Bessbrook 10-12th September 2004
The leaders of Bessbrook Methodist Church invited a Lay Witness team to conduct a weekend mission in September 2004.
Nigel Woods led the team.
Nigel Woods led the team.
Weekend Reports and Photos
TOMMY MCVICKER, SOCIETY STEWARD, BESSBROOK METHODIST CHURCH writes....
The beautiful model village of Bessbrook was the setting for a Lay Witness mission in the Methodist Church. It brought together many months of prayer and planning and some weeks of very hard work on the part of a very busy working group there. The team consisted of nine members led by Nigel Woods from Portadown. When they arrived late on Friday afternoon they were greeted by the words of Ephesians 3:20 written in huge letters and displayed at the back of the church where those standing up to speak could not fail to notice them: “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask for think..” Those words proved to be prophetically true.
The team was overwhelmed by the welcome and hospitality of the congregation and by their openness and deep sincerity. This was a very special weekend because not only did the team witness but so many of the people did so too and helped, by their prayer and attitude, to create the atmosphere in which God was free to move. Many lives were touched and a number of significant commitments were made as people came seeking prayer and new direction.
The young people of this church are very special. There was no special programme for them (apart from a movie and popcorn time on Saturday afternoon enjoyed by some of the team also) and yet they sat through every session of the main weekend and were a constant delight and encouragement to the team. Their friendliness and their prayer support were remarkable. Bessbrook should be so proud of them and thankful to God for them.
Sunday afternoon saw the team depart and Sunday evening saw the people gather to give thanks and take stock of all that God had said and done among them. It is our prayer that Bessbrook will go from strength to strength and be a light set on a hill drawing many needy people into a personal knowledge of the Saviour.
“WE WERE ALL BLESSED BEFORE DURING AND AFTER THE WEEKEND”
Before the weekend started the organizing committee began to bond together as a team, each taking charge of organizing the various parts of the activities i.e. food, publicity, coffee mornings, homes for lay witness team, prayer etc. We began to rely on each other. We met and we prayed together. God strengthened us and gave us wisdom in our decision-making.
Being a small church there was some overlap with some people being involved with more than one task and although the tasks required time, effort and sacrifice in today’s busy world each person gave their best and I know we all got much more back in return as our great encourager René Priestly would say, “the Lord is no man's debtor”.
Weeks before the weekend each member (young and old) of our congregation were given the name of one of the lay witness team to pray for. I know of a couple of families who copied the name they were given and sellotaped that name around their house so that it would remind them of that person and they would pray for them.
Also we had specific people who were asked to contact a mission team member and find out if there was anything in particular on their heart that we could pray about.
It was wonderful; the way in which the Lord chose whose home each team member was to stay. Each family reported how they felt a great warmth and love from the team members and how they sat up late at night listening to them sharing their experiences of the love of God and the way he had provided for them in times of trouble or hardship in supernatural ways. Their humbleness and openness was a blessing to many, and it was a time they would treasure.
The coffee mornings on Saturday were arranged and Nigel had the team members organised to go to the various homes, but God decided that morning that he would change Nigel’s plans and some team members ended up in different homes to the ones originally intended. We heard of how people opened up in discussion, how the presence of the Holy Spirit could be felt in the house and how that peace was still there even when everyone had left. We heard reports of testimonies, which had everyone, glued to their seat.
On Friday night and Saturday night we praised and worshiped our God. The praise was wonderful! Team members were introduced and some members gave their testimony. Each testimony was unique and given in a very honest, sincere and open way. Each night had an air of expectancy.
Before worship we had a meal for the church members, guests, and the team our church hall was packed to capacity each night and everyone was treated to a wonderful meal.
On Saturday afternoon we had a meal in the church hall for the team followed by a film for the family in the church. This was well attended by mostly the young people and indeed some of the team. We were pleased to see young people from other churches come and also enjoy the film. Popcorn and drinks were provided.
Sunday morning the team led worship and once again we were blessed as we came into the presence of God. A mature woman was rejoicing so much she was dancing in her pew! Afterwards she told us that if young people can go to concerts and dance to pop stars she could most certainly go to church and dance and worship her God!
The presence of the Lord was felt and when there was a call from the alter some were moved but did not respond. However a young man who was on the heart of his family and friends, came forward to the front of the church and committed his life to the Lord. He said afterward that he never imagined that he would do such a thing, but he felt a power lift him from his seat and place him at the alter rail.
Tears were in everyone’s eyes as the Holy Spirit touched each one.
We had a farewell meal with the team and we thanked them for coming to Bessbrook and being part of such a wonderful experience.
Although the lay witness team had left, the work of the spirit continued and another young man who had felt like responding on Sunday morning but didn’t, found himself wrestling with God to the point that he had to leave his work the next day and return home and that night he had given himself to the Lord.
We cannot overestimate the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of our congregation during that mission. It was awesome! And the best is yet to come.
Our thanks to the team: - Nigel, Heather, Stephen, Karen, Sheila, Graeme, David, Cathy and Sammy. We look forward to a return visit from you in the near future d.v.