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At King's Church, we have lots of personal stories we’d love to tell you.

Dai Cowles' journey with Cancer

Dai’s Journey

In July 2016 my wife, Maggie, and I went to visit our daughter and family in Bath. Whilst there I was taken ill and went to Bath RU Hospital where they took X-rays and kept me in for a few days for more tests.  I have nothing but admiration for the NHS and the staff at Bath.

On August 1st three consultants informed me that I had cancer. I cried. The moment I will never forget was when my young granddaughters then hugged me on each leg!

Two weeks of intensive care followed on the cancer ward.  It was very tough.  I thought my life was coming to an end.  My future was unknown and I felt isolated and alone.  I also had a blood clot on my lung which they were able to dismiss with medicine.

I tried to remain positive and seek the Lord’s help in whatever lay ahead. The Lord had amazingly arranged it that I receive this treatment in Bath – one of the Centres of Excellence in the UK for treating cancer.  They had seen it all before.

The realisation of what was happening to me sent shivers down my spine.  In some very, very black moments I asked myself, ‘Will I survive?’  I was able to put these thoughts to one side and hang onto the prayer channels that had been set up for me.  On many occasions I felt lifted up knowing people were praying for us and I didn’t feel alone anymore.  I often tussled with the question of how folks coped without knowing the Lord with them.

I spent a fortnight with some very courageous and amazing people on that cancer ward, not knowing what was the root of my cancer despite numerous tests and taking about 28 tablets per day.

August 11th was a day that I will never, ever forget.  I had hit rock bottom ten days earlier but now a panel of consultants were coming to inform me that I had something that was not curable - but was treatable.  What wonderful news – I had been given a reprieve of a number of years more to live.  I couldn’t believe it! I praised God and thanked the consultants.

The diagnosis was Multiple Myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, not bone cancer for which I had had so many tests, but a blood cancer. It was a fantastic relief.

As I was very close to dying they began treatment the next day. The lovely Chemo nurse said it was unusual to start so soon.  On August 15th I was discharged from hospital to return twice weekly for injections so we made the difficult decision to stay in Bath, for 7½ months, away from our home and friends in Cockermouth.

Our son flew back from New Zealand for a week so we stayed in a Travel Lodge and on the evening of 22nd August I collapsed.  In absolute agony on my right side I went to the Drs and while sitting there found I couldn’t get up.  I had to be stretchered out to hospital where I was given morphine which enabled me to return to our accommodation.  Two days later I was immobilised and again had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital where X-rays showed that the Myeloma had eaten away at my bones.  A very difficult decision had to be made as the slightest fall could fracture my femur.  I wasn’t allowed to put weight on my right leg so ended up in a wheelchair.

We rented a lovely flat opposite Bath City Church in the city centre and we were able to go there for fellowship and prayer.  Those 3½ months gave me opportunity to read a lot, but mostly I read my Bible and gained a lot of encouragement and strength to carry on, particularly from Psalm 34.  As the weeks passed I was able to leave the wheelchair at the flat and progressed from a Zimmer frame, to a stick, to walking freely.

In November, the first stage of treatment was finished and we could return home for 3 weeks.  It was wonderful to be back in the King’s Church, Cockermouth family and that also strengthened and encouraged us for which we are very grateful.  We had to keep returning to Bath and Bristol to have my stem cells stimulated and then harvested.

We were able to enjoy Christmas at home and returned to Bath in January, prepared for more Chemo.  But I had a chesty cough and the Dr wouldn’t proceed without an X-ray.  I had come so far that I didn’t want to give up so I said, ‘Lord, I’m handing it over to you.’  The results must have been okay because the Chemo commenced on time.  I was in an isolation ward where after two days of Chemo I had the stem cells replaced. Three weeks later I was discharged but advised to stay in Bath another month as my immune system had gone.

Finally, in February we returned home knowing that the stem cell transplant was successful and the last bone marrow biopsy indicated no sign of Myeloma in my body!

There were four sources of power that kept me going: the power of prayer, the power of God’s word, the power of being part of God’s family and the power I got from being with my wife, Maggie.

When we vowed to stay together in sickness and in health we didn’t realise how important that was until these last months.

The future is reasonably bright and maybe one day a cure will be available.  For me each day is a bonus and I try to make the most of every one of them, walking on the fells again and, with the Lord’s grace, keeping going as long as possible.

This is the song that spoke very powerfully to us ‘I’m no longer a slave to fear’.

You can hear more of Dai's story here -

Jean Stoulger - God Really Cares

Jean Stroulger's story

On Mothering Sunday this year I was part of the coffee rota team. Someone brought the bread and wine for communion and as they were opening the bread bag I remembered that, in my haste to be there for 9am (on the morning after the clocks went forward!) I had forgotten to defrost any bread at home for lunch.  

Later on, as the service progressed it was decided to postpone the communion to the following week when there would be more time.  I asked the person who had brought the bread if they could use it at home and they said I could have it.  There were two loaves so I was able to give the other to someone else. (Thank You, Lord, that’s lunch sorted.) The other recipient was equally grateful.

