Sister Stories - Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sister Stories

This podcast encourages us to reflect on how the Lord has grown and moulded us into becoming more like Christ.

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S2 - 9. Venna

In this episode, I am interviewing Venna, who is a trustee in a charity. She has been a member of Cornerstone Church for several years and is part of the kids’ ministry. Listen in to hear about her journey to faith in Christ and her experience dealing with long-term illness.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the sister stories podcast.

This podcast's aim is to marvel a god's sovereignty over each of our lives as women and to encourage 1 another by sharing our stories.

My name is Sophie, and today I am joined by Vena.


Hello, Vena.

First of all, can you tell us about who you are? I'm Werner.

I'm I'm a local girl.

I live in Teddington.

I've always lived locally I'm single.

Never wanted to get married.

I don't do a paid job, but I'm a trustee for a local disabled charity.


Thank you.

So we're going to be talking about, your faith in Christ and how and your journey with him, throughout your life.

But first of all, can you tell us a bit about your family background? Say, I was born with Spine Bifida.

So I was born up in north, north of England and got us down to or hospital for major surgery.

My breast, mother, couldn't look after me for for loads of reasons, really.

So I was pretty under the care of a water state, which meant I had to be looked after medically, and they did an operation, the consultant didn't think I'd live, and I did.

And then I was fostered from 10 months and when I left hospital and adopted, 2 years old.


By the same family? Or By the same family.

I had 1 major foster family, and they end up being my adopted family, but I had 2 or 3 others as well.



And so, did you have any siblings in their family with other other children? Yeah.

So my mom had, a a birth child.

She's 10 years older than me.


Called you.


And lots of foster kids because they carried off fostering up until I was 16.



Obviously, you were quite young, so you were adopted almost from birth, really.

How how was that to grow up within that family? Whether things, how was it for you, really? Sorry.

It was interest thing.

It's a cross what we call cross culture adopted.

They were white parents, so that I used to quite enjoy times when people have seen my parents, and they look at me and I used to be quite I used to want it quite amusing.

But my parents didn't.

They wanted to make sure that people understood.

I I loved it, really.

The house is full of children, turning up in the morning, turning up at night, leaving us, coming back, see.

It's quite it wasn't as it was it was a nice chartered, a very loving chartered.



Was it, so you said you enjoyed that and the children coming in and and out of the house, civilians, and meeting, I assume that you met a lot of different kids really throughout your childhood.

How how did that feel with knowing that you were adopted, but then seeing so many kids coming through at the same time.

And Yeah.

It was strange that they picked me.

I think that was that was the main point that I remember from my childhood thinking that he's foster children becoming a guy And some would have long term stay.

We would have us staying with us for about 6 months.

We would get to know them, but they picked me and and never really understood why, but it was very special.

That's good.


So can you tell us a little bit about how you grew up and and how you came to hear about the gospel because, you said that sorry.

I I didn't ask really, but I knew that your family was not, was not Christian, were they? No.

My dad doesn't believe in anything.

My mom is a spiritualist, believes in mediums and spiritual planes and and things like that.

So they weren't, but there was they are of the age and of the time that there was a Bible in the house 10 commandments were known songs like the old Rugged Cross were played on a record, vinyl record, but Wow.

But actually, not really any want for me to learn any Christian culture at all.


So how did you come to hear about the gospel then? I always I lived directly across the church.

That was quite interesting.

And when I was about 8, I asked to be christened, but I think it was more I wanted a special ceremony.

I've seen other people get christened.

I had a friend at school for Margaret, She is a Christian and her family were, and I just I can't really explain it, but it it was different I liked it.

I liked seeing the model of a Christian family.

I was talking about it, but really appealed.

And that's really what made me think about Christianity.

I went to a youth group, with but nothing much happened for the 1st 2 or 3 years of knowing my friend, but I was just always really intrigued without That's interesting.

And so what what's happened next? How did you come to actually read the Bible or come to church or things like that? I nagged my parents for over a year.

As we all do.


So let me go to church.

And first of all, he sort of said, no.



And then they were getting really quite annoyed because I wouldn't stop.

I wanna go church.

I wanna go church.

And in the end, they said, okay, just go.

So, go, I so I did, and I went to church when I was 12.

I know background in church.

I went with my own I went with my family that I knew.


Each week.

And that was my first taste.

