Strudwick → Smith. Pat recalls God’s hand on her life

August 2, 2017

in Important & Interesting!, Uncategorized

I was about 13 when I first came to Rehoboth. Pastor Scott was pastor then and there was a good
congregation. But let’s go back to the beginning.

I was born in Lewes, my dad being a professional grocer there, and we lived in a flat above the shop.
After a while we moved to Horsham, and eventually to Claygate in Surrey, where dad became pastor
of the Baptist chapel in the village. We stayed there right through the war until peace was declared
in May 1945, and we had a wonderful street party to celebrate. The Lord had really watched over us and kept us
safe. The school was badly bombed, so our lessons were held either in the air raid shelter or the church hall. We
had ceilings down and windows broken, but no one was hurt.

During this time I had 4 years of piano lessons with a very good teacher, strict but fair. But then, on moving to secondary school, I found another teacher nearer home. I loved music and singing—still do! My good teaching has stood me well over all the years!
After leaving Claygate, we shared a house with some dear friends from the Dorking church. We went to school in Brockham, near to where my grandson and wife, Richard & April now live. Then we moved back to Horsham to the grocer’s shop that was on the corner of Devonshire Road, where dad was now the manager. I went to Oxford Road Secondary school. The headmistress, Miss Wilson, took our R.E. classes. We were asked to learn Psalms 8, 23 & 121 off by heart as well as some selected verses from the Epistles. I think I managed to do that!

Then dad became the pastor at Dorking Chapel and while there, I decided to go on a Fellowship of Youth holiday to Seaford. What a difference – all these young people just full of the joy of the Lord! So, I went again the following year, this time to Saltburn, North Yorkshire, and found it so wonderful. But I still hadn’t made a proper commitment to the Lord.

I was working at the British Railways Audit Office by Dorking Station and met Derrick. After a while we became engaged and married in September 1957. We lived with Derrick’s parents for a while, then moved to 30 Cambridge Road in February 1960, where we stayed!
Derrick and I went to Dorking chapel on Sunday evenings and I went along to Rehoboth in the mornings. In the early 70s we had a new pastor at Rehoboth, Frank Mortimer. He was different, a ministry I could understand. (I often had found it difficult with some of the preachers in years past as to what they were getting at!). Frank would always have a children’s talk and we learned new choruses and I listened more than I had done before.
One Sunday he preached from the verse ‘Unto you, therefore, which believe, He is precious’. 1 Peter 2:7 KJV.

I thought, that is exactly how I feel, but I’m sitting in this pew and doing nothing in the church. (No coffee rota in those days!) But the Lord had his hand in this as well. Not long afterwards, Steve Piggott’s father, ‘Mr Sam’ as we called him, who was Church Secretary, was taken ill and went to be with the Lord. In due course, Steve took over as Secretary and I had opportunity at times to play the organ for the services. So there was something I could do.
Derrick and I had continued to go to Dorking Chapel on Sunday evenings for a long time, until we had Andrew and Wendy. Eventually I went to see Pastor Frank at Rehoboth about baptism & church membership. I was baptised in January 1973; Derrick and Andrew in October 1978 and Wendy in January 1979. Praise the Lord! How faithful is our Lord in everything that happens to us. Two lines from one of my favourite hymns sum everything up:

‘What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer’ - and that means Everything.

Pat

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