Evangelist John Wright
Lifting a helping hand in God's name
By Louise Priest
A Norfolk man tells us how he overcame the trepidation of talking to strangers in order to spread the gospel and reach out a caring hand to those who he thinks may need help.
John Wright acts out the Biblical command to 'waste no opportunities, at times convenient and inconvenient' to talk to everyone he meets in order to pass on the Christian message.
John, who lives in Kirby Bedon, is a tractor dealer and a lay reader at Stoke Holy Cross Church, near Norwich. He is the first Norfolk member of the College Of Evangelists endorsed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
He has such a strong faith that he finds himself talking to complete strangers and it's surprising the response he gets.
It all began 40 years ago, when as a Harvard-trained businessman with an E-Type Jaguar, John admits he was a bit full of himself.
He went to church each Sunday yet he did not really know if God existed until one evening when he received a visit from the Holy Spirit.
John realised for the first time the extent of the pride, the self-centredness and the lust for women which controlled his life and he felt like a prisoner.
But remembering the words of Jesus, "I have come to set the prisoners free," John decided to ask God - if he existed - for help.
On his knees in his bedroom, a bit embarrassed and slightly frightened, John asked God for forgiveness and the wisdom and courage to do his will.
He says he felt a big weight lift off his shoulders and he was filled with joy with a wonderful, floating feeling.
The outcome, he adds, has landed him in non-stop trouble ever since, which is somewhat ironic as he is the one trying to help people!
But it has enabled John to write a booklet, Seven Troubles, which lists the seven biblical reasons why God sends trouble on his servants to encourage those who follow him.
John gives, as an example of undeserved affliction, the time when he was charged with fraud relating to a group of companies in Nottingham where he was the non-executive chairman of a subsidiary.
The trial in Nottingham lasted 17 months which put John into the Guinness Book Of Records for the longest-running trial.
Although the judge summed up in his favour, John was found guilty of carrying on the trade of a company alleged to be insolvent, despite not being a director or employee.
This produced an almost unique apology from the leader of the Crown Prosecution Service. John spent three months behind bars during which time his faith never faltered.
He wrote six letters from prison recording all the miracles that took place which were published with an introduction by Sir Joe Pilling, the then director general of the prison service.
That is all behind him now, and he is driven by the Holy Spirit to talk to everybody and anybody to give them the chance to find their own Christian faith.
His desire to help people had led him to pen a pamphlet called The Jericho Road. Here, he tells of his encounters with strangers, including assisting a lady at a supermarket checkout, a taxi driver and helping a man having his hair cut.
In all of these experiences, John says the Holy Spirit speaks to him and often tells him their names and sometimes occupations.
John says this shows the power of the Holy Spirit which is the same today as it was in Biblical times and is available to anyone who asks.
last updated: 19/07/07