What Do A Group of Violent Thieves, Liars, Drug Addicts, Alcohol Abusers & Ex Convicts Have In Common?

What Do A Group of Violent Thieves, Liars, Drug Addicts, Alcohol Abusers & Ex Convicts Have In Common?

The answer is ‘nothing‘ until you throw Jesus Christ into the mix! Let me introduce you to the four new housemates at James Ramsay House. JRH is a Victorian house owned by Niddrie Community Church and is situated about 40 minutes outside Edinburgh, on the way to Glasgow, in a place called Shotts.

We bought the house several years ago as a safe, Christian environment for young believers from the scheme. The original idea was to use it as an intensive discipleship home but it never quite worked out that way! Instead, for the last year it has been home to Charlene, a young lady from Niddrie who was wonderfully converted and who needed a safe place to live. She is getting married this week and the house has once again become vacant.

So, I’d like to introduce you to our newest additions to the home so that you can keep them in mind and pray for their ongoing growth and spiritual development. I asked each man to answer the following three questions:

  1. What were you like before you came to know Jesus?
  2. What do you hope to learn in JRH?
  3. How can people be praying for you?
(from left to right) Rick, Ralph, Gordon & Mark


I used to drink and take drugs and kept getting in trouble with the police. In May 2012 I became homeless because of my violence. I am in JRH and would like to learn more about Jesus and to become more stable in life and to stay out of trouble. Thanks to NCC for this opportunity. Please pray for me to grow as a Christian and to help me find a skill in life.


I used to be a Heroin user for more than 10 years and I have spent most of my life in and out of prisons and institutions. I was in a children’s home from the age of 10 years old and my life has been mostly spent behind locked doors. I was always on some sort of drug or another. I have been a Christian now for just over a year and it is the first time in my life that things have been going right for me. JRH is a great opportunity for me to finally move forward in my walk with the Lord. I can have stability, friendship and accountability. I also want to learn more about Jesus and the Bible.

Please pray for me that God will strengthen me to last the pace and that I can learn good (sic). Also, that I can just keep growing as a Christian. I have a son in Dundee who lives with my mum. I looked after him for three years until I went to prison. He is 5 and has just started school. I see him every two weeks and would love to see him more. His name is wee Ralphy.


Before I came to know Jesus I was violent, nasty, political and sectarian. I was a drug user, a heavy drinker and in and out of prison. So, in a nutshell, a vile person. JRH is one of those things that, for me, was a bolt out of the blue. I hope to grow in my relationship with Jesus and to glorify God. I hope to grow with my brothers who are there. I hope to see great growth in my prayer life and to extend my understanding of the gospel. I hope to find solid stability and to settle where I am now.

Pray for me as I am in charge of JRH (Gordon is the house steward) that the Lord would grant me patience, wisdom and love. Pray that I would be a solid witness and example to my brothers in the house.


Before I came to Christ I was a drug addict and a dealer. A very self-centred man! In JRH I hope to grow in my knowledge of the Bible. I hope to mature spiritually. I want to look to my peers for help and advice and to keep reading and gaining knowledge and wisdom. I would like people to pray so that I can grow into a better Christian and be a good witness to those around me.

The boys have moved in for a 1 month trial period to see how they get on. Please for everybody involved in this work. We believe that God is going to continue to save many from this background and, not only that, use them for His glory both here and further afield. We are praying that JRH is merely a stepping stone on to a full and productive life for the glory of God.



    Angele Ballentine

    Dear Mez,

    I’m really glad that I signed up for your blog. I really have an affinity for the work your church is doing. I attend IBC, where Robert Briggs is Pastor.

    I learned of your church shortly after arriving. I am very moved by what your church is doing. I lived the life of heroin, crack, prostitution, thievery, etc for years since the age of 17 and I’m now 43. So you have no idea how much these young men’s and your own testimony have touched my heart, your’s especially (I guess because of the detail). I prayed through their requests and got alot of blessings in my heart this morning in my prayer time where I ended up in my email instead of the online ESV! I can thank God for your blog!

    We prayed for your church and church planting in Europe and upcoming meeting with Mark Dever last night for the possible Urban City project. (I can’t remember the whole name.) I pray the Spirit helps me to remember to pray for this project and your young converts needs.

    I lived in the Tenderloin of San Francisco for nearly 10 years That neighborhood is saturated with prostitution, crack, heroin, and violence and whatever else goes along with all that dark, insanity. I was checking out the individual dwellings in the housing schemes there, pretty dark picture but it definitely reminded me of the SRO’s in SF’s TL (Tenderloin District).

    But anyhow, after all that, I’ll get to my point. I really would like to connect to a young believer in Christ, in your congregation to develop a relationship, even if only via email, maybe even snail mail. There’s one new convert in my church now. We are going to be baptised in the next couple of weeks together. We have very similar backgrounds therefore we’ve come to Christ (as Pastor Briggs says…) with very similar “baggage”. I get alot from relating to him and I just want to relate to others who have similar experiences that I do and are fighting the good fight daily through our Heavenly Father, our beautiful Saviour Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

    I’ve been talking to God alot about this issue for awhile now and maybe God will answer prayer through your congregation.Think you can help me to hook up with someone like this in your church? Maybe it could help both of us newbies in Christ.

    I know you’re a super busy guy so I really hope you’ve read this. Something I’ve been wondering though, I know no one can really say if someone truly has a regenerate heart but how many people have been born of the Spirit and stayed in the faith since your efforts started at Niddrie?

    On a closing note, I cannot believe I get to join Jesus Christ church! Wow, I sinner like me!

    Angele Ballentine

    ohmigosh….i thought that was going to your personal email. God’s Sovereignty I guess. Yeah, I gotta go with that one (blush).

    Daniel Wilson

    very cool guys. It is good to see everyone again and to see the work you’re doing.

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