Ross McIntyre
Feb21

Ross McIntyre

My name is Ross McIntyre,I’m 36 years old and I was born in Livingston,West Lothian and raised on a council estate. I grew up as an only child and had a fantastic childhood and have two very loving parents whom I still have a fantastic relationship with. I went through primary school with no problems at all. I was the cheeky but lovable class joker. I never got out of control though and always had a respect for My teachers and elders. Once I went to high school in 1993,things began to change. By the time I was in 3rd year at High School at the age of 14 I was starting to experiment with alcohol and cannabis. This became a regular occurrence every weekend. It was the alcohol though that I really took to. It was at this point in my life that depression started creeping into my life and feelings of not being good enough. As time passed my schooling suffered as I was playing truant and getting up to no good with my friends. Even at this young age I was a greedy drinker and that would continue with me into adulthood. One beer was too much and twenty wasn’t enough! By the time I was 16 I had left school and started working in a biscuit factory. My week consisted of looking forward to the weekend,getting paid and going out and drinking with my friends. My parents were really starting to get worried and upset at my behaviour and life I was leading and the road my life was going down. I remember my Dad putting the idea of The Royal Air Force into my head as an opportunity to do something with my life. I honestly did not enjoy the life I was leading and the dead end job I was in,so I applied to The Royal Air Force and passed the tests and was accepted. I went in as a Mechanical Transport Driver. I spent 3 years in The Royal Air Force and in the forces at that time there was a big drinking culture. I took to this more than my actual trade. This was the start of my downfall with alcohol. Once I left the forces I became extremely depressed again so I would just drink more at the weekends. This was to be the pattern of my life for the next 6 years. A few months after leaving the forces I met my future wife. She could party just as hard as myself and we got it off straight away. The first six months were just a big party and...

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Rita Ferns
Feb14

Rita Ferns

When mother-of-four, Rita Ferns, had five people close to her die in the space of fourteen months, she understandably spiralled into a deep depression. But the new Christian clung to her faith during that dark time and is now able to look back and see that even in the hardest periods, God was at work. “Four family members committed suicide and I just broke down,” the 55-year-old says. “I didn’t think it was possible to feel that bad and still live. I locked myself away and the only thing I had was my Bible. I didn’t even have the strength to read it but I would cling to it every night. “Every morning I would pray to God to take me, then one morning as I cried out to God I heard the words, ‘I’m going to take you out of the mud and mire and set your feet on the rock.’ “Then Psalm 40 came to me where it says, ‘I waited patiently for the Lord and he heard my cry.’ I knew then that God was with me. “The days started to get better as God poured out his love.” But Rita’s faith was to be put to the ultimate test as tragedy struck again when her son died from a drugs overdose last year. “I just felt myself being lifted up,” she says. “Despite what I was going through, the love of God was there – I felt loved and precious and I knew that Jesus was with me even through that. Now, even though I have the memories, the pain that goes with them isn’t there. Jesus has taken it away and now I can look back on my life and see God at work, even in the dark times. “I used to just cry constantly but now I am totally set free. God is an awesome God.” That’s quite a statement for Rita, who goes to Bathgate Elim in Scotland as her whole life was characterised by abuse and poverty on an unspeakable scale. “I was abused from the age of five,” she says. “My dad had a drink problem and it wasn’t uncommon for him to spend evenings in the cells. There were nine of us and I was the eldest. “My mum struggled to cope so I took on that maternal role.” As Rita got older, things got worse as her father’s drink problem increased and periods of homelessness followed. “When I was eight my mum just ran away and left us in a social worker’s office,” she says. “In those days they had no homes for men and children so even...

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