"I left God – but he never left me!"
You're never too old to change: that's the view of 84-year-old Leslie, who came to faith at an Alpha course in recent times ...
Leslie, 84, from Shrewsbury, became a Christian later in life after attending an Alpha course at Trinity Church. He is now being encouraged in his “footsteps of faith” by Church Army Evangelist, Gordon Lamb. He tells us his story
“My name is Leslie and I’m not a young man – I’m an old guy at 84. My wife, Hilma, suffers with Alzheimer’s and is in a care home and I’m fortunately able to visit her two or three times a week.
“I always went to church as a child but moved away from Christianity when I was around 10 or 12 years old. I left God, but he never left me!
“This went on for most of my life, but when I retired I moved back to the church thanks to my wife, who has always had a strong faith. She dragged me back into the church one day.
“It was an Alpha course that was really the start of things – it’s a wonderful tool for Christianity. Since then I’ve done three Alpha courses and there is always wonderful comradeship and friendships that blossom among people.
“Since finding God again in my life I have changed. I now have an urge, an inner urge, to look around and to do some good. Nothing spectacular.
“I stopped swearing – no naughty words! I stopped drinking and became teetotal. That isn’t necessarily a Christian thing; it was something my wife had done so I said ‘I’m going to join you darling, I’m not going to drink anything.‘
“It’s been ongoing and inevitably one gets more involved in the church and more involved with the faith. And deeper in faith.
“I’ve also recently taken part in the Sharing Your Faith course led by Church Army Evangelist, Gordon Lamb (pictured right).
“As part of the course, on one occasion Gordon said: ‘I’m giving you £10 each. I want you to go out and buy someone a meal or something similar and I want you to report back next week about what you’ve done with your £10.’
“I decided to think about it for a few days, as it sounds easy-peasy, but actually it’s quite a task.
“Then, a few days later, I passed two young ladies sitting on a bench eating a takeaway. I thought ‘maybe’.
“I was emboldened! I walked up to these two young ladies sitting down on the bench and I said: ‘That smells good. I’ve got to buy someone a meal.’ They said: ‘Really?’ They were quite interested. I said: ‘How much does your meal cost?’ They said: ‘£3.50.’ I said: ‘Look, here’s £10 that will pay for both of them, I don’t want any change, keep the £10.’ They looked confused.
“So I said: ‘Well I go to church and one of our leaders has given us an exercise to do and we’ve got to talk about God’. One of them said: ‘I believe in God, I really do believe in God.’
“So I thought to myself, well this is getting better, and the other one said: ‘I sometimes go to church with my nan’. We were chatting away like that and this went on.
“I said: ‘I’ve just had bowel cancer. Do you know, there’s been so many prayers said for me that I’m convinced that it gave me a good result after the operation and I just wanted you to know that.’ They said some nice things of farewell and then off I went.
“These footsteps of faith that we take continue.”
To watch a film of Leslie’s story and to find out more about Church Army’s work, visit www.churcharmy.org.uk/one