Compassion Counselling is a Ballymena-based Christian counselling and mentoring service which seeks to offer help to people who are in emotional distress.
Run by Leah-Jayne Farmer, Compassion Counselling offers non-judgemental support to anyone who needs it regardless of their faith background or life experiences.
In addition to being a fully qualified Mental Health Counsellor, Leah Jayne’s personal story has given her a personal insight into over-coming various challenges.
She remembers: “I didn’t grow up in a Christian home although my mother was what you would call a ‘God-fearing’ woman and my sister and I were sent to Sunday School.”
“A man called Bill Russell or ‘Hallelujah Bill’ as we would have referred to him visited our family regularly and praying at our kitchen table for people he knew, my family included, to be saved. I remember thinking what a kind, generous and loving man Bill was.”
“Although he was not a Christian, my dad allowed a man Bill knew to hold evangelistic meetings in one the sheds he owned. Although none of my family attended, I went down the steps from my house and helped to hand out hymn books.”
“At the meetings, I heard about a place called ‘Hell’ and that scared me. I started to think about how I could avoid going there. Very soon, I learned about Jesus and His offer of Salvation. After a couple of weeks, I rushed down to my bedroom after the meeting and asked Jesus into my heart.”
“The next day I told my parents and their reaction amounted to the words ‘very good.’ However, when I told my grandparents who were already saved, they responded very differently to the news, and I could see a sense of excitement in their eyes.”
Soon after, Leah-Jayne and her family who made their living building, buying and selling houses took the opportunity to leave Northern Ireland and start a new life in New Zealand.
Leah-Jayne’s family returned to Northern Ireland just as she was old enough to start secondary school and thoughts of God drifted far from her mind.
She added: “I fell into bad company and started living for the weekend; drink and drugs went hand in hand with this lifestyle and I was addicted to them for many years.”
“I became involved in an inappropriate relationship and I also developed an addiction to exercise which led to me being hospitalised.”
“God spoke to me powerfully at this time and after speaking with my Grandfather I recommitted by life to the Lord.”
Leah began to attend Christian meetings and even became involved in tract distribution. The Lord graciously saved her parents and her sister, and she eventually met her husband at a meeting.
Tragedy struck during Leah’s honeymoon when she received the news that her father had committed suicide. Once again, Leah fell into a deep depression and did not return to Church for a long time.
In time, the young woman became a mum and wanting to set an example for her children, Leah-Jayne returned to worship and to God.
A difficult pregnancy nearly resulted in death for Leah and one of her children. The onset of fibromyalgia coincided with the breakdown of her marriage after 16 years.
Through all these difficulties, Leah-Jayne has known God’s sustaining hand upon her and is now looking to use her skills as a trained Mental Health Counsellor to help others.
She is based at The Venue on Broughshane Street, Ballymena from where she will run support groups and offer individual sessions. Leah-Jayne can be contacted via: 07519 516195