Journey

Last time (for those repeat offenders) I talked a bit about my time in the Royal Navy, this time I want to tell you a bit about how that linked in with my being a Christian … Some people who call themselves Christians can remember the date or moment they decided to ‘follow Jesus’, but for some it’s been a gradual journey of discovery.  I was looking through some boxes of papers when we moved up to Chesterfield a few years back, and found loads of stuff including my joining and leaving forms for HMS Fisgard back in 1979, my first pay chit from HMS Collingwood (£124 for a month), my original ‘pay book’, my first Divisional Officers report and loads of other stuff, anyway in amongst this stuff was this:

Hopefully you can read it … its a form I signed when I ‘became a Christian’ whilst at HMS Fisgard … I had no idea of the date, I remember the event, but if I’m honest it was not like St Pauls experience in the Bible, where everything changed instantly on the ‘Damascus Road’… it has been a gradual process ever since then, with ups and downs, challenges and times when I’ve really let God down, but since that moment I have known that God is real, he loves me just as I am, and as a result of that I want to live my life to tell others about him … this whole journey thing was brought into sharp focus by something else I found.

This is a genuine Deputy Sheriffs badge from a bloke I hooked up with when HMS Southampton was alongside in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1984 on our way back from a Falkland Islands patrol. The few days were quite amazing … for example, we were in his unmarked police car, when he said to us ‘anything you guys would like to do?’ … my mate said ‘yeah, I’ve always wanted to get pulled over by the Highway Patrol’ … OK says Pat, and off he went accelerating to over 100 on the highway, we were soon being chased by a couple of motorcycle cops, who pulled us over. Patrick flashed this badge and said ‘these are two Brit sailors who just wanted to be pulled over’ … of course we had a chat, invited the two motorbike cops on board for a beer and that was that. As we arrived with Pat at the gangway one day, we pointed out that he should not bring his gun down the mess … so he opened the boot and casually tossed it in … with the shotgun, rifle, and box of what appeared to be stun grenades. We also were looking to get into a club late one night, but the place was full, and there was a queue … Pat just waltzed us straight to the front of the queue and we were in …. and I have to confess a few beers were consumed during that 5 day period … a classic run ashore, which resulted in me swapping a pair of ‘pussers’ (RN) overalls for his genuine ‘Starsky and Hutch’ style magnetic blue cop light the sort that you stick on the car roof (had an interesting few moments explaining it to a MOD Copper who searched the car one day at the dockyard gate …) … I still have all the memories … but I had completely forgotten about the badge … it brought it all back  …

But its that little card that has served to not only bring back memories of a particular moment back in 1979, but it has highlighted a difference … that badge was great at the time, but I had completely forgotten about it. The physical card too I had forgotten about, but the decision I made that day changed my life ….  although like the badge, I put the card away with other stuff, I could not put Jesus in the box as well … he has journeyed with me all the time .. are you journeying with God every day, or have you put Him in a box of memories up on a shelf somewhere? If so its never too late to take him off the shelf and make him part of your life today …. Don’t hesitate if you want to find out more … contact me at the CVM office or your mate who wears sandals with socks and sings kum ba yah …

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