My name is David. It’s a good Welsh name, but it was given by my Cockney mother because it was a Christian name. My parents were respected in our village because their door was always open to foster children, battered wives (as they were called), and people in any kind of difficulty.

They were praying people with a real faith in Jesus Christ.

I just wasn’t interested.

I wanted to go fishing and to have fun. This included going to the church where they were worshipping and throwing stones at the door to disrupt the meeting. In my later teens drink dominated my weekends. One day a policeman came to talk with me because of some mischief I’d been involved in. He said, “How can a yob like you come from a family like yours?” It was water off a duck’s back.

I was more or less sacked from my first job after leaving school at 17. I decided to join the Police! It sounded fun. They allowed me in and then I was moved to a Police Station in another small town. One day, as I sat smoking with my feet on the desk, that same policeman walked in. “What are you doing here?” he asked in amazement. “I’m a copper now!” I arrogantly replied.

He was unfazed and immediately said, “I’m going to a Christian youth meeting on Friday, why not come along?” I’ve no idea why I said, “Yes”, but I did. I went on the following day too. It was a Bible study. A pastor read from the Bible and explained what it was saying.

In one hour I learned three things. Firstly, there is a God. I’d always believed it, but I didn’t like it, so I ignored it. But in that hour I felt the force of it. I knew creation had a creator and life couldn’t come from non-life. But I also realised that there was a true and living God. He had given me life.

Secondly, I knew there was a problem. There was a God, but I was not right. I was a foul mouthed, crude and rebellious teenager. I felt the force of it powerfully and knew that when my life came to its end I would face the judgment day.

Thirdly, I discovered there was an answer. I learned the reason why God sent His Son into the world. The stories I had learned from my parents and in Sunday School made sense for the first time. Instead of God wanting me to make amends for my sin, He had come and lived the life I should have lived and died the death I deserved to die. He had taken the blame and punishment for the sins I had committed. It’s the Bible message of the coming of a Saviour celebrated by so many both at Christ’s birth and His death and resurrection. Jesus Christ was the answer because of His perfect life, death in my place and resurrection.

As that meeting finished I quietly sat and spoke to God. I asked Him to forgive me and to work in my heart to change me and make me the person I ought to be.

It was the beginning of a whole new way of life. The following day was Sunday and I wanted to be in church with other Christians for the first time in my life. I wanted to read the Bible and pray. I wanted to please God.

About three months later something happened that surprised me. I tried to open a door and it was locked, so I swore. Immediately, I felt deeply ashamed. No one heard it. I was alone. I was shocked at how dirty and guilty I felt. I thought, “No one heard. Why do I feel so bad?” Then the words came to mind. “No! God heard.” At the same moment I felt both awful and joyful. You may be surprised, but I felt terrible because I had let the Lord down. I felt wonderful because I realised that for years I had been a crude and foul mouthed young person and never thought twice about it. However, God had now given me a conscience and a hatred of such sinful speech. It was so reassuring. I knew the Lord had both forgiven my sin, and was at work in my life. This one sad incident had illustrated what God was doing in my heart.

I was 18 years old at the time. That was over 40 years ago, and I am so thankful that, as my life turned round, God led me to new friends, a wonderful wife and marriage and, despite many difficulties, He has been my strength and saviour.

I’ve recently moved to North Wales with my wife and am looking after the Carmel Christian Fellowship. Both my sons and their families live here. One son is an aerospace engineer in Deeside and the other is a Coastguard Officer in Holyhead.

I hope you’ll feel able to come to the Village Hall at some point. But please feel free to contact me through this website if you have any questions concerning this Christian fellowship, or the Christian Faith.

David Harding