Witness

Witness

Witness

Revelation 12.11 tells us clearly
the secret of overcoming the Prince Of This World "They overcame
him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their
testimony."

So, the obvious question is "where
does my testimony start?...” Perhaps at the beginning?

I was baptised when I was too
small to object and grew up in a Christian family. Father is a
retired Indian Army Colonel (British Army pre-1940 and after
1945), one of the last ones left.

Mother's family came from Scotland
and her father and brother were apparently a different sort of
Christian from the Anglicans we knew and saw at church.

My Uncle Edward preached to people
and sent letters full of Bible references  which I never looked
up; so I never understood what he was getting at! (a word of
warning there, if you use Bible references don't send "4Cor
777vs14-53+57-62" to people who don't usually read the Bible:
WRITE OUT WHAT IT SAYS!)

Uncle Edward was generally
considered "barmy". Definitely the black sheep of the family, he
had been a Fascist Blackshirt in the late 30s and after he "found
Jesus" drove around in a Bedford van with loudspeakers on the top
preaching about being "saved" (whatever THAT meant!).

Little did I realise that he was a
Saint, I was encouraged only to look at his foibles; that he
‘Lived On Faith’ was considered clear evidence of his
being either mentally unhinged or manipulative and predatory of
those who supported his ministry.

I didn't want to be confirmed with
the rest in my year at boarding school and took a lot of ribbing
from my friends when I said that I wasn't ready. A year later I
reckoned I was ready and went ahead. I distinctly remember the
Bishop telling us not to use ‘Brylkreem’ on our hair
as he didn't want to get his hands greasy when he blessed us!

The most memorable thing about the
confirmation was that I asked The Lord if He really was there,
would he make the candle-flames on the altar-candles lean to the
left (they always leaned to the right because of a draught in the
school chapel). They DID – and that was my first conscious
conversation with The Lord.

After confirmation I used to go to
Holy Communion on Wednesday mornings but somehow I also wanted to
have something "extra" midweek, as well as Matins and Evensong
daily in the massive school chapel. As a High Anglican I was keen
on sacraments, and hadn't understood the sacramental link with
repeating the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus on the cross over and
over being blasphemy according to the Bible.

I simply hadn't understood that
The Bible tells us clearly, that Holy Communion is a meal of
remembrance - NOT a repetition: "Do this as oft as ye shall drink
it in remembrance of me."

During the hols, I went to church
with my parents. My father became a Lay Reader when I was 15.

We lived in Naples at the time so
I went there for the hols three times a year. Mum was working
with street kids and I met many of them. A trip to Rome to look
at the treasures in the Vatican REALLY brassed me off, and I lost
all trust in churches which allowed their children to live in
poverty and squalor, forcing teenage girls (and younger) into
prostitution just so that they could eat, when there were
zillions of pounds-worth of gold and diamond-encrusted chalices
which weren’t even being used!

Sadly, like many before me, I
confused fallible churches with a loving and infallible God!

After returning from Naples we
lived in the UK for a year and then father was posted to Finland
as Military Attaché for two years. I now live in Finland,
having moved back here in 1982…but then I am getting ahead
of myself!

Coming to Finland straight from
boarding school (no girls!) was quite an eye-opener!

I had seen beautiful women in
Italy but I had noticed that "the ravioli-effect" was quite
marked. Up to the age of 20ish Neapolitan girls are scrumptious.
After that the pasta tends to show, and by the time they hit the
30’s, many of them tend to look like waddling barrels
accompanied my screaming hordes of bambini!

Finland was a shock! The young
ladies were just as gorgeous as their Italian counterparts but
usually had blonde hair, upturned noses and got even
better-looking as they aged ! I promptly fell in love for the
first time (several times, actually) and only returned to the UK
when my father was posted back to the Royal Military College of
Science at the beginning of 1968.

I worked at the R.M.C.S. for a
while but living at home wasn't a roaring success by then. I was
over 20 and wanted to be independent. So I went to work in
Wales.

One day I was watching Clockwork
Orange (of all things) and I felt that I was being told to go and
study theology to do my part in preventing this awful decay in
society.

My studies were interesting, and I
did talk to the Lord occasionally, although I was FAR more
concerned with learning the order of succession of the various
Roman Emperors, and what they had promulgated than I was in
learning about the Holy Spirit.

My studies were rudely interrupted
by my wife who announced that she wanted to leave and marry her
former fiancé with whom she had been having an affair for
ages.

This caused a number of
problems.

Firstly; divorced men (and she
wanted a divorce) weren't able to be ordained without a vow of
celibacy - and I felt called to be a priest, not a saint!

Secondly; she deliberately
announced her intentions a few days before my exams - so I
seriously fluffed everything!

Thirdly; I mistook the reaction of
the church to be what God was doing.

I turned away from God in disgust,
went into the insurance industry and made a "success" of myself.
A house in a leafy suburb of Cardiff, a house by a park in
Hackney (then a developing yuppieville ) in London and a Bentley
to drive between them.

In Wales I had a 1954 MG TF
classic sports car for whizzing about in at the weekends
(bachelor life again) and enjoyed car restoration as a
relaxation.

One day I knocked a gearbox which
weighed over 30 kilos off a bench; and caught it before it
reached the ground. My back broke in three places (actually,
three discs were damaged; two bulged ominously and the third
popped completely) and I lost the ability to walk. The sciatic
nerves were badly damaged and my legs were completely numb.

I spent many months in hospital,
getting to grips with the idea of living in a wheelchair and
being stretched to get the pressure off my sciatic nerves.

On the day when I was taken out of
traction I was told "you probably won't walk properly again, the
best you can hope for is to shuffle from place to place using a
zimmer-frame."

