Our worker Tom Newby shares his testimony.
I grew up in a privileged, rural English setting. But life at home was chaotic, broken and unstable. As a teenager, I struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem. Though I grew up going to church, none of my questions were answered there.
By God’s grace, a new youth group started in my home town, where I started building friendships with other teenagers and meeting regularly with the youth minister, who lovingly answered my questions. It was through these meetings that I found out about Jesus’ love and his better plan for me. I gave my life to Christ.
At times I still struggle with anxiety and depression, but God has done a great work in me. Jesus often leads me to people who’ve faced similar experiences to mine: broken relationships, negative church or religious backgrounds, or depression. I love to share the very real experience of my salvation, the light Christ brought into the darkness. Recently, a young Bengali man told me of his struggle with depression. Hearing of the journey Jesus has taken me on, his heart was softened to listen to the gospel.
With London City Mission, I now reach out to many who’ve lost hope or feel Jesus is irrelevant. I’m still learning how to adapt it – simplifying it, dramatising it or being more authentic with my struggles – but I believe sharing my story helps make Jesus more of a reality to others. Sometimes, they seem to miss the point – the youth group of unchurched boys I talked to recently spent most of the time looking at their phones! But as I show the impact he’s had on my life, I pray it challenges people to think, ‘Could it be true? Could he do the same for me?’.
This article first appeared in Changing London.