Featured Life Stories 2

MY STORY : david ross, WEST CORK

When Though I was brought up in a Christian home, the event which got me serious about God and heaven was the untimely death of my dad when I was 8 years old. His short life had been lived for Jesus and I knew he was in heaven. Some months after that, in my search as a child I heard that Jesus died so I could live…eternally. I heard that the thing that separated me from God was my sin, and the realisation dawned that Jesus had actually paid the price for my forgiveness and salvation. So one evening I made the definitive step of actually asking God to forgive me and come to live in my life. He did, and from then on, I knew I was a different kid: I had found a real link with God whose love now was very real to me. That link was Jesus and I knew that He had done all that was necessary to give me a new life.

School was hard but God’s word taught me to believe and be different. When it came to future career, I knew God had something to say about that too and I deliberately asked God to guide me. In the event He did and I found myself leaving West Cork bound for a Bible College in England where I spent three great years digging deep in God’s Word and meeting people from all over the world who lived for God and saw the future in doing His will. After marrying Mary, of similar calling, we settled back to life in West Cork where we got involved in reaching out to people with the Good News of Jesus’ love. This has been the central purpose of my life through good times and ill. 


"The hardest thing I have had to cope with was the death of Mary in 1988 when I was left with three small children..."

The hardest thing I have had to cope with was the death of Mary in 1988 when I was left with three small children. But since then I have got married to Elizabeth and we now have five children… God has been good to me in my life. As well as being the pastor of a Bible-believing church in Bantry, I run a drystock farm and thoroughly enjoy the good world God has made, which I think is at its most beautiful here in West Cork! In conclusion I have no regrets for opening my life to Jesus. He has given me peace forgiveness, purpose, and hope in the midst of trouble….and for a Christian we can always say “The best is yet to be!”



MY STORY : loretia hamer, DUBLIN

I was born in Hong Kong to a Japanese father and Chinese mother. My father abandoned us when I was about two. Consequently my uncle and auntie adopted me, and raised me in their Christian beliefs. I was taught about the bible from an early age and my adopted parents loved me. Materially I had everything, I also had lots of friends, but somehow I just wasn’t happy. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t with my own mum and dad. I grew up being very confused and unhappy. By the time my parents sent me to boarding school in England, I couldn’t wait to get away, thinking that I would be happier away from home. I tried to forget about my home while I was away in school and university. Making many new friends, experiencing a new culture, everything seemed so exciting. I didn’t want to think about home, my family and their beliefs. I made sure my boyfriend (Steve) was not a Christian. I thought I was happy but I was drifting further and further away from my family and from God.

"My father abandoned us when I was about two. Consequently my uncle and auntie adopted me..."

Steve started going to Church so we could have a Church wedding, I thought it was just a temporary thing, but within weeks he was going to Church 3 times a week. After we had been married for about a year, he told me he had become a Christian. He would try to tell me about it, but I’d just say that I knew but I didn’t want it.

As time passed by we moved around a lot and eventually ended up in Bantry. By the time we had been in Ireland three years, I had two ovarian cyst operations and a miscarriage and Steve had four major accidents, but he seemed to be lucky enough to get away with minor injuries every time.

We have made lots of Christian friends since we had been in Ireland; they have given us tremendous support during this period, even though I didn’t want to know their beliefs. One night we were having dinner with a Christian couple, we were just talking about us taking it in turns being in the hospital. And she said to me “How could you still not believe in Jesus? It wasn’t just luck that brought you through the last few years, it was Jesus, and He had been with you every step of the way”. It was as if someone had turned on the light inside my head, and things began to make sense.

Since then God has shown me how much He loves me. How He died for my sin and was willing to forgive and change my life. Through His love, my relationship with my family has improved a great deal. The love between Steve and I means so much more because God is in our lives. The best thing happened, when even though the doctor told us that I could never get pregnant, God being greater than them all, created a lovely baby boy for us. Through him God is showing us a new kind of love. We still have to go through life’s ups and downs, but we know that God is with us always.    



MY STORY : NICK O' CONNELL, CARRIGALINE, CORK

I became a Christian three years ago in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, and I would like to share with you, how the Lord moved in my life and saved me.

I had been someone who was very satisfied that I was living a fairly good life (compared to Hitler, Stalin etc). Now and then the big questions - why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going to? – stirred up a spiritual need which was soon put back in its box, as the questions were too huge and at that time in my life I could not find answers to them. My Catholic upbringing did not come close to giving meaningful answers to the questions mentioned. It gave me a belief in God, which was very basic. The God I believed in was at times good, but mostly cruel i.e. famines, wars, sickness, especially my dad’s chronic illness.

