Marion and I have been married for 43 years. We came from West London to Spalding having been invited to take over the Church as Pastor in January 1996.
Previously, until 2011 I worked for both the Church and Social Services. I managed Day Centres for people with Learning Disabilities for 28 years. I am now employed by the Church. Marion continues to work for The Lighthouse Project as a Senior Manager. We have two children, Joanne and David who is married to Louise and we have three gorgeous treasures called grandchildren . Joanne is part of the worship band, David is employed by the Church as Youth and Children’s Pastor.
I was born in India in 1953 and my family moved to England in December 1956 when I was 3 years old. I remember it being very cold for the first few years we lived in England; I was not used to that. We lived in Swindon, Wiltshire and my father worked as a labourer in a bakery working nights.
After two years we moved to Southall, Middlesex and after we had been there only four months both my mother and father were diagnosed with tuberculosis and both required admission to a sanatorium (as they were called in those days). Due to this, my brother and I were taken into care by Social Services and were moved to a children’s home in Hurn Bay, Kent.. This was not a good experience for us as we had no access to our parents for a whole year. Due to issues within the care home we were moved after the first year to foster parents in Teddington, Middlesex. Living with this family was a much better experience and very enjoyable and I did not want to leave them when eventually my parents came out of hospital.
Leaving the foster family was a wrench but further problems developed as when I returned home to my parents I had forgotten the Punjabi language and could now only speak English. These were very trying times for my mother and myself and I often found her crying because she had such difficulty communicating with me. I thank God that I soon picked up my native language again and the problems resolved.
As a boy, and then a young man I was brought up to believe in an impersonal God. Someone who was there, but who had little interest in us as individuals. I was taught that if you were good and tried hard in this life then you would do better in the next life. I enjoyed science and at this time believed there was life on other planets and aliens that observed us. I soon lost interest in this when I discovered there was little evidence to support the theory. Evolution was part of my thinking as this was taught in school as fact, so it must be true! However, when I looked at creation and our world I found it harder and harder to believe that this was just some accident, that I was just some accident and a ‘big bang’ pulled all this into being.
My first real contact with Christianity was through an English man called Paul. He invited me to a Sunday School; this had been opened as a branch from the Hounslow Pentecostal Church. This man, Paul showed genuine concern and love for us, and really seemed to care about me. He came to my house, he ate with my family, he demonstrated no discrimination towards us, and I saw something in him that was attractive and sensed it was real. I had not seen this before in our Sikh religion and it stirred interest in me.
There was a group of 12 Asian lads that I was part of and Paul invited us all to go to this Sunday School. We thought we would go for a laugh and my parents agreed, not understanding the implications, but thinking it may help with our English, and after all the bonus was it would keep me out of their hair on Sunday afternoons.
This was the start of my journey, where God Himself would meet me and become a reality in my life. Through the love and kindness of Paul and the other workers in the Sunday School we found out about a Saviour who loved us so much that He gave His life for us, a Saviour and friend who was interested in me.
We were taken by mini-bus to the Hounslow Church for the Sunday Evening Services and one night I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ (6th June 1966).
I was filled with the Holy Spirit two years later which then turned my world around, and from that time all I wanted to do was serve the Lord in any way I could.
I started to teach in Sunday School. This had a fantastic effect on my life because I started to learn the Word myself. I then became involved in the Children’s and Youth works and also managed the ‘bus ministry’ for about 16 years, driving, maintaining and cleaning the minibus. Paul had taken me to Church on Sunday evenings as part of the ‘bus ministry’ where I met the Lord and now it was my turn to serve others, sometimes going out two or three times a night and then taking them home again at the end of the service. I loved serving God in this way, and found myself talking to those I brought in, encouraging them in their faith.
God called Marion and I to The Lighthouse to serve, myself as Pastor and Marion to work in her gifting. This calling was confirmed in so many ways to us (but that is a whole story in itself) and God has proved His faithfulness to us over and over again. We now enter our 21st year here and believe that God has done great things and there are wonderful things ahead of us as a Church. The future is under His direction and we know that nothing is impossible with God.
Let me encourage you to work with us in harmony, as builders of the Kingdom, building something of worth, investing in eternity. Do not lay up treasure for yourself which moth and rust can corrupt, but lay up treasure in the Kingdom of God, by investing time and effort into the eternal things of God.
May God bless you all richly as you learn to walk and serve God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, never once taking your eyes off the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Redeemer, Healer and Coming King.
By Pastor Chas Sandhu