My father was a minister, so from the day of my birth I was involved in church life, first in South Wales, and then in Northern Ireland. At the age of six, I was taken to some children’s services where a wonderful missionary lady was speaking about her work in Africa and the great things God was doing there.
Although I was only six, God was convicting me in a very real way. That night, when my father was putting me to bed, I was so convicted I told him that I wanted Jesus to come into my heart. As we knelt by my bed, we prayed together and I asked the Lord to forgive me and come into my life. Immediately, even at that very young age, I felt something special had happened. God had come into my life and thank God he is still with me today.
Joining the Fire Service
Our next move was to Liverpool when I was fourteen years of age. This is where God started his work in me, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time!
At the age of sixteen during a church service, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit and received a very clear calling to go into missions’ ministry. Shortly after that encounter, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit come upon me so powerfully, I thought I was going to burst! The experience cannot be described easily, but God was doing something amazing in me. However, this terrified me and I tried to put it out of my mind.
Following this encounter, a rebellious period began where as a ‘pastor’s kid’, I was determined not to get involved with any ministry, but thank God, he was in control. I never lost my faith, although he allowed me to wander for a while.
At that time, unknown to my parents, I joined the Liverpool Fire Brigade where I met my future wife, Jan, whilst she was training as a teacher. We moved to North Wales and shortly afterwards we were married, both of us being blessed by the ministry of two wonderful men of God, Rev. Peter Clement and Rev. Peter Trumper.
Serving in Albania
Some years later, we moved to South Wales and it wasn’t long before we were invited to help with the Operation Christmas Child Charity. To my great surprise, I was invited to join a team which was to deliver the Christmas Shoe Boxes to children in some villages in Albania.
This is when God spoke to me in a very real way once more and challenged me to respond to the calling to mission that I had had many years earlier.
When I returned home from Albania, I told my wife about the encounter I had with the Lord and both of us prayed for guidance and for doors to be opened for us to get involved with missions ministry.
Showing God’s love in Uganda
It was a few months later that our church organised a mission trip to Uganda. However, it was going to be a very expensive trip and we couldn’t afford it at the time. I stepped out in faith and agreed to go, trusting that the Lord would provide. Praise God, he did provide the exact funds in the most remarkable way for myself and my daughter.
On that trip we were in a small village out in the bush called Katalemwa when God spoke to me very clearly :‘This is what I called you to do and where I want you to be.’ Once again, I was in tears and was in awe of the sense of God’s presence and conviction. I returned home from that trip totally changed and ready to do what he wanted me to do.
Over the next twenty years and numerous visits to Uganda, God opened the door for us to open a children’s home in the village of Namugongo near Kampala called Tŷ Cariad, and to set up the Tŷ Cariad Africa charity. I was also able to work with the Police Fire Department of Uganda.
Fire Service Chaplain
God opens doors in the most miraculous ways and when I retired from the Fire Service, I was offered the position of Service Chaplain – a position I still hold. As a Fire Service Chaplain, I build relationships with personnel by regularly visiting fire stations, offices and operational incidents, to gain the confidence of the workforce. A chaplain must be available to ‘all without exception’, from the most senior people in the service to the lowest. I am part of the support system that exists in the service, working with the employed staff, retired members and extended families.
I am so thankful to God for allowing me to travel on the journey he has taken me, as I am able to relate to the workforce in the traumatic work that they are involved with. God has richly blessed the chaplaincy ministry in that I have seen many firefighters come to faith both here in the United Kingdom and also in Uganda. A few years ago, one of the firefighters came to faith following a horrifically serious situation he had gone through, and his involvement with me. He eventually went on to do his first training module in chaplaincy ministry and was recently appointed as my Associate Chaplain.
The ongoing work at the children’s home in Uganda has grown and the ministry and relationship with the Police Fire Department has expanded greatly. Reflecting over my life, I can certainly see the outworking of the verse found in Romans 8:28: ‘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.’
Please remember to pray for the ongoing vital work of all the chaplains in our emergency services and all those working on the front line.