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Like so many kids in the 1950’s, I was encouraged to go to Sunday School and later on to church but stopped going in my teens. At 16 I got a motorbike and started riding with other young bikers. We spent a lot of time in cinemas and pubs. I became interested in bare knuckle fighting and soon started participating and enjoyed it – one against one, no weapons, step back if someone went down, and only finishing when one of you had had enough.

After a failed marriage, and a failed relationship, I finally met and married Marguerite. She was already a Christian (I was not), but one Sunday I accompanied her to Braintree Baptist Church. It was announced that an Alpha Course would be starting soon. Being a firm believer in,’if you know little or nothing about something, how can you dismiss it?’, I enrolled and completed the course. It made a lot of sense, but I did not feel ready to make a commitment. I need to tidy a few loose ends up in my life. I signed up for the next course, and at the next Sunday morning service, as we were singing the hymn, ‘Just as I am’, I truly felt God was saying to me he was willing to accept me ‘just as I was’. I became aware that tears were running down my face. I put my hand down to Marguerite’s hand, looked at her and realised that she was crying too. After the service we told the Pastor, and he prayed with me whilst I said sorry for all the wrongs in my life and committed myself to live a life acceptable to God and to follow Jesus to the best of my ability.

I followed this up with a baptismal course and then was baptised by full immersion.

I can’t say that life has been a bed of roses since, but no-one said it would be. Every time I feel I am sliding back to my old way of life, I say sorry to Jesus and then try that bit harder. I know that by accepting his forgiveness I will one day meet him face to face.

Doug Sillett.

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