Brighton Songs of Praise


Brighton

Stuart Townend leads the hymns at Brighton's Church of Christ the King, while Aled Jones meets a mum with a high-flying career and a seaside artist inspired by the heavens.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Songs Of Praise.

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Today, I've come to a place where people come to escape

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and where dreams can come true.

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Get the picture? I'm in Brighton.

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I don't look like that.

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Coming up, the artist's studio that guarantees you a brush with faith.

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And the high-flyer who changed course following a chance encounter.

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Plus music from Brighton-based artists Stuart Townend,

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Lou Fellingham and Phatfish.

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In the late 1700s, the Prince of Wales, later King George IV,

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made Brighton his second home, and what a home!

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He transformed a simple farmhouse into a magnificent royal palace,

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housing works of art and fine furniture.

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And so, in the 1800s,

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Brighton came to be known as a fashionable and stylish holiday resort.

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And it's just as popular today.

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It's known for its historic seafront, its pier

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and this lovely beach,

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which offers a little bit of heaven on a summer's day.

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Now, if you don't mind...

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For the more energetic and adventurous,

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there are plenty of ways to let off steam and get a bird's-eye view.

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HE SCREAMS

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Our music comes from Church of Christ The King,

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the home church of modern hymn-writer and worship leader Stuart Townend.

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And we begin with one of his new songs,

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written with Keith and Kristyn Getty.

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It's Come, People Of The Risen King.

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Brighton's seafront inspires many artists to pick up a paintbrush.

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Among them, Daniel Laurence,

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who works from his studio on the prom.

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It's a great location to work.

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We've got the beach here, the sky, the clouds.

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At one point, I moved away. I moved further inland.

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And I really missed the sea.

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I went to university in Sheffield

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and, within two weeks, transferred back to Brighton,

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because I'd missed the sea so much.

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My paintings - they're mainly ocean-orientated.

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So underwater scenes, lots of shoaling fish.

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All my work is about creation.

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My faith completely inspires my work.

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Is this whole thing a vocation?

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It is a vocation, it's my hobby.

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It's, sort of, many things rolled into one.

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It is my job, so a lot of the time I take it for granted.

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I have to sort of remind myself that, you know, I'm doing something I love.

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Also, to me, an opportunity where I can spread the good news.

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That's why I like to sort of try and dot the Scriptures around.

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I have Scriptures on the back of my business cards,

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I have them on the fish tank.

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So it always makes reference to God's goodness,

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the way he's guided me throughout my life,

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and I try to sort of pass that on through my work.

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It's almost like a mini church on the beachfront.

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I do pray that this would be, you know,

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this is the Lord's house, you know, that he blessed me with this.

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So people always wander in here,

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and I really feel that this is God's place

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and I want to share it with everyone.

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You have parents reading the verse from Genesis,

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"God said, 'Let the waters teem with living creatures.' "

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You have parents reading that out to their children.

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"The Lord is my rock." Psalm 18. You know, people would be looking at the clocks

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and, all of a sudden, spot that Scripture.

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I want my work to appeal but, at the same time,

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most definitely, it's to glorify God

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and to try and capture a bit of his creation in the pictures.

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Laura Westley spends her time guiding people safely to land,

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but she's always had her head in the clouds.

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As long as I can remember, I've wanted to fly.

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It's just always been magical, something different.

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I just remember being totally amazed

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by these things that stayed up on the sky

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and didn't come back down again.

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When it came to choosing a career,

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there was only one direction for Laura - that's up.

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It was just a dream come true -

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it was just a fulfilment of 15 years of real dedication to get it done.

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I think I actually sold my flat

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to pay for my commercial flying lessons.

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And that was just, I really just felt there was a calling there.

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That was it. That was...

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I was just never... I was never going to go.

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Once qualified, Laura didn't become a commercial pilot.

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She began work with the charity Mission Aviation Fellowship.

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Its motto is "flying for life".

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We fly into the most remote, inaccessible parts of the world.

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And we take in whatever needs taking in and take out whatever needs taking out.

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It could be evangelists, could be day-old chicks, it could be Bibles,

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it can be medical personnel.

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And we work in some of the most remote and inhospitable parts of the world.

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It's just an organisation that reaches the unreachable.

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It was founded by Christians

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and we have a very strong Christian ethos behind it -

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we believe that we can share God's love in a practical way.

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We get to express our faith in not evangelical terms, we don't preach.

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We think that we just show God's love

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through the things that we... People that we take.

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And when I fly, I realise every bum on a seat behind me

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is an answer to someone's prayer on the ground.

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I remember one time we went to a refugee camp

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and a lady came over and her child was really, really ill with malaria.

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And I'm not a doctor,

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I don't carry antimalarials or anything to cure malaria with.

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And all we could do for her was pray

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and I have to confess I felt really impotent, in a way.

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We, as Christians, we believe that we can pray to God

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and he'll answer our prayers.

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And... But, in reality, we often take our kids to the doctor

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as soon as they get a temperature.

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Whereas this woman, her faith was all she had

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and that really struck me

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and these people live their faith day in, day out.

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That's really incredible to witness.

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Well, in a moment, we'll discover how Laura's experiences in Africa

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had more of an impact on her life than she ever expected.

