“Here will ye talk to me mate, no one ever calls him?”
And with that sort of well intended remark begain the romance of my life.
Stephen was my friend in Teen Challenge, and along with Paul Morgan, at that time we shared a house in Penygroes in South West Wales.
We were all graduates of Teen Challenge and got to travel around the UK, singing and sharing our stories of how God’s love through Christ had transformed our lives. (There was also the very difficult Biblical training programme). We enjoyed what we did and we were grateful that our lives were no longer the screwed up mess they had been before. Instead of inflicting damage and wrecking lives, we were bring life and sharing hope.
It was a Sunday in January 2000. We must have been in a more local church that Sunday because we were back home.
I had been sitting in my bedroom, downstairs at the front of the house. Quietly reading my Bible and praying, when the raucous noise of Stephen’s laughter drifted through from the sitting room at the back of the house. Curious as to what could be so amusing, and knowing that no one else was in the house, I made my way through. Just as I walked in the door he put his hand out, touched me on the shoulder and said the infamous, “Here talk to me mate.”
Stephen had been in Dublin over Christmas and had called Anna Tormey, (at that time one of the pastoral care team on staff at St Mark’s Family Worship Centre, now St Mark’s Church on Pearse Street in Dublin. Anna would soon be Assistant Pastor there). Anna wasn’t available, so Stephen had been chatting away to her eldest child, Tracy.
I actually froze to the spot. One of those awkward moments everyone hates. Being handed a phone to speak to someone you didn’t know. Being the socially awkward person I was, I awkwardly waited a few awkward seconds before awkwardly asking this unknown person, with a full unknown life, in an unknown city (well unknown to me) was doing. It was awkward. We used words, but never really said anything for a minute or two then I handed the phone back to Stephen.
“You should write to him, no one ever does.”
Who needs enemies with friends like these eh. Where is the bro code?
He hung up and I just looked at him.
I called my mum back in Glasgow. Whilst on the phone to her I said “What do you maker of this Stephen fella, trying to get me married off to some Irish woman.”
“Ye better no,” my mum replied, “It’s bad enough your down in Wales without movin the Ireland”
We went about our day, thinking no more of it. We were out with The Evidence again that night and life carried as before. I did not know it then, but a path had opened in my life that would lead to the journey God has had me on the past 18 years. To a happy marriage and three wonderful daughters, to life long friends forged only months from that off the cuff call. To the love of my life.
If you are reading this, always be aware, you never know what God can do with even the most seemingly insignificant occurrences in your life.
This POST is part of a wider collection to show the journey that would eventually lead me to the cross of Jesus Christ, my personal redemption, and my journey of faith afterwards. If you would like to know more of my story, please click on my “About” page and take it from there.
Alternatively, you can visit the Media Links page and see a short visit done by BBC Radio Scotland for an interview I did there.
I have now released an early edition of my story, Completing the Tenner.
I have also published two poem books: Simply Jesus and Five Weeks in May
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