The evangelism week was definitely full of lessons and blessings for our team. We had the opportunity to go to Ballycrochan Baptist Church and see how welcoming they are. This was a week when we got to have great conversations, meet amazing people and eat wonderful food in church members’ homes. While it was our desire to have been a blessing there, it has been God who taught us the most.
The week started on Sunday, when we attended Ballycrochan Baptist Church services, where some of our team members had the opportunity to be part of the service, preaching and having a teaching time for the children on the theme of harvest.
On Monday we did some street evangelism and door to door evangelism. It was a great opportunity to connect with the people of the community. This is usually the hardest task, you never know what to expect, so we just asked God for wisdom. While some people weren’t open to talk about religious matters, we found a very positive response from a large percentage of them and we had very interesting conversations. Some people were happy to share about some difficult situations asking for prayer and we were even invited in for tea a couple of times. On Monday we also got to spend some time with the Campaigners (a children’s ministry in the church).
On Tuesday and Thursday we got to visit different local primary schools where we did some crafts with the children and had the opportunity to talk about thankfulness and God’s love. It was a very blessed time, and we were especially surprised by how open and welcoming the schools were. The children were very excited to meet the team and had lots of questions. On Tuesday evening the church had a women’s meeting centered on house management. There were women from the community invited, and it was very interesting for them to see how our daily life is based on our Christian beliefs.
On Wednesday we visited Bangor Academy and had a time to share with the youth there. We were thrilled to see how many of them were willing to know more about God and had very interesting conversations about difficult challenges they have to face at this age. In the evening we had some time with the church in their prayer meeting.
On Thursday the church had a Men’s Curry night which was a great opportunity for the men on the team to get to know some of the men in the church and reach out to the unbelieving men who came along as one of the team members shared how God has worked in his life.
Friday was the highlight of this great week! In the morning we participated in “Café Connect” which the church runs. This focuses on having conversations and making connections with people. In the evening the church held an event for children in the community called “Pumpkin Heroes.” It was an amazing opportunity to talk and let more people know about the church while sharing the gospel with them. We could see how the children really enjoyed this time and it was amazing to talk with some of the parents who were really happy to see their children spending this time at the church.
This year, our team of seven from the college got the opportunity to spend a week in Comber, working alongside Pastor Neal Gordon in Comber Baptist Church. We felt sincerely welcomed by the local church throughout the week and want to thank them for their kindness in providing us with accommodation, meals, good fellowship, and encouragement. Comber is not a town that I had the opportunity of visiting before, and on first impression, it was much larger than expected. As a team, we were blessed to be heavily involved in many different ministries of the church throughout the week. We arrived on Sunday morning and were able to lead the service. After introducing ourselves, Chris Banks spoke on Jesus walking on water in John 6. In the afternoon we were warmly welcomed into the home of some church members and were extremely well-fed by the time the evening service came around – a definite theme of the week! Some members of the team spent time in a local nursing home and were able to accompany some church members there for the first time since before the pandemic began.
Monday morning’s itinerary item piqued my interest – a historical tour of Comber town! This was a great way of getting to know the area (and local coffee shops). For the next day and a half, we spent our time with Pastor Neal and several church elders and deacons in handing out flyers for the week’s events, namely a coffee morning, men’s breakfast and quiz night. This was the first chance we got to see just how well one team member (Roy) knew not only the geography of his hometown but also the local people, many of whom remembered him from years gone by and who had the honour of having one of those genuine conversations with him on their doorstep, or in some cases, their living room! On Tuesday evening, Reuben took the mid-week prayer meeting, and Wednesday morning brought about the first evangelistic outreach event in the shape of a Macmillan coffee morning held in the Church. We enjoyed serving tea and coffee to a full hall and heard from Debbie as she shared a short epilogue. The remainder of the week consisted of similar evangelistic events taking place and saw Roy share his testimony powerfully at both the men’s breakfast and our community quiz on Friday evening, which closed off our time in Comber. The week was marked by God using our different gifts in various ways to serve the local church. We knew his guidance the entire time as logistics went smoothly, the highlights being the mutual encouragement we received from the church, as well as the strength we took as a team from God’s word each day as we came to Him in our time of daily devotions.