Our workers share their own encounters with Jesus and how he called them to share the gospel with others.
Jeff Potter, Team Leader in Dagenham tells us his story.
I grew up in a small village in Epping Forest called High Beach and being around such natural beauty had a profound effect on me. Though my family wasn’t Christian, I went to a Church of England school where we said a prayer first thing in the morning and last thing before home time in the evening.
on the scrapheap
When I left school in the mid-seventies, I couldn’t get a job and was unemployed for over a year, managing to earn pocket money by working in the local pub, paid “under the counter”, but with no prospects of a career. The monotony of life eventually led me to believe I was on the scrapheap and I believed I would be unemployed for the rest of my life. I had a picture in my mind of a cart wheel stuck in a rut, rocking back and forward and unable to escape.
Eventually I became clinically depressed (though I didn’t get an official diagnosis until reflecting back on this time with a psychologist some years later.) I picked up the only Bible in the house, a King James version and began at the beginning. Reading God’s word had a profound effect on me – it was like a spiritual tranquiliser. I kept reading and started to pray for a job, a car, and a girlfriend… In 10 days, I got a job as an electrician, a car and a girlfriend!
Reaching across 2000 years
Some months later, when I’d gotten as far as the gospels, I read John 17:20,
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.
I had a picture of Jesus talking to the disciples in front of him, their description of that experience on the page in front of my eyes. I felt that Jesus’ arm reached across 2000 years to tap me on the shoulder and say
Yes Jeff, I’m here for you.
I got on my knees and said:
I know you’re there but I want you here in my heart.
I didn’t meet any Christians for the next few years. But in 1981, when I wanted to get married, my fiancée Karen and I had to attend church for 6 months. After the first few weeks I went to the vicar and said:
I believe all of this - I’ve been reading the Bible for the last 6 years! What do I do next?
turned down from 'Christian' work
I joined the Army but after serving for 7 years, I felt the call to go into full time Christian work. My Army chaplain paid for half my theology college fees, the rest we raised by working through the holidays and selling our brand new car! But when I applied to be a Christian worker after my two-year theology course, I was turned down!
So I found an engineering job fixing washing machines and underground trains for a living in Stratford. Little did I know that a little while later I’d be visiting the homes and stations of the same people whose washing machines and trains I’d fixed, this time as a London City Missionary!
With London City Mission for 26 years, Jeff now leads the growing team in Dagenham made up of 13 staff plus volunteers. They have recently seen a number of their regular contacts make professions of faith and consistently welcome 40-50 people to the weekly community lunch and Bible study. Thank the Lord for a life saved now busy bringing so many others to know Jesus.