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Wales: Cardiff evangelist in 200-mile trek with a cross

Counties evangelist Clive Cornish has walked across Wales to share the Good News, tackling Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan as part of the gruelling trek ...

Counties evangelist Clive Cornish has walked across Wales to share the Good News, tackling Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan as part of the gruelling trek.

Whilst walking, Clive said: “A few people have been stopping me along the way, asking me why I’m doing this, but the support so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

“A lot of people tend to blame God for some of their failings, but my message is that unfortunate things often happen because of our own wrong decisions. At the end of the day though, God’s love conquers all."

Clive's personal story drives him to do the gruelling walk – he has previously travelled 450 miles around the perimeter of Wales carrying the heavy cross, and undertook a 750-mile trip a year later.

He’s walked with it from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and also made the journey from Holyhead to Cardiff in 2012. Clive has also completed several marathons carrying the cross, and plans to take part in Cardiff’s half marathon on October 4.

Clive has has a real passion for prison ministry and helping inmates who have given their lives to Christ to settle into a church and adjust to their new Christian life. Clive, who has served time in prison himself, said:

“I was born into a family with my mother, brother and sister being severely disabled and felt pressures of life very early on due to being the only able-bodied person in my family. I never felt that anyone loved me, and felt alone, different and rejected.

“My first conviction was at the age of 11 for shoplifting. I began sniffing glue, gas, petrol and other substances to escape life. At this time I befriended some people from a care home and unfortunately was sexually abused by one of them. When I was 14 I’d had enough and attempted suicide, not a cry for help, just concluded that if I didn't like me, how could anyone else?

“I developed a drink problem by the age of 15, being quite proud of how much I could drink, and making my own home brew. Burgling houses kept me in pocket. School was my most disliked place, I often paid my mother to stay at home. I was caught again at 15, this time actually in the house I was burgling and received a probation order.

“At 18 years old, a neighbour asked if I wanted to go a meeting where they prayed for the sick, 'Bible bashers' I said, 'well we do pray' she said. I wasn't keen to go, but her son was going, so I went too. An ex-highway patrolman from America was speaking. I repeated a simple prayer after this man, and something happened, I wasn't even sure what it was! I just felt clean inside, brand new! No drink or drug had ever made me feel like that. And I changed. A couple of my family became Christians too, my mother included and experienced God in a new way.

“Everything was great for around two years but then I met a homeless man and began drinking again, like I was making up for lost time! Lost my job, my flat was repossessed and I ended with a six-year prison sentence for robbery.

“I actually found prison life pretty easy, washing was done, food was cooked and someone held the keys – no responsibility but it was here I was given an opportunity to look back on my life. Why I kept getting it wrong. Why I was the kind of person I was, time to look at my family. The only thing I did miss was freedom.

“I served 3½ years of the six-year sentence and on my last day, I sat and looked out of the window, and thought ‘I can be in and out of prison for the rest of my life or I can mean that prayer I said ... Jesus, my life belongs to you.’ It was then a significant change took place, the way I see it now, God kept His promise and stayed with me. I was released, got a job, married Fiona, we had three girls and I've been a full time evangelist with Counties for 13 years.

“I am now involved with prison work visiting Prescoed Prison to lead a service and also helping those released by teaching successful living in Christ. My heart is to 'teach successful living' upon release. Becoming a Christian whilst in prison is great! But the problem is that you only know the life you led before prison, and it certainly isn't the same upon release, many are set free from prison but remain captive to prison life, or in bondage to worldly life.

“My experience tells me that my nature wants to do the things I know, and I have to choose daily to do things Jesus wants me to do. A current friend at Prescoed recently said, ' I found Jesus on my first day in prison, and I've never been so happy, I'm afraid it will stop when I get out'.

"These guys need support upon release, and that's another area we can help. By keeping contact with these men, helping them find a suitable place of worship, attending with them for a couple of weeks to settle in.”

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