And yes, once again we had our annual visit of Americans who came to the Bridgend district. Pastor Mark Fenn, Global Ministries Pastor of First West Baptist church, who was our preacher at ‘Grace’,on the last day of their visit, was quick to assure us that there is a big difference between being American or, as they are, from Louisiana.
For more than ten years their visit to the churches of Bridgend has been a highlight of our year. It came about out of tragedy. There was a terrible time when suicide among the young seemed to be sweeping through our district, until the news was reaching world wide.
Far away in Louisiana God placed a burden for us on the members of this flourishing church. In response to their offer of help, the young pastor and his wife from the Vine Christian Fellowship went out to see how they might be used of God to help us.
It was agreed that a party of them might come over, entirely at their own expense, to minister wherever doors were opened for them. It was a joy for the local evangelical churches who united not only to feed them, provide transport, but also, for those who were able, to don their distinctive red tee-shirts and join them in their visits to many of our schools and old people’s homes. We were welcomed in many places, but the high light of their ministry was through their musical skills.
Their own churches are overflowing with professional musicians, and many of these were so happy to come and share their gifts, while the schools visits made the opportunity to invite the young people to a great concert at the Pavilion which included, in all the entertainment, a clear presentation of the Gospel. Year by year these events have been packed out and seemed to cause a great response.
Later they have also included a concert geared more specifically for an older generation, ‘Sounds of the South’. This too was very popular and provided an outreach for those who might not be attracted into a church but who also so need to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel.
The Ladies outreach at the Vine is always a high light for me. In more of a party atmosphere there were some wonderful testimonies and other contributions, from both sides of the Pond.
These have been years of sowing. We have not seen the hundreds of children who flocked forward as yet filling our churches, but we press on in faith and our wonderful friends from Louisiana continue to come. Our trust is in our great God who gives us the seed of his Word to broadcast, and who promised that ‘all by itself’ it would bring forth fruit.