News Update: Online Fundraising & Donations

As you can imagine, in this strange new world, coffee mornings in church, bake sales and the usual fundraising activities have been hard to come by in the last three months. But we are encouraged that there are still donations coming in towards our Mobilising for Mission project.

We might not be allowed out to socialise, but there are plenty of good fundraising ideas going on from our own houses. Have you tried a Zoom quiz yet? Or Kahoot? Anyone who has tried to buy flour recently will know that there is a resurgence in baking; the great British coffee morning has gone virtual! If you haven’t already tried any of these, could this be a chance to socialise virtually while raising some funds for the Project?

Online Donations (New!)

With our new online donation form, it is now easier than ever to donate to the Mobilising for Mission project. Alternatively, you can send donations to Mairi Macdonald (Donations Secretary) by post or directly to our WfM account – all the information can be found here. Every penny is greatly appreciated!

This year, we are supporting Donald and Rosangela Fraser, working with WEC in the Netherlands,  the Free Church Camps (which we look forward to seeing back in 2021), World on our Doorstep in Govanhill and Operacion San Andres in Peru. Please remember to pray for all who are involved in working with these organisations as they seek to serve the Lord in the new ways we are all having to adapt to.

The extended fundraising deadline for the Mobilising for Mission project is September, when we look forward to launching the next project. Normally, this would happen at the biennial Women’s Conference, but sadly this has been postponed.

Pray, Support & Encourage

Perhaps it is more important now than ever to remember, support and pray for mission going on throughout the world. Some may have noticed during lockdown that the ‘ancient’ art of letter-writing is seeing something of a comeback. Maybe use some of your spare time to write a letter or a card – or even just an email – to someone working in mission? Children can get involved too, and might enjoy writing to a missionary kid! We all benefit from encouragement.

Thank you, as ever, for supporting the work of Women for Mission.  Please remember to like of follow us on Facebook and share any encouragements you may have there.

Sometimes it’s hard to hear the birds singing…

Marsali Campbell, who was raised on the Isle of Lewis and then in Skye, has served with Dwelling Places in Uganda for 19 years, providing healthcare for children living on the streets in Kampala and Karamoja. Below is her update from May 2020, including a few videos which provide an insight into her work in Africa.

The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.’
Psalm 104: 12

Whether I’m home in Scotland, or home in Africa, one thing remains constant – I love the sound of birds singing, especially in the early morning. In Scotland, even if the morning is cold, I love to open the windows and return under the duvet, and just listen to their songs of worship. In Africa, it’s usually warmer, so it’s lovely to open the windows and bring some refreshing air into my room, and listen to the birds singing. I love the rhythm of beginning each day with that blessing from God.

But sometimes it’s hard to hear the birds singing. Not because my hearing ability has changed, but rather in this season, my mind and spirit are so often full and distracted, especially with work-related issues.

This morning as I was awake before dawn, and opened my windows, what a blessing to witness the day of a new day and listen to God’s precious creation singing.

Gen 1 v 20

Isaiah 40 v 31

Psalm 84 v 1-3

Matthew 6 v 25-30

With thanks,

Marsali

Here are links to four short videos below to give you a snapshot into my life here at the moment. I hope they are helpful as you think and pray.

A Personal Introduction

Easter Update

17th April Update

27th April Update

WfM Annual Meeting 2020 – Cancelled

In-line with Government guidelines and the guidance issued by the Free Church of Scotland, the WFM Annual Meeting (AGM) which was scheduled for 16th May will sadly be cancelled.

We are experiencing a difficult and uncertain time but we are thankful that our Lord reigns and is in control. Please continue to pray for our NHS staff and all front-line key workers and for those who are isolated and reliant on others for help and support.

Please remember the Mobilising for Mission project this year as many group fundraising events have had to be cancelled. However, we are currently in the process of setting up online donations and will keep you updated.

At the moment, funds can still be sent in – please contact Mairi at donations@womenformission.org for more information.

Many thanks for your understanding and may we stand together in prayer for our nation and world.

