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My blessing from God

© Mike Mann 2006

I am 56 years old and I live in a small village/town on the shores of Strangford Lough called Killyleagh about 20 miles south of Belfast and 6 miles north of Downpatrick. I am married to Myrtle who is now disabled as I am( partial vision).

When I was working, I worked as a Medical Technical Officer. I trained in the Royal Air Force and seen service in the UK, Oman (during the Dofar war) and the Indian Ocean(on a very small island called Gan in the Maldives]. I spent 15 yrs in the RAF and still miss some of the chaps.

About one year after leaving the RAF my first marriage failed and I returned to Ireland to work and met and fell in love with a wonderful girl called Myrtle whom I married. I worked in a hospital in east Belfast (in the middle of a war zone) the work was hard and many of the staff had very different views on life than I had, but I seen so much kindness a real love from some of the staff. It did get a bit hairy some of the time and I witnessed so much hurt and suffering due to man's inhumanity to his fellow man. So yes; you have guessed it, I started to drink a little at first and then before I knew it the Demon had taken over my life.

At this time I was A NOMINAL CHRISTIAN . Thought that is all that you had to be. (Big Mistake.) So I got help with the drinking and realised I had to get God in my life. So I went round every type of church that I could find and believe me there are many in Northern Ireland. I then went to London to earn the big money doing private medicine in the like of: Harley Street, Guys, St. Thomas, you name it I worked it. I also went the rounds of many church's some very nice and many very historic. but things on the spiritual front still had not worked out.

Every few weeks I would fly home to my Myrtle for a few days or a week. So to pass the time in London I took up Irish Studies. Now may I explain, when I went to school in Northern Ireland I went to a protestant grammar school, we were taught that we where British not Irish, so Irish subjects were not taught and most things Irish were looked down on. But they also taught us to read; so I found out for myself with help from my Grandmother a wonderful Christian lady.

London with its museums and book shops rekindled a passion that I had for Irish Studies. Before I knew it I was on fire for early christian Ireland and the life of the saints, I read everything I could get my hands on. Went to lectures, plagued everyone who knew anything about the subject. Then demon time again; back on the drink. So back home to Ireland and Myrtle this time for good.

Now we get to the spiritual bit. I made a big effort to dry out this time for me and no one else. By the fifth day I was in such pain (ask anyone who has been there what it is like). I then realised that I could not do this on my own and so in total desperation cried out to God in prayer and then what I can only describe as a miracle happened. A voice in my head said BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. and then the terrible pain went in seconds. Within a week I was back to normal; but not quite! I had started on a wondrous road with Christ. I told Myrtle and she gave me that little smile that she has and said "I know". That was four years ago this Christmas past, and not a drink since.

So that's how I came to know Christ as friend and saviour. What has the power of the Holy Spirit done for me? Well here we go; Life has been very good to me and Myrtle happiness soars like an eagle on the wing for us. I have met many other Christians who have found Christ the same way as I did. Some have had their roots in the Catholic faith some in the Protestant faith and some in no faith at all. I have learnt not to judge other people, not to have a preconceived ideology about problems but to use the power that the Holy Spirit gives to us freely, I have learnt to love and look on others who may have very different views with respect and compassion ( not that easy for us Celts). So I give to God every day what I call my Quite Time that is when I pray meditate, contemplate, and just have have a old fashioned chin-wag with God. As for the Saints of old; I now teach about them and for Irish history I just teach the facts and let people make up their own minds and many do change their own points of view. So I am losing my sight. The poor-me syndrome has now long passed, and do you know, I now see this world much better now than when I had full vision, and that's a blessing from God.

So; folk's that's how one drunk Irishman came to walk with Christ. And may God shine his light on you all.

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