Challenging Years

Fields Of Life. Ch. 3.

Challenging Years:

I’d lived in Wales for a very short time when one day there came a knock at my door.

Who’s there? I asked myself, knowing I wouldn’t get an answer until I swung the door open.

Did I have a premonition that it was someone who might effect my life drastically?

I don’t think so.

But I was eager this particular day to see the person who awaited outside the closed door.

I swung the door open, and, much to my surprise, I was looking in the face of a young woman that I’d met some time before in Chelmsley Wood.

I remembered her pastor was Bill Hopley.

I was considering these facts, as I smiled at this beautiful young woman, whose name I remembered as Judith.

I was introduced to Judith’s friend who accompanied her.

I could tell by her tone that these two had just dropped by for a casual visit.

Yes, it started out between us to be merely a casual visit from Judith, but over the next few weeks, our visits became less and less casual.

Our relationship grew into more than a random visit here and there.

We were falling in love!

Indeed,love, in spite of the fact that Judith lived more than a hundred miles away, and public transportation was terribly expensive.

It was easier for her to visit me in Wales, as she had a car.

My inability to drive created a hardship for me.

“But where there’s a will, there’s a way,” so goes the cliche!

This time in our lives was before mobile and email communication, so we were often limited to lengthy land-line telephone conversations, which made the miles between a little more bearable.

It goes without saying that at this point, Judith and I had fallen in love, and our feelings were exquisitely meaningful.

What would we do?

Something had to be done about the distance that was keeping us apart.

So, finally Judith moved to Wales!

A giant step for us, but we were not prepared to wait too long.

Yep, you guessed it!!

We became husband and wife, and on my birthday!

I was 24 years old!

This day was everything we’d hoped for.

Our life together began with excitement, vision, dreams, and hearts full of love for each other.

So went the next several months for us that were typical of most couples in looking toward a bright future.

We experienced hopes and all emotions that are common to everyone who embraces dreams of a lifetime together.

In retrospect, I had begun preliminary work on pioneering New Life Christian Fellowship in Blaenavon.

The pioneer work was supported to some degree by Home Missions, a department within the Assemblies of God in the United Kingdom.

Anyway, with help from Home Missions and Stan Hyde, we held a crusade in the town’s leisure centre.

Although the crusade had a low turn-out, it was amazing how God moved!

Approximately 30 people accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal saviour.

What a praise!

It was then that we witnessed the beginning of the mission of New life.

It wasn’t long before we saw an overwhelming growth through the Supergang ministry, where we received 125 children through our doors.

My pioneer ministry was interwoven with full time secular work.

I was just promoted from activities organizer to centre manager of a Step-in Centre, working for Torfaen Mind – The National Mental Health Charity.

We provided advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

With Judith now working in House of Fraser, Britain’s leading retail of designer brands, you can only imagine how busy we were.

1987 would be a year that we would never forget!

As we were married, and I was promoted on the same day, which seemed to be a betoken of the wonderful dawning of our life together.

After honeymooning in Devon and later, on the Isle of Wight, the months passed, and we were blessed for a while.


Then we found it necessary to visit the doctor because of my wife’s health problems.

This, as anyone can imagine, was a very trying time for us.

Her physical condition was dire.

We were devastated with the shocking news that was explained to us in no uncertain terms.

Judith had very serious health problems.

She was diagnosed as having an abnormal artery – a tumour growing from the hypothalamus in her brain, leading to the pituitary gland.

Brain Tumour.

Brain surgery was necessary and imminent!

By October, my wife had undergone surgery, and twenty-five percent of her pituitary gland was surgically removed.

Meanwhile, I, too, was having health problems.

I was receiving treatment for diabetes, which was now causing problems in the back of my eyes.

Type 1 Diabetes.

Laser treatment had been used, but it was proving to be unsuccessful.

So, in November, just as Judith was being discharged from the University Hospital of Wales , I was admitted to St. Woolos Hospital for surgery.

Sadly, ten days after my operation, we discovered the operation on both eyes had been unsuccessful.

Consequently, I had suffered a retinal detachment in both eyes, caused by diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy.

On Christmas Eve, 1987, Merry Christmas, Everyone, though not so merry for me!

This was the day I was sent home to spend my first Christmas in the dark.

I was totally blind.


Illness for both Judith and me, accompanied by our stress of unemployment, necessitated an extended need for recovery.

Times were uncomfortably tight though, as we didn’t have a bean!

But, did I ask, God, where are you?

No, not then anyway.

If nothing else, this merely meant extending my faith to newer heights, especially when New Life ministry, for obvious reasons, had to be relinquished to someone else to pastoring.

We lived by faith in the environment provided on a daily basis.

The next year or two brought with it hopes for Judith and me, although life was very different from the way we had dreamed it would be on our wedding day.

But even as we remained optimistic, little did we imagine what awaited us still.

Judith’s brain operation, although seemingly successful, would bring complications since it would adversely effect our plans for a family.

Discovering that I also had a border-line low sperm count didn’t help matters either!

Low Sperm Count.

Still, one very important piece of good news was that my low sperm count did not mean that pregnancy would never take place.

In fact, artificial insemination increased our chances of us having children, and was something we, as a Christian married couple prayerfully considered.

However, although fertility was proven possible, as time passed for us, we eventually came to fully understand the consequences of my wife’s pituitary operation.

And it had a devastating impact on our lives.

This was no easy journey.

So, what next?

We listened as the doctors explained that Judith might never be able to carry a child beyond four or five months.

But not until after five miscarriages were we convinced a full-term baby was not possible for us.


Yet, the Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope.

Psalm 34:18

Contemporary English Version.

Bible Gateway.

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