The thought of shuffling about
using a device that looks like four walking-sticks in a frame was
terrifying so I decided to try walking.

The first day, I walked three
steps before I fainted from the pain, the second day four, the
third day five, the fourth day two - I cried a lot.

Eventually I walked out of the
hospital, albeit with the aid of two walking sticks and in a
great deal of pain.

The next year and a half were
spent learning to walk a few hundred metres at a time and in
preparing to start my life all over again. I realised that I
would not be able to be a salesman and sales manager because of
my disability and decided to concentrate on my training and
motivation skills and on my many years of study in the insurance
industry.

I wrote to various insurance
companies and banks in Finland and told them that I wanted to
come to Finland to finish my work on The Psychology of Persuasion
and Motivation in Sales and asked them to give me a job and a
flat.

The Aura Insurance Company (in
Finnish Aura means "plough" as in The Great Bear constellation)
invited me here and I arrived on the 20th of April 1982. I have
worked as a consultant in the insurance industry ever since. I
still do a few hours a year.

On October 30th 1983 I was in the
Rock Church in Helsinki when Colin Urquhart, then an Anglican
priest, preached at a special service. The place was so full that
the only space I could find was on the balcony at the back.

 He told everyone that there was
no place in the Bible where people are told that they cannot
rededicate their lives to the Lord and, having done so both when
I was confirmed AND when I studied theology; I did so again.

After that Colin said that he
would pray for healing. Having studied theology as an Anglican, I
knew perfectly well that the gift of healing had ended at the
time of the Apostles so my faith for healing on a scale of 1 to
10 would have been somewhere near minus 17!

Colin began to tell the people who
was being healed of what sicknesses (a process I now understand,
but which was "very odd" to me at the time), and at one point he
said "The Lord is touching several backs NOW" and I felt hands on
my back.

Where I was standing there was
nothing behind me except a shoulder-high wall and behind that a
drop of about 12 feet to the floor of the cloakroom below. I was
holding hands with the two people next to me and we were in the
back row. Whoever touched my back should have been in the Harlem
Globetrotters basketball team!

BUT the pain continued, and
because I was unable to use my stick it was getting worse, and my
faith for healing went even more severely "into deficit", after I
had been touched and left unhealed!

Then he pointed in my general
direction, up to the balcony at the back, and said "The Lord is
healing someone of intense pain in their back and legs NOW."

I had what felt like a lifetime's
pain in a millisecond. There wasn't even time to faint before it
was over - GONE. I was healed!

A few moments later Colin asked
those who had been healed to come to the front and tell him what
had happened. I looked towards the narrow staircase that leads
off the balcony and saw two elderly well-upholstered,
wobble-bottomed ladies waddling wilfully towards the narrow
entrance to the stairs and decided that I HAD to get there before
they did.

I jumped over three rows of
benches to do so! I really WAS healed!

That was one of the churches I
attended every Sunday (the other was the Anglican) and many
members of the congregation saw me RUN down the aisle to tell
Colin Urquhart all about it.

It would be a profoundly stupid
person who would remain unaffected by that sort of experience!
Since then, I have sought to serve The Lord as He leads.

In 1988, the Anglican Church
(never one to hurry things…my former wife had remarried
TWICE since our divorce in 1973!) decided to grant my application
for an annulment of my marriage, on the grounds that my wife had
lied when she stated "forsaking all others, I give myself
absolutely unto thee". As my former wife had chosen her former
fiancé; she had clearly NOT renounced “all”
...and thus annulled the marriage contract, which was deemed to
be ‘based on a lie.’

Within a matter of months, I met
the girl The Lord had chosen for me and I married Annikki in July
1989.

We moved to  the countryside in
1990, buying an old wooden school with two friends and
establishing a Christian community. Here I do my research work
and we do our best to perceive what it is that The Lord wants us
to do each day.

During the business slump in the
early 90s there was little consulting work available and so
I made use of my time by retraining myself as an apologist
specialising in scientific truths which support the Bible as
being completely factual.

In many years of intense study I
have not found ONE fact of science that contradicts one single
fact in Scripture! The better I get to know Scripture and the
better I get to know science, the more I see that they both fit
together.

In 1998 I founded the Finnish
Institute of Apologetics which exists to train others to teach
Jesus as Creator and Redeemer and to confirm that the Bible is
the foundation without which life makes no sense whatsoever.

The ONLY answer to the
purposelessness of people in society today is the Gospel, and
without the book of Genesis; the Gospel is meaningless as there
is no understanding of the origin of sin and therefore no
understanding of the Sacrifice instituted by The Lord to bring us
back into relationship with Him. Jesus is ‘the Second Adam,
our Creator and Redeemer.’

Between 1997 and 2001 I have spent
many months in South India teaching Jesus as Creator and Redeemer
in schools, colleges and universities. We are looking at
returning to India for a series of debates in universities and
schools around the topic of Creation.

We have also been used by God to
help establish a village project in the countryside near Madras
where we sponsor a young evangelist. The village is specifically
for people who have come to faith in Jesus, and have been thrown
out of their communities and families because of it. The idea is
for the adults to look after orphans and old people as a
community - with their own well, cattle, school, clinic and so
on.

In Finland, I continue to teach
where I am asked, teaching in Finnish and English (the preference
of many youth groups nowadays).

Today I can say “The Lord is
in the driving seat of my life” and I am an excited
passenger, eager to know what is around the next corner. Who
knows which country I will be teaching in next week?

Annie and I have Lived On Faith
for several years now; we have no idea where the funds will come
from to meet our needs, but what does matter is that The Lord's
will is done in our lives TODAY. The rest we can safely leave to
Him!