FIRST PERSON: Faye Edwards Kings Church volunteer
7:12pm Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
Kings Church volunteer FAYE EDWARDS talks to SOPHIE BROWNSON about her journey with Jesus Cares.
“I was born in January, 1979, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Both of my parents were British, my father was from Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, and my mother was from Penarth but they met in Canada as they were both working over there at the same time.
I was born four days before their first anniversary and I lived there until I was five when we moved over to Wales to live in Cwmbran.
We lived there from 1984 for three years, until 1987 when I was nine when we moved back to Canada to live just outside of Vancouver, because we missed the lifestyle of Canada.
But as I was growing older and getting independence, and as we had no other family over there my mum was missing our family so we moved back to Cwmbran in 1990 and I have been there ever since.
I lived there with my sister and my parents and went to Croesyceiliog School.
I always wanted to be in commercial advertising or a barrister, those were my two main goals as I was very academic.
I was set to go down that road but during my GCSE year I wanted to do performing arts, so against all counselling from teachers I went to Cross Keys College and studied performing arts with a view of going to drama school.I was also in a band at the time and some recording and singing at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, as well as being really involved with the church.
My mum became a Christian when I was just three years old and she was just finding out about Jesus at that time so I was brought up from a young age with that relationship with God.
For me I have always grown up being involved in the church and I had a strong faith in Jesus.
I was heavily involved in the church when I came back to Britain, taking part in the dramas team, youth work and singing in the choir.
Sat that point in my life I had immersed myself in church life – I had just finished school and college and would do drama with the church and I really loved where I was in my local church and I didn’t want to pluck myself out of that and go to London to do drama so I decided to stay.
I got a job at Lloyds TSB Bank, starting off in admin before training people working in the call centres across Britain.
I did that until I met my husband Dave and got pregnant with my first son.
My dream in life was to get engaged and married young so that I could have all of my memories with my husband.
I met my husband, pastor Dave Edwards, who was a welder and fabricator at the time through the church.
I was in a band with my sister who was one year younger than me, and Dave was nine years older but even back then I thought he was amazing.
I liked him for ages and asked God to make these feelings go away or to make something happen, meanwhile he had liked me for a while but he thought because of the age difference my father wouldn’t approve.
But he decided to ask me out and asked God to give him a sign but he was going to ask me out anyway.
Then he was watching a church recording with his brother who pointed me out singing, and his brother told him that God had said that Dave had better ask me out sooner rather than later.
So he asked me out for a coffee after church and we were engaged four months later and married a year and a half after that.
We got married on June 10, 2000, and have been married 13 years.
When I got married I said that I didn’t want any children because I wanted Dave all to myself but four and a half years later I did my market research asking parents why they had had children and decided that I wanted a baby of my own.
So we had our son Daniel Edwards in 2004, then two years later Eden, then Sienna ten months after that and our youngest Summer, who is two and a half years old.
It was Christmas 2007 when Jesus Cares happened.
We had our two children Daniel and Eden, and Daniel had decided the he wanted to use all of his money to buy an iPod.
He was looking at the iPods and asked what happened to children who didn’t get presents at Christmas.
I felt sad about it and it was just one of those thing that you think about then move on.
But then the following year Sienna was born and in that October I was thinking about what Daniel had said and so I said to Dave that I didn’t want Christmas presents and wanted to give money and presents to children that Christmas.
I then realised that I didn’t know any children who didn’t have Christmas presents and so I got in touch with a charity councillor and she sent me a list of 16 children who didn’t have any presents.
When I saw the list my heart sank as I only had £50 to spend on presents and that would be enough for 16 children.
But then we went shopping and decided to but a train set costing £5 for our son Daniel for Christmas and my husband came up with the idea of selling it on eBay and we managed to sell it for £36!
So we bought another one and sold it for £42.
We decided to sell these train sets to raise money to but Christmas presents for these children and managed to raise £2,000 come through our PayPal account.
From this we got a call from Duffryn Community Link rang us out of the blue asked if we could help but presents for the children, so that Christmas we had bought children presents from the money we had made selling the train sets.
Following this in 2008 my husband got in touch with a company called Hasbro who said that they wanted to help us and donated presents for all the children in Duffryn.
From this we through that if families couldn’t afford presents for their children they probably couldn’t afford essentials to fill their cupboards either and so we decided to make up food hampers along with Kings Church and a team of dedicated volunteers.
We still had strong links with community organisations and ten or 20 volunteers were helping to take up about ten hampers a week to give to these.
Then in February, 2009, we launched Jesus Cares and began collecting food from congregations to make food hampers, giving out ten hampers a month. Then in Christmas 2009 we invited agencies to nominate those who needed hampers and we received around 500 requests for food hampers.
It was November by this point and Dave and I were left wondering how we were going to afford enough food to fill 500 hampers so we asked for help from Jesus again and then out of the blue we received a call from an organisation in the north of England called His Church, which said that it would like to help.
They said that they would provide an artic lorry with the 500 hampers that we needed, and so we managed to get more volunteers from the church involved and spent nights packing up the 60,000 items in to hampers to be given to those in need.
From making ten hampers a week to 500 was the time when Jesus Cares exploded and we managed to get Big Lottery on board to provide us a three-year grant with £246,000 to expand the service and allows us to buy a van and other essentials to make it run on a larger scale.
From this we were also able to provide Easter eggs, hygiene items, and toys for those in need.”
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