Drimoleague 5-7th September 2003
The leaders of Drimoleague Methodist Church invited a Lay Witness team to conduct a weekend mission in September 2003.
Dave Lawlor led the team.
Dave Lawlor led the team.
Drimoleague is a small rural community situated about 40 miles beyond Cork City. It is 285 miles from my home give or take a mile or two from going round a few roundabouts more than once to find the right exit! The Methodist Society in Drimoleague hosts a Convention each year over a weekend around the end of August although for various reasons this year it was from 5th to 7th September. About 12 years ago they took the initiative and an unprecedented step of requesting a Lay Witness Team to conduct their weekend Convention. I was privileged to be one of that initial team. This year Drimoleague decided to invite a Lay Witness team again to conduct their Annual Convention. Dave Lawlor from Carnalea was invited to be the Team Co-ordinator and set about putting together the team for the occasion. Originally 8 members were recruited but at the last minute one and then another had to opt out due to unforeseen circumstances, leaving a much smaller than usual team of 6, 4 from the North and two from the South, to cover the weekend meetings. Four “old hands” and a couple of “freshers.” Well the only way we grow is when we are stretched!
Returning to my weekend host family after the Friday night meeting I was asked a question that I had never been asked before by one of the student daughters in the house. “How do you get picked for a Lay Witness team?” I sensed this was more than just a conversation starter and asked her if she was interested. She was. I asked if she had ever shared testimony as to how she met with Jesus and what he was doing in her life. “Sure” came the reply, “at SU and Youth camps.” “Have you ever been asked to give your testimony in you own church?” I asked. She said “no” so I asked her if she would be prepared to do so at the Saturday evening meeting, and she was ready and willing. Even without contacting Dave about this conversation, I told her she had just volunteered for her first Lay Witness team. She gave her testimony on Saturday evening and was brilliant. One of the team that evening had a specific word for the church and for individuals. The word was based on Acts 2:47, “And God added to the church daily those that were being saved.” Not only was it God’s desire to physically add to the church but to add to the depth of relationship and experience of the church members. At the end of the meeting the invitation for prayer was based on that word. One of those who came forward was a young woman from a few miles away. She had not been coming to the church but had seen the information about the weekend. We counselled her and prayed with her. I can’t help but believe that somehow that special testimony was instrumental in her response. She came back to the Sunday afternoon meeting when the church members got around her and invited her along to the church prayer meeting later that evening.
The prayer meeting on the Sunday morning was also “something else." Parents brought their children who amused themselves quietly on the floor with their books and pencils while the adults went to prayer. What a wonderful nurturing environment for children to develop in. The Communion service is not normally part of a Lay Witness weekend but it happened to be scheduled that way at Drimoleague. The team led the Sunday morning service and handed over to Rev John Purdy to conduct Holy Communion. Christ is always present at His table and so during the Holy Communion the team made themselves available for those who wanted specific prayer.
After a short break for lunch we were back again at 3.00pm for the final Convention meeting. The three touching testimonies of God’s wonderful grace and provision in life and death situations were used by the Holy Spirit to prompt a response to the invitation at the end of the meeting. Rededication of a life to the Lord and other prayer needs were ministered into by the team members.
One of the very touching points of the weekend was the feedback from a young man and his wife whom we had counselled and prayed with on the weekend 12 years previously. He came forward and declared that the team’s input into their lives over that weekend had been tremendous bedrock on which to build their marriage relationship together and the establishment of their relationship with a wonderful Saviour.
Being so far from home we did not leave after the Sunday afternoon meeting but stayed another night and travelled home on the Monday. That gave us the privilege of travelling over the hills to take the evening service in the little Ballydehob church overlooking Roaringwater Bay about 20 miles away. It was a privilege to share the “Living Water” with the people at Roaringwater where we met another group of good friendly Cork people and enjoyed fellowship together.
God was good to us on the weekend and it was wonderful to see the fruit resulting at the meetings and also to see the fruit still developing from the previous Team visit. As usual after a Lay Witness weekend the comment from the team is similar; those of us on the team got as much blessing from the weekend as those amongst whom we were privileged to share our own experiences.