Faith Stories and Interviews
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Karen's Faith Story
I grew up in a Christian family and have been going to church ever since I can remember. I was baptised as a baby, attended Sunday School as a child and then became an active member of the Church. However, this didn’t mean that I was a Christian as that is a personal commitment which is made between you and God. My journey of faith has been a very gradual one. During my childhood, I learnt about Jesus in Sunday School but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I learnt to trust Him and put my faith into practice.
God has been very evident during certain situations in my life and, at these times, I have learnt to rely on Him for strength, re-assurance and confidence, which has helped me to grow in my faith.
During a personally devastating time in my life, I called out to the Lord and sensed His presence stronger than ever before. He helped me to survive and get through each day. By trusting in Him, and with the love and support of family and friends, I was able to gradually re-build my life and face the difficult challenges that lay ahead. Without having Jesus in my life, I wouldn’t have been able to get through this extremely tragic and upsetting situation.
Another time when I strongly felt God’s presence and guidance, was during a Good Friday service when I made a commitment at church and acknowledged what the Lord had done for me. I really felt that He was there telling me that it was the right thing to do, and the right time to do it. Although I had heard the Easter story many times before, this time, when our Pastor, Steve, preached about all that Jesus went through for me, it felt so personal. I felt so grateful, yet so ashamed of my sin, and the fact that I had not fully acknowledged the terrible pain and suffering that Jesus had gone through for me. He loved me so much that He was prepared to die in such a cruel way – it was mind blowing! It was a very emotional moment for me. I wanted to be cleansed of my sin and to start a new life in Christ. I could hear God’s voice telling me that He loved me and would never leave me.
This led me to the decision to become baptised. My Mum and Dad had previously made promises on my behalf when I was baptised as a baby, but I felt that, by doing this, I was confirming my own personal commitment to Him as my Saviour.
Life still has its ups and downs but I know that God has me in the palm of His hand and is there to guide and lead me through whatever life throws at me. He walks by my side every day and carries me through the really difficult times in my life. He is a faithful and loving friend who can be relied upon and will never ever let me down.
Beverly's Faith Story
I don’t ever remember not being in church! As a little girl I went to St Matthews in Paddington, where we sang songs in Sunday school like “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam”. As I got a bit older we moved away from Paddington and I started going to a church in Marylebone, Rossmore Hall. All I remember about that were the annual church outings!
I believe there must have been a gap in my church-going in my teenage years but a few years later, we did start going as a family to a church in Kensal Rise which was recommended to us by a friend. It was quite a walk though, as we lived in Kilburn and I didn’t drive at the time. After a while, when my children’s school started holding church services in the school hall, as the local church was being renovated, we started going there.
All this time I was just a Sunday church-goer. I enjoyed the services but God was not a priority for me.
The church, Christchurch C of E, eventually moved back into the renovated church building and I began to take more of an interest. I joined the choir, became a creche worker, Sunday school teacher and a sides-person and also served on the Parochial church council and became a foundation parent school governor. With all of these duties though, I didn’t feel as if I had time to spend with God. I couldn’t even tell you what the sermons were about as I was usually too busy to take anything in. I believe I took on too much.
Around 2002 my daughter started going to a charismatic church. She really seemed to get close to God and I also started to want this. I began to go with her on some occasions and after a while began to feel it was time for me to give it my all and leave my church and join hers fully. Here is where I really found God. I was standing singing one day and felt this warm feeling like warm butter spreading all over my body and I just knew it was Him. It brought me to tears. I was water baptised by immersion in 2010 and have never looked back. Two of my sons and my husband joined me and my daughter at this church and she also found her husband here. We had happy times, learning more and more of God’s love for us.
In 2018, however, due to circumstances beyond our control it was time to leave. God has never said following Him would be easy but that He would be with us through everything.
