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Newsletter June 2011

St Mary Tree Down  

Ah long days!. Overcast, rainy, and sunny (4:45-20:05 seventeen plus hour days!)

The sunrise is at 4:45 a.m.  Long before the 6 a.m. when we wake on Mondays and Wednesdays to be presentable and make the coffee.  People show up for 7 a.m. prayer.  Our prayer group has grown by two on Monday.  Jack and Gillian came on Wednesday, and Father Alan said he would return.

Remember Rev Jack Lamb?  He was on the flight to Newark with us and stopped by as soon as our blinds opened, on our first day back.  He stops by regularly.  This week he raps on the door, says “I’ll not come in but to tell you the BBC is doing a show on Amy Carmichael who was from this area you know.”  Bill is Ward’s poet friend who is

wonderful at pursuing the concept that the answer to every situation is a poem.  He is pushing to have, together with Ward, recitations of poetry within and outside of the church.  “Twenty twenty” came to Jack Lamb’s church to do a documentary on the 19th Century missionary Amy Carmichael who started the Evangelical Welcome Centre in our area of Belfast and then went to India to help the poor.  Their BBC special will bring an Indian women evangelist back to the Shankill Road.  Bill suggested he had poems on crossing the divide and was invited to submit them since the continuing intransigence to reconciliation is also good media material.  So some day Ward’s poem “Heather Street Prayer” and “Armagh” may turn up on BBC.

Bill’s encouragement to us since returning has been extraordinary.  He responds to all our invitations.  After a chat one night wherein he delved into the source, 40 years ago, of his fear of exposure, and the subsequent healing of that fear, he said “If your 10 years of planning only yielded this one conversation it was well worth it”.  So we continue to come alongside.  Encouraging one another.

At the end of the school year there is usually a Fun Day for the children and parents.  Burgers, booths and bungee castles.  We wanted to attend in order to greet the new principal at Edenbrooke Primary School where we started Tea Talk and Pray.  We planned to follow up with an appointment to discuss our prayer time for a Fall start.  Jonathan Manning is a young man with spiked hair, mod clothes, and pointed boots.  Ward said he bee-lined over to him and introduced himself and said “I know of you from George who goes to my church”.  He said the same to me in the burger line and said “I welcome you to come and pray for us, prayer works”.  I told him he was the answer to our prayers in the school for the past year and a half since knowing about the former principal’s retirement.  Exciting stuff.

18 June was a full day.  There were at least four options for activity.  I elected the PW Outing, a bus run to points east.  Newtownards shopping and National Trust property Mount Stewart with a stop at country churches for lunch and dinner. Ward stayed in the neighborhood and led a session for Prayer for a Peaceful Parade Season which attracted 20-25 people.  We met up later in the evening at the Arthur Blessitt talk at the end of cross carrying parade through Belfast.  Arthur is an evangelist who started in the late 1960s on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood and then carried a 12 foot cross across the U.S. and has now walked over 42 years, been to every country in the world, walked 39,000 miles, prayed with Yasser Arafat in West Beirut, and met the Pope.  He is very fit and says in that unapologetic American way “I love Jesus!”.

Last story: the other American we know working in the Shankill Road area is Rob Ballard.  He is Rev Jack Lamb’s pastoral assistant.  It was his initiative to read through the Bible on this the 400 year anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible.  We read from various English translations.  More than 120 people read and over 20 clergy and over 35 churches were represented.  Seven people made new professions of faith.  We brought ourselves and 10 others to read in 15 minute increments.  Genesis through Revelations can be read aloud in just over 72 hours. 

So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Email: wardstothers@cten.org
Phone: (028) 90 291986  From U.S. 01144.2890.291986

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