This month we welcome retired police officer, Tony Smith, who recounts his Christian journey and tells us how he was clutched from the jaws of death.
Few people have had personal testimony to know what it’s like to face death but, for retired police officer Tony Smith from Greater Manchester, this terrifying ordeal became all-too-real when a Salford gunman opened fire on him just two years into his police career back in November 1990. The injuries Tony sustained included serious damage to his chest, neck and face and necessitated time spent in the Intensive Care Unit and six months rehabilitation afterwards.
Tony’s parents were part of the Windrush generation who came from the Caribbean in the 1950’s. While Tony and his siblings had always attended various Sunday schools, like many teenagers Tony got distracted from his faith for a while although he prayed when he needed or wanted to. Having joined the police in early 1989, Tony was enjoying his new career when the shooting incident occurred. It was then that he drew on his faith and he prayed that he would pull through, especially for the sake of his wife and 1-year-old daughter who he wanted to see grow up. God answered his prayers and, from then on, Tony’s faith was strengthened.
After months of counselling which instilled in him the need to talk things through, Tony was eventually well enough to return to policing in the same area where the shooting incident had taken place. He came to know Jesus well and thanked Him regularly for saving him from almost certain death. He then came to the realisation he had not always put God first and this turned his life round completely, recognising that the Lord is the centre of his being, not just part-time. The incident strengthened his faith and he believed God was by his side once he got back to his policing duties full-time.
Tony’s colleagues respected his religious beliefs and asked him if they wanted to know anything about Christianity, their view on faith being “live and let live”. He became a member of the Christian Police Association, attending prayer meetings and spending spare time in the Prayer Room at the police station.
During his police career, from which he retired in 2014, Tony worked in various departments including on the Section, then the Tactical Aid Unit followed by time in the Robbery Squad and finally in C.I.D. As a result of his previous policing experience, Tony was later successful in re-joining the police as a Civilian Investigator and now works in the Force’s Child Sexual Exploitation Unit investigating historical cases.
Over the intervening years from the shooting incident, Tony’s faith has grown even stronger and he regularly speaks publicly about the Gospels. He attends the Trafford Christian Life Centre in Stretford, Manchester, and is heavily involved in bible study, prayer meetings, preaching and many other church activities. He has also attended many study lectures at the Nazarene College.
Tony firmly believes in the Book of Revelations. He believes and prays that ALL will be saved in time for the Rapture. This is when Christ will take to Heaven all those who believe in Him and are committed to Christ in faith and are saved. Earth will be left to the anti-Christ and the tribulation period, which will last seven years. Then Christ will return to the Earth with those who have been saved. Christ will defeat the anti-Christ and his followers and set up His 1,000 year reign.