Jean’s testimony

How Jesus changed my Life


Hello! My name is Jean Halfacre, I am 75 years old and have been a member of the Ingatestone Elim Church ever since I moved to Ingatestone in 1995, but I have been a Christian for far longer than that. Let me tell you about it.

I was born just before the war in the Council Estate in Dagenham. People were poor on the estate, we were poorer than most. It was not a happy home. My father was a violent man with an uncontrollable temper, he was really dangerous when he lost his temper and one rapidly got out of his way. He would beat my mother up and smash some of our few goods against the wall while my brother and I hid behind the chairs. When he was not in a temper he was very jokey and said silly things, it was impossible to have a sensible conversation with him. – I never did.
My mother on the other hand was an emotional wreck , frequently threatening suicide, saying she was going to put her head in the gas oven. Bizarrely she always blamed me, (even when I was a very young girl.) I used to walk to school wondering what I had done. Some 50 yrs later I met up with one of my half sisters and she told me that my mother was threatening suicide before I even existed. Some sort of guilt lifted off me at that point.
But unhappy home or not, all good children go to Sunday School, and my mother sent me to one that had started up in the local health clinic. I liked my teacher there very much and one day she invited her class back to her house for tea (I must have been 8 years old at the time.)
We were shown into what appeared to me to be a veritable palace, full of wonders that I had never seen before – carpet on the stairs, and a wash hand basin in the bathroom – I had never seen one of those before – like everyone on the Estate we washed at the kitchen sink. But the biggest wonder of all was my teacher’s mother who was so gracious and charming and nice that I was convinced for years she was really a duchess. After tea, sitting on a vast yellow sofa I suddenly made up my mind that when I grew up I was going to have a house just like this one and be just like these people, for I realised that all the people at the Sunday School were different to anybody else I knew.
But why were they so different? The only thing was that they kept talking about this Jesus person who they said was the Son of God and who had come down to earth to pay the price for our sins and make a way that we could go to heaven when we died. But I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. Then one day (I must have been about 9 years at the time and it must have been near Christmas,) for someone was reading the Christmas story at Sunday School and that Jesus had been born of a virgin. I knew nothing about sex but I knew what a virgin was. Suddenly it was as though someone had thumped me in the chest and a light had gone on in my head at one and the same time. That meant his birth was a miracle and therefore Jesus really was the Son of God and all the things they had said about him were true. It was all clear now and I very rapidly bowed my head and asked Jesus to ‘forgive my sins and come into my heart’ as salvation was taught then.
That was 66 years ago, I was very badly damaged by my past, but God has healed me, released me, shown me quite a few faults of my own including bitterness, (I was very bitter and I had to repent of it,) empowered me by His Holy Spirit and has kept me through life difficulties including my younger son going missing in the Sahara desert for a week in his gap year and my oldest son having cancer a couple of years ago. To be honest I did wobble a bit especially with my younger son missing (I kept seeing him in a ditch with his throat cut!) But he turned up in the end.
I am totally reliant on God and ask Him for His blessing and help on everything I do, from getting up in the morning, to say, finding me a parking space in the supermarket! I do not know how I would manage without the Lord to keep me and sort me out every day.
I recommend Him to you. Jean.