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SAS veteran who became a Christian evangelist 

SAS veteran and now Christian evangelist, Kevin Charles-Thompson, launched his book SAS Evangelist at The Forum in Norwich recently, which describes his time in the British Special Air Services and his journey from atheist to evangelist. Keith Morris reports.

Growing up in a deprived council estate in the northwest of England, Kevin, aged 43, learnt how to fight on the streets in a world of gangs, drink and drugs. He ended up taking drugs and stealing cars and consequently left school with nothing to show for his education having rebelled against parents and teachers. “All I wanted to do was to join the Army and get away from it all,” writes Kevin.


At the age of 16, he ended up standing at a train station with a small bag and a rail travel warrant and heading to Scotland for three months of intensive training.


“I had no idea that I was about to start a journey that would take me around the world to some of the most hostile places known to man, face life-threatening situations that I could not even imagine.”


He served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland including helping the over 200 casualties after the Omagh bombing which claimed 29 lives. He also first met members of the SAS here, which started his dream of joining them.


After five years, at the age of 21, Kevin left the Army, to work in warehousing and catch up on the nightclubs he felt he had been missing out on. He got into fights and was arrested for a nightclub brawl, but escaped a jail sentence.


“Something serious was happening inside me during those years,” writes Kevin, “Anger would gradually build up and become an inner rage within me. At the click of a finger I would become uncontrollable.”


Money trouble followed and he was declared bankrupt. An opportunity arose to join a maritime security team escorting ships past Somali pirates and then as a close protection officer in Baghdad.


But the desire to try to join the SAS was growing stronger and, back in the UK, Kevin tried three times over three years and ending up almost dead and in hospital on one occasion before finally succeeding.


In his book, Kevin describes night-time missions in Helmand province, Afghanistan, when, under fire and with his dog Sep he would leap out of helicopters in operations to capture senior Taliban commanders. He lived to tell the tail, unlike his first dog Dackx.

“Nothing comes close to jumping out of a plane at night on a hostage rescue mission – I was living the dream in the SAS – Who Dares Wins,” writes Kevin.


The SAS became global leaders in hostage rescue after the daring operation to release captives in the Iranian embassy siege in Kensington, London, in spring 1980. Most of the terrorists were killed and hostages released in a rescue captured live on TV when the soldiers abseiled from the rooftop down onto small balconies and into the building.


“The SAS is the world’s most elite special forces. I pushed myself physically, mentally, and emotionally to the limits a man could go to. In the unrelenting pursuit of the truth I pushed myself to my spiritual limits, as I was taken on a life-changing journey from the darkness to light,” said Kevin.


It was whilst fighting against the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS that Kevin said he recognised something “quite evil” that he had not noticed before. “I was witnessing something dark and it wasn’t just another enemy force in a different geographic location – I could see the same evil working through them all, something not of this natural world. I realised that the enemy that I had been fighting against was demonically oppressed.


“I was not raised in faith, I was an atheist all of my life, I hated religion and had no time for it. Yet now I found myself in a debate on good and evil, heaven and hell, light and darkness and I started to question my view of whether God existed.”


While deployed to Iraq for six months, Kevin started to read the Bible and read of Jesus rising from the dead and conquering sin and its penalty – eternal death. And he started to talk to God and found a real hunger for him.  Kevin dreamt of climbing a mountain and soon after he actually climbed the 3,000m mountain near where he was based. It was a very hard climb and he almost stopped several times . At the top he fell on his knees and cried out to God.


“I believe. I surrender my life to you Lord,” he said to God. “The power of God hit me like nothing I had experienced before in my life and I knelt, broken-hearted and empty, in the glorious presence of Jesus as a fire went through my body. My mind was healed and my spirit set free from the darkness and brought into the light.”


That day Kevin felt the call to become an evangelist for God.


Not long afterwards he seriously injured his knee while on deployment and despite spending a year in rehabilitation he was medically discharged from the SAS.


Together with wife Naomi, Kevin felt led by God to move to Cape Town, South Africa, where he spent two years helping to lead a new church. Subsequently they move to the United States to study at the Christ for All Nations School of Evangelism.


For the past few months the couple, with their two small children, have been working alongside pastors Sam and Hannah Collinson at Elim One Church in Norwich, holding evening revival meetings.



Pictured above is SAS veteran turned Christian evangelist – Kevin Charles-Thompson.


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