There are no words to express how grateful I am to have found KBC. It was in 2017 that I attended a funeral here and heard Pastor Steve speak and it was then that I decided if I ever needed a church it was here I would come. My husband and I started attending in the latter part of 2018.
Nothing could have prepared me for the shock that was to come in June 2019. My beloved husband, Eddie, passed away suddenly with no warning, aged 53. One would expect that I would turn away from God in my grief but thankfully I didn’t. On the contrary, I would not have coped without His tender loving care. My faith has just got stronger and stronger and I find that because of this I get the opportunity to show just how I cope with what’s happened. My family and friends including my church friends have been amazingly supportive and I couldn’t be without them. My God is awesome for putting these people in my life and for drawing me close to Him. I never feel alone although I now live by myself. I know there is nothing He can’t do. I am truly grateful that at not even 2 years of widowhood and in the middle of a pandemic I couldn’t be more at peace. Only God. I am still on a journey but I choose never again to be too busy for Him.
Mark's Faith Story
Many years ago (2005) I recall having an experience where my father who was alive at the time took a turn for the worse and any recovery was looking impossible.
At the time I remember returning from work and hearing the sudden news that my father’s condition had worsened and he had been taken into hospital.
I felt numb at first and filled with worry just not knowing what would happen and so I focussed my attention and thoughts to my mother who was very concerned and went to the hospital to be by my father’s side.
With everyone gone I remember looking at the Jesus picture we have in the living room and turning all my attention to him and pouring my heart out. I remember talking to Jesus pleading and begging for His mercy upon my father asking for some more time. I remember saying to Jesus that I wasn’t ready for my father to no longer be around.
I pleaded on my knees and really went into myself just relying on Jesus to make a way. Even though I didn’t know if there was going to be a way forward I still took all of my emotions, thoughts and anxieties of how different life would be without him and so I prayed asking Jesus for more time.
About 2 days later I waited to see if there was any improvement and at first there was no change but then when I wasn’t expecting it Jesus came through for me and changed my father’s condition until he became stronger and eventually left the hospital.
I will never forget how I poured my heart out to Jesus and was able to be myself seeking his assurance in my time of need. Somehow I knew that it would be alright once I prayed and exercised patience allowing God’s Holy Spirit to work on my father.
I will forever be grateful to Jesus for the time that was given to my father on this occasion as that feeling of now knowing anything else to do but to pray and take it to Jesus is always good learning and self-reflecting for me.
Growing up in a church-going home means that I have always known about Jesus, although this isn’t the same as having a personal relationship with Him.
Church has always been something I “attended”, but the power of church goes so much further and KBC has been such a blessing in shaping the way I have entered in to such a wonderful relationship with Jesus. It was during a Good Friday service when I was 13 or 14 that opened my eyes to Jesus’ incredible love. Suddenly, it dawned on me that this Jesus guy who I had grown up hearing about actually died for me and really loves me. It felt amazing! The feeling of joy and peace that I felt is indescribable and I knew I had to do something about it, and I was baptised soon after.
I can’t say that there was a sudden dramatic change in me, but I had such a desire to live for Jesus and make Him known to more and more people. This has manifested itself in various ways, within church and in wider communities. As I have grown in my faith, I realise that all I need to do is trust God and the path that He has written out for me despite not having a clue what’s in store. This is definitely not easy all of the time, but that’s why God has given us reminders: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
I am looking forward to seeing God continue to move in incredible ways within the Kenton community. We should never underestimate what He can do through us! I’m also excited to see what God is going to do in and through me as I move to Bath to start university, I pray that I will be able to be a light to those around me and show Christ to everyone I meet.
I had been going to church from when I was little and knew nothing different because of the environment I lived in. My Grandmother always went to church so I had to go along with her and attend Sunday school too.
As I grew into a teenager, I was involved in various activities within the church including playing the tambourine, singing in the youth choir and singing Christmas carols in the community. All these things were good and enjoyable as I felt church was a good place to meet friends and at the same time learn about Jesus…. But I did not yet know Him as my Saviour.
