My name is Steve Campbell. I grew up in the Harlesedon area of London. My sister told me that as a child after a party at our house my parents couldn’t find me for two days. They eventually found me in a wardrobe. I had been drinking the leftovers in the wine glasses and had passed out in the wardrobe. I was a bit odd as a child and cared about things that other children didn’t seem to care about. The kids thought I was too big to be kind and gentle.
I met my best friend Charles in primary school. I remember his first day. He wore noisy brown loafer shoes that were two sizes too big for him. He had stuffed some old socks into the heel to keep them on. The kids all though he was odd too but I didn’t. He gave his life to Jesus last year. Praise God! When I was about 10 we moved to Wembley near a canal. I would go down there to get old prams and make go-karts with the wheels. I’d take them up to the top of the hill and ride them down and mash up myself. My mother told me not to but everything she told me I did the opposite. I was always rebellious to her. A neighbour took us to Sunday school as kids and one Sunday I was carried up to the altar to give my life to Jesus but I wouldn’t do it because it meant kneeling at the altar and I had holes in the bottom of my shoes from using them to break on my go-kart. It was about that time that my mother went to America for a year to study hairdressing. My dad was a carpenter and had to work which meant that my older sister had to look after our younger sister and me. It was too much for her. When my mother finally returned my aunty and her family came to visit us. One day my cousins and I were playing outside and I told them that we could go down to the canal and throw stones in. So we did. My four-year-old cousin Pauline was with us and as we threw the stones in she fell in. I jumped in to try and save her but I couldn’t swim and panicked as I went down amongst the long grass. I don’t know how I got out but when I did Pauline was still in the water. We asked a man for help but he wouldn’t go into the water. It was 40 minutes before the ambulance came and got her out and although she was still alive she died soon after. The whole family was devastated. The local paper made me out as a hero but I felt like a murderer.
I started drinking soon after at the age of 12. I found a mask, another personality that I could hide behind. People thought I was funny. I tried so hard to fit in. At 14 I met Karen at school and we began to see each other at 16. We were married in 1987 and have 4 beautiful children. But by this time my drinking had become a crutch for my insecurities and deep longings for forgiveness. My love for Karen was contradicted by my manipulation in trying to draw from her what she could not give. Then 10 years ago my aunty died. This was Pauline’s mum. I had loved her as if she had been my own mum. I got even more depressed and my drinking got worse. It was like a medicine to me. I had to have a drink first thing every morning. When my work found out I lost my job. I wasn’t violent at home but I put my family through hell. Through my cousin I was introduced to a pastor named Daniel and gave my life to Jesus in October 2000. They took me to Betel (a Christian rehab) in Birmingham and I stayed 10 weeks and left alcohol-free but I still felt empty inside. The Bible tells us about the house being swept clean and seven demons coming in who were worse than the first lot. This is how it felt with me. I started drinking again but this time in secret, as I now knew it was wrong. I thought baptism would be the answer. I got baptised and it soon became the worse time of my life. I drank heavily and within 2 weeks I was worse than when I went to Betel. I felt that I had grieved the Holy Spirit and thought that He had left me. My wife started divorce proceedings. I was lost, broken, a dirty rag of a man. I felt condemned. (However there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus! Amen!) That’s when I cried out to the Lord who heard my cry and told me to come. He told me to come to Him and by the grace of God my Pastor took me to Teen Challenge London. It was there that one night the Spirit of the Lord came upon me. It was wonderful but I didn’t know what to do so I asked one of the staff, Steve Owen, what I should do if it happened again. He told me if it happened again to ask God what to do. Nothing happened the next night but the next morning we went to church and a lady, Gulalee, came up to me and spoke things that she could not know about my life. She said to praise God and He will tell you what to do. I was very self-conscious but I started praising God and He told me that a gentle child was the type of man He wanted me to be all the time. The Bible came alive and Jesus made Himself known to me, setting me free from my addiction and opening my eyes to the fact that Jesus died to take away my sins and shame, that through Him we can receive forgiveness. Upon completion of the programme I worked for 14 months as a service engineer at Comet. While I was there I learned to trust the Lord and had a feeling that Comet wasn’t where I would stay. Praise God, because 7 months ago I was brought into the ministry of Teen Challenge as a staff member at Wilkerson House. I’m a part of this ministry because I know that it works. Like Lazarus who Jesus called back from the dead, when I came in to Teen Challenge I was bound up in issues but God has used the staff to help untie me and give me a second chance at life which I’m holding onto with both hands. Thank you Jesus.