Mission Team 2018

Each June our congregation benefits from having an RP Missions team for a week. The team are in Scotland for a month, and spend time with each of the congregations.

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This year, the Mission Team were in Stranraer from 9th-14th June. We had a smaller team from usual, led by Ian (a student for the ministry from Glasgow RPCS) and three Americans: Carlie, Hannah and Matthew. Matthew (RPCNA) served on the two previous Scottish RP Mission Teams, while it was the girls' (both Reformed Baptists) first time in Scotland. They had both found the team online while searching for a missions trip that focused on evangelism and (to paraphrase them slightly) wasn't a glorified vacation.

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The team arrived on one of the warmest days of the year and immediately began the task of leaflet distribution, assisted by a few others who had come for the day to help out. The leaflets were advertising our 2018 Mission, which had the theme 'Who needs Jesus anyway?'.

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On the following day, the team joined the congregation for morning worship, followed by a church lunch. After the lunch, a couple of the team members shared a little about God's work in their lives, and then we went across to Dalrymple Court (retirement housing) where we sang some psalms and spent time with the residents. In the evening, the team joined us for evening worship before spending some time at home of one of the families in the congregation.

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Leaflet distribution continued on the Monday and Tuesday, with dinner each evening at the home of different members of the congregation. On the Tuesday and Wednesday evening the team played games with some of the young people in the congregation (who have little to no contact with other Christian young people).

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The Mission services took place on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. We were encouraged to have a number of visitors, including two Mormons who came on the Wednesday and returned the next evening.

On the Wednesday morning the team went to Stair Park (home of Stranraer FC - to whom Stephen is club chaplain) to do some clean-up work in preparation for the new season. 

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On the Thursday, the team visited some local Covenanter sites at Anwoth (where Samuel Rutherford ministered) and Wigtown (where the Two Margarets were martyred).

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Following the final Mission service the team departed to spend the weekend in Glasgow before heading up to Stornoway. We are thankful for their work and pray that their time in Scotland will be a blessing to them, just as they have been a blessing to us.

To read an article Stephen wrote for the local paper introducing the Mission Team, click here.

 

 

From the States to Stranraer

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Why would a group of 20-somethings from Texas, Virginia and South Dakota take time off their jobs and spend part of their summer in Stranraer? That’s a question that some of our summer visitors from the States have been asked.

In merely practical terms, the answer is quite simple. They’ve come to serve the church and the community. Since they arrived on Saturday, they’ve been giving out leaflets advertising special meetings we’re holding this week, spent some time with residents in retirement housing, carried out some practical work at Stair Park and helped some of our church members in practical ways.

But why would they chose to do those things? They’re not getting paid – in fact, they had to pay their own way here. The real answer is that each of their lives has been transformed by Jesus Christ – and they want to see the lives of people in this community changed as well.

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Their vision is broader than simply helping a particular ‘brand’ of church. Only one of them is from a Reformed Presbyterian Church back home, yet they’ve come to serve a small congregation in a denomination most of them hadn’t heard of before – because they recognise that we’re all part of something bigger. The things we have in common as Bible-believing Christians are far more significant than the issues on which we differ.

It’s easy to be cynical about naïve Americans – but some of them have been through experiences I wouldn’t wish on anyone. They’ve experienced more of the hardships of life than their sunny dispositions might suggest.

Above all they’re here because they believe that everyone needs Jesus: bad people, good people and religious people. And in fact, those are the titles of the three meetings that we’ve been holding from Tuesday through Thursday this week.

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Come along and you can meet them and hear their stories yourself. But their great desire is that long after they’re back home and forgotten, the one story that our town will remember is that of the Son of God. Our American friends may have come from somewhere more glamorous to Stranraer, but he came from Heaven to earth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God and then went to the cross to face God’s wrath for our disobedience.

We may hear a lot on the news about our visitors’ President – but they’re far more eager to talk about their King.

Published in the Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press, 14th April 2018.

American visitors

We recently had the opportunity to hear about the work of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. Jason and Michelle, who were over visiting from Indianapolis with their two children, gave us a bit of a flavour of church life Stateside at our Wednesday morning Bible study.

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Stephen and Jason had previously met on a mission team in Newry, and Carla and Michelle had previously met on a mission team in Airdrie. Because of their vision for the Global RP Church, they said that they had decided to spend their European holiday in Airdrie and Stranraer rather than Barcelona and London.

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After sharing some traditional Scottish food, Stephen and Carla took them to Wigtown to show them some Covenanter sites.  We are grateful for another opportunity to spend time with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world!

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Banner of Truth Ministers' Conference

At the end of April, Stephen attended the Banner of Truth Ministers' conference in England. It's a great opportunity to meet fellow ministers from the UK and around the world, and be encouraged by talks on the subject of ministry.

  Breakfast with brothers from Chile, Albania and Larne!

Breakfast with brothers from Chile, Albania and Larne!

The conference gave Stephen the opportunity to meet Simon Arscott, the minister of All Nations IPC (Ilford) where one of our members, Gareth, is attending while he's working in London.

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It was also a chance to catch up with fellow RP ministers from Ireland who had made the trip over. Warren Peel (Trinity RPC) was one of this year's main speakers.

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Videos of the talks are available here.