I started going last 12 and hasn't haven't really looked back.


And So I assume that by going to church, that's where you heard the gospel and and later on committed your life to Christ.

Can you tell us when that happened if there's a specific time, or if you feel more there was a longer process? It was a longer process.

I was in quite, pre church for England, which did, confirmation.

I got I got to the age of 15, I was going to church with my mom, especially church in the evening, and a Christian church in the morning.

And when I was 15, I managed to get a Bible, My own Bible I could read, ready from beginning to end, and thought at that point, I'm not going to switch a church anymore.

I committed to Christianity Christian Church, and I got confirmed with my friends.

So I've been I think at that point, I believed in a Christian faith, I understood about god understood about Jesus and what I mean, Jesus had done for us, but it just wasn't personal.

And then when I was chain 1618, I had a lot of issues going on.

I lost a friend of suicide, very close friend.

And then 3 or 4 months later, I lost 4 friends in a car crash.

And my mom was and my sister was having a mental health breakdown at the same time, so it's quite a hard time.

But I think through all that time.

I was quite angry with god or annoyed or just couldn't really cope with the world, but through that, I think in that 18, I finally came to a belief.

It was became personal to me.

I remember series of events, everyone seemed to be saying this faith is for you, only you.

And that's all I heard all the weekend.

And, yeah, and I just at that point, yes, I do believe, and that was we called Pentecost weekend when I was 18.

So nearly 30 years ago, Wow.

That's amazing.

I wonder whether all these things that happened with your friends passing away, whether that I mean, some people might see it as something that would draw you away from god.

But for you, maybe drew you to him, actually.

Would you say that's the case, or maybe it wasn't as related in your Yes.

It did it did draw me to him.

I mean, there was times when I was very annoyed with god, and I remember sickly Thomas throwing my bible across him in in in anger, really, But there was a conversation.

There was a relationship there sometimes, but then on another side, there was, like, Bible versus where my room reminding me that this is only temporary.

So you know, for our lighter momentary trouble is achieving for us, and eternal glory of art weighs him all.

So he fixed our eyes on what he's unseen, not unseen, what is unseen, a eternal, and I now had that in my bedroom.

So there was this kind of tussle between and the reality, but I hadn't given my life to Christ.

I had to give him my all at that point, and it was a personal god.

It wasn't something that just happened in in Teddington in this little chat.

I've gone I've seen things like the crossing the switch blades in films like that.


So I thought, yep.

Any particular weekend? That's it.

And I didn't look back.


That's amazing.

So that was in Teddington, which is not very far from the from here, really.

How did you arrive in Cornerstone eventually? I was at my last church about 25 years.

It was just really time to go to another church.

I ended up at Cornerstone, really, because someone that I taught at Sunday school, my last church had come here in his university life.

I can see his growth in his faith which is probably the biggest attraction and thought, tried a few other churches, but for, okay, what is clearly going in this way? If I'm gonna come and look at this church and And I was, yeah, I was struck by the Bible being central, which was important to me.

So, yeah, as well.

11 years.

However, I'll just Lucas.


6 months before Lucas is gone.

Check this later.

Lucas, if you're listening.




I think that's probably about right.


So, can you tell us a little bit, what happened when you came to Cornerstone? How how did your faith grow, or is there something maybe new or different that you learned that you haven't heard before, or anything that struck you, really? Yeah.

I suppose it was an very different environment.

I mean, people won't.

And then I understand this.

I came from a church and peers nailing mats, a communion well Yes.


And, I I have to say when walking into a particular evening service, I I found that really hard.

It was just table chairs, coffee.

Coffee, tea.

What's it always about? It's took me a long time to get you set up.

But did this feel welcoming to you, or was it just so different that you didn't show that? That was 1 thing.

I did see the welcome.

It was a and I remember meeting with Pete very early on, which I thought was a really lovely thing to do.

To actually have time for you and your pastor to meet.


You have learned it very welcoming.



So then I you told us at the beginning of, medical issues when you were born, can you tell us a little bit about how that has impacted your life? Day to day, let's say.


So I do have a lot of health problems.

We're I think the first thing was, the longevity of life when I was born, he didn't think I would survive to about 40.




And but as medical punches happen, I'm still here.

I think it it helped me because I couldn't do things in my own physical strength.

I was very much in line with people helping me.

My parents helped me.