May God bless you all.

Nathan Mackay: Hungary Report (SAV)

Women for Mission’s Support a Volunteer fund helped Nathan Mackay join the team at a children’s camp in Hungary earlier this year. Below he tells us about his experience at the camp.

I helped to organise and lead various activities for a youth camp in Hungary. This camp offered children the chance to learn English, learn about the Bible and to have fun as well. My role as a camp leader involved selecting songs, games and other activities for our Bible and English lessons. I would then help to lead these lessons each day with two partners.

Group games would take place after the lessons had finished. These included sports matches, musical games and arts and crafts sessions for the kids to enjoy. I helped to organise these along with the other leaders, and also took part in the fun.

Towards the end of the camp, I presented a slideshow to all of the children and leaders about my life in Scotland. I took this opportunity to share how God has impacted members of my home church.

My favourite part of this mission was talking to and playing with the children during breaks. This helped me to establish genuine friendships with many of the campers. At least a few of these kids did not come from Christian homes. I hope our friendship will make Jesus seem more attractive to both the children and their parents.

It was sometimes difficult for me to be around other people so often. Each day I would have breakfast with those whom I shared accommodation with, then spend most of the day at the camp, and finally I would spend most of the evening with camp leaders. However, this was an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone so I am pleased to have had the experience.

I have been inspired to go on missions like this as often as possible. Witnessing God work in the lives of young children has nurtured my desire to be more involved in missions aimed at the youth. My family and I have already discussed how I can prepare to go on another mission of this kind next year.

I’m also motivated to be more involved in Christian work here in Scotland. I’ve already arranged to meet an OM representative to discuss my trip and what different ways there are of helping the organisation here in Glasgow.

Women for Mission were pleased to be able to offer Nathan some funding towards his trip via the Support A Volunteer Fund.

Could you or someone you know benefit from this fund? Find out more here.

Western Isles WfM Event

On a beautiful, warm, sunny evening – Friday 7 June 2019 – WFM Western Isles held their 13th Annual Event in the Caberfeidh Hotel, on the outskirts of Stornoway.

Friends and acquaintances were greeted warmly. The Baking Stall, laden with delicious fare was doing a brisk trade as was the Craft Stall with its display of fine items. In the Dining Room, which was so beautifully arranged by the staff of the Caberfeidh, our Chairperson, Donna Maciver welcomed everyone in her own inimitable style and invited Fiona Maclean to say the grace. A feast was then laid before us by a very slick team, and we ate our fill.

Praise was then led by Sheila Nicolson whose rich voice encouraged us all to sing praises to our Lord from Psalm 80.

Donna then outlined news of last year’s fundraising and outlined the projects for which we will be fundraising this coming year.

Our solo singer for the evening was Katy Graham, who sang two beautiful items of praise – one in English and one in Gaidhlig. What a wonderful gift she has.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Megan Patterson. She has several years’ experience working in Benin Republic, West Africa, also in Niger and Burkina Faso, along with her husband, Jim. Currently she works as an Education Consultant with SIM (Serving in Mission), engaging with teachers worldwide. Her passion is to help Christian teachers think about the impact of worldview on classroom life. She regularly runs seminars in biblical worldview for teachers, globally.

She and her husband have two adult children and four grandchildren. She lives in Livingston with her husband and daughter.

The title of Megan’s presentation was Listening to the Shepherd’s Voice. Here is a brief outline of her presentation.

She began by relating a conversation she had with a young man in the ETS library. She asked him what he was going to do when he finished his studies, to which he replied that he didn’t know, but that he was willing to do anything. “That’s great” she replied, “the Lord will open a door for you” Then she asked her audience if it was right to say that to the young man. Is it hard to discern what God wants us to do in the big decisions of life e.g. where to work, where to live, who to marry? What about everyday decisions like should we invite friends round for dinner, and if so, what should we give them to eat?

She asked “What is the prompting of the Spirit and what is our own inclination and is it possible for the two to be the same? What about the evil one? Does he mess with our heads and drown out the still small voice of the Lord?”