I continued going to church all my life until one Sunday, whilst singing a particular song I happened to see a dove flying down towards me.
I was shaken in disbelief because it was such a strange thing to happen. I believe this was the light of Jesus shining down on me. I became excited and overwhelmed because I felt a great inner peace and comfort. I felt as though God was hugging me and trying to draw me closer.
After such a wonderful experience, I joined a Bible Study group to learn more about Jesus and that’s where my journey began as a believer of the Lord. I came to realise that God loves me like a Father and He is the only one I can fully trust. He loves me unconditionally and had sent Jesus to deal with the emptiness and sin in my life. I realised Jesus is the only one who can do this and I asked Him into my life.
On 18th April 2010, I was baptised in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I can now proudly say that I trust in Jesus and am a born again Christian. I love the Lord and happy to be part of Jesus’ family. My faith has grown as I pray, praise and learn more about my Saviour. I am so much more at peace, fear has gone as I know I have God with me any time I am afraid, I still have so much to learn about God, but I am hungry for more.
I thank him for loving me unconditionally and I am happy to be his anointed child.
The Bible says ‘Come near to God and He will come near to you.’
Sammy's Faith Story
I was drawn to Kenton Baptist Church about 15 years ago and my journey to faith was quite gradual. I come from a Hindu background – I’m one of 8 children. My mother, who is now 92 was the religious one of the family – she would always be the one who led us and took us to the temple where everything was conducted in Tamil. I never really learned the language, so I found it really difficult to follow what was going on or to participate in what was happening: I felt very detached. So although I was brought up as a Hindu and would attend the temple because the rest of the family were going, technically I was a non-believer. I had some knowledge of Jesus, but I didn’t recognise Him as the One True God – just as one ‘god’ among many.
I live in Colindale, and although I had driven up and down Streatfield Road on many occasions, I had never noticed Kenton Baptist Church. One day about 15 years ago, I found KBC by accident! I was cycling past and noticed the long driveway…and it was as if something made me stop – I felt I had to find out more about this place. I wasn’t searching for God at this time and it was all completely out of the blue, but something was drawing me. I cycled up the drive, found my way to the office and asked if I could have a look around. As I walked around, I felt something ‘special’ – now I would say it was the presence of God, but then I didn’t know. I was given some literature to take home.
I came to a service the following Sunday, just to see what it was like. People said ‘Hello’ and made me feel welcome and one lady had quite a long chat with me. I really felt ‘at home’. I went along the next week and was so touched as she had got a Bible for me. Initially I didn’t feel I particularly needed God. I thought I was a ‘good’ person, always tried really hard to help people and I thought I was doing ok, but there was actually an emptiness inside that I was trying to fill. I didn’t know what I was missing until God broke into my life in a gentle but strong way to show me His love.
I started to attend the Alpha course that was running and it was ideal for me…It was a place where I could chat, ask questions and explore my faith in a relaxed atmosphere with no pressure. Realising that I needed to know Jesus as MY Saviour came as part of this journey. As I studied the Bible and went to the House Groups I was learning more and more about who Jesus is and what He has done for me, but I was also learning that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was! I was being guided to faith in Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
I read the Bible where Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14v6. I realised that the ONLY way to God was through JESUS – because only Jesus could bring me the forgiveness that I needed when I didn’t measure up to God’s standards. I realised that knowing Jesus was the only way I could have a relationship with God.
It was during one of our Pastor’s sermons that this really hit me. I felt that the words were just for ME – I realised I needed to trust in Jesus to have my sins forgiven. I was baptised about 2 years ago –
I felt it was an important step to take.
I remember discovering God bit by bit and being amazed…I was always excited when Sunday came, to find out more about God and this gave me strength for the rest of the week. I realised my life was changing – I was talking more and more about Jesus to my friends, including Him more in my life and depending on God more. I now have confidence that God is with me and I enjoy serving in the church.
