The Irish and Scottish RP churches have a Joint Mission Committee. One of the things this Committee oversees are Go Teams which are short term mission teams that help RP Churches in Ireland and Scotland with their outreach. Another type of team is a Go Relief Team. These teams do practical work, usually construction or maintenance of some type, to help Christian ministries in different places in the world.
On Wednesday the 28th April, the Relief Committee gave an update via Zoom on their work. There were over 240 people signed on!
Rev. Robert Robb opened the meeting with prayer, and then there were a series of speakers with prayer following each speaker.
Ian McCaughan interviewed Rev. Victor Atallah of Middle East Reformed Fellowship. The Relief Committee had made a donation to MERF last year to help with the work they did in Beirut after the explosion last year. Rev. Atallah gave some background about the explosion, and then talked about how MERF had used their emergency reserve funds to provide food, medical help, and help in rebuilding and repairing buildings damaged by the explosion. They sent three teams with more than 20 team members. Using their contacts with local churches they were able to visit 1,000 homes and offer practical help as well as prayer. There had been two Bible studies meeting in the area with an average of 8 attending, but after the explosion and the work by the MERF teams there are now 47 people attending these weekly Bible studies. Teams are continuing to visit homes sharing Scriptures. Rev. Atallah spoke on how their are huge numbers of Muslims coming to Christ, but they need Bible teaching. He asked us to pray that spiritual leaders would be trained that can teach these new converts the Bible.
Robert McCahon then interviewed Gecan Jovica from Serbia. In 2019 the Go Relief Team went to Serbia and met Gecan who was a missionary there. Gecan described Serbia as mostly Eastern Orthodox but with more Roman Catholics in North Serbia. The number of evangelical Christians is very small. Gecan spoke about the small restaurant he and his wife had been able to open in the Blythswood Centre. They sell meals, but they also give a certain number of meals away to those who need food. They have Bible studies on Thursdays, and they want to eventually have a Serbia wide youth conference. He asked for prayer for wisdom, strength, and to see where God would lead them.
John McCollum then interviewed his daughter, Mary McCollum, who is working in a Christian Sports Academy in George, South Africa. The Relief Committee had sent money to this school which has been used to help purchase a building which is used for classrooms and a computer lab. Pupils are selected for this school via sport from the poorest townships. All pupils must attend Discipleship classes which use the youth version of Christianity Explored. Many of the pupils have made a profession of faith. There is also a youth club on Saturday night and a Mentorship programme. In the Mentorship programme pupils will ask for one to one Christian support, and large numbers of pupils are requesting to be in this programme.
Robert Tait then interviewed Sam Cromie about Tigray in Ethiopia. The Irish RP Church had a mission to Tigray from 1963-1975, and Sam’s parents were missionaries there when he was growing up. From 1974-1991 there was a communist regime in Ethiopia, and the RP missionaries had to leave, but Sam’s father continued to keep in touch with the Ethiopian Christians from the Mission, sending them Christian books etc. The RP Relief Fund sent humanitarian aid to Tigray during the 1984-1985 famine. Sam visited Tigray in 2015 and met up with some of the Christians who had been connected to the mission. Tigray is now in the news because of a crisis brought on by genocide, human rights abuses, and disruption of harvests with tens of thousands dead or displaced. The Relief Committee intends to send money to Tigray to help the Christians there.
Rev. Robert Robb then closed the meeting by talking about Moldova. They had hoped to send a GO Relief Team to Moldova to help a youth camp renovate their toilet block and sleeping accommodations, but because of Covid hadn’t been able to send a team. There will be no foreign trip in 2021, so the money in the fund will be divided between the work in South Africa, Moldova, and Tigray, Ethiopia. They hope to send a team to Nantes in 2022 to work on the church and manse. The Committee also encouraged any congregations who needed help with work on their buildings to get in touch. The evening was then closed in prayer.