I gave my life to Jesus during lockdown, and even now I’m still struck by the calming presence that I encountered when I returned home on that day I was told: “Pick up your Bible and read it.”

Since the Brexit vote in 2016 I’ve been back and forth between London and Dublin for my work – I’m a commercial lawyer. I spent next to no time at the apartment I bought in Penarth, despite immediately falling in love with Wales when there with a client one day in spring. I was considering selling it, actually, so decided to stay there during lockdown in order to arrive at a decision, rather than at the houseshare in Dublin where I was at the time it was announced in March.

As I opened the door and walked into the apartment, I heard a quiet voice: Pick up your Bible and read it.” When I think back to that moment, I remember the atmosphere – it was peaceful, beautiful, calming. I’m convinced that I couldn’t have told myself to do that. That’s just not something I’d say! I’m constantly at work, always reading, going through reports, drafting reports. I’m always in the written word, so to enjoy my downtime, I want to do something different – walk or listen to music.

I chose to follow the voice, to trust it, and pick up this Bible my mum bought me years ago. It’s always just sat there, along with other stuff in the apartment. I wasn’t even half-way through Genesis and the stuff I was reading, I kid you not, was coming off the pages at me. I was picturing myself there. I noticed a common denominator across Old Testament stories, that the people of God were plugged into a source that’s so incredible, so powerful. This source parted the Red Sea!


I had questions – many questions – so I jumped onto Google and typed in church online Cardiff”, as Cardiff is my nearest city. I did this having struggled with the concept of church and Christianity. I’m African by birth, born in South Africa in the 1970s, at the height of the apartheid, to an interracial couple. Being mixed-race in a place with a system of legislation that upheld segregationist policies against non white citizens shaped my identity – words cannot begin to express the experience.

Where was the church? It seemed the church was silent in my time. As a young person I couldn’t see how the church could reconcile itself with something like apartheid. And what about unfair treatment of women? Or witches’ being burned at the stake by Christian churches? I was turned off church. It didn’t help that Dad never took us to church, and his father didn’t take him. For many years I was far removed from church, only hearing about Christianity from people in my circle who weren’t even Christians.

Anyway, I hit enter and City Church Cardiff comes online. Someone else was clearly in the driver’s seat because I started to attend the 11am Sunday service online and joined an Alpha course. My questions were answered in a way that I could relate to. I met people who were exploring – our life experiences were similar, or different, but we were in the same place. I’m now a committed Christian.

My new-found faith is a whole new experience, one like no other. A standard week in my life, which was work, work, work and then party, party, party, has completely changed. It was like a rollercoaster ride when I first believed. If I were asked what the church can do to support new believers like me, I’d say, offer loving reassurance, recognise the different upbringings that people have had, and provide solid support mechanisms for after the altar call.

"When I think back to that moment, I remember the atmosphere – it was peaceful, beautiful, calming."