I grew up in an obscure mining village in South Wales. The village was so obscure it was, and still is, omitted
from maps of the area. My childhood was spent enjoying the pleasures of playing on the mountain slopes or
sailing match box boats on the local river. My parents were both very moral people and I was sent to a local
church Sunday School and there was taught that all the supernatural events in the Bible had a more rational
explanation. In my early teens I stopped attending as I was convinced there was nothing for me in religion and
Christianity in particular.
I left the Grammar School that I attended with no formal qualifications, obtained a job and settled down to the
expectation of nothing more than work and play - which for me was the Saturday dance in the local big town. In
my job, I met an unusual man who told me of his experiences in the Royal Air Force as a Radio technician and
subsequent employment with an oil company in Saudi Arabia. I was enthused with the possibility of remoulding
my humdrum life. Consequently, I joined the RAF and started a new life surrounded by young men with similar
ideas about life and no thought about spiritual matters.
In my duties I met a number of other men with whom I became very friendly. One, in particular, worked
alongside me in my duties. We shared a similar sense of humour, enjoyed the same drinks, and shared trips out
to the local towns around our camp. Unfortunately, my friend became more and more addicted to alcohol and
very soon was on the road to alcoholism and dismissal from his career in the RAF. Nothing that we said to him
seemed to persuade him to abandon this self-destructive direction in his life. Then one night on his trip to a local
pub to get drunk, he met a local farmer who gave him a Bible tract and invited him to his home for a chat about
spiritual matters. That night my friend, Ken, was completely transformed. He became a Christian and started to
tell the rest of us in our accommodation block about the Lord Jesus Christ. He stopped his drink habit and
resumed his normal work. We were all amazed and as the farmer was busy planting a church a number of us
from our crew started attending. Our main objective was originally to get Ken released from this religious mania
that now possessed him.
Week by week I went to the service at the little church and it was there that I experience first a sense of
conviction that I was a sinner in need of a Saviour. The absolute sense of helplessness to do anything to get
right with God lasted for almost a day. Finally, I spoke to Ken and he recognised that I needed to get right with
God through the Lord Jesus Christ. He explained that all I needed to do was to ask for forgiveness and to trust
that the Lord Jesus Christ would save me. And that is what I did some sixty years ago and I still live in the joy of
that gracious salvation to this day.
Dr Robert Winston is a retired Pastor and now Elder at WEFC. He is Father to Susan, Tim's wife, as well as a Granddad, and a Great Grandad.