Lee Bain’s story about how her making the change from being an atheist to a Christian.
How did it all start?
Towards the end of the summer term of 2004, I had two children over five who were at school and two under five at home and I was looking for something inexpensive for them to do in the long six-week school holiday. I found a leaflet in one of my eldest two children’s book bags about Springfield’s holiday club at St Elphege’s school. It sat on the side for ages — I thought it’s not my thing as I had never done anything ”churchy”. But it was cheap and only two and a half hours long, so I asked around outside the school gate and found one other mother who was going to send her children to it. I decided to send my two eldest children, Ellis and Marnie, and thought if they didn’t like it I’d pull the plug.
At the end of the first session, Ellis and Marnie came out all buzzed up — they’d loved it and couldn’t wait to go back. Every day they took pictures and jokes to put into a box (“Lyn’s Bin”). As the week went on, my second
youngest, Tierney, seeing all the fun they were having, got more and more upset that she was too young to go too (she was four) and so she drew a picture to put into the box.
“Are you coming on Sunday?” he asked me. I thought, “Oh no, I will have to go”
When we arrived for the next session, I asked a man at the door if Tierney could put her picture into the box. He said yes and took it off her, but by the time we were leaving Tierney was sobbing. A man in an orange t-shirt on the gate stopped us and asked why Tierney was crying. He promised that if Tierney’s name was on her picture and he could find it, he would hold it up at church on Sunday. “Are you coming on Sunday?” he asked me. I thought, “Oh no, I will have to go”. True to his word, the man, who turned out to be Will Cookson, called Tierney out during the service and she stood at the front holding up her picture.
Why did you go back?
I was nagged by my children. One time in the car, Ellis turned to me and said, “Some children get to do that every Sunday”. I decided it was no different to taking them to a playgroup and so we started going along to Springfield. I remember asking Will if it would be okay for me to be there and making it clear that I was not a Christian and had no intention of becoming aChristian
I was just using the children’s work. I sat in silence during the services. I just did not think God was real. Ithought talking about God was like two adults discussing a cartoon character — He wascompletely imaginary, like Mickey Mouse.
I thought talking about God waslike two adults discussing a cartoon character
I expected someone to tap me on the shoulder and say, “You should not be here—you are in the wrong place”. It never happened. But there were things about going to church that I found very difficult and alien. For example,I was outraged when people offered to take my children to the toilet or out to the children’s work. I thought you wouldn’t do that in Tesco’s with strangers’ children.
What happened to make you change your mind about God?
I was at a Springfield service in September, a year or two after I’d started taking the children. Jackie Mole was praying in tongues behind me and then Sue Vernon gave a prophecy at the front. Suddenly the light went on and I realised God was there. The experience frightened the living daylights out of me and for around six weeks I ran away from God. I knew if I became a Christian my life would change totally. Finally, I remember standing in the garden making the decision to do so. I phoned Sue Cook and told her that I wanted to be a Christian. She wrote out a card for me with the words of a prayer and cameround and prayed with me. That was just the start of my adventure with God