Over the last 3 years my daughter has had serious health problems. Before I came to faith, these problems would have completely destroyed me, but now I have God’s promise to be with me in all situations. God never promised that being a Christian would be problem free, but He did promise that in all things He would be with me. This I know is true because it’s about a relationship. Whenever I have challenges, I remind myself that Jesus has been through far more than I ever will and He understands me totally. I give thanks for how He has supported me, for His continual care and I praise Him for filling the emptiness in my life. I look on KBC as family…. My wife is still a practising Hindu, but she always feels welcome and at home whenever she visits KBC.
Lesley's Faith Story
I was not brought up in a Christian home, so I had no church background. Things that had happened to me in my younger years – the effects of different types of abuse and ‘going off the rails’ had meant that I was quite hostile and suspicious of people. I had built up a strong, protective barrier: I didn’t trust easily and would not let anyone get close enough to hurt me again. But there is no situation that God cannot deal with and no wall that He cannot break down.
As a teenager, going God’s way wasn’t my idea of fun - I had friends, a lively social life, plenty of things to do, places to go and people to see. I thought I was doing OK……but actually, my constant activity was really a cover up for something that was missing. I felt an emptiness inside that I couldn’t explain. I longed for it to be satisfied, but I didn’t consider for a moment that God was the answer. He didn’t fit into my lifestyle, I didn’t need Him and was very critical of those who told me I did. Yet God was to break through all that to reach me and He didn’t do it inside a church building.
I didn’t go to church…I kept away from ‘religious people’ and the last time I’d come into contact with one of them, I’d slammed the door in her face after she’d told me Jesus loved me! Then a week later, it was as if God was really on my case… …
I was coming back from Birmingham to London on the train when God suddenly broke into my life. Unusually, the carriage I was in was empty apart from someone right down the other end. I suddenly realised how REAL God was and how empty my life was – but that wasn’t the main thing - although I didn’t think I was that bad, I realised certainly didn’t live up to God’s standards and I had totally let Him down. I felt such sorrow that MY life had made it necessary for Jesus give HIS life to die in my place and deal with my sin.
The full force of the words that girl had spoken suddenly hit me…Jesus DID love me and I was turning my back on the one person who loved me unconditionally when He had every right to turn His back on me. I wondered if He would accept me now? I’d always laughed at people who told me that we are all ‘sinners’ and that God sent Jesus to pay the price for our wrongdoing so that we could go to heaven. I’d always made sarcastic comments about Jesus saving me from hell, but I suddenly realised that it was TRUE, and that I could come as I was, trust in Jesus and be forgiven, set free and have a new beginning.
In the space of a few moments, I became so aware of God’s presence, so aware of all the things I’d done wrong, so aware of how much I’d let Him down and yet SO AWARE that He loved me. I knew that this was the most important decision of my life… I just knew I had to get right with God, so I knelt down on the carriage floor and cried my way to God, asking Jesus to come into my life and to forgive me for everything I’d done wrong and I KNOW I was heard.
I felt such a love and such a peace flood my life right there and then. I knew that by the time I got off that train, I was a new Christian with lots to learn, but absolutely convinced that I had been forgiven and had a fresh start with God. I felt ‘cleaned up’!
Since then I can’t imagine not having God in my life – sometimes things have been great, sometimes things have been really tough, but I know I have God to lead me, guide me, support me, put me right when I go wrong and that I can hold onto His hand when I go through problems.
There is no situation that He cannot deal with and I have experienced the power of God in lots of areas in my life: occult deliverance, being set free from the effects of abuse, physical and emotional healing and I have known his strength when dealing with huge family problems, illnesses, bereavement, depression. Belonging to Jesus means that I have a relationship with someone who loves me, is actively involved in my life and will never give up on me. ‘This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.’
(1 John 4v10 The Bible.) I am so grateful for God’s love.
