was born in Plymouth, Devon in 1965 and even from my first few days was
covered from head to foot with eczema, I also had severe asthma. Although
the eczema eventually went, the asthma had a real grip on my young life.
Most of my childhood was spent in hospital where I had many Christmases
and was admitted for 3 to 4 months at a time with a few months at home
in between. By the age of 8 I had learned to inject myself with steroids
3 times a day. I had slept many nights in an oxygen tent and was taking
about 30 pills a day just to survive.
between hospital visits, I stayed at Woodlands special needs school in
Plymouth and was allowed home at weekends. You could say my young life
11 years of age the steroids had a drastic effect on me, my weight had
increased so much that I suffered my first in a series of heart problems
in relation to the weight and asthma.
May 1977 I was sent to a special asthmatic clinic in Davos a region of
the Swiss Alps. After a few months I was transferred to another clinic
in the French Pyrenees. For the first time in my life I was allowed to
participate in sports and games which encouraged me to be a "normal
kid”. I had great fun skiing, ice skating, playing football, mountain
climbing etc. Although it was tough being 11 years old in a foreign country
without my parents or brothers and sister for 14 months. I was however
no stranger to loneliness as I had lived ‘outside’ the family
home virtually all my young life.
arrived back in Plymouth in July 1978, fitter, thin and on about half
the medication that I was on prior to my time at the clinic. After two
days back in the UK, I had suffered my first major asthma attack in 6
months and was rushed to hospital where I spent many months recuperating.
the age of 13 I enrolled in my first ‘normal’ school (for
want of a better word) - I must add that my time at Woodlands special
needs school was an extremely happy one where the teachers and nurses
had a real heart for the kids. It was very hard though, when after having
been in hospital for a few months to go back to school and find even more
classmates had died or were too weak to attend school anymore.
Ford Secondary School, I excelled at art and geography and was able to
keep up with the rest of the class because of all the private tuition
I had in hospital and I also had a determination to teach myself at home
I was 14, I had suffered my worst asthma attack and found myself ‘coming
round’ on the kitchen floor having had a doctor inject straight
into my heart to revive it. I spent several months in hospital with many
weeks on life support. This was the 3rd time I had nearly died. An asthma
attack can be a very frightening experience where you feel totally out
of control, the lungs restrict and it almost feels like you’re drowning.
Thank God for my parents and those close to me who could always recognize
the signs of a major attack.
going back to school, I once again delved deep into my art studies and
was accepted into the Plymouth Art and Design College. Prior to starting,
my dad had an exciting opportunity to take us to South Africa where he
would work for the sister company of the one he worked for in Plymouth.
moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1980 and it was a really exciting
time, but I still found myself in and out of hospital – only this
time it was costing mum and dad a huge amount of money and we soon found
ourselves homeless with dad looking for another job. He soon found one
working on the gold mines with a brilliant salary and a great medical
aid scheme for me. Praise God for the NHS, which we sometimes take for
granted here in the UK!
moved to a lovely mining community in Evander, about a 1 hour drive south
east of Jo’burg. I once again took up studying to become an art
teacher, but found the going tough as I was continually sick. By the age
of 17 (1982) I found myself once again in hospital, only this time, I
had given up and wanted my life to end.
After many weeks of refusing medication (I kept ripping tubes and drips
out of my throat and arms – they were a complete mess), the doctors
had called mum and dad to their office to say that as I had given up on
life there wasn't much more they could do for me. They prepared my parents
for the worst and told them it was probably a matter of weeks or even
days before my body gave up completely.
back, I feel ashamed that I put my family through that ordeal as they
never once gave up on me and in many ways their lives had changed and
were never the same since I had been born. I am the oldest of four (two
brothers and one sister) and they also missed out on
so much attention because mum and dad’s time was taken up with me.
But I had reached a point where life wasn’t too appealing. I couldn't
see any ‘normal’ future for me and this resulted in being
physically and mentally tired of life, hospitals, doctors, sickness etc.
day after my parents had been told by the doctors about my situation,
I had a visitor. His name was Bruce and he was originally from New Zealand.
He asked if he could talk and pray for me as he believed that God had
called him to the hospital that day to pray for someone. I must admit,
I thought he was nuts and although I always felt deep down that God existed,
I hadn’t given Him much thought and felt a little embarrassed as
there were 3 other guys in the ward, one was a huge biker guy who had
more metal in his legs than a robot!
we talked, I realised that this man Bruce was genuine and really did care
for me even though he didn’t know me, I also realised that this
guy actually knew God and that blew my mind!
