ICFW - My Story

Heather Waring

   I was born not far from here in a town called Southport but I moved to North Wales when I was 13 years old and I have lived there more or less ever since.
I have a sister and two brothers and I was brought up by my mum and my step dad.
As I was growing up my step dad did not believe in God at all but my mum was a regular churchgoer and she encouraged my siblings and I to go to church with her from quite an early age. By the time I was a teenager I would happily have called myself a Christian.
I believed in God, I believed that Jesus was God’s Son and I believed that Jesus had been both crucified and raised from the dead.
The problem was that Jesus was someone that I thought about in church on a Sunday morning and my faith did very little influence the way I lived my life the rest of the time.

   This all changed when I was 19 years old. I had started my veterinary degree at Glasgow University but I was spending my summer holiday at home with my
family. My mother, sister and younger brother had started attending a little country church and as previously, I went along with them.
I remember very clearly sitting there one Sunday morning and listening to the pastor talking about Jesus.
It was the first time I had ever heard the gospel explained in language that I could understand.

   Up until that point I had considered myself to be a basically good person – certainly good enough to get into heaven.
But if what the pastor was saying was true then nobody was good enough to get into heaven and I certainly wasn’t.
Jesus had given His life in order to offer me the forgiveness I needed and all I had to do was respond.
At the end of the service I followed the pastor in a simple prayer – saying sorry for what I had done and asking Jesus to come and be part of my life.
All of a sudden it was as if someone had turned the lights on.

   Everything that I had been taught in church and in Sunday school took on new life and meaning and Christianity finally made real sense.
I was not transformed overnight but I did begin a slow process of change that that day and it was wonderful to be baptised a year later alongside my mum,
sister and younger brother who had also come to know Jesus.

   My first few years as a Christian were very happy and I enjoyed getting to know Jesus and learning to follow Him. As time went by however,
I started to become discouraged. The problem was I wanted to get more involved in the church but I had always been a rather quiet and shy person
and I felt I lacked any of the necessary skills. I couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance, couldn’t act and certainly couldn’t speak in public.
Eventually in desperation I came to God in prayer and pleaded with Him that He would use me.

   Almost immediately a friend I had not seen in over a year contacted me to tell me that she had just become a Christian.
I was thrilled and we got together for a chat over a cup of coffee. I invited her to my church and we decided that we would start meeting regularly
to read the Bible together. A few weeks later a colleague in work started asking me questions about heaven.
Instead of trying to answer her I invited her to join us and to my surprise she did. After that we started inviting other friends and colleagues until
we had formed a little study group that met every week at my friend’s house to drink tea, read the Bible and talk about Jesus.
We met for five years altogether (right up until I left to come to Capernwray) and during that time I saw many of my friends come to know Jesus for
themselves.

   If God had revealed His plans to me beforehand I would not have thought myself capable of leading such a group and I think I would have run
in the opposite direction. Instead He led me a step at a time and along the way I discovered a real passion for studying, teaching and discipling
new believers.

   Naturally my next step was to start thinking about Bible school and so here I am!
As you have probably gathered I am still a pretty quiet person but I am not shy anymore and that makes a big difference.

   I know that God has made me just as I am with a plan and a purpose in mind and I know that He can and will use me.
Of course there are still times where I feel inadequate but I am learning to stand on His promise that
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).