Joseph Nightingale’s Testimony from The Forge School of Faith IV


How can a man from Blackburn, experiencing blackouts over a six month period end up in the Forge?

Living alone and blacking out at any moment is a lonely, vulnerable place to be whilst waiting for a scan six months later. But the Forge is a place of healing as well as faith so Joseph stepped out in faith and made the journey to Wales with a friend from the Forge, excited but aware of his limitations, in writing and reading. Because since the age of 2 he had been both deaf and dumb and during surgery part of his brain was touched which left him with a pronounced stammer.

Joseph begins his story from this point.....

Vivien, asked because of the Blackouts do you still want to come to the Forge. I said Yes I do and so she contacted the leader of the Forge who felt it was right for me to have the opportunity to come. I was excited and looking forward to it.

One wet and windy day at the Forge I was taken to a very special place with a group of other people who were participating the Forge. It was a farm just outside of Llanelli called The Cross. Vivien asked if I had read the book called Pilgrims Progress because Bob the tenant farmer who had not been a Christian long had made a journey to the Cross on his farm which started off with a wide gate which got narrower as it lead to the Cross. Along the way were signs giving lots of scriptures on them but it was so wet and windy a car took us directly to the Prayer Room opposite the Cross. Everyone went into the prayer room and I decided to go for a walk to the Cross. At first I just stood alone at the cross and then felt I needed to kneel down. I started to cry and could not stop and remained on my knees in the pouring rain and sensed something lifting off me so I felt lighter and happier as I came back to meet everyone else.

The next day I felt so much peace and felt that a lot of grief had been lifted from me. From that moment I felt that I had something to share in the Forge which I did and felt very happy about it.

So the Forge is teaching me to listen to God through His word and to share with others in practical ways and in relationships. With my new friends I am learning to be more open with God and am learning more about myself and the need to pray more about other people as well as myself.. I feel loved in the Forge and will find it hard to leave.

Were born into a Christian family and went to a special school for the disabled due to my being deaf and dumb from the age of two. became and altar boy at aged 8 and then did this until aged 16 and then left school and went to North Wales school for disabled people. This was quite a happy time as I did woodwork, metal work and arts and crafts. I did get a little tuition for reading and writing but not a lot. I cam back home when I was 18 and I have different jobs then when I was 20 I was looking for a church to settle down in and went to different churches and and then I found Zion Pentecostal where I invited Jesus into my heart and then asked to be baptised by immersion when I was 21 years old. In the worship I felt that God was wanting me to go on mission. He kept repeating it all the time, and I asked God where but He did not give me an answer. Then the young people went to Lancaster University to a Billy Graham Crusade and I went with them. It was fantastic and I saw people getting healed, getting out of their wheelchairs and responding to the Gospel. I went back home to my mum and dad who lived in Blackburn. I met men at work who invited me to go out to nightclubs. I was drinking coke to start with and my friends thought I was a big softy and so encouraged me to try something stronger. I gradually went downhill drinking with these people I knew I was doing something stupid but it was classed as part of growing up in my part of the world. Then I met Pauline at aged 22 in a nightclub and proposed to her 7 years later we got married and lived in Blackburn. We never had any children but we had been together 19 years but I was not happy, and decided to end the relationship because it was not going anywhere. I could not attend church because I had to work on Sunday. After this a friend from my old church kept inviting me to go with him back to church but I was not ready. After this my mum died in March in 2009 and dad died 7 months after.

My relationship with my wife ended the 18th November 2013 my friend kept asking me to go to church and I went to church one Sunday morning on my bike and I got as far as the door and could not go through it. I did this about four times. Then a finally went in and then I was there about 3 months and then some friends told me about a Christian camp in Yorkshire called Hollybush Christian Fellowship. So I went there on my motorbike with my tent and equipment and spent the week at the Christian camp. That is when I met a lady who invited me to share my breakfast at her table in the camp cafe. She said I reminded her of one of her brothers and I ended up sharing some of my story with her about loss of my mum and dad and that you were on your own but my friends had told me about the Camp so you decided to come. She said, You can expect something good is going to happen for you tonight in the meeting. The same evening after this conversation I ended up giving my life back to God. The following day I shared a coffee my new friend Vivien and as we were talking I had a picture in my head and it was a volcano but instead of the fire it was water and it was coming down the valley and shaping the rocks. After I had been prayed when I got back to my seat I saw a picture that had was exactly like the one I had seen the day before in my head.

I have got to buy that? Was my first thought. So I bought it and took it home and put it on the wall above my fire place so that when I walk into the house you can see it.

Vivien told me about the Forge because she had been there herself and I said I never had enough time because I have used all my holidays and she said maybe next year will be a good time and I said Yes I would like that.

But shortly after the Camp I started having blackouts and went to the doctor to see what was going on. And he gave me signed me off work until further notice so that I could have tests to see what was causing the blackouts.