Meet A Christian: Amanda

I am not from a Christian background, but God blessed us with a Christian witness in our family when I was growing up, Great Aunt Jean. She would often mention things from the Bible and gave my sister and I a Good News Bibles when we were young; the verse she wrote in mine reads ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 16 verse 31). 

Fast forward to my early twenties when I came to Derby to study Business Studies at the University.  It was a 4-year degree course and in the third year I did an industrial placement working for Midland Bank, now HSBC. I was 25 years old; my work placement was going from bad to worse and I was feeling depressed. One cold February evening I was walking home from work and I heard someone singing loudly behind me. I turned around and said to this man “Why are you so happy?” He replied, “I’m praising the Lord, he makes me so happy”. “Oh, right” I said.  He asked me “Do you believe in God?” “Yes” I replied. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. “I’m not sure, what is a Christian? He explained its someone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. He was bold enough to ask for my telephone number, I remember thinking, “If he is Godly then he is a good man”. I had crossed paths with a Nigerian Evangelist!

He called me that night and we talked on the phone; he was interested in my life and before I knew it, I mentioned my troubles at work. He rang me every night for a few days and talked to me about Jesus and one verse he quoted was from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave us his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life.” The gospel was going in!

At that time, I had taken some sick leave and it was during this time that he brought round some Christian literature, a Christian tape, and a tract. He said, “read this tract and if you believe pray the confession prayer”. The tract was called ‘Somebody Cares’ and was about a verse from 1 Peter ‘Cast all your cares on me because I care for you”. As I read the tract, Jesus talked to me so tenderly and powerfully that tears welled up inside. He said, “I love you Amanda; I care for you and am concerned about your progress and well-being. Accept my invitation and I will come into your life and will be with you and give you a new start.” I realised that I was lost and on the wrong path. Something supernatural happened, a light switched on and I believed Jesus had died on the cross for my sins. It all became so personal. 

I gave my life to Jesus that February night in 1998, Jesus became my Lord and Saviour. That same night Saibe rang and asked me “Do you believe?” I said, “Yes, I believe”. He said “Hallelujah! A host of angels are rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.” He promptly visited the flat, we held hands and Saibe prayed, and the Holy Spirit came into my heart. I knew instantly that I was different: peace, joy and love flowed into my inner being, I had changed internally and spiritually.

God worked straight away, I lost my job and moved back to live with my parents. Saibe said “You must find a good Bible believing church.” His words rang in my ears and he followed up with a phone call to check on my progress. I found a Baptist church and they were starting a discipleship course, so I joined and made friends. At the discipleship class I was taught that I needed to be baptised as a believer. I was a tender shoot, so new at being a Christian, yet God spoke so clearly to me ‘You believe!”. I was baptised on August 30th, 1998. Part of my Baptism song was: “Lord I come to you, let my heart be changed, renewed, flowing from the grace that I’ve found in you!”

I can testify to this day that God is so gracious and faithful that my life has flowed with God’s grace.  He has kept me safe and on the right track, even when I have made mistakes God is so merciful and kind. My heart’s desire is to continually live for him until he calls me home, to love him even more and to pray for people to also see their need of a loving Saviour. I always say it was the best decision of my life to follow Jesus. I pray it might be true of you too! Thank you for reading my story and God bless you.

To read more stories like Amanda’s: click here.

Meet A Christian: Sarah

Hi, I’m Sarah a student at Sheffield studying Early Childhood Studies. Despite being in Sheffield 50% of the time, Derby is my home and when I’m home I attend Castlefields Church where I am currently a member. I’ve been coming to Castlefields since I was born so this church is very much my family.

I want to share with you the testimony of my Christian faith and how I came to know Jesus as my Saviour. I’ve been brought up in a Christian home so was taken to Church each week where I would listen to sermons and attend the Sunday school. For many years I enjoyed going to church solely because I got to play with my friends which meant I never really pondered on what was being preached. Not much changed over the years until my older sister got baptised.

During this time I felt a lot of pressure for me to get baptised too but something was holding me back. When I’d seen other Christians get baptised previously and heard their testimony they talked about the amazing transformations in their life. I realised that I couldn’t relate as I hadn’t had a ‘big’ change yet, therefore surely, I couldn’t be a Christian. After going over and over it in my mind, I plucked up the courage to ask my mum what she thought. She explained to me that it’s tricky to see a change in yourself when you’ve been brought up in a Christian home and told me most importantly to pray about it. This led me to praying every night that God would make me a Christian.

One Sunday evening I remember a visiting preacher talked about what you need to do to be a Christian. He explained that you simply need to believe in God & Jesus’ death and ask for forgiveness of sins. God spoke to me that evening. I’d done those things already! Surely, I was a Christian?

From then on, I struggled in my faith as I had doubts about not actually being a Christian. I remember getting really scared and worked up about death. I’d go to bed each evening & ask myself “what if I go to sleep and never wake up? What would happen?” I’ve always been known as a worrier but this has to be my most worrying question. I didn’t trust that God had really accepted me as one of His children. But then through church sermons and reading my bible, I was reminded of one of the many truths in the Bible…

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me, I will by no means cast out”.

John 6 v 37

This verse in particular gave me the reassurance that I needed. I WAS a Christian! I knew that I had come to God and asked for forgiveness and this verse reminded me that He wouldn’t (and still won’t) cast me out. It’s like that classic Sunday school song that I’m sure you’ve heard before… ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’ – the end verse says ‘He’s got you and me brother in His hands’ now I can rejoice that I know for a fact that this is true! God has got me in His hands and will never let me go 😊

A few months later, this led to my baptism. I don’t like being under the spotlight but I realised that this wasn’t all about me – it was about my relationship with God and what He had done for me. I just want to point out that my baptism was a symbol of me being born again to a new life in Christ – baptism is not something that saves you.

So fast-forwarding to now, over 4 years later. I can see God’s hand in my life as I have faced both ups and downs. Ultimately, I know that even the moments in my life that have been difficult they have all been for my growth as a Christian believer. You may think that because I am a believer I no longer sin and do wrong things but oh how incorrect you are! I sin every day without fail and am constantly asking for forgiveness from God. But the great thing is that I know that Jesus died for each of those individual sins and that He will forgive me!

I’m still very new in my faith and know that I have a long journey ahead of me to understand more of God’s grace and love but it’s a journey that I look forward to as I know it deepens my relationship with my Saviour.

For more stories like Sarah’s, click here.