Clive Addison

CliveAddison  The best news of my life Clive Addison, right, a former Chief Officer in Local Government and an international expert in horticulture, shares his uplifting story.

   I was surprised, even shocked, during a discussion group at the home of my neighbor, Peter, when a senior Local Government official shared his story – and mentioned that he had a heartfelt personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

   The speaker, Don Latham, said he ‘involved Jesus in every business decision.’ But what on earth did he mean?  I’d never met anyone who included God in his professional career!

   As I recall my childhood at Lymington, on the South Coast, I’d found church services incredibly boring.  On Sundays, our family also went sailing in the Solent and I much preferred that.

   When I grew up and left home, I stopped attending church. Yet the strange story of the man in the same profession as me, and who heard from God, made me curious. So I’ll share more later about the impact of that in a moment.

   I’ll mention here that I qualified in horticulture and met my wife, Heather, at college. We had two children, Lorna and Duncan. My family attended the local village church, but on Sundays, I often found other things to do around the house and garden, instead!

   I was also ambitious in my work and studied hard for further qualifications – I wanted to be a Chief Officer in Local Government. I began with park management in Swindon.  Later, I became deputy parks manager for the city of Bath.  Finally, after 15 years as a Director in a number of other Local Authorities, I took early retirement and became a worker with the Royal Horticultural  Society as a judge for the ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition, where villages, towns and cities compete for the best environmental and landscape practices. 

   For six years I represented the UK as a judge in the European competition called ‘Entente Florale’ – and became chairman of their international jury as we traveled to 12 countries. It seemed to me that I’d come a long way from early days as an assistant gardener to reaching the top of my profession. Today, looking back, I vividly recall that day I first heard Don Latham tell us how he daily sought God’s guidance in making important decisions.  It set me thinking - and with some curiosity, I accepted an invitation to attend a dinner evening of a Christian businessmen’s fellowship at a local hotel.

   The speaker was a professional marketing executive, who also involved Jesus in everything he did!  At the end of his talk, he invited non-Christian visitors to receive Jesus into their lives – to receive ‘new life.’ The Bible calls this being ‘born again’ spiritually, and in that way, we also receive eternal life, he said.

   Now I realized I definitely didn’t know this Jesus. I made no response to his appeal, perhaps through pride. Yet I was aware that this series of ‘God-encounters’ was no accident. I remembered that discussion group, when someone said, “If anyone wants to get serious with God, they should read John’s Gospel in the Bible.”

   So, back home, I found a Bible which opened at that very spot. As my eyes flew across the pages of John’s Gospel, the words at the top of the page stood out:  ‘Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, those who hear my message and believe in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death to life.” (John 5:24).

Clive Addison from FGB UK on Vimeo.

   I was amazed as I re-read those words – I felt God was speaking directly to my heart. The next verse promised: “I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the [spiritually] dead will hear my voice - the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live.”

   Deep down, I knew I was spiritually ‘dead’, but if I ‘heard His voice’ and accepted Christ as my Savior, then this would be life-changing.  I couldn’t resist this God-given invitation and confessed my long time indifference to God’s love. Then I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. A simple step, but it has truly proven to be a life-changing decision.

   Now, years later, that precious moment is still fresh in my mind. My new life as a believer in Jesus has been so much better than anything I could have dreamt. It was the best news ever – even my professional career ‘took off’ in a miraculous way.  For example, I didn’t have the right qualifications but I was accepted for a Master’s of Science for a university course. Within two years, at the age of only 36, I gained my first position as a Chief Officer of a large multi-disciplined department in Local Government.

   I found fellowship with other believers and was involved in exciting challenges – I’ve always loved foreign travel. So in my new joy as a Christian, I was involved in smuggling Bibles into ‘closed’ countries. We saw miraculous answers to prayer as we trusted the Holy Spirit to guide us. 

   Life can, of course, be tough for all of us, but Jesus promises never, ever to leave us. This is true, even in devastating times.  Heather and I were heartbroken when our 16-year-old son, Duncan, who was once so wonderfully full of life, became seriously ill with leukemia.  He died aged 19.

   We faced agonizing questions – why hadn’t God healed Duncan? Yet in our confusion, we knew many people were praying for our family, and we were strengthened by the Holy Spirit who is also called ‘the Comforter’. 

   We know that death is not the end of the story – and Duncan is in Heaven right now, because the Bible promises us that ‘nothing can ever separate us from God’s love . . . neither death nor life . . . no power in the sky above or in the earth below will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8).  Despite our tears, there was joy ahead:  six months later, our daughter, Lorna, now married to Stephen, told us they were expecting their first baby - and our first grandson arrived safely. Today, Heather and I have five healthy and active grandsons, pictured above. The family lives and works in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and we regularly visit them. 

   We don’t know what the future holds, but God will see us through. There’s a little verse that says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed are those who take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 34:8).

   That has been our experience – why don’t you make it yours?   

Clive's Hearing His Voice Testimony

Click on PDF and set the printer to print both sides in color using landscape and fold.