I allowed him to pray and as he did, I felt like I was going to explode
as my body became so hot that the bed sheets were soaking wet. I know
now that this was the Holy Spirit ministering to me.
a result I was well enough to be discharged after a few days! Now I’m
not saying that God completely healed me of asthma that day, but something more important than my healing
was taking place. I was now thinking about eternal matters, about God
and life and was actually for the first time in many years looking forward
to the future.
a few weeks I was able to continue my education and I was invited through
a friend to go to their Christian Youth Club. It turned out that this
was in the same church where Bruce worshipped. It also turned out that
Bruce worked alongside dad, but had no idea that dad had a sick boy in
hospital. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Thank God for the Bruce’s
of this world who are not afraid to act upon the word of God and allow
the Lord to direct them.
a month later, I was invited to the AOG church where I attended the youth
meetings at a special church event where a visiting American Evangelist
called Lonnie Frizbee was going to preach. So at the age of 17, I gave
my heart to the Lord that night and was ‘born again’. A few
weeks later my dad went with me to church as he had seen a real change
in me. On his first night there, he too became a Christian!
was beginning to be sweet, I got my first job, was training as a youth
leader, was part of the worship team, had many good friends, I was getting
fitter and had a life worth living.
has a way of turning your life around sometimes for your own good, even
though it may not seem like it’s for your own good at the time.
I heard from God very clearly that He wanted me back in the UK –
at the age of 20, after 5 years in South Africa, I found myself living
with my gran in Plymouth, who I loved very much. But I was miserable without
my friends and family and my life in South Africa. I started to go out
weekends getting drunk and basically ignoring the same God who gave me
back my life!
thank God that His patience and Grace with me is never ending.
a few months I moved in with my aunt and uncle who lived in Holbury, near
Southampton and I decided to get my life back on God’s track. I
found a wonderful Methodist church in Fawley where I had 6 lovely months
allowing God to restore me. Then I found the Pentecostal Church (now called Lighthouse Community Church) and decided
to give it a go the next Sunday. The day I walked in, I knew without a
doubt that this was the reason for coming back to the UK, my involvement
with this church, a new spiritual home. I soon became part of the worship
team and helped out with the youth group.
the end of 1985 I had developed an interest in a certain Hazel Skivington
(I tell everyone she chased me, but it was mutual) We married in 1988
and it was a fantastic occasion made even more special because my disabled
cousin, Tanya, managed to walk down the aisle as a bridesmaid and also
because my two gran’s and Hazels’ granddad were there as all
three had died the following year.
settling down to married life and being busy in the church worship band and also as house group leaders and youth pastors, and being part
of the mighty Christian Rock band ‘4th Dimension’!! we decided
it would be good to start a family.
trying unsuccessfully for a few years, we had to have tests and it was
found that I couldn’t father children because of the 20 odd years
of being on steroids for asthma and other complications. After much prayer
and standing on God’s promises, Hazel miraculously fell pregnant.
What a joyous time soon became a devastating time as Hazel miscarried
and we lost the baby.
God wasn’t finished with us yet! In May 1993 Hazel gave birth to
Michael and in April 1995 Rachel was born. Praise God that where there
seems to be no hope – He brings hope and answers prayer!
was a very difficult year for me as my dad, who I was extremely close
to, contracted a very rare heart disease that was rotting his heart. I
spent a lot of time travelling to Plymouth to be with mum and the rest
of my family. Dad was ready to go to be with his precious Lord and God
allowed a very special time where I would be alone with dad so that I
could pray with him. Dad was only 54 when he died, but he knew God and
was ready. God gave me the words and strength to preach the good news
of the gospel at his funeral to many of his friends, colleagues and family.
the last few years, I have been undergoing various tests for possible
liver damage and have been on occasions very poorly with little strength
and severe stomach pain, but praise God that I don't have to rely on my
own strength as God has proved himself many times and he has promised
to never leave or forsake me and I find that as I just rest in his care
and his love, that no matter what comes against me will and has already
been defeated at the cross!
scans and biopsy's have shown an improvement with the liver - praise
God! and I am confident in the knowledge that God is still my healer and
deliverer even in the dark and low times and I continue to reach out to
him knowing that he knows my inermost thoughts, fears, desires, physical
needs and state of mind.
to bring this, my testimony up to date, I find myself back to my artistic
roots by being self employed as a graphic designer. The kids are growing
up strong physically and spiritually, God has graciously blessed us.
I am also still very much involved in song writing and leading worship at LCC and using the gifts God so graciously gives and I just love to acknowledge that God is my Saviour, Friend, Comforter,
Healer, Encourager, Teacher and Father.
look forward to adding to this testimony in years to come with more good
news of how God makes all things work for the good of those who love him.
'and we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose'