Phase 3 Testimonies

Chris Bawtree

South Basingstoke Community Church

I was 59 years of age. Life was slipping by. I wondered what else life might hold for me as the years continued to progress. Was it all downhill from here onwards? Reluctantly I attended Church Bible week in Harrogate, not really expecting to get much from it, when suddenly out of the blue, God dramatically spoke to me through a prophetic word given by the visiting speaker that day. God said to me that it was not over yet! Also, he said that he would take away my reluctance to leadership, and that he would revitalise a ministry calling that he put within me when I was just seven years old. Wow! I was blown away by the suddenness and the unexpectedness of the prophecy. But something was born that day that effected the rest of my life.

I became a church leader and one year after receiving that word, I found myself as part of a team travelling to Brazil to visit Ben Price, a missionary from our church. I had never been into a third world situation before and I was deeply touched by all that I saw around me. I found a freedom to minister in ways that I had not before. Something happened during that trip that I can only describe as God confirming his word to me. I wept as the Holy Spirit touched me and reminded me that he had promised me a year earlier that ‘it was not over yet’. He seemed to say to me, ‘there, I told you I would do that for you, didn’t I?’ Since that first visit I have returned to Brazil seven further times and have ministered in numerous churches and other locations. From the first visit I became known as Vovo Chris, meaning Grandad Chris, a name I will always cherish. I have worked hard at learning Portuguese, which now enables me to converse with the local people in their own language. It’s true that we are never too old to be used by God. I have proved it.

Andy Mackintosh

South Basingstoke Community Church

At the last Phase 3 Steve Thomas continued the stirring in me he had started some months previously when he first gave the "Terah settled and died" message at our Men's Weekend. One of the things he added to the Phase 3 talk was something along the lines of "God has to take some people on a journey (literally) to get them moving”. I was already thinking about a trip to Israel and the West Bank and this was another spur to go ahead and do it.

It’s a longer story than space permits but in November 2006 our son Nathan (22) and I set off for 10 days with a group from the Reconcilation Walk a YWAM ministry that works for reconciliation in various conflict areas.

I guess the impact of a first visit ever trip to Israel and Jerusalem is obvious. We got some exposure to the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But the deepest impression came from the people we met, who daily face enormous pressures and risks, but still work bravely and faithfully for peace, reconciliation and the Gospel against such odds. It was a life-changing experience.

Di and I have sensed for a while that God is bringing a change of direction in our lives. We are not clear on the new direction yet or on whether it means any further involvement in Israel/Palestine. What I do know is that my thinking has changed since that trip. My perspectives on what matters and what doesn't have changed.I have been seriously “unsettled” and given a new focus. Above all there is an increased sense of urgency to be on God's journey, wherever it leads. It was just a first step but has helped galvanise my realisation that Phase 3 is a time to be grabbed now and used for all it’s worth. There is so much to do.

Roger & Collette Buckley

Harvest Church, Alton

We had been in SBCC for over four years and by last summer we were sensing that God was pointing us in a new direction. (Just had our third grandchild, our younger daughter became engaged, visited Nigel in France, and was that part of it?)

The last Phase 3 evening was most significant to us as we were seeking the Lord for ourselves and for direction. Paul Wernham had felt it important that we attended otherwise “we might miss out”, were his words, and when we had talked and prayed about it whilst in Belgium we decided to attend and asked God to confirm it by having places available.

Steve Thomas’ message was significant about not being "stuck" but to seek His vision for the future and walk in it whatever to cost and popularity. We prayed with those on our table and when there were words of knowledge, Roger was one of the people who were prayed for. (His back and shoulder blade pain did not go immediately but it improved steadily over the next days.)

Whilst being prayed for Roger received a few words of affirmation and sensed God's special love. Colette sensed there was a seed planted for a new mandate and as we shared, what seemed to be a call back to Alton, the vision was confirmed. We felt cared for, understood and supported, and enabled to walk in God’s path for us.

We have now moved back to our previous church, now called the Harvest Church. We will stay in touch! God bless you all.

Shelagh Samuels

St Gabriel's Church, Basingstoke

After Jeremiah and I married in 2001, then my daughters marrying and having their own homes, there was an obvious sense that it was time for something new. God did whisper various things into our hearts that we seriously considered, but somehow never acted on. Being married again did seem as though it was quite a big enough new thing!

However, in April 2005, I started to help at an Alpha course being run at St Gabriel's Anglican Church on Popley. This led to leading their next course in September of that year. We felt at this time that God was saying to spend some time in the congregation and be of support to the church and Arthur Botham, the minister, who has a strong desire to move forward in the purposes of God.

Later in 2006, we felt that God was asking us to make a deeper commitment to St Gabriel's and to make it our church base. This was not as easy to accept as it probably should have been; actually it was quite a struggle! It is such a different church environment than we are used to, and Jeremiah kept having flashbacks to his youth in Ireland as a Catholic, which he thought he had left far behind him!

However, God is bigger than all of that, and loves his church and he let us know clearly that he loved these people, this place. He has also called others from more 'free' or charismatic churches to join this little congregation, (50 on a very good day) and his hand can be seen in the changes slowly taking place; a new freedom in worship, an desire to understand more of the ways of Jesus, opening of hearts and the building to those in the community who in turn are blessed and touched by the love of God. The churches on Popley, including the Catholic Church, want to work together more to really be able to shine the light of Jesus in that area, to give people love and hope.

Our group continued meeting, eventually becoming a home group (although we meet in the church foyer!) and we now have 10 members encouraging one another.

We have been blessed with teaching we have previously received, the input from others along the way and life's experiences, good and not so good, and now in some way we are able to use that to bless others. It takes some getting used to having written liturgy and singing along to CDs for churches with no musicians etc, but we sense the presence of the Holy Spirit, and life growing and are glad to be a part of God's wonderful plans. However surprising!

Basingstoke Community Churches

The Sarum Hill Centre Sarum Hill Basingstoke RG21 8SR 01256 316000

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