Once a year, the UCB team (staff and volunteers) gather together to celebrate all that God has done and share some of our thoughts and hopes for the future.
Our Staff Away Day was last Thursday, and what a wonderful day we had. We had a great time of worship together, led by our friends from CfAN, followed by a great word from the Chairman of our Board, Alan Scotland, who heads up Global Horizons. We themed the event ‘The Power of a Story’ to coincide with a new book we have published for UCB’s 30th anniversary. The book tells the stories of 30 people whose lives have been changed by the power of God’s Word.
Two of the people in the book, Sid O’Neill and Margaret McGuckin, came to join us (as a surprise for the staff) at the Away Day. We shared their stories on video and then invited them to talk in more detail about how God has impacted their lives.
When I was 12 years old, I went to live with my grandmother. The house we lived in had a lot of strange spiritual activity and, as a child, I used to see and hear spirits. That was my only experience of anything ‘spiritual’. Years later, I was working in a print factory and one of the bosses, Neil, was a Christian. I think I made his life a misery as I used to tease him and try to embarrass him. I’d never met a Christian before – I thought it was really amusing. I wondered why he always read his Bible rather than the newspaper like the rest of us.
Although I knew there was a spiritual world (because of my childhood experiences), the only thing I now did religiously was go to the pub on a Friday night. One night, a group of us were heading off for some drinks when we were involved in a terrible car accident – one of my friends in the car was killed. I was seriously injured and spent a long time in hospital with broken legs and a broken back. I had a lot of time to think, and I blamed God for what He had done to me and to my friends. When I got better, I took off to a new job in the Middle East. I made a real mess of things there, started drinking and ended up breaking my contract in order to get back to the UK. When I returned, Neil, the supervisor from my old factory, was now running his own busy printing firm, and he was printing this little booklet called the UCB Word for Today.
He offered my wife a job, and one day when I went to pick her up, the printing press was broken. Neil was distraught and at the point of tears as he couldn’t find anyone to fix it, and the UCB Word for Today needed to be urgently printed. I don’t know how, but I looked at the machine, and I was able to fix it… and the printing continued. Even though I wasn’t a believer, I believe that God helped me to fix that machine.
Somehow, I knew that I needed to be there, working for Neil. It meant a 50% pay cut, but I was drawn back there, and I used to read the UCB Word for Today as it came off the presses. One night, Neil gave me a CD with a man singing a song from Psalm 23, and as I sat there, alone in the factory, I raised my hands and I was crying. I knew that God was speaking to me, and I knew that if I asked for forgiveness, God would set me free and He would heal me of all my pain. That was the day I stopped running from God, and since then, I have not looked back. Today, I am working with the Christian Motorcyclist Association. I can’t say how thankful I am to God for all that He’s done in my life. He’s fixed my hurt and pain, He’s stopped me from running, and He’s given me hope. In my life, God has worked through so many different means: through Neil, through the bikers, through the Word For Today, and through everyone who prayed for me.
Today, Sid works with the Christian Motorcyclists Association, and he brought some of his biker friends from CMA, who also shared how God was working in their lives.
Hearing stories like these blesses me so much. I know that it is not because of anything UCB has done but because of God at work in people’s lives. Sometimes, God allows UCB to be part of that journey. And we are so thankful!
This week is a very busy one for our team as we launch our National Appeal on UCB 1 and UCB 2. It will be three days of inspiring radio, and we will share many more testimonies of God working in people’s lives.
I hope you will be able to listen in.
P.S. If you are able to support the work of UCB this week, it is very easy to get in touch. You can click here to donate or call us on 01782 911 911.