Our Stories... New life!
We are often asked how Aid Africa began, and why, despite the traumas, disappointments, and difficulties, it continues. We’ve asked Lynda to tell her story ....
“My life was ordinary. I grew up in an ordinary family, went to an ordinary school with average results. I followed the secretarial route into London, pushing all the boundaries and thoroughly enjoyed my new-found freedom. Life on the surface was carefree and glitzy, vibrant with all the trappings of wealth and indulgence, laced with vague promises of happiness, and success.
But underneath I gradually became bruised, empty, and drifting. Life became a chore. I was getting through with alcohol and anti-depressants. I didn’t trust anyone, became manipulative, disconnected, and emotionally fragile.
Then I was invited to a Christian Meeting. “No way!” I thought, but shocked myself by agreeing to go. Though initially cynical and wary, I realised I was being offered a new start. I’d made a sordid mess of my life - but I knew I’d give everything for a second chance, impossible though it seemed. But if God was real and big enough to change my life, He was welcome to it!
Several things became vividly clear, I needed to:
1. Recognise that I needed help ...
2. Ask God’s forgiveness for all my damaging attitudes and actions, and choose to turn from them.
3. I didn’t understand, but was willing to accept that Jesus paid the price for my freedom on the cross, so I asked Him to come into my life – as Lord. And He did!
That night, 19th November 1977, changed my life forever. No-one was more surprised than me. I felt clean. My anger, bitter disappointment and hardened disillusionment started to melt, and gradually I became to know God’s love and power in my life.
I met my husband David and our family grew along with our relationship with God. We still had our share of the problems we all face, but learnt God’s care during each challenge.
Then, early in 1990, just as our youngest child started school, I found a lump in my breast, and there followed the difficult path through cancer. It was tough, but we were carried by God’s grace through the surgery, radio- and chemotherapy, and all the physical, practical, and emotional challenges associated with it.
All was well until several years later, when I had pain in my shoulders and started to lose the use of my hands. Bone cancer was diagnosed and the prognosis bleak, but a pioneering operation was performed, repairing my spine with bone from my hip, secured with bolts & screws. Amazing in those days! And God was with us every step of the way...
We each have the choice how we respond to problems – my earnest desire was to stay close to Him during this time – I never needed to ask “why me?” because I became fully convinced that He was in complete control and loved me—and our family—to bits!
With time on my hands as I recovered, I became proficient in trompe l’oeil stencilling – a highly developed interior design decorative technique and was invited to travel annually to America to teach the art.
During one of these trips I also went to TACF – a Church in Toronto, Canada, where thousands of people gathered, hungry to worship God and experience His “Father Heart”. At this Church I first heard about the amazing work of Heidi and Rolland Baker, caring for street children in Mozambique and was captivated by their passion for the poor.
Dave & I visited their base several times in Maputo, then hearing about the severe hunger in Malawi where people were eating grass and tree bark, we offered to help another charity, spending 4 months there in 2005. Profoundly impacted by the people and the poverty, we unexpectedly set up our own organisation, hooked by the chronic needs of the communities we now serve”.
I was born into a normal family in Birmingham just as WWII was finishing. When a new church building was built at the end of the road, we started to go there. My father found a new job in Surrey when I was fifteen, so we all trooped down there over the Easter and ended up in a small village, with a correspondingly small church. A couple of years later I decided that “church” wasn’t for me and left.
I followed the path of most teenagers going my own way, not ending up anywhere, except in frustration and boredom. After many failed relationships I eventually got married and hopefully settled down to a “normal” life.
However, after a short time I realised that yet again the relationship wasn’t working so began to look for a way out. Not long after, my wife was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer, so I put aside my escape to care for her as best as I could.
My wife’s friend gave her a flyer advertising a meeting with a preacher who had a renowned ministry for healing, so we went along. I was reluctant, but as the only one who could drive there was no other option. I don’t remember much about the service other than the majority of the people there appeared happy to be in a church building on a Friday night!
At the end, the preacher called forward those who wanted healing, so my wife asked if I would walk her to the front. Reluctantly I agreed, thinking I could deposit her there and get back to my seat. However, it didn’t work out that way. Once there, my feet wouldn’t move, and when asked if I had come for prayer, much to my surprise, I replied “yes”. I was prayed for by the speaker, collapsed in a heap, and ended up sobbing my heart out.
That night changed my life forever as I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and asked for His forgiveness for the selfish, sinful life I had been living. We even went back the following Saturday night AND the two services on the Sunday, I couldn’t get enough!
My wife eventually died in her early 30s from the cancer which had spread extensively throughout her body, and I was by myself yet again. But I was not alone, Jesus became a very close friend and companion over that time.
Eventually, I met Lynda through the church fellowship, we married more than 40 years ago, and as they say..... the rest is history!