The Thrill of the Ride


“What an extraordinary couple!” I thought. Sally, an articulate English lady with the air of a teacher, organised the children’s programme on Sunday mornings. Gibson, a short but muscular black man with shining eyes, seemed perhaps a little younger than she. He played the electric guitar during worship. And together, they hosted a group for ‘internationals’ at their home nearby.

Only later did we discover the remarkable details of Gibs and Sally’s story. You couldn’t make it up! As the years went by, we walked together and became a part of each other’s history. Gibs had an open, fresh way of expressing his faith, whilst Sally was known for her insightful way of applying bible teaching to everyday life. I’ve always loved the way they are so authentic; honest about their joys and sorrows, living letters that tell their story warts and all.

I became excited when Sally told me she wanted to tell their story, and asked me to become involved. Soon I learnt details that made me gasp for breath! I’ve written ‘the Most Hopeless Case’ (see my Home page), a Christian romance novel in which the barriers to the couple becoming man and wife, are wonderfully swept away. But it’s fiction. I couldn’t have created Gibs and Sally’s story, and I believe it has all the hallmarks of God’s handiwork, a story that has given him very great pleasure. I’m re-reading it now, and am thoroughly enjoying sensing the tenderness of God’s love for this couple, and theirs for each other.


Shortly after joining New Horizons church in Dewsbury at the start of 2004, Jane and I went on the trip of a lifetime. We stayed for five nights on Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea, to attend the dedication ceremony for a New Testament reprint. There are about  7,000 Iduna speakers and I guess well over 1,000 of them turned up for the event. We’d supported the original translation during the 1970’s and 80’s, and it was amazing to meet this Christian community whom we’d prayed for years ago, but not forgotten.

As I read again the chapters in Sally’s book that describe Malaita in the Solomon Islands, I was reminded of our time in PNG and of the welcome we received, the joyful singing in harmony of the villagers, worshipping as we ate our evening meal; the houses on stilts, the latrines and improvised washing hut; boys shinning up palm trees to chop coconuts, and swimming into the sea to spear crabs for our dinner. Just as Gibs did!


Over 20 years have elapsed since Gibs and Sally were married. In one sense it has been ‘happily ever after’. God brought them together and every Facebook user knows how much they cherish each other! But the book makes no secret of how hard life’s been, and of the ongoing challenges that they face together. I continue to be inspired by their faithfulness to each other, to their adopted sons, to their calling and to God. I shall look forward to their story further unfolding, praying with confidence that God will write further testimonies to His lovingkindness into their lives for others to read.

St Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church reveal the same vulnerable, transparent love for God and for people, the same testimony of triumph even through suffering, and the same passion to see God’s kingdom come on earth. Paul compared himself to a clay pot containing God’s treasure. (2 Corinthians 4 vs 7-9). How aptly this describes Gibs and Sally!


I urge you to order a copy through Faithbuilders or it’ll soon be available on Amazon. Or if you’re a friend of Sally, see her Facebook page first…

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