Belgrave House proved to be a game changer for me!
In 1971, when I was just 15 years old, a group of young Germans spent about 9 days on holiday at Belgrave House. They arrived on a Sunday in October and joined us at Argyll Hall for the evening meeting. My girlfriend and I were giggly teenagers at the time and were disappointed when about 25 girls and just 2 young men walked in! After the service, our YPF went along to Belgrave for coffee, biscuits, and a chat. The group invited us to join them on a sightseeing tour of London which my friend and I gladly accepted, calmly taking a day off school for the trip!!! The excursion was a definite success for by the end of the day one of the young men, Gottfried, aged 19, whose English was more or less non-existent, had my address in his pocket and I had a promise of correspondence. I did not believe for a second that he would really write but a short time later a letter from the distant land of Germany arrived on our doormat! Gottfried and I wrote occasionally to each other but in those days, Germany could have been the moon…far away, unreachable! However, one Sunday morning in July the following year Gottfried suddenly appeared at Argyll Hall, which was a terrific shock for me! I had no idea what to do with him. He had ridden his motorbike all the way from the Black Forest to Sussex and Brian Day had happily given him permission to pitch his tent in the grounds of Belgrave House. That week our romance across the miles began. We married at the new Parkside Evangelical Church on 19th July 1975. Now 46 years later our grandchildren hardly believe our accounts of having to book a phone call with International Calls and the considerable wait until they called back to say a line was free. No Emails and no WhatsApp!
It never ceases to amaze us that Jesus, whom we both love, linked us up over the miles through the partnership of Belgrave House in my home town of Littlehampton with the Liebenzeller Mission (the houseparty organisers) here in South Germany in Gottfried’s direct locality. Right place, right time! How awesome is that!
We were both sorry to see Belgrave House disappear from my hometown but always love coming back to see how Littlehampton does.