I blamed God for all the evil in the world and couldn’t make the connection with the God the priests went on about. If I had been asked what the Bible was, I would have said the Bible is a very large fictional history book of really over the top stories about people doing unbelievable things: seas parting, killing giants with stones, walking on water. I believed Jesus was a man in history who had the same style and impact as Ghandi or the Dali Lama. At one time I tried to read the Bible but due to the text being in old English I soon decided that it was not for me.

After travelling part of the world and not finding inner peace, I ended up in South Africa, where I met my future wife. It was here that I first met a real Christian. He tried to share the Gospel with me. It seemed to me at the time that he was going on about religion – a word in my mind associated with wars, Northern Ireland and corruption – so I didn’t pay much attention. However I was envious that he could believe in something so strongly that he was giving up his good job to go into full-time ministry. That stuck in my mind.

Shortly after we returned to Ireland, Karen, my wife was reading a book on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Barbara Thiering. By a controversial dating process and translation, the book explained Jesus and his miracles away. It was at this point that we saw a lecture advertised in Clonmel on the Dead Sea Scrolls. We decided to investigate. It was interesting hearing someone talking, who knew a fair bit about the scrolls, and kept our interest with some fascinating illustrations. As his argument developed we realised he believed that, far from making nonsense of Christianity, in several ways the Scrolls supported the Bible’s testimony. Once we began to ask questions, it was clear that the speaker believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and the Bible was in a special sense God’s message to us today.

We spoke to him afterwards, and he introduced us to the local organisers. We chatted with John Mullaney, one of the elders of Clonmel Evangelical Church, who invited us to attend some of their meetings.

Karen was more quickly convinced than I was, although my interest had been sparked. Over the followings months we attended the church on Sundays and in the week, and through the sermons and Bible studies began to understand more about the Christian message. We came to a growing realisation of who God was and what he had done for us through Jesus. I was also helped personally by reading the gospel of John and a book written about it in a straightforward way.


After travelling part of the world and not finding inner peace, I ended up in South Africa, where I met my future wife..."

Six months later my job took me back to Cork. The pastor of Clonmel Evangelical Church, Matthew Brennan, whose teaching had been a great help, referred us to Carrigaline Baptist Church. Soon after moving there we both did a short course with Pastor Philip Brown, called Christianity Explained. Over six nights the basic truths of Christianity as laid out in the Bible was explained. It was now clearer than ever what Jesus had done for me – that he had taken my place on the cross at Calvary, to bear my sins, and make things right between God and me.

That changed my life completely. It made sense of the things going on in the world. It made Jesus real to me. I now began to talk things over with Him in prayer and to turn to Him for all my needs, as well as thanking Him for all He had done for me. I now have the assurance that beyond death I will go to be with Christ. Being a Christian has made us both less materialistic, and less selfish, and has improved our marriage. The Bible has given us guidance too as parents.



MY STORY : GRETTA O' DONNELL, GALWAY

It was in the seventies in Galway I was a young married woman with a baby. I had dreams and plans for the future and I hung them all on my husband and child, what a burden that is for anyone. 


"Well of course my dreams and plans didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I was still working on them...

Well of course my dreams and plans didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I was still working on them, when into my life came some people who I heard called themselves Christians, now I was sure I was a Christian but they spoke about Jesus in a way I never did, I was embarrassed by this, I didn’t know Jesus in that personal way, I discovered that what I had was a religion not a living relationship with God.

I was hoping that all my religious duties would get me into heaven. I was given a bible and encouraged to read it for myself. The Way of Salvation became clear to me. Over the months, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to verses like “It is by grace you are saved by faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast” I saw that I need the Lord Jesus to save me, that I couldn’t save myself by my own good work. I saw also that He had died to pay the full penalty for all my wrong doing and that through Him I could be completely forgiven and enter into a new life.

So now I know for sure that I’m a Christian in the real sense, not because of anything I’ve done, but what Jesus did on the cross for me, and me trusting in that once for all sacrifice.

What a promise, salvation is a free gift, we can’t earn it, so today don’t put your trust for salvation or happiness in anyone else, put your trust in Jesus. He is the only way to salvation.

Well back to my dreams and plans, it’s been a bumpy ride over the years, but I wouldn’t change my life now, what God has done for me has far exceeded my dreams. I have peace knowing that all the wrongs and sins I committed in my life are all covered over by Jesus’ shed blood and one day I will be with Him in glory.
This promise of eternal life is for everyone, all you have to do is put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today.
Gretta Ó Donnell