How Band of Brothers helped me turn from my wild ways
Men’s ministry isn’t a club or a gimmick, but essential to church life.
If you were to look up ‘man’s man’ in the odd kind of dictionary that might contain such a reference, you’d probably find a picture of Simon Mitchell – stood next to one of the massive dumper trucks he drives!
A stereotypical bad boy, Simon was a boozer and a brawler before he encountered Christ, joined Band of Brothers and met Mark Lyndon-Jones.
“I was a bit of a wild character!” Simon admits. “I was a heavy drinker – especially on the weekends. When I was growing up I kind of isolated myself from mum and dad.
“When I was old enough to go out by myself, I’d go out and drink and think, ‘It’s me against the world, and the world’s gonna have some!’”
Then Simon hit a low point late in 2008. “I’d been going through an affair, I’d split up with my ex and I hadn’t seen my kids,” he explains. “I was cleaning windows in Cardiff, it was hammering it down with rain and I’d just had enough.”
A customer gave Simon a leaflet about Jesus. “It made me think about Christianity and about my family and where my life was actually going,” he remembers.
At Christmas, Simon sent his dad a text. “We hadn’t spoken for about four or five years,” he says. His father invited Simon and his new wife, Tina, to visit and they ended up going to Elim’s Cardiff City Temple. “They twisted my arm and off to church we went!” Simon laughs.
Simon remembers that day – the first of February – clearly. It was two weeks later that he gave his life to the Lord. On the second of February, though, Simon started going to Band of Brothers, Cardiff City Temple’s men’s ministry, then run by Mark Lyndon-Jones.
“When I started going to Band of Brothers it kind of felt a little bit alien,” Simon confesses. “All this time I’d been on my own. From February to September was a massive time in my life. I started to get to know my dad again, but all of a sudden on September 11, he died.
“I remember going into the Band of Brothers and all these guys said something encouraging. Some of the passages people gave me I actually wrote on paper and put in my shoes so I could stand on the Word of God! They were a real rock in my life right when I needed it. They encouraged me in my faith and taught me how to pray. They helped me understand the Word of God a bit more.”
Mark Lyndon-Jones had a particular impact on Simon’s life. “Mark has been a rock and a father in my life,” Simon explains.
“Over time, this guy really listened to me and picked up on what I was saying and challenged me.”
For Simon, Band of Brothers has helped him walk in faith and changed his life: “Now I have a hope and a future. I used to just muddle through. Now, I want to live a Holy Spirit-led adventure with God.”