James Dooler

Profession: Retired Businessman

I was born in 1941 in the small West Yorkshire village of Crofton, situated just outside the Wakefield area, into a mining family.  My life nearly ended there as I was stillborn but my father gave me a tap and life began to flow. 

At school I was not a blessed academic and I found education difficult with the result that I became very unruly and would challenge any form of authority.  However there was one subject that I excelled in and that was sport, being big and very strong for my age.  I really was excited that at last I found something that I was really good at.

I was made Captain of the school rugby team, and part of my role was to write down the Team Selection list, which was a problem because of my writing and spelling.  Consequently I knew I had to learn to read and write if I wanted to fulfil my role as Team Captain and, with lots of help, I started to recover my self-confidence in terms of learning; an important breakthrough in my overall education and development.

Upon leaving school, after a few short term jobs, I went to work at the local coal mine, a role I was really suited for, being big and strong.  I gained in self respect and confidence; part of this was reflected in my progress at the mine.  I became a member of the Mines Rescue Team, much to the surprise of my Father, who had mixed feelings about this, but I feel that underneath he was very proud of me.  As I became more mature and successful, I was promoted to Shot Fire Person, a very responsible position at any mine.  Through this progress I discovered I had natural leadership qualities that were to serve me well in life, and my friends and fellow workers would often come to me and seek my opinion and advice.

Working hard at the pit, I became physically very strong and athletic.  I was doing well in sport; I had a passion for football (soccer) and particularly Rugby League.  At first, I thought I was going to make it in football, and had been seen by the scouts from Wolves (then a First Division Side) but that didn’t work out. 

As one door closed another opened as the saying goes.  I was playing Rugby League and I was spotted by a Wakefield Trinity Rugby League scout, offered trials and subsequently signed on.For me this was a dream come true since, being a team-player person, I was really excited at a future with Wakefield.  I was very successful at Wakefield, playing for Yorkshire, and as an International player for Great Britain.  At the same time I had a part time job as doorman for the local Mecca nightclub.

After some years I left the mine and, in due course, met my wife Sandra, and we had three beautiful girls; Mandy, Samantha, and Sara.  Following encouragement and support, I went self-employed, establishing an office cleaning business.  Through sheer hard work and application I created an excellent business of cleaning contracts spread around the UK, at one point employing 300 staff.  It was very exciting but really very hard work.  Other business opportunities arose and I started to manage and run a local pub, with great success providing both food and drink for the local villagers to enjoy.

Other events took place that led me, successfully, to apply for a horse trainer’s licence with the Jockey Club.  I love horses and still keep some to this day on my small stud farm.  I loved training horses and one favourite I had, named Sandra’s Secret, was to become a winner for me and was ridden by Lestor Piggott.  I seemed to have a genuine understanding with my horses, treating them with care, love and respect.

I was not interested in anything to do with Christianity or God, or the Church but looking back, I can now fully understand and recognise God’s hand at work in my life, without me knowing and without any acknowledgement of it from me.  I see now that the Lord had a plan for me that He would fulfil.

As for many other people, life was brought to a sudden jolt following a very serious, near-fatal, car accident involving my daughters at a nearby village; this was a head-on collision.  As I rushed to the accident, the area was blocked off, police everywhere.  For the first time in my life, like many others in such a desperate situation, I prayed to God that my daughters might be saved.  I rushed forward; an officer said “That’s far enough”.  “They're my daughters!” I replied and rushed past him, horrified.  My daughters had been cut out of the car and were being placed into the ambulance; I prayed that their lives would be spared.  Mandy had a very serious leg injury and it seemed almost certain that an amputation would follow.  However my prayers were answered.

Over a period of time, with the recovery of the girls, and Mandy‘s leg being spared amputation, after God had met my needs, like many others, my interest melted away somewhat, and I drifted away from Him.

A long period of pain and suffering followed this event, and on reflection I realised how lucky I was.  Or should I say how In God’s grace, he allowed me to still have my beloved Daughters.  It was heartbreaking for both Sandra and me to see our daughters suffer so much.  My wife was a Christian who believed in Prayer, and in due course the prayers were answered.  Sandra was also trusting the Lord for my Salvation.

The girls were passionate about horses and riding, as they are to this day, and not being able to ride during this period was a devastating blow to the whole family.  The Healing that took place was there for all to see, and I saw, but never really understood, God’s Hand in all of this.  Now I do.

Because of my involvement with animals, it is not unusual to vist the local vet for medication for them.  On one such visit, I tripped and fell over in the surgery.  Struggling to my feet, I explained that I had bad knees.  He said, “”I know someone that could heal them.”  With a wry smile I looked at him and said “Who?”  “Jesus”, was the reply.

He followed this up by inviting me to an FGBMFI Dinner Meeting in Goole.  To keep him happy, I went along - and did not get anything out of it, and said that I would not go again.  However, the vet was brave and asked me to go and give the Selby FGBMFI Dinner Meeting a try.  When I got to the door, I was greeted by both David Hare, the then Chapter President (now with the Lord), and John Middleton, the Prayer Co-Coordinator for the Selby Chapter.  At Selby, we always have a time of Praise and Worship led by Chapter Secretary Michael Scorgie.

I had asked John if I could sit alongside him since he had made me feel so welcome at the door.  He agreed, and during the praise and worship the Holy Spirit fell upon me, although I did not understand this at the time; Michael was playing a beautiful song “All Hail King Jesus”.  I asked John to take my hand and, in that moment, I felt such warmth, love, and peace, almost without description, fall upon me.  When the Guest Speaker, John Leask, invited people to come to the Lord I made a public confession of Christ and accepted Him as My Lord and Saviour.  It was just a fantastic feeling of pure joy and true happiness.

But it did not end at that point.  I went on to join the Selby FGBMFI and, in due course, became the Chapter Vice-President, supporting David Owen the Chapter President.

The Lord led me to join the Bentley Pentecostal Church, and this helped me grow and develop as a Christian.  When I first became a Christian I did not know what to do or say.  David Hare said to me, “Be yourself, Jim”.  These words really struck home, and I took his wise advice, and of course the Lord has in due course shown me the changes that I had to make, in my attitude, my love and care for others, the power of Prayer.  When my wife was told of bone cancer I saw, yet again, God’s healing power at work in her body, and I was being given demonstrations of God’s response to our prayers in what seemed at the time a hopeless situation.  This led me to set up a Prayer Chain Ministry, and a wider involvement with FGBMFI.

I have really found great personal blessing in going around the FGBMFI Chapters to give God the Glory for the wonderful transformation in my life at the age of 64, and now as I look back at everything in my life, it has been part of God’s greater plan and in His timing, for my life, and now at 68 I am really wanting to take every available opportunity to give God all the glory for His Grace and Mercy and true forgiveness in my life.  I have made a wonderful discovery, I that just want to share this with everyone.  All Hail King Jesus and to God be the glory.

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