us with each day.  Life is not a series of worries any more, everything is so much easier to deal with when I put my trust in God. All the things that caused me so much concern for so many years just are not the cause of sleepless nights, needless hours spent worrying. It is as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

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Registered charity in Northern Ireland (NIC 105622)