19 Aug 2013

GO Team to Galway

The Galway Go Team commenced on the 20th July 2013. It was to be a week of discovery and learning as the team were trusted with the work in bringing the Gospel to the people of the Republic of Ireland.

The journey started with a 3+ hour drive from Belfast to Galway via Dublin – half the length and the entire breadth of Ireland! But it is always good to arrive somewhere to a plate of food, thanks to Mrs Hamilton. The Hamiltons, Billy & his wife Mary, have been in Galway since 1991 and have been at the coal face of evangelism there ever since. Their 2 boys, Michael and Patrick, were to join myself, Ruth Greer, Anselm McDonnell, Phil Aicken, Reuben McCollum, and Sarah McCulloch on this year’s team (Rebekah Kerr arrived on the Tuesday). We were all quite excited about the team, even if the long journey made us seem knackered.

Peter Jemphrey made his first appearance soon; meeting us for a short time of prayer on our first evening. He has been the Pastor there for over a year and has quickly settled into his work there. His wife Jenny and 4 children, Thomas, Rachel, Christopher, and Timothy, were also a big part of the week. Jenny graciously fed us and the kids kept us entertained with games, X-Box, and football chats. But it is also a wonderful encouragement to see these young people so interested in the Gospel message.

After opening in prayer and introducing ourselves to each other, we got to see our schedule – it was to be a busy week. Each morning would open with Bible study on 1st Corinthians, then in the afternoons there was a mix of leaflet distribution of the 4you magazine, some questionnaires in Galway city centre, and bookshop duty in the Aisling Christian Bookshop. Mr Hamilton would do street preaching in the evening, and the team were charged with creating a crowd around this to get others interested. The main event of the week was a public talk/conference on the subject of “All Religions Lead to God – Don’t They?” The invitations for this were to be posted to people with 4you magazine. We rounded off our first evening singing our “theme Psalm” Psalm 67 to Selma. The Psalm talks about the whole world knowing God’s saving grace and praising God – an excellent theme of the week, giving us a real hope to spread the word of truth to the city.

The Lord’s Day morning Mr Jemphrey preached on Luke 15, the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin. It is encouraging and thought provoking that the Lord searches diligently and leaves no stone unturned at finding His people. There was a church lunch afterwards, and it was wonderful to get to speak to many people of all ages in their congregation. The Galway Covenant Fellowship, as the church is know, has perhaps 30 or 40 people attending, and a variety of ages, races, backgrounds, and experiences. It was wonderful to speak to them all if only for a short time. The team were introduced one by one, and I was also encouraged by the interest and prayers said for the church in Scotland and our own congregations there.
The week was quite long with early starts each morning, the Bible study on Corinthians covered many issues such as church splits, discipline, moral issues, and behaviour between Christians. The Lord really spoke to me through the study on these issues, and the entire group contributed well each day. Throughout the week the team distributed around 5000 magazines, walking through many streets and housing schemes of Galway. We were only slightly prohibited by one day of heavy rain. Our first evening of street preaching was an encouraging success, Mr Jemphrey and myself spoke to 5 young people who were on their way to a pub, their questions were honest and challenging. I do hope these 5 people have something planted that makes them question their lives. We also met two American Christians, Aubrey and her mother Denise. It was wonderful to know that for a short time there were other believers in the city.

Despite heavy rain the team got some free time on Wednesday to play Laser Quest and go to a funfair beside the beach. Phil and Reuben tried to teach the lads some skateboarding tricks – I did not participate and sadly did not get any video footage of anyone falling over! The rain put a stop to Wednesday’s street preaching, sadly, but the team kept our spirits up with a visit to McDonalds.

The Thursday event was a success. Addressing the topic of “All Religions Lead to God, Don’t they?” the talks by Mr Jemphrey and Mr Hamilton looked at many postmodern ideas of religion, such as Pluralism, and explained to those present that the only true way to God was through Christ. Mr Jemphrey gave excellent details on Jesus Christ’s life and what it means to us as Christians. It was a most wonderful and interesting evening, and it was great to see some non-believers stick around after and share in the fellowship.

On Friday we finished off our questioning of people in Galway City Centre, a very cosmopolitan place, the team all spoke to a varied mix of races and nationalities; some of the conversations and answers we got from people were quite challenging, but it is my hope that the Lord has used us to plant some seeds in people’s minds. As a group we had many individuals to pray for and stories to tell of the conversations we had. There was a social event in the evening and a chance to relax and wind down after a tiring week.

The team departed the next day and after a few sad goodbyes we hit the road. The Go Team week was a wonderful blessing to me, mixing with Christians from different RP churches was quite enjoyable, but the Lord showed me that through Him, He will give power to those who wish to proclaim His word.

Jonny Malseed
Glasgow RPCS