Holland Road Baptist Church

Neil Avard

CAP Testimony

By Neil Avard

Hello, I’m Neil Avard, one of our CAP Debt Coaches. The following is a testimony from one of our CAP clients who we have journeyed with. We’ve changed her name to provide her with a degree of anonymity:

Hi my name is Ruth.

I was brought up in Buckinghamshire, and in my teens started attending a Baptist church in Bedford where I was baptised aged 15. However, I stopped attending church aged 17, choosing instead to live as a Buddhist.

I moved to Brighton seven years ago, where I worked as an area manager for a large retail company.

Sadly due to long term medical issues I lost my well paid position and started to get into financial difficulties. The downward spiral of debt had massive implications on my mental health, and the more I got into debt the more I couldn’t cope.

Eventually I became very desperate with my financial situation and decided I could no longer juggle my debts, as even the minimal payments became crippling. It dawned on me that I may never be out of debt and I sought professional help.

So I did the modern thing and Googled ‘Money Advice’. I came across an organisation called Step for Change, who gave me some very brief telephone advice and told me to sort the rest out myself, which at that time I felt unable to do.

I then looked a little further and finally had the courage to ring the CAP Freephone number. Little did I know that my life was about to change beyond anything that I could imagine.

On the first home visit of many, I met Neil and his lovely mum, Pat, who set me at ease, talked me through my debts, gave me hope, and eased my fear.

Over the following several months I was really touched by offers of prayer and gifts of food. CAP took the weight and worries off my shoulders. My regular hospital visits to London offset the budget they prepared for me so CAP helped further by sending me supermarket vouchers.

At one of my lowest points in December I had a beautiful Christmas hamper delivered, which was a really wonderful surprise.

Recently I had a birthday, and CAP were the first to send me a birthday card! I couldn’t believe that somebody had taken the effort to find out my birthday. It made feel so loved and valued.

During my time with CAP, and the meetings with Neil and Pat, I began to gain a growing interest in returning to be part of a church family. I found a new desire to surround myself with Christians, so I could experience more about the love of God. I was encouraged to join an Alpha Course at my local church, St Peters, and I started attending the weekly sessions.

From there I started attending Church services, and I was amazed at their passion for serving the poor, hungry, and vulnerable.

On February 11th this year at 10.29 AM I was officially declared ‘Debt Free’. My self-belief, self-esteem and confidence is BACK! My struggle with anxiety has greatly improved, I feel free again, and able now to help others as they have helped me. (Yes I still have my bad days but it’s a reminder I need God’s grace, as I can’t solve my problems alone).

Recently I have joined a Home Group and whilst studying I realized that even I can be of service to God. At Easter I became part of the welcome team, and will soon be helping at the Women’s Haven.

My faith and the support from CAP, Holland Road, and St Peters helped me through the darkness and reminded me that I can live in hope for the future. God is definitely at work through CAP. They leave a lasting impression and reminded me again of the Love of God which we all know is priceless.

I now look forward with hope. This is the beginning of my new life as an active Christian who is debt free and living in Christ.

Thank you for listening.


Topics: CAP
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