When former Aston Villa player Mike Tindall’s business failed, he didn’t know where to turn and was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Then his wife took him to church …
It's been a sad period for the families and fans of former Aston Villa players with the deaths of Johnny Dixon, Vic Crowe and Paul Birch in recent times.
But on a much happier note, one of the club's stars from the 1960s, Mike Tindall, is still active on the ‘field’, though these days he’s to be found on the mission field rather than the football pitch.
The footballer who enjoyed 13 years at Villa Park, was capped 10 times for England and who played alongside the great Bobby Moore, now takes the Gospel – “the best news that anyone can ever have” – to people in the West Midlands and overseas.
Mike found his faith following a difficult time when his business failed.
“After having to give up football whilst on the books of Walsall, I first of all owned two shops before becoming a publican. For a few years I did quite well and then everything went very wrong.
“I was so stressed that I was near to a nervous breakdown. I didn't know where to turn.”
But he noticed that his wife, Thora, a Christian, remained calm even when they faced bankruptcy.
“I wondered how that could be and I was led to try and find out about who this Jesus was that she kept referring to.”
Mike's life changed forever one Sunday when Thora persuaded him to go with her to Bromsgrove Baptist Church.
“It was the first time I’d been inside a church. I kept asking myself what I was doing there.
“There was a time of open worship and a member of the congregation stood up and delivered a word of prophecy. I didn’t know what was happening and felt very uncomfortable as the gentleman spoke in a strange language. Then another member of the congregation gave an interpretation.
“I knew immediately that the message was for me: ‘My son, do not fear, I am with you. I will help you and will make the mountains level for you.’
“I knew it came from Jesus and yet he called me his son! I felt as if my heart was bursting out of my chest. I couldn’t move.
“I saw the cross in a vision and I knew Jesus was alive. I knew then that my life would never be the same again.
“Since coming to know Jesus as my Saviour and friend I couldn’t be happier.”
Such has been Mike's life-changing experience that he wants to tell others about what Jesus can do. He relies on God to supply his financial needs.
He is regularly to be found treading the streets of Birmingham and other West Midlands towns asking people: “Do you know Jesus? If you were to die today, where would your destination be?”
Mike has also taken God’s message to Africa. “A group of evangelists was going out to Kenya and they needed one more person. A Christian brother who had heard me preach recommended me.”
Mike has also been to Zambia four times to speak at an annual Christian mission event. Last year thousands of Zambians came to hear about Jesus for the first time and many of them gave their lives to God.
He has been invited by the bishop in charge to lead meetings again this year.
Mike’s African experiences have taught him that “God loves everyone no matter where they come from” and that it’s the job of Christians to spread that good news.
“I have witnessed miraculous healing. I have learned that God is faithful. I really know that with God all things are possible.
“Without a doubt I know that Jesus is the answer to all the world's problems, and folk need to hear about him," he concludes. “But how will they get to know about the good news unless someone is prepared to tell them?”
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