I was born into a Christian family and grew up going to church. When I was an early teenager, I got caught up in the world and stopped going to church. I always had a belief that God existed and struggled over the years between wanting to follow the Lord and live in the world. I joined the Army in 2004 and after some years of service was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.
Photo: Ben Ridley and his war-torn Testament with the message from his grandparents with the verse John 1:12.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God John 1:12
Before leaving, my grandfather, who has been a part of the Gideons for many years (former National Chaplain Hew Barnard-Brown from Adelaide) gave me a Gideon New Testament. Whilst there in Afghanistan, I began to read the Bible and seek the Lord. The Holy Spirit convicted me of my sins and I decided that I could no longer play games with the Lord.
I came back from Afghanistan a different person. Upon my return I began to share the Gospel with my then girlfriend, Claudia, who was a part of a religion called ‘Spiritism’. After sharing with her, she was convicted of sin, repented and was born again. We were married a few months later and have been together for over three years now.
I felt led by the Lord to leave the Army in 2014 and I thought that was the end of my time in the Australian Defence Forces, but the Lord led me to a ministry called ‘Everyman’s Welfare Service’ - a Christian ministry that shares the Gospel to the ADF. Since joining them I have been able to share the Gospel with many ADF members and I recently returned from a 4 month trip to the Middle East, where I was able to share my faith and give out New Testaments to people.