North Edinburgh: Day Three (Sunday)

Today the GO Team were able to spend the Sabbath worshipping with the church in North Edinburgh. It was lovely to join with both those we had met earlier in the weekend, and those we had not yet met to praise God together. There was something satisfying about looking out of the window to see the tower blocks we had delivered leaflets to yesterday and exciting to think that each home had received the gospel message and information about the church and how God could be working through that.

We enjoyed a church lunch in the school after the service which was an opportunity for fellowship together. After this the team enjoyed a chilled Sunday afternoon at Rosie's and a walk to Cramond.

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In the evening service we looked at what loving each other as a family within the church looks like and looked forward to the church plant becoming established as a congregation later this week.

Please continue to pray for the church as they become established as a congregation, for their fellowship as a community of believers and for their outreach to the surrounding community. Please also pray that God would give safety to the members of the GO Team as they travel home. 

We give thanks to God for all that the team has been able to achieve this weekend and for the various ways in which He has answered prayers. It has been such a joy and privilege to be able to spend time with the church in North Edinburgh and we look forward to hear what God does in the future in this part of the city.

North Edinburgh: Day Two (Saturday)

Today was another busy day of leaflet distribution around North Edinburgh as the GO team were joined by others from both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Give thanks for how we continued to make good progress throughout the morning and afternoon with the leaflets; of the 7500 we hoped to give out, only 350 are left!

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It was a day of new experiences, with some GO team members enjoying views over Edinburgh from 22 storeys up and others learning the art of cheese slicing with a cheese plane (slicer)! We have been constantly reminded of God's goodness to us - from two days of beautiful sunshine to being able to access most flat blocks, God has answered many prayers. We are also thankful for the good relationships he has given us within the team.

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Please pray that people in the community would read the gospel message they have received and that the Holy Spirit would work in people's hearts. Pray that we will see new faces in the church services tomorrow and for Peter as he preaches.

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North Edinburgh: Day One (Friday)

This morning a team of eight enthusiastic go teamers arrived in Edinburgh, some after an early start for a flight, to serve alongside the group in North Edinburgh, a church plant in a more socially deprived area of Edinburgh.

The team consists of members from both Northern Ireland and Scotland, and we were also joined by several people from the North Edinburgh congregation. Team members are: Ken Nelson, Sarah-Jane Wilson, Calvin Quigley, Jess Muir, Anah Laverty, Anselm McDonnell, Abigail McLean and Esther McCollum.

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After a quick introduction and breakfast of bacon butties together at Peter and Emma's, the team headed out to make a dent on the 7500 leaflets to be given out. The leaflets have a heading of 'What has God to say to you?' and look at the theme of how although we can change many external factors in our lives (new houses, new jobs new relationships etc) we cannot deal with  our hearts and we need the good news of Jesus Christ to change our hearts. We enjoyed lunch together and then more distribution. Really good progress was made and we covered all of the areas we were hoping to cover and more.

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We have already seen answers to prayer in that we were able to gain access to the majority of the flats we were hoping to get into and that the weather was so lovely throughout the day. We enjoyed a time of team prayer and worship this evening which was a great opportunity to thank God for the day and pray for the surrounding community that people's hearts would be open to the gospel message they receive and the invitation to attend church.

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Continue to pray for good weather tomorrow and that we would continue to be able to gain access to the majority of flat blocks and that people would read the leaflets and God would work in people's hearts and also for more conversations with people we meet.

Stranraer GO Team: Saturday & Sunday

Saturday saw the first ever Family Fun Day organised by the congregation in Stranraer. The morning began with a mini Holiday Bible Club for the children who came, while Ken Nelson spoke to the adults and shared what God has been teaching him through facing a life-threatening brain aneurysm.

In the afternoon, the team organised a kids' fun afternoon with bouncy castle, face painting, candy floss etc. We finished up with a BBQ for everyone. We are thankful to God for dry weather after a very wet week.

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It was also good to have children from Airdrie, Edinburgh, Trinity and some families from our nearest Reformed church (Ayr Free Church Continuing). It was a very encouraging day for the Stranraer congregation, and was great to see our children enjoying a day with other Christian young people.

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On Sunday, the team worshipped with the congregation, enjoyed a church lunch, sang psalms in sheltered housing and generally enjoyed spending time with people in the church. Today we're going to see some Covenanter sites in Wigtown before the team depart this afternoon.

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Milford & Letterkenny GO Team: Day 6 (Friday)

This is our final update of the week, and we are very conscious of how the Lord has been with us in all the activities we have taken part in over the course of the team.

Our hearts were moved this morning as we began our time of prayer by praising God in light of some passages in Revelation that speak particularly clearly and vividly about the worthiness of Jesus Christ the Son of God. This time of adoration also fed into our time of intercession; it is our prayer that the people we spent the morning praying for would come to see the glories of Christ Jesus for themselves.