As I stood there with the loaf and left over milk, which had also been given to me, my daughter asked if I could possibly have the two grandchildren to stay overnight (as a Mother’s Day treat?) because she and her husband had to leave very early the next morning for an appointment in some distance away.  Of course I said ‘Yes’ and again. Thank You Lord - no need to buy more milk!

Coincidence? Or God-incidence?

There’s a verse in Isaiah 65 that says ‘I will answer them before they even call to me.  While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!’

Mothering Sunday this year was not the first time I have experienced this. 

In 2013, when our eldest daughter died in New Zealand where she was living, we came to fully understand and experience Deuteronomy 33 verse 27 ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.’  We also had many instances of God’s provision both in response to specific prayer, and while we were just thinking of things that needed doing!

Things like:

  • Delaying the funeral until my husband and other daughter could get there,
  • Having a Christian input into what could have otherwise been a very humanist occasion,
  • The provision of a place for the three of us to stay,
  • Sky TV so that my husband could watch football,
  • Use of a laptop computer so that we could send and receive emails,
  • Bumping into someone we had been trying to contact but who we thought was in Japan,
  • And an upgrade to Business Class seats for part of our return journey to England!

Don’t just look for God’s hand in the big things – He’s interested in and concerned with the small things too. Hallelujah!


Jehovah Jireh – my provider.

When the very painful conditions of auto immune psoraic arthritis and fibromyalgia prevented me from working as a Carer in 2012 I had to retire due to health problems. In consequence, I was on Jobseekers Training for re-employment.

When the time for the training was coming to a close and it was obvious to me, at my age and with these health problems, that I wouldn’t find work, I expected to have no income and talked to the Jobcentre about retiring.  I was told by them that I could not receive the Government pension until I was 66, more than two years away!

The Lord has always been my provider and He never leaves us short-changed so I threw myself onto His mercy, kindness and provision.  The day after I was praying to Him about my financial problems, I received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions asking me if I wanted to take my pension in July or defer it!  I was gobsmacked! I couldn’t believe it and had to make some phone calls to confirm it but it was true. I will be receiving the State pension even before my 64th birthday! Hallelujah!

Even though I had less money I always continued to give.  Faithfulness in sowing seeds has reaped a wonderful harvest, just as God promises.

Rachel Elliot

Darryl Boustead

God Has More Than Provided For Me

I have to take medication in the evening and until this amazing thing happened recently, it used to ‘knock me out’ until midday and I thought I couldn’t have a life in the mornings because I was still asleep until noon most days.

I then a had a revelation, which I believe was God inspired. I realised that if I take my tablets no later than 7pm, I am drowsy by the time it’s ‘normal’ bedtime, have a decent sleep and I can get up in the mornings now. This is especially useful on Sundays as I have more time to worship, practice my guitar and I can get to Church.

On other days, I am in good time for my afternoon shifts of voluntary work and it’s now a possibility that I could to do a morning shift of some description!  It has also helped with my eating patterns and enabled some weight loss for my sister’s wedding.

Darryl Boustead

Susan Ravel

My year with Cancer

About a year ago I discovered a lump which turned out to be cancerous. I then had surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

When I got the initial news I shared it with a few close friends and I knew that my Christian friends would immediately start praying for me!

I have no idea how anyone would be able to receive such a diagnosis and go through the necessary treatment for cancer without God in their life.

During the whole process from discovering the lump, receiving the diagnosis, having surgery and going through the treatment regime, I’ve never felt abandoned by God or that He didn’t love me.  I know that this is entirely due to the prayers made on my behalf.

I am eternally grateful to everyone for not only welcoming me into our King’s Church family but most of all for accepting me just as I am – flaws and all!

I would also like to express my gratitude to our Church family who have given us the gift of their time to help us out in practical ways, which in turn has greatly assisted me through my recovery.

Susan Ravel

Malcolm and Pauline

We decided to leave the village of Plumbland, which has no amenities, and move to the Keswick area so that Malcolm could walk in the hills and I could look at them!

We put our house on the market in July and began our search for houses in the Keswick area. We came to the conclusion in September that we couldn’t afford what we wanted and so turned our sights to the Cockermouth area.

On June 3rd, I had read Psalm 121 in my Bible reading and it also cropped up in the non-fiction novel I was reading that night. I grasped the promise that ‘I will lift up my eyes to the hills’ and kept it in my heart.

On coming to the decision to move to Cockermouth I was devastated and spent most of the night crying out to God.  He comforted me and told me that He wanted us in Cockermouth (where we already had friends, more friends than we realised), not surrounded by holidaymakers and strangers.

We offered on a house but found a better one for less. As we drove to view it I remarked to Malcolm how every house had been viewed in sunshine but this day was drizzling. On arriving in Cockermouth it was sunshine again so I dismissed the muse. However, as the Estate agent stood with us in the kitchen discussing our desire to buy it there was a great flash of lightening and loud rumble of thunder and a downpour of rain! She and I looked at each other and she joked about it being a sign. (That ‘sign’ was what kept me going through the long process of buying and selling.) We left the premises in bright sunshine.

Despite hiccups and delays we eventually moved into our lovely new home. What a wonderful blessing it has been. A small garden, a warm, light and quiet home with great neighbours and the best view in Cockermouth of the fells. Praise God for His love and care, He who gives us the desires of our hearts and then provides those desires.