22 August 2001, Gullfoss, Iceland, at a time when the name Eyjafjallajökull meant nothing to most people and the volcano itself was still a glacier, I became a Christian.
I first went to church when studying for my A levels. Having met a new friend in my Physics class who was a Christian Union member, she persuaded me to join the youth group at her church for the social aspect rather than the religious angle! At 20 I was confirmed, as I felt I wanted to belong to a church community, and receive communion. I became a member of my local church, All Saints, Sanderstead, albeit not always a regular attendee. At that point I never really understood what it meant to be a Christian, to be born of the Spirit and to make that personal decision to give my life to Jesus.
In 2001 my husband and I were lucky enough to go on an Oak Hall trip to Iceland, a Christian holiday. People were all encouraged to give their testimonies but at the time I was dismissive of this. During the two weeks I was there my life changed. Through listening to others and talking to them about their faith journeys, I realised that I had to make that conscious decision to give my life to Christ.
Three things I remember clearly from that week. Wherever we went there were rainbows, to me a reminder of the promise that God’s word is true. It felt that God was telling me through these rainbows of his covenant, not the rainbows of the Old Covenant but of the New Covenant, of the body and blood of Jesus. On a very special day out to the Westerman Islands, I met a Christian, Charlie, who amongst other things took us out on a boat and played on a trumpet, with beautiful simplicity, Amazing Grace. And it was that week in Gullfoss that the words, “I once was lost but now I am found” really came to mean something to me and it was there that I gave my life to Christ.
The final thing about that week has led me to where I am today. It was while I was in Iceland that I really felt that God was calling me to work with Deaf people. I was listening to a sermon and watching the interpreter translating from Icelandic to English, thinking I could never do that. It was at the point that I felt God was talking to me telling me that I could do it, from English to sign language. That it would lead me to where I am today, running the Deaf Service in Westminster Diocese, I had no idea.