(Interim Lead Pastor, Garstang, Lancashire)
I began visiting the Garstang Free Methodist Church a number of years ago, and quickly fellin love with the people and the area. I became part of the church when I moved to England in 2007, coming on staff as associate pastor a year later. Since April 2010 I have been serving as Interim Lead Pastor.
No doubt one of the reasons I felt at home so quickly here is because I was born and raised in another Northwest – the Pacific Northwest in America. I grew up in the town of Bellingham, Washington, 1½ hours north of Seattle and just 20 minutes south of the Canadian border. Set between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, Bellingham looks very much like many areas of the Lake District. And we get nearly as much rain!
A friend at school first told me about Jesus. Trish wrote me a note to tell me that Jesus was God’s Son and that he lived and died and rose again so that we could know God. I had never heard that before. I was so impressed that I walked over a mile to her home. I thanked her for telling me about Jesus. And then I said, “But I will never believe that!” I suppose it sounded too good to be true that there is a God who loves us and wants to be in close relationship with us. But Trish must have kept praying, because about a year later, I gave my heart to the Lord.
As a teenager, I got involved in our local Free Methodist Church, which had a wonderful youth group. It was there that I learnt that I was fully loved and accepted in Jesus Christ. I also learnt how to pray and understand the Scriptures and to be interested in the lives of others.