I couldn't really walk to our 3 I I miss a lot of school.

I didn't get particularly good grades.

So my high my life was different.

My life was lived in a way that was just enabling me to carry on.

So it wasn't bigger dreams or bigger Yes.

Achievements needed or wasn't planning to be anything particularly.

But just to live.



And how how did that impact your relationship with god? It gave me a reason.

I know it sounds really daft when people say, but if you have a faith while you write that in your suffering, and I'm thinking because it gives you reason for the suffering.

And I just don't quite understand how anyone could deal with suffering without an orange advice for just gives total reason.

There's a reason why you're going through it.

There's a reason you're being refined in it.

You're getting closer to god through it because the reliance isn't in yourself in Christ.

So that's been a real help.

And, yeah, a blessing.


And I think a lot of us in the church have noticed how you are an example of that for us, actually, and I know I speak for a lot of people saying that, that you encourage us to carry on because we've grown about a lot of things, and then we see you carrying on in spite of all kinds of medical issues and pain and, you know, but I think That's really precious for us.

And as a body of Christ, to be able to encourage 1 another, is very important, isn't it? Right.

Thank you so much for sharing that.

I know he's not he's not the easiest of topics.

So can you take us through a little bit Anything that you might have learned in the last couple of years, let's say, with COVID and and all all of that, really? Yeah.

It's probably a couple of things, actually.

For me, COVID was very different because of all my health conditions.

I was 1 of these people that was called shielding, so I had to stay in my house.


Of many weeks, I was going slightly bonkers, I think.

So the things I learned through that is 2 things really.

Fidelity of life, the reality that there was a there was a virus that could formally kill me only owes a good chance.

And really can't needing to concentrate on god's word more in that too.

I it kinda made me face god in the light of The possibility of perhaps being with him in heaven sooner Yes.

More than later.

See? That was 1 thing.

And another thing, I always struggle in my ability to understand those words.

I trust other people more when I trust myself.

I put a lot of weight on what I hear and what I talk to others about.

And there was a huge amount of time when I had to just read the Bible myself.

It wasn't that connection as much because I couldn't see anyone for 12 weeks.

You know, it was a great podcast and my home group was fantastic, but there was a lot more time when I had to learn.


I can.

I'm stoning scriptures, so I learned that as well.


Oh, that's a great lesson, actually, because We sometimes forget that we can just come to gods personally and come to his words and actually It does make sense.

I mean, sometimes it is it is difficult sometimes, but the spirit is helping us in understanding it.

So That actually, that's a really interesting lesson.

I don't think I've heard anyone say that yet, but I think that's really, interesting to learn that for yourself.

And not just come to church and listen to all the settlements, although you're still doing that, obviously, but getting to grapple with it a bit more yourself in the way and putting yourself in charge of doing that a little bit more, oh, great.


That's I was surprised by that 1.


That's good.


And lastly, is there any advice that you would like to give to younger Christians.


I mean, well, I I grew up in a church that did called covenanters.

It's it's literally like another name for rooted or soul.

And when what it was, remember, you're creating a date of your youth, And I was thinking about this when I was asked about his question.

It's really just absolutely treasure the word.

Learn it, take it in.

I'm, you know, I'm 30 years down the line in my face, and I look back and wonder who gets is, I should know a lot more about the bible than ID.

It may be partly because of my brain injury, I can't always remember, but I should know a lot more when I do.

You can sponge it in when you're younger.

When, you know, when you change in the twenties and thirties.

And and we're so blessed at going to time with Always podcasts were being taught to us in the kids' work and youth work.

But I remember a lady at Whale Church, and she went blind when she's about 60, 70.

And she said to me, Vena, it's okay.

I have words in my heart.

I can't see him on the page that I have him in here.

And while I'm studying covenanters and my old church, we learned memory verses.

And I just want just realize how blessed you all are, and especially at a young age, you can take more in.

Just savor the word whilst you can, and these, the children in the youth for today, they may not be the person who goes blind.

They're more likely bible being banned or being imprisoned away from the word see.

That's why we say to people younger, treasure treasure the word and and read it, put it in your heart.


And we need to do that as a church, not just individually, but Yeah.

If the word is not central to the church, then we won't we won't be able to grow in Christ, really.

So that's really important, isn't it? Well, thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Werner, and, thank you everyone for listening.

That's all for today's episode of Sister's stories.


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