Six Days…. Six Lives …. One Passion
“Making a Stand”
“Are you willing to stand up for something you believe in, even if it means you will face death threats?”
Henry, an all rounder and not just in cricket terms but with an excellent singing voice and artistic skills recounted how as a child one of his first singing performances was as a cow-girl in the show Oklahoma at his all-boys boarding school. His childhood was spent at a boarding school and attending chapel was compulsory so the Gospel message had a gradual impact and showing his early signs of an artistic nature he recalled how “the beauty of creation is so finely balanced and everything is perfect, the beauty of creation just amazed me and it was awe inspiring, these things are not trivial and they didn’t happen by chance”. As a teenager Henry felt at a cross-roads of whether to believe in God or not and what he was learning in science lessons at school “I was looking for meaning and to feel I was valuable, it didn’t help me to answer what I do with my life, didn’t provide any sense of meaning, and certainly didn’t help me to see what happens when I die”.
Henry recalled how he thought about Jesus and how Jesus was born as a baby, did good things all his life and died for our sins. “realising this made me feel valuable to God and because I had this fear as a teenager that I would die young I realised that the purpose of life is to discover God and that when we place our faith in God we have eternal life”. While attending a Christian youth camp at 16 years old, Henry “accepted and received the free gift of salvation”.
Aged 25, a few months before the Cricket World Cup in 2003 Henry was asked and became a Patron of an orphanage in Zimbabwe and it was just before the World Cup that he read this verse from Isaiah “contend for the widows and orphans and rebuke the oppressors”. This immediately spoke to Henry’s heart as it encapsulated the circumstances of the orphanage where they were the ignored sector of society and that something had to be done to make a stand against the dictator President Mugabe. It was during a match at the World Cup that Henry and his team-mate Andy Flower wore black armbands to proclaim that democracy in Zimbabwe was dead.
This “stand” resulted in death threats and Henry knew that if he went back to Zimbabwe after the World Cup that he would be killed. Requiring at least a draw, or a win, in their last group match against Pakistan in order to go through to the next round which would take place in South Africa, Henry prayed the night before the match a simple but heartfelt prayer “God, help me”. Following the start of the match a cyclone moved 500 miles inland and the match was abandoned as a draw. Travelling to South Africa, Henry then needed to get enough cash for his air fare to the UK to take up the offer of a new job and once again, after further prayers a businessman provided the air ticket, “God was taking care of me, He knew my needs and the result was divine intervention”.
Henry has now been in the UK for 9 years is married with one child and another due in August. He has a great passion for his cricket, singing and art but is equally passionate about the need to tell everyone about Jesus and so travels across the country speaking at events such as Passion for Life. As he says “many people don’t feel the need for God as they don’t realise the predicament they’re in, it’s as if there’s a lion around the corner and people need to be told of the danger, it’s my duty to tell people and warn them”.
Many people make a stand for Jesus and in parts of the world they face persecution and the threat of death. It’s not always easy to make a stand for Christ and to tell people about the Gospel message and the gift of eternal salvation. The Passion for Life event is clearly bringing the Gospel message to Street and it’s been wonderful to see that each evening people are turning to God and accepting that free gift of salvation.
Want to find out more? You can hear Henry’s full story on this website.