- About Us
Trusting Through Trials
By Hal and Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas was born in Isleworth, Middlesex in 1942 into a strongly Baptist family. Her father was a Sunday School superintendent and Church Deacon whose beautiful singing voice was enjoyed in churches all over London. Her mother was a miniaturist of some renown. Her miniatures hung in places such as the Royal Academy of Arts, Paris Salon, Italy and New York. Moreover, Christine’s mother had gifts of arranging church flowers, dressmaking, even making a dress for the Queen as a teenager! Christine remembers that she and her elder brother had to attend church both morning and evening, and Sunday School in the afternoon.
Christine married in 1962 and had two children, Jonathan and Victoria. The marriage ended abruptly and with no warning. Her husband went as a ‘missing person’ leaving Christine with large debts and homeless. Without the love and support of her parents things would have been totally unbearable.
A new beginning
Happy times, nonetheless, were on the horizon. She met and fell in love with Hal Thomas whom she got remarried in 1982 and with the new family went to live where Hal worked, in New York. Her children adored their new father as he was kind and generous to the whole family. In 1985, they eventually returned to the UK, and settled close to Winchester in Hampshire.
Hal Thomas was born in Wells, Somerset in 1932 as the youngest of six children. His father, who owned the garage in Wells, sadly died when Hal was only 18 months old. His mother, a fine Christian lady, was an English teacher who had to raise a large family in very difficult circumstances. Hal had four brothers and one sister who in later life left the UK to live and work in Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and America. As a youth, Hal attended Sunday School, the local C of E church, and had a good singing voice and sang regularly in the church choir. Hal was also a fine rugby player and he played for Weston-Super-Mare club team. He still holds the record for the most tries in one match!
Trials and tribulations
Over the last twenty years it is true to say that Christine and Hal have gone through many trials together. Just six weeks after Christine’s father died, her son Jonathan was taken into hospital for keyhole surgery. Two hours later he was gravely ill on four life support systems. Over the next two years he went through reconstruction surgery, pancreatitis, kidney dialysis, MRSA, morphine dependency and several operations on his liver, being hospitalised for the whole two years. It was found that he had a very rare form of cancer in the liver and died some four months later.
A revelation from God
Christine, like most parents, would have done absolutely anything for her son and even asked God if she could take his place. Something she wanted to share about the last few hours before her son’s death was a revelation she had. It was 3 am in King’s College Hospital when she left the ward to walk to the cloakroom. As she walked back down the empty corridor, God showed her just what Jesus Christ has done for us. He went through the pain and agony, the derision from men, because he wanted to – He loved us so much. To Christine, that revelation is mind-blowing and utterly wonderful.
A place of healing
Soon after, illness again struck the family. Hal was diagnosed with Lymphoma; a cancer caused by a build up of white blood cells. He went through chemotherapy and was in remission. It was only in 1994 when Christine had been unwell for a long time that they first heard about Trinity Church as a place of healing. When she had been prayed for, Christine did improve somewhat although sadly the illness she has is still very much a problem. At this time they made the long trip to Trinity Church every fourth Sunday, enjoying the services and a special congregation there. Eventually Hal and Christine decided to move to Essex live and be members of Trinity Church. Hal and Christine have learned so much from God’s word at Trinity and feel lucky that they were brought to this great church and the church family.
It was a monumental decision to make! Hal found gradually the songs he had been singing began to seep into his life and heart. Every word the choir sang was a message from God to him in its own right and Hal joined the choir.
Good news and bad
Yet again, cancer struck a member of their family: Hal’s son Daniel was diagnosed with advanced melanoma and within ten months they had lost him. They were devastated and to top it all, once again Hal was diagnosed with bad news; this time advanced prostate cancer. Hal and Christine put their trust in God once again that all would be well. God didn’t disappoint: Margaret Court, the famous Australian tennis player came to preach at the church prior to her giving out the cups at Wimbledon one summer. Whilst she was praying for Hal she stopped and said that Hal had not let go of his grief and that this was the cause of his illness. Hal went back to the specialist, who said he had never seen such an amazing change!
There in the darkest hour
There have been many dark times in life; but looking back over the last 20 years, Hal and Christine realize that God always been carrying them. He was always there in the darkest hour – and He always will be! They love being members of Trinity Church. They have made great friends and the whole church has become one big family where people care for one another in whatever way they can. Sadly, now Hal has been unwell for a few years but the care and thoughtfulness of the church family has been amazing.
‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me,’ ~ Psalm 23: 4
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