25 October – Brian Blogg, Petersfield and Liss United Reformed Church

Where are you going?

In December 1903 a baby boy was born in Southampton. I know little of his childhood but it seems he was troublesome for at the age of 12 he was sent to work aboard a training ship for misbehaving boys. When he was fourteen, the ship sailed from Southampton to Cape Town to join the army, then engaged in WW1.

After the war he joined the Royal Navy, but deserted in New York City, and soon joined the United States Navy. He developed a gambling habit to which he became addicted. When he was 24, his work with the United States Navy involved going to Australia and he deserted again, this time in Melbourne. After marrying an Australian girl he joined the Royal Australian Navy until 1937 when he was legally discharged, buying his way out but without a pension. About that time he encountered men from the Exclusive Brethren movement. Despite, and in part because of, his conversion to Christianity his marriage seems to have been a turbulent one involving short term separations from his wife and child but they were eventually reconciled.

In 1939, with the onset of World War II, Jenner was recalled to active duty. Because of his narcolepsy, which he had developed years earlier in South Africa when bitten by a tsetse fly, he was given shore duties in Sydney. In this capacity, he participated in undercover operations delivering sealed orders. After the war, he left the navy and became a janitor for IBM.

Following his conversion he had promised God that he would attempt to speak to at least 20 people each day about Jesus. Rising at 5 am for prayer, this he did most days in Sydney, courteously approaching strangers saying “Excuse me Sir/Madam, if you died tonight are you going to heaven?” As a result hundreds did! How might we have answered?