One of the things we do at the Mathetes Trust is provide support, training and teams for parish missions, either for a single church or for a group of churches working together. In March we were pleased to help with a mission organised by Anglican ministers Josias de Souza and Sean Sheffield, under the title ‘There is Love in Dover.’
Josias and Sean were working in partnership with their colleagues from other denominations: Graham (Baptist), Gary (Lighthouse Church), Henry (The Ark), Marcus (Living Well) and Dave (Roman Catholic). Roger Morgan and Richard Scott brought an ‘away’ team of members from our Kent EQUIP group of church leaders and from Through Faith Missions. And there was a much larger ‘home team’ of local people.
Training sessions were run by Richard and by Roger in advance of the mission, with some 90 people taking part. During the mission week approximately 30 local people joined in door to door work; they included a homeless man, Lee, who recommitted his life during the mission, served us meals and worked with us. His faith had initially sparked after surviving a motorbike accident aged 29. A low point recently saw him helicoptered from a cliff – but this week gave him hope for a better future. He would also receive new accommodation at the end of the week.
A separate team of 5 Brazilians worked throughout the week in schools. They were joined by a small UK youth team from PAES for one day.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MISSION
Weekdays began with worship in our hub at Dover Baptist Church. We talked with many people during the week.
One young man showed interest, despite having been stabbed previously by his Christian ex-wife! Dover is a tough place with so many walking around apparently hopeless. Another man told me, “I don’t envy what you’re doing, talking to people” – but took a booklet.
In a school, Josias’ talk went so well that after giving out invitations to events this week, some kids asked for more for their friends.
Gary told of meeting a young man with a can of solvent in one hand on the doors yesterday. Wrapping the can in the questionnaire then receiving a booklet, it was a picture of light coming into his darkness.
Clare asked why her husband had been murdered in Folkestone harbour last August. He was a traveller, with 7 children. Offered hope, she brought one daughter to that evening’s talk “Why do bad things happen to good people” and after speaking to the Deacon @ the Beacon, joined this church afterwards.
Another lady, Bridie, came to Christ, whilst Sean was the right person to direct a 21 year old pregnant girl (Courtenay) with some faith, to Mums & Todds and to answer her baptism request
A young goth, tattooed from head to foot, received prayer and – like so many this week – was open to ALPHA.
Terry attended a 50 year lady who wanted to end it all, but who ended up praying the prayer. Another single parent had had enough. Life was tough, benefits issues etc. Asking God for a sign, the next day our boys turned up!
Throughout the week God blessed church unity and the number of locals involved. Sean Sheffield wrote afterwards: “I just wanted to thank you once again for your support, guidance and your input into the There is Love in Dover mission week. It was wonderful to work alongside you and to share the experience of the week. I know from conversations with others, that the training events you ran really made the difference to those who attended feeling somewhat unsure about whether to go out or not.”
The aim is for mission, including door to door visiting, to continue – with a repeat mission in 2019/20.
PARISH MISSIONS WITH THE MATHETES TRUST
If you would like to find out more about how we can help with planning, training and resourcing of parish missions please visit our Parish Mission page, send us an email or give us a call!