Each year our students take part in a week of evangelism and are partnered with one of the churches in the Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland. This week we'll hear from the teams that went to Armagh and Cavan.
The College Evangelism Team to Armagh was full of excellent opportunities to speak to all ages about the good news of Jesus Christ. The week commenced with the Sunday evening church service, with the team using their musical talents in praise. Tim gave his testimony and highlighted how important it is for young people to have good spiritual influences. Matthew Campbell preached on Moses’ call in Exodus 4, where God promised an anxious Moses, “I will be with your mouth.” These words echoed in our minds throughout the week, providing much-needed encouragement as we went out to share the gospel with the people of Armagh.
Each morning we arrived at schools to help set up for the Amazing Journey, led by James Robinson. It was a great privilege for the team to observe James’ enthusiasm and commitment to teaching schoolchildren the gospel in such a creative way. Members of the took part in dressing up and teaching the children, preparing food for the kids to taste, and helping with the costumes that children could try on. Perhaps the most amazing part of the Amazing Journey programme was when a little boy from Bangladesh approached us to tell us how much he enjoyed it:
“That was the first time I have heard the stories of Jesus,” he said with obvious joy on his face. “You’re not allowed to talk about Jesus where I’m from.”
“Well, we are so glad that we could teach you about Jesus today, you can request a free Gospel of John to take home with you and read.” I responded.
“No, not allowed at home,” he replied.
Continue to pray for this little boy that somehow he would be able to learn more about the Saviour.
In the afternoons we were joined by John Cunningham as we distributed one thousand ‘What’s the Story, John’ booklets throughout the surrounding areas. In God’s grace, not a few people were willing to talk to us openly about God. These ranged from an angry atheist, a disillusioned Mormon and a man with half an hour’s worth of difficult questions about faith! What a joy it was to hear some of these lost, precious souls show an interest in attending the church either on a Sunday or at the ‘Mums and Tots’ group.
The team took part in various service at the church. On Wednesday Emily gave a heartrending word of testimony of how Christ transformed her life and gave her lasting hope. Nathan followed this with an exposition of Psalm 91. By Thursday afternoon we had no evangelistic resources left for the doors and spent an enjoyable afternoon with senior citizens, many of whom had no connection to the church. Bryan gave his testimony and Armagh’s assistant pastor, Mark Rooney, preached. Both speakers had a message for the elderly that emphasised certain hope and peace in Christ alone. It was that steadfast hope and eternal peace that spurred us on all week and united us in our efforts to serve the church in Armagh and we give all the glory to God for what He did through us.
Pastor Ivan Watson hosted our team of seven at Cavan Baptist Church during the week of October 22nd-28th. Hebrews 12:1-3 was the week’s devotional theme. Ivan led us most mornings patiently and faithfully through this pivotal text, unaware as we were that it would so suitably illustrate the history of this church.
We arrived on Saturday evening to set up camp in the church building, just in time to be hosted by Ivan and his wife, Carol, for dinner. Hospitality proved a major thread binding the week together: We sat down for an enormous buffet lunch hosted by the church following the Sunday service, and we were served delicious meals prepared by a different church member each evening throughout the week.
Our team partnered with Ivan and Patti, one of three long-term church workers from the U.S. in Cavan, going door to door or meeting with individuals in the town centre with the Gospel message and Bibles (as well as various tracts, “3 Steps to Heaven” booklets, and an invitation to a Johnny Cash [cover] concert). Many seeds were sown; the Lord will provide the growth.
What became clear as the week progressed was that the labour of Ivan and Carol, Patti, Evan and Rachel (the other church workers from America), and the church in Cavan was not in vain. Following the work of Pastor Ian Grant, who planted the church almost 30 years ago and worked many years faithfully in Cavan to sow seeds of the Gospel, these brothers and sisters have continued week-in and week-out to reach out to their community with the message of hope. As we went door to door, our team sensed a ‘softness’ towards the Baptist church in Cavan. We praise God that the longstanding witness of the church shines brightly as a ‘city on a hill’ for its neighbours.
Various team members were given the opportunity to share their testimonies, preach sermons, lead Bible studies and youth evenings, and participate in high school outreach events. The testimonies and the lessons taught were powerful, but perhaps most powerful was the lesson we learned from Ivan each morning as he humbly encouraged us from Hebrews 12:1-3 to continue to ‘run with perseverance’ as he has done in Cavan.
On Friday, our final day in Cavan, we drove to Belturbet, where Joel and Katya Marcus have been serving in a relatively new church plant. Again, the team went from door to door to share the Gospel with the needy. It is encouraging to see how the Lord is establishing his church in Belturbet. That evening, a crowd gathered to hear David Kelly playing some Johnny Cash tunes (very realistically!) and using the story of Cash’s life to explain the Gospel.
We are grateful for this unforgettable experience in Cavan. Please pray for Cavan Baptist, Belturbet Baptist, and the evangelistic efforts in Virginia as they seek to faithfully live out their calling to make disciples in their towns.