Jon’s Story

What do you love most about Durham?

I love the sports in Durham. The collegiate system is amazing for trying new sports and getting to know new people. There is an amazing sense of community and love for Durham by the students.

What’s your story?

I never fully engaged in church growing up, even though my Dad was a vicar. My mind was always on football. I then decided to stop going to church for a few years as it clashed with my football matches.

During this time I would call myself a Christian, but in hindsight it was all my parents’ faith and not my own. My teenage years I had many ups and downs. I blamed God for the downs, and rewarded myself for the ups – God was my scapegoat.

I had the outward appearance of a devoted Christian, but my heart was certainly not in the right place – populism, girls, and football constantly on my mind. Then before going to university, I was told that my mum had cancer. This was another thing to blame God for. I wholeheartedly believed that through prayer the cancer would be no-more – I was sure of it! Thousands of people were praying daily and I said to God ‘if mum doesn’t pull through, that is it!’; I can’t believe in a God who would do that to me and my family. Four weeks later, my mum passed away. I was torn apart. Yet I experienced the most amazing peace and love throughout. My faith, instead of regressing, increased exponentially. Promises and truths I had heard in the bible and church time and time again, truths I had recited thousands of time (and never truly meant them), were becoming my cornerstone.

God was becoming my unwavering rock. I have struggled all my life telling my parents I love them, the day before mum died (unknown to us at the time) I was clubbing with my friends and got the clearest message from God to tell her that I loved her….she replied the next day and it was the penultimate thing she ever did. I received so much peace from that moment. Peace I never thought possible. My faith from then has been up and down like everyone’s.