I said I would share a testimony this month, and thanks to those of you who replied to my previous bulletin with your own story. Keep them coming as we pray and work to see God’s kingdom come in the north west!
Before I get to the story, a couple of things to note. The first is a welcome to Ben Woodfield who has taken on the role of Urban Rep for our region from Kate Wharton who has done a sterling job for a number of years.
The second is a reminder about the monthly New Wine Celebrations here in Manchester on the first Sunday of each month at Saint Philips Chapel Street, M3 6FR from 7-8.30pm. On 6 November we have Anthony Delaney from Ivy speaking, and then on 4 December our new National Director Paul Harcourt will be with us.
Into next year, bring your team for the Leadership Conference in March (details and bookings at www.new-wine.org/events/leadership-conference-2017-north) and bring your church to Landmark, the hugely popular New Wine weekend in Lancaster from 29 April to 1 May. Book via www.lancsandlakes.org.uk - there’s an early bird deal running until January.
Now here’s a great reminder of why we do what we do, from Andrew, a New Wine church leader from our region. Those of you in the Arena this year at Week 2 might remember this amazing story:
‘Terri never knew her biological father and always had a great desire to know him. This became possible in her mid-teens but as she left home to be with him, she walked into a nightmare. Her father shared drugs with her hastening an addiction and sold her body to fuel his habit. His sexual abuse of her led to his imprisonment but left Terri full of guilt and shame and in constant trouble with her family and the law. In her mid-twenties Terri became a mother herself to Willow. A turning point came when she needed to be restrained by 7 police officers in front of Willow.
This compounded her guilt but when Willow wasn’t taken away from her by social services as a result of this incident she sought help from her Aunty Jo, a committed Christian. After an encounter with another Christian, Terri started to come to church. Soon, she came to a New Wine summer conference with Willow and, in her words:
“When arriving at New Wine I was a nervous wreck, I texted my mum saying how embarrassed and ashamed I was over everything!
That first night Willow ran off dancing, so me being her mum I went after her, not knowing but ending up in a section they used for prayer.
A lady approached me and asked if she could pray for me, out of politeness I said ‘yes’. She put her hand on my shoulder and starts to pray; then what she said next changed my life forever: ‘He wants you to know that you don’t need the substances that you’re using.’
Wow, I couldn’t believe it, how does she know? I must look like a junkie. Then she follows on with ‘He wants you to know that your daughter has not been damaged through what she has seen.’ Again, wow! We’re all the way past Bristol with a woman I have never seen in my life! If that’s not my prayers being answered, then I don’t know what the definition to ‘answer’ means!
The next night the speaker finished with prayer as they do, then in front of 1000s of people he says, ‘He wants Terri in her late 20s to step out of her embarrassment and shame!’ Firstly, he referred to Terri as a girl, secondly I was 29, and thirdly that was the message I sent to my mum earlier – it felt like a full stop!
Shaking and emotional I grabbed for my friend Tracey’s hand and squeezed it, I had goose bumps all over and was swaying. I had never felt this sensation before, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from me. I felt a warm and safe feeling that I have never felt before. I’ve seen so much and felt so much more since submitting to Jesus. I feel it so deep that even when things are being thrown at me I can deal with them no danger!
I don’t turn to drugs and alcohol as my crutch anymore. I’m cured if you like, Jesus has done for me what doctors, psychiatrists, pharma or self-medicating drugs were ever able to do. Don’t get me wrong. I’m far from perfect, I’ll probably slip up here and there but I am only human and I am a work in progress.
But one thing is for sure Jesus is not my crutch, he’s my backbone!”
Upon her return Terri has seen her life radically change and is now a very different person. She has become part of a regular discipleship group following the Alpha course and is growing in the gift of evangelism.’
Lord, pour out your Spirit in us and through us so we see you move in our region more and more!
God bless, Gareth
New Wine Regional Director, North West
Follow Gareth on Twitter @garethjrobinson
P.S. Why not begin this new term by encouraging the men in your church to attend one of the New Wine Men's Days? I promise they will come back to your church fired up!