Life Testimony by Darren Hilldrow, England (World Mission Report)

Come to Jesus and live a new life!

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”(Mk 2:5)

I was born in England in 1976 to a devout Christian Family. My parents opened their home as a house Church and my father preached in our local town. However, when my younger brother was born my father decided to focus on supporting the family financially and stopped preaching. As a teenager, boredom set in. I began stealing alcohol from our parent’s dinks cabinet. At 14 I started smoking pot which soon escalated to LSD and Speed. One night I had a bad trip and almost committed suicide. Yet I had no control over my desires. I became gripped by hedonism. To me life was boring, it had no meaning or value. When I went to university I found I was freer to do whatever I wanted. I was wasted almost every night getting drunk and high. Because of the drugs, at the end of my first year I weighed only 54 Kg. I fell into depression. I would burst into tears at the smallest of things.

When I left university I knew I needed to get away from this life and figured that the furthest I could go was Australia. Within a month I was in Melbourne.  “A new life!” I thought. Yet, I had not escaped the most destructive element: myself. I soon met another English guy who showed me where to buy drugs. I was in a different country but nothing had changed. I was like a dog that returns to its vomit. I was deeply suffering, but had no power to change. I began a relationship with an Australian girl. We started to look forward to a future together. I applied for residency. I put all my hope into this new future. But after 18 months she told me that she did not want to be with me and left me that same day. I had nothing to live for. I got drunk and smashed up my caravan. When I sobered up I sat down looked out to the ocean.  Then I had the thought to pray. I got to my knees and cried out to God.  As I prayed I felt a reassuring voice telling me that everything was ok. My misery and anguish left me in a moment. God filled me with peace. However, when I returned to England I soon met up with old friends. Old temptations came flooding back. One day I picked up a Bible and opened it at the parable of the sower. I saw that I was like rocky soil. I had received God with joy but fell away quickly because I had no root in the word. I realized that I needed to know more about the Bible.

I moved to London and began sharing a flat with James Wood. One day he introduced me to Stanley Kaier. He asked me if I would like to study the Bible 1:1.

He expected me to say “No” but was shocked when I said “Great! When will we start." We started with Marks gospel. As we studied Mark 2 Jesus spoke to me. Jesus said to the paralytic “Son, your sins are forgiven.” In those words I found the love and forgiveness of God. For 24 years I had been sinning against God, completely ignorant of him. I deserved to be permanently cut off, and yet, he was calling me “son.” I was his child. I repented and God gave me the power to change my life. I stopped drinking, drug taking and sleeping around. I became like Levi who threw a great banquet for all of his friends. I started telling everyone: you should study the Bible. I began studying the Bible with Abraham Kaier and attending the UBF Worship Service.

I moved into communal life with Paul and Joanna Ridge and attended Daily Bread meetings. I found that through committing to God and his mission I became free - free from the temptations of the world and free to serve Jesus. In December 2003 I met my beautiful wife Hannah Hilldrow. On our first date Moses Yoon took us to one of the most romantic places in Korea, The War Museum! 5 months later we were married. God has blessed our family abundantly.

We have two beautiful children, Abigail and Augustine. Number three is on the way.

One of my greatest struggles has been to serve Bible students and raise disciples. Over the years I have served many people. But one by one they have fallen away or attacked me. After many disappointments I lost heart and courage. However at one Easter conference I gave the message on the crucifixion, Mt 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I saw Jesus who was beaten, spat on and rejected, then finally hung up to die. I accepted that if I am to know this Jesus and have deep fellowship with him then I have to follow him to the cross. God gave me the courage and heart to serve students again. I am now serving one man, a law graduate. He loves the word of God and greatly values the Bible study. I pray that I may love him and serve him with all my heart. When I think about my past life one thing is clear.

I was a slave to sin but Jesus forgave me and gave me new life. People are lost in sin. People suffer from sin. Yet they cannot make themselves free from the power of sin.

Only Jesus can. Only Jesus has the power to forgive our sin. Jesus is the only hope for this generation. The UK has a great history of missionaries and evangelists, yet it has now become a largely secular society. In many places in Europe people are hostile to the gospel.  In the UK only 7% of the country are practicing Christians

Churches are being converted into apartments and nightclubs. Yet God has hope for our nation and our continent. Through UBF God is bringing the gospel back to Europe. I pray that God may use me as part of realizing that hope. I want to praise my great and faithful God who bore with me out of darkness of sin. I praise Jesus that he is raising me into a shepherd for those who are lost and helpless in sin.

I pray that God may use me for the work of raising 10’000 Bible teachers in the UK.

One word: Come to Jesus and receive his forgiveness