My name is Phil Pengelly. I have attended Tuckingmill since returning from Agricultural College in 1993. I am from a farming family who have lived in West Cornwall for many years.
As a youngster I attended the local Methodist Sunday School but lacked a real faith. As I grew older, I become more and more atheistic, although, looking back, God was never very far from me. At the age of 22 I left home to go to college in Lancashire, where I spent three years.
I was very intolerant of Christians by now, and to my dismay there were at least three Christians in my class. Over the next two terms I spent lots of time debating religion with my colleagues (by the way, they are all lifelong friends). I really did give them a hard time! After this I went out on a summer job in Shropshire – this proved to be very difficult for me once again, leaving the people I knew. My Mum passed away suddenly in March 1992. These Christian friends came to her funeral, and were a great support.
On my return to college in September 1991, I was deeply unhappy. I asked one of the Christians in my group for help. He (David Laver) directed me to the then pastor of North Preston Evangelical Church, Rev. David White. Over the course of the next couple of months, I attended NPEC and often heard the Gospel. After a while, one Monday evening, having been under what I now know was “conviction of sin”, I asked two of my Christian friends, how do you become a Christian? They told me to pray to Jesus, asking for his forgiveness, and then you must tell someone within 24 hours (they were really excited!). I told my other Christian friend the following day (he, being a good Baptist, said we’ll wait and see!). It was not easy. The Devil tried to stop the process but with much prayer on the part of others, and with the support of the Holy Spirit, and biblical counselling by the Pastor, I gradually made progress in the Christian life and was baptised.
I returned to Cornwall in July 1993. By this time I had started writing to a lovely young lady at Tuckingmill, which I had attended at holiday times, and on my return we got engaged. Returning home was difficult at first. I worked on the farm and lived at home. God had returned me to my home community, but now as a Christian. I got married to Rachel in May 1994, and we now have three children, Lois, David and Josiah. I left full-time farming in 2000 and now work for a local agricultural college. I find my faith in Christ helps to sustain me in all situations. I only really began to see things through when I became a believer. At present I think that faith in Christ is the only reason I am still in one piece today.