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After our prayer time, we set out for the Holiday Bible Club. The sky was far from encouraging, but thankfully it stayed dry for our first set of games. However, it wasn't long until the heavens opened and we had to quickly set up a shelter for the singing, memory verse, and story. Sometimes being on a GO Team can mean serving in unglamorous ways - like holding up a tarpaulin in the rain so the children stay dry!

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Thankfully God enabled us to keep on going with the club in spite of the awful weather. Mark Loughridge challenged the children to follow Christ as he explained the parable of the wise and foolish builders.

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After lunch it was time to finish off our study of Tactics. Give thanks to God for this time of discussing how we can best give an answer for the hope that is within us. Since the weather had dried up, we also set out to give out some more invitations to church. This time, we went to Kerrykeel, a town just a few miles north of Milford. Give thanks in particular for one interesting conversation and pray that even though it ended quite abruptly, that God would use it in order to change this man's heart.

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We asked you to pray that it would stay dry for the BBQ and thankfully it did. However, the rain never seemed far away and it was a grey, miserable sort of night, so there were fewer people there than in previous years. We were encouraged by a number of people who did come, for whom we were specifically praying, so please join with us in thanking God for that.

It's hard to believe that the team is now over! We've taught stories, memory verses, and psalms to the children, held Bible studies, visited a nursing home, discussed apologetics, and knocked on doors. Yet, our most important work by far was coming before the throne of grace each morning in order to plead with God to advance his kingdom in Donegal. Please pray along with us that he would do this for his glory!

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Stranraer GO Team: Day 1 (Friday)

This year's Stranraer GO Team is the first ever where we don't plan to give out a single leaflet!

After arriving and having lunch we went to a nursing home that had asked us to come in and entertain the residents. Jess played the fiddle and recited a Gaelic poem, and Emily sang in English and Gaelic. Sam and Stephen then introduced a few well-known psalms, which we all sang (in English).

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We then did some cleaning up at the church in preparation for the weekend's activities. The first of activity, which was held tonight, was the showing of a new documentary about Martin Luther. It was a good opportunity for the congregation to spend time together, and we were also joined by some of our friends from the Baptist church.

Tomorrow we're organising a Church Family Fun Day, and are praying for good weather in the afternoon!

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Team Members:

Ken Nelson, Garth Gillespie, James Gillespie (Trinity); Calvin Quigley, Jessica Muir, Emily Robertson (Airdrie) Sam McDonald, Amy McCollum (Woodstock), Anah Laverty (Shaftesbury Square); Rachel Nelson (North Edinburgh)

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Milford & Letterkenny GO Team: Day 5 (Thursday)

We are very thankful for God's goodness to us over this week so far - as we look back over the last 5 days, we are able to see different encouragements God has provided us with on each of those days.

By this point in the week, we're well settled into our routine. We meet in Jonny & Ruth's house at 9am and spend just over an hour praying. We have been using different materials to help us remain focused during our prayers and to help us follow some of the biblical patterns for prayers. These materials include lists of promises God has given to the church, lists of verses that speak of his glory and power, and lists of prayer points relating to the mission of the two congregations.

This morning we spent time praying in light of Psalms 146-150, before praying for Ireland, which has fewer gospel preaching churches than any other country in the English speaking world. We prayed by name for different brothers and sisters we know who are serving in other parts of the country. We also prayed for the conversion of family members and friends who are connected to the Milford congregation.

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For the first time this week we had to deal with rain during the Holiday Bible Club. Thankfully it wasn't wet enough to hold the children back, and 26 arrived this morning, so we set up a shelter and had a great time! This morning Jonny was explaining the parable of the hidden treasure. Please pray that the young people would come to see the all surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ.

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The weather went downhill after lunch, so we had to hold back on giving out more invitations to church. That wasn't a problem though, as we took some extra time to continue with our study of Tactics and to discuss how we engage with those who question our faith. 

Thankfully there was a break in the rain and we were able to get out onto the streets of Letterkenny. There weren't many conversations that seemed noteworthy, but please pray that these personal encounters would make people more likely to come along to services.

After dinner, it was time for the last of our evenings with the teenage group. In our bible study we looked at how Jesus healed the blind man in Bethsaida, and how this illustrates the Holy Spirit giving us spiritual vision. It was very encouraging to hear those who were present interacting with the text. After the study we enjoyed making our own delicious, but very unhealthy milkshakes.

