Colin - God wouldn't let me go
Colin was born and brought up in Roath, Cardiff, as one of nine children. All who come to the church, regulars and visitors, are met by Colin's cheerful welcome at the door.
I was raised during the Second World War so things weren’t easy. Two of my brothers were killed in action after joining up. I like to think that we were a respectable and hard working family. Discipline was strict but we had good times too.
Church didn’t really play a part in our lives except for weddings and funerals we just weren’t interested. At the age of fourteen I had to leave school to get a job and earn some money as two brothers and sister were in hospital with tuberculosis. My sister later died from the disease in 1953 when I was 16.
At this time we had a lodger at home, a young man of my age who went to a Saturday evening youth club at the local Baptist church. I went with him to see what it was like. They played table tennis, which I enjoyed – and was pretty good at! Some of the girls were attractive, so that played a part too! At the end of each evening there was an epilogue or short service, so gradually I learned something about God and the Bible. It seemed natural then to go along to the morning service on a Sunday and eventually to the evening service as well. I enjoyed going and joining in – it felt good and the people were nice.
One Sunday evening the message was about ‘Following Jesus’. I felt I should be baptised – it seemed the natural thing to do because it’s what Jesus had done. So it was that in 1958 aged 21 I was baptised with six others one Sunday evening. So hey presto! I had now become a Christian – or so I thought! After my baptism I became very involved in church activities. Along with others I helped to set up a Sunday School at Cwrt yr Ala Junior School in Ely. We also had Sunday evening meetings and a youth club in the week. I was so busy! In 1962 I was transferred with my job in the bank away from Cardiff. I started to lose contact with the fellowship and got into the wrong company. They weren’t bad people – we didn’t do anything outrageous. It’s just that with them I was easily distracted from Christian things, eg. going to the pictures on a Sunday instead of church.
After returning to Cardiff some years later I continued to live my own way. On the surface I was happy enough, but something kept nagging away at me – something was missing. For many years I stubbornly refused to acknowledge there was anything wrong. But God wouldn’t let me go.
I moved to Llanrumney in 1986. Then in 1992 my remaining sister and another brother died and that really set me thinking about what life was all about, and what I had been doing all these years. Many times I went past St Mellons Baptist Church but pride kept me from going in. At the same time I was scared that after all these years of basically turning my back on God, he would have nothing to do with me.
But one Sunday morning I did venture in. It was through the preaching of Russell Williams, the previous minister of the church, and the current pastor Andy Christofides, with their powerful, plain gospel messages, that everything became clear and things finally clicked. What happened to me in 1958 was in effect a false start. I realised I had made the big mistake of thinking that attending church and doing lots of Christian things made me a Christian.
I had been such a fool, blind to the truth. It isn’t about me and what I can do to try and impress God. It’s all about Jesus Christ and what he has already done on the cross of Calvary.
I thank God every day now for making me see what being a real Christian is all about. It’s having a personal relationship with the living God. I still get things wrong in my life but I can go to the foot of the cross and receive forgiveness because Jesus Christ died for me.
Edit: Our dear brother Colin passed into glory on 31 July 2018 after a prolonged period of ill-health. He will be greatly missed here, but we thank God for his life and know that he is now with Christ, which is better by far.