BUTLER : MY TESTIMONY
was at primary school, I often wondered why other people had a strange habit of
going to church every Sunday. It was, as far as I was concerned, something OTHER
people did. My family was never very religious and so my idea of Sunday was as
the second day of the weekend and not as anything very important.
last year at primary school, we were taught regularly by an old Christian woman
by the name of Mrs. Simmonds. She taught the class about Jesus and all the works
that He did. At the time I liked the lessons, but I saw them (as, sadly, most
people do) just as nice stories made up for children to hear.
went to secondary school, there was less emphasis on learning about Jesus. Very
little was said about Him except briefly in assemblies and religious education
lessons. I began to view Biblical accounts as boring and wishing that we
didn’t have to hear this “rubbish”.
fell into bad ways at secondary school. For about two years, I lied constantly
and did very little homework. All of my friends began to desert me and I soon
began to feel depressed.
third year at secondary school, one of my younger friends, Lucien Harris,
started at my school with one of his friends. We walked down to the bus stop
every day together and I showed them the ropes. That other friend was Stephen
Clarke, and it was through him that the Lord started His work with me.
that year I began to visit Stephen’s house more frequently, thus building up
my relationship with him and his family. Later that year, Lucien asked me if I
would like to come along to a weeknight meeting. I took him up on his offer and,
on Thursday 23 June 1994, I went along for the first time.
meeting was held in a local primary school by the Beacon Park Baptist Church and
it was run by Stephen’s parents and other members of the church. My first reaction to what I heard there was not a good one. I
often thought to myself “I wish they would stop going on about all this
rubbish. God doesn’t exist, and none of this is relevant to me”.
following months I began an open rebellion against God. Every week at the
meeting I would try to find proof (vainly, of course) that God did not exist and
also to convince other people that this was the case. Even at school I
challenged people’s opinions on the subject and insulted anybody who thought
there was a god of any kind. Many of the people I went around with at the time
were atheists and so I fitted in fairly well with them.
none of them were really true friends and, after being told to “Get lost” a
number of times, I soon got the message that they didn’t want me around.
time I was also performing very badly in terms of school work. This was mostly
on account of my tendency to lie constantly. As a result, both my school life
and home life became very difficult. My parents became angry with me and I lost
any friends I might have had at school.
to me becoming extremely depressed, and I even contemplated suicide a number of
times. When Mr. Clarke found out, he told me that life is often depressing if we
are apart from God. Sadly, at the time, I thought to myself: “Why does he keep
going on about God? He’s got nothing to do with it!”
I did not want to accept God’s existence or that I needed the Lord
Jesus Christ as my Saviour.
result of the weeknight meetings, I was often encouraged to attend services held
on Sunday evenings. I eventually agreed and, in late 1994, I started going
along. Again, I didn’t really think much about what was said, but over the
next year or so, the Lord granted me a real interest in what I heard, although I
was still too proud to accept it as the truth. I also still longed for the
things of earth, and would rather watch a Formula One Grand Prix than hear about
this, the Lord continued working in my heart and, in early 1996, my attitude
began to change. As the Bible was
opened and explained to me week by week, its application and relevance to my
life became clearer. From that time onwards I began to take spiritual matters
more seriously, and I would rather go to church than do anything else.
Sunday, my family were not at home, so I decided to go to the Easter morning
service. That afternoon I went to Sunday school for the first time. I think that
this has been very useful to me, because it helped me to understand what the
Bible was really saying to me.
end of July 1996, Mr. Clarke took the members of the weeknight meeting on a
week’s holiday to Wales. In the evenings, he talked to us about the Bible and
our need to come to God. We also heard the testimonies of two of the helpers who
were with us - Martyn Ingham and David Lloyd. This week had a tremendous effect
on me, and I was determined to seek and find the Lord as soon as I could.
the winter term, I began to find that the things of this world were dull and
unappealing, and that the only true Friend and Saviour I could have is the Lord
Jesus, for He never disappoints His people.
Each week, during the Gospel service, the pastor prayed for “any who
cannot yet say that the Lord Jesus Christ is their Saviour”.
I knew I was one of those people, and that I needed to come to Him,
repenting of my sins and asking for forgiveness.
Sunday, December 15, 1996, I prayed my first real prayer. I poured out my heart
to God and confessed all my sins. That night, I realised the full importance of
the death of the Lord Jesus. I knew that He had died for the sins that I had
committed and that I owed a great deal to Him. I was sure that, through His
mercy, my sins were forgiven and that I was one of His people. I asked not only
for forgiveness but for the strength to preach His Word to other people. The
very next day, I had my prayer answered when I spoke to my friends about God,
which was something I could never have done on my own.
it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit”
was filled with wonder and amazement that God had taken pity on a person like
me, when I was one of the least deserving of His mercy because of my heavy
burden of sin.
From that point on, I took advantage of every opportunity to hear His Word and to speak of this to others. Since then, I have had many prayers answered, and I know that God will continue to answer my prayers in the future.
I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE FOUND THIS USEFUL AND ENCOURAGING