Prayer points

  • Pray for good weather for tomorrow's Holiday Bible Club and especially for the community BBQ
  • Pray that many local residents would come along to the BBQ, especially those who have been there in the past
  • Give thanks for the teenagers who have been at our evening events this week and pray that God would graciously enable them to walk in his ways in spite of the pressures they face
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Milford & Letterkenny GO Team: Day 4 (Wednesday)

Once again, we began our morning with prayer - praising God for his character and his works, and praying specifically for members of Letterkenny and for the conversion those who are in some way connected with the congregation. 

After this important work, we set out again to the local play park for the second day of our Holiday Bible Club. Give thanks for how it stayed dry the whole way through the club. We had 22 children again with some new faces among them.

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This morning Patrick Hamilton did the story, explaining the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector. Please pray that God would free these young people from the pride that blinds sinners to their true spiritual condition.

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This afternoon, we went into Letterkenny in order to deliver invitations to church. David also had the opportunity to visit with one of the members of Letterkenny who has been in hospital for a couple of months. Give thanks for how encouraging this time was. There was just time before dinner to squeeze in the latest session of our book discussion on Tactics by Gregory Koukl.

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Once again we spent the evening with Letterkenny’s youth group, so after a delicious dinner, we set out to play a round of footgolf. For those who aren't familiar with this fairly new sport, it's exactly what it sounds like - players kick a football along a golf course and try to get it into the hole. Again, we were so thankful to God for the dry weather he gave us to enjoy this activity.
 

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Unfortunately for different reasons, some of the young people have had to miss different events we have held this week, so please pray that they would be able to come to the bible study and games on Thursday night. Having said that, we are encouraged by how our work with the young people has gone this week and are especially thankful for a number of encouraging and profitable conversations.

Please pray for tomorrow’s activities - Jonny will be speaking at the Holiday Bible Club on the parable of the hidden treasure, we will be distributing more invitations in the afternoon, and David will be leading the evening bible study on Jesus healing the blind man at Bethsaida.

Milford & Letterkenny GO Team: Day 3 (Tuesday)

Every morning on the Milford & Letterkenny GO Team begins with prayer and today was no different. We firmly believe that unless God works, we are wasting our time in every activity we organise. Today we began with a period of adoration before praying for the members of Milford by name and committing the days activities to the Lord.

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This morning we began our Holiday Bible Club, held in one of the housing estates in Milford. We were thrilled by the turnout, with 22 children getting stuck into the games and listening enthusiastically to the talk. This morning, Stuart Fallows challenged them with the parable of the rich fool. 

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After the club, there was just enough time for lunch and a quick rehearsal before we headed to the church for the inaugural meeting of The Lunch Bunch for afternoon tea. The congregation is considering developing this into a regular event and are hoping that it will be an encouragement to the members of the church as well as providing opportunities to reach out to others in the community.

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Give thanks for how 27 people came along! They really enjoyed the food, the music, and the quiz that some of the members of the GO Team prepared.

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In the evening we were treated to a beautiful meal in the home of a family from Letterkenny and we enjoyed getting to know them better. 

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After dinner we had the second evening of Summer Youth Club. Unfortunately heavy rain and dramatic lightning meant beach games and ice cream wasn't a great option, so we hastily came up with a plan B of indoor games and hot chocolate. Thankfully the weather didn't hinder us and the young people had a great night.

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Tomorrow Patrick Hamilton will speak to the children at Holiday Bible Club about the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector. In the afternoon the team will be giving out invitations to church in Letterkenny and in the evening we plan to play footgolf with the youth group. Thanks for all your prayers for our work this week.

Milford & Letterkenny GO Team: Day 2 (Monday)

This was a day of getting ready for the events of this week, and starting into the most important aspect of our work - interceding with God for the advancement of his kingdom.

With the encouragement that not one word of God's promises has failed (Joshua 23:14), we spent the morning in prayer. Our focus today was on adoring God for his nature and works, using the promises of Scripture to inform our prayer requests, and praying for the work of brothers and sisters in Christ who are serving in other churches in Donegal.

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The morning and early afternoon were spent in preparation for the rest of the week. Holiday Bible Club games, memory verses, and psalms were prepared, the hall was set up for Tuesday's Lunch Bunch, and the musical members of team rehearsed for tomorrow's entertainment.

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Next, we made a start into giving out invitations to church around homes in the community. Over 100,000 people in Donegal live outside of built up areas. This can make reaching them a difficult and time consuming task and it is easy to overlook them by focusing exclusively on towns and villages. This afternoon the team focused on very rural areas, and while this means fewer invitations were given out, the homes we reached need the gospel as well.

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After this afternoon's work, we enjoyed the kind hospitality of one of the families belonging to the Milford congregation. In the evening we met up with Letterkenny's young people for a bible study on the woman who anointed Jesus' feet. We finished the evening by playing games and concocting new delicacies on a raclette. 

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