Volunteering at International Aid Trust changed my life. – Alan Briggs.
When I first heard about I.A.T. I was coming to the end of the custodial part of a life sentence, having to date served 13.5 years, the prison officers were very sceptical of me getting a placement at I.A.T because of my health problems, as the job involved loading and unloading lorries. I went for an interview and was very surprised to get the job, not unloading or loading lorries but booking everything into and out of the warehouse, which surprised me because of the tremendous amount of trust that was afforded me from the outset. This I found strange, as a serving lifer my first foray into the outside world to be given a job with so much responsibility was to say the least nerve-racking. Even though I say so myself I did the job diligently and fitted in straight away. I was not the guy from Kirkham Prison, I was a member of the team, I got to know all the regular volunteers, and regular donators, and made some very good friends, whom to this day remain so. I did this job for about 18months, then I became the driver, picking up donations from around our shops, peoples houses, Trading Standards even companies, I was driving all over the country, I loved it as driving is one of my favourite things to do. I worked for I.A.T for about two and a half years up until my release
As everybody knows I.A.T. is a Christian charity, well I was a confirmed atheist did not believe in the existence of God because of my past experience of child abuse both physical and sexual had left many scares. I carried all the bitterness and anger with me all my life. As I have already said I made many friends at the Trust, and they never grew tired of telling me about the saving grace of Jesus, this sometimes annoyed me, my reply was I respect your choice to believe, please respect my choice not to believe. Well those of you that know the calibre of Christians that are connected with the trust found it hard not to witness, especially Ed, Bernard, Alison, Dorothy, Les,, Denise, Maria, and many many others, special mention must go to Les and Dorothy, and the whole Huddleston family both of these families welcomed me into their homes, how special is that.
I had been working for the Trust about 6months when I was invited to go on an Alpha course that Alison and Maria were to hold in the office during the working day, to be honest it was with reluctance that I agreed to attend it, it was mainly because of the friendships that I had made whilst working there that I went along. Well to cut a long story short, I came away from the course a changed man. A confirmed atheist had become a fully committed Christian, isn’t God good? I continued to grow in my faith over the next 2 years with the help and nurture of my new family, yes family because that is what you join when you become a Christian, my new family taught me well. They are good bible believing people which is what I am now. I.A.T. gave me a new life, first they gave me trust, responsibility, acceptance and most importantly to me at that time friendship, now I know that the most important thing they gave me was an introduction to Jesus Christ for which I will never forget.
I have been out of prison now for a year and continue to grow in my faith, I am very involved in a small church plant we are growing slowly . I am a strong believer that if God is the base God will honour that. I am now helping to run Alpha courses myself, I will be leading a bible study shortly when the present leader leaves to get married, I am also involved in a prison ministry, our local prison is Pentonville here in London I have been in to visit someone that has made a commitment to Jesus, he is in fact due out soon. I will meet him at the gate of the prison, it is my prayer that his commitment is deep and that his life will be transformed, nothing I have done, the glory goes to our Lord and Saviour Jesus. I will mentor him and try to be a true friend to him, and be there for him, I am not doing this on my own we are involved as a church and believe that God is leading us down this road. I for one feel that this is where my main calling is. God will tell me if I’m wrong.
I am constantly in touch with my family in Preston they will always be special to me, my life is so full at the present time, working for God, I am happy and in the best place that I have ever been, I never envisaged that life could be so good.
International Aid Trust not only help people that are in need abroad, they help people here in this country as well, I bear testimony to that fact, without their help and support I know that I would be living a very different life now. What started for me as a voluntary job to help me back into society has become a life changing encounter with God, becoming a useful member of society in place of the outcast that I was. Only God can take away pain and bitterness and replace it with His Holy Spirit, I now love where once I hated, it doesn’t get any better than that does it?
TO GOD BE THE GLORY, HALLELUJAH.