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# Life's not always as it seems

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# A different route from A to B

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# As the plant, it may come tumbling down

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# When you're questioning the why

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# And it's hard to see the light

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# And you're praying for the wind to change

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# And though the pain is strong

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# And it's hard to carry on

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# I know that this is true

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# My God cares for you

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# All hope has disappeared

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# And you're running out of tears

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# I can tell you he is here

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# My God cares for you

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# Oh, yes, he cares for you

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# Oh, oh

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# When no answers can be found

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# As the waves come crashing round

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# And you find you're driven to your knees

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# When you're overwhelmed with fear

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# And it feels like it's been years

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# You've been asking God, "Please rescue me"

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# And though the pain is strong

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# And it's hard to carry on

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# I know that this is true

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# My God cares for you

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# All hope has disappeared

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# And you're running out of tears

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# I can tell you he is here

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# My God cares for you

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# Oh, yes, he cares for you

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# But don't you know

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# That his arms are strong enough to carry you

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# Lift you up

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# In the safety of his love

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# Just hold on

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# He will come

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# The Lord, our God, will comfort you

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# Give you strength enough to see you through the storm

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# And though the pain is strong

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# And it's hard to carry on

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# I know that this is true

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# My God cares for you

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# All hope has disappeared

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# And you're running out of tears

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# I can tell you he is here

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# My God cares for you

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# Oh, yes, he cares for you

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# Oh, oh-oh-oh. #

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Laura isn't the only pilot in the family. Her husband Mike also flies.

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We joined MAF as a couple

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and we were known as the BOGOF couple - the buy one, get one free.

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We spent the first 12 months in Uganda, both flying.

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It was pretty awesome.

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If there's one thing that stands out for me about working with MAF

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it's the two wonderful kids that Mike and I have been blessed with.

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We'd never thought about adopting before.

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We'd made the decision that I wasn't going to have...

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We weren't going to have any children

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cos of the work that we were doing.

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It was just...God's hand, I guess.

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Mike was flying in Tanzania and I was at a church in Kampala.

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And the pastor asked me if I would take the youth group

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down to the Sanyu Babies Home.

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There were around 40 children

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and the lady spoke to me and said,

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"Would you consider adopting?" and I said, "No."

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And she said, "You go and pray about it."

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I spoke with Mike when he came back from Tanzania

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and we just knew it was right,

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we just knew it was what God had for us.

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And we went back to Sanyu

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and...we didn't feel we could choose a child.

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We just asked the lady in charge, a devout Christian lady called Mama Joyce,

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and said, "You know the kids, you've loved them,

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"you've cared for them since they came,

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"and you know what they need,

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"so we'll just pray with you

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"and just trust God to find, you know, the right match."

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It's been a journey.

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It's been an adventure.

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They're amazing.

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It's just opened my eyes to parenthood

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in a totally different perspective.

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I suppose being a parent does that, I guess.

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Sometimes, you trip up on something that looks like a rock

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and open up the rock and there's this crystal inside,

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and there were these two little crystals that were just there.

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I don't know - it was this feeling of overwhelming love for them.

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It was just an incredible feeling to know

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that God was going to give us these two beautiful kids.

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Bob Hutchins has been tuning pianos for the past 40 years.

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He's partially sighted.

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When I left school, I didn't really know what to do with my life.

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And a piano tuner had recently been to the school and I said,

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"What's this job like?"

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I think he was having a bad day, he said, "Oh, it's all right."

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I didn't know what else to do, so I got offered a college place

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to learn to tune pianos and it's been the best thing I ever did.

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I try to get the best I can out of each instrument,

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but I'm there for the customer

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and I always look to be of comfort and help to them as individuals,

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as well as just doing the work.

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Being partially sighted doesn't seem to have stopped you that much.

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The only thing that I can't do is drive.

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I've even flown a plane.

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-It was a 50th birthday present from my wife.

-A-ha.

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-There was a pilot in the plane as well.

-Right.

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But I actually held the controls for a little while,

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so I've done pretty well everything that I would have wanted to in life.

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Do you pray that God may heal you one day?

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We've prayed that many times.

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It would be lovely to see really well.

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My wife and I are regularly praying

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on the streets of Brighton & Hove

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for people that are sick and expecting God to heal them,

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because Jesus asked us to go out, preach the Gospel,

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lay hands on the sick and pray for them.

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The fact that I haven't been healed as of yet

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doesn't stop me going out and sharing God's love.

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There's absolutely no hardness in my heart towards God.

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I'm really glad I've had the life that I've had.

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I wouldn't have changed it for anything.

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Well, in a moment, Stuart Townend and his band

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will lead the congregation in our final piece of music.

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It's a new take on a much-loved hymn.

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And now, thanks to Laura, Daniel and Bob

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for sharing their stories about the decisions

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that have shaped their lives and made them who they are today.

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Loving God, we thank you for giving us talents and skills

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and the fulfilment that working can bring.

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For the ability to bring help to others,

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whether they live close by or far away,

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whether they are neighbours or strangers.

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Thank you for inspiring us with the immense beauty of your creation.

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May we use our gifts in your service.

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Amen.

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Next week, Russell Watson will be in his native city of Salford.

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He'll be meeting people along its 30 miles of waterways.

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And there'll be hymns from St Peter's Church, in Swinton.

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Subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Stuart Townend leads the singing at Brighton's Church of Christ the King, while Aled Jones meets a mum with a high-flying career and a seaside artist finding inspiration in the heavens.


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