I grew up in a Christian family and always went to church from an early age…this helped to establish good habits in my life, but it didn’t mean I was a Christian as that’s a decision that has to be made personally. For me, the journey to believing in Jesus as my Saviour was a gradual one.
When I was about 12, I went to a Christian summer camp in Wales with the church youth group and it was while I was there that I made the decision to ask Jesus into my life. It was during one of the worship songs that I realised God loved me, was interested in me and that I needed to respond to Him personally.
When we came back to KBC, a Bible study group was set up for us - we discussed Baptism and what it meant and we learned more about following God. I made the decision to get baptised as a witness to my belief in Jesus as my Saviour.
In my teen years, the desire to follow God was still there, but for a while, football came first as my team played on Sunday mornings…..but even then I would still come to the evening Youth Group meeting. My core group of friends also attended the church, so it was kind of social as well, and kept me in the right place.
After a while, I think I plateaued in my Christian life. I have always been involved in the youth group and Sunday School at church and this was quite difficult sometimes as I felt
I was always giving out and not learning as much as I could because I would miss part of the services and the sermons. When our present Pastor came, he set up a Bible study group for those of us who were missing the Sunday input, and I think this helped to kick-start my spiritual growth again as I was getting the teaching and focus I needed.
I work for the London Fire Brigade – I know I can trust God to protect me and help me in any of the circumstances I face and I know I can ask Him to help me deal with any problems I have.
Although there is sometimes a bit of good humoured leg-pulling and banter about me being a Christian, I think my work colleagues have developed a respect for my faith – they see it’s real and that even though I’m not perfect, I try to live my life the way God wants.
Being a Christian has helped me in my life as it’s the only solid basis on which to build. Over the past couple of years there have been times when I have struggled with family problems, but I have been aware of God strengthening me and helping me through.
I think I have learned to depend on Him more.
I know that God has got a hold of me and will never let me go. His love is unconditional and never-ending.
Interview with Genevieve:
Genevieve has been attending KBC for the last 7 years.
How did you become a Christian?
I grew up in a home where the Word of God was read daily, gospel songs were played, the word of God was spoken about and exemplified and we attended our local church. I gave my life to Jesus when I was 16 years old, as I knew back then that only Jesus could make the paths straight in my life and only He knew me better than anyone else, so why not give Jesus a go? I accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Saviour followed by being baptised in water.
What does being a Christian mean to you?
Being a follower of Jesus Christ means a lot to me, as it is a way of life, an act of worship. It means allowing Jesus Christ to live in and through me and allowing Jesus Christ to be King of my heart. Knowing that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the Truth and the Life, brings comfort and joy and reassures me that no matter what the circumstances, He will never leave me nor forsake me.
When did you start coming to the KBC?
I started coming to KBC in 2013/2014. The sermons are a tremendous blessing and to see the hand of God work at KBC is a testament of God’s love and power.
What do you enjoy most about being in God’s family?
What I enjoy most about being in God’s family is that you have countless siblings, who are there for you, who will pray for you and support you. You can sense that you are loved and that you belong to a family.
Which Bible verses have been meaningful to you over the past few months and why?
Philippians 4:6-7 (King James Version)
6. ‘Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
These verses are meaningful to me, because it instructs us that as children of the Most High that we should not be anxious. However there are times when the cares of life do make us anxious and we are to pray, ask earnestly, give thanks and voice out our concern to God. Although God already knows our cares and worries, He expects us to voice them out as His children, for this requires an element of dependence and trust on one’s part. The certainty that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus is beautiful and indicates that no matter what the situations that one may face, one can have the peace of God, which is priceless and immeasurable.
What is your favourite Christian song and why?
There are so many beautiful Christian songs, but one that I thoroughly enjoy is ‘ How Great is Our God’. This is because we serve a God who is great, the lyrics are so beautifully written and truly God is Great !!