John 10 v 27 says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. If we are His then we can say “The Lord is my shepherd. What a kind and tender Master! He knows me. He knows which gifts He has given me; He knows my weaknesses better than I do, He doesn’t taunt me or play games with me. He leads me beside quiet waters.”

Yet we tie ourselves in knots, trying to make decisions. A helpful hint is to use the G. TEST. We should ask ourselves these three questions:-

“Is this to God’s glory?” “Is this for other’s good?” “Will this lead to my spiritual growth?”

Psalm 27 v 4 helps us to become attuned to God’s voice, as does Isaiah 2 v 3 and Proverbs 3 v 5 and 6. God also speaks to us in the world he has created as in Psalm 19 v 2, 3, 4. We are living in the theatre of God’s glory. Look how great and powerful and beautiful He is. Our shepherd, the one whose voice we want to listen to was there when God established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep – Proverbs 8 v 28, 29, 30.

She is often asked how she and her husband came to work in Benin in French –speaking West Africa. Jim, her husband, failed French at school but he met her, a French teacher and they became friends when Jim wanted to learn French. Jim is a water engineer and the people in Benin were short of drinking water. The local church wanted to help provide water and introduce them to Jesus, the living water, at the same time. So, the couple were invited and off they went!

What is the relationship between becoming captivated by the beauty and glory of Jesus and listening to his voice? When we are gripped with the glory of Jesus, when we know that He is King and that this world is not our home and that we are made for another world, then decision-making isn’t complicated. But, obedience sometimes is. Love leads to obedience. We sheep follow the Master we love, he who first loved us. We read in Hebrews 5 that during the days of Jesus’s life on Earth he offered up petitions and prayers with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent submissions. Although he was a son he learned obedience from what he suffered. If Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered, so must we. So often the issue isn’t knowing what to do it is wanting to do it.

God’s revealed will tell us what to pray in Luke 10 v 2. His revealed will tells us how to live in Matt. 28 v 18. His revealed will is crystal clear. It is not a matter of not knowing in our part it is a matter of obeying.

Then there is God’s secret will, made known in his providence. Sometimes we make plans and God turns them upside down. Proverbs 16 v 9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

But God only permits what we are able to endure, by His grace. She told that the most painful experiences has been in connection with her daughter’s emotional and physical health, which meant they had to return home from Benin.

Megan brought her presentation to a close by reading Psalm 27. Then followed a short Question and Answer session.

Shona Davidson brought the evening to a close by giving a vote of thanks to all involved in making the evening such a success.

Wedding dresses put to unusual use in North Harris!

Finding imaginative ways to raise funds for mission is rarely easy. The North Harris and Scalpay Women for Mission group have managed to do exactly that though, as Shona Davidson reports.

Fifty ladies (and one brave gentleman) congregated at North Harris Free Church on Saturday 16th February for an unusual WFM fundraising event.

After an appeal for the loan of wedding dresses we got an amazing response from the public – 35 wedding dresses, as well as bridesmaids’ and flower girls’ dresses. Some of the dresses were modelled by the girls from Tarbert Youth Fellowship while others were displayed around the church.

Every dress displayed a number and participants had to try to match names to dresses. After much discussion and deliberation only 3 points separated the top three teams. Well done to the team who guessed 20 out of 35!

After grace was said by our Chairperson Mrs Liza Macsween, we all enjoyed tea and cake. After which the owners of each dress were revealed and then the correlating photo albums and framed pics were laid out for perusal by each dress.

We raised a total of £683.50 for Women for Mission.

The success of the evening was entirely due to the community, those who entrusted us with their precious dresses and those who participated in the evening and donated so generously.

God bless you all.

Our deepest thanks to Shona Davidson and the North Harris community for their report and fantastic fundraising venture – we are so grateful!

Could you organise something similar in your church community?

WfM Annual Meeting 2019

Women for Mission’s 2019 annual meeting will take place at 2.00pm on Saturday 18th May in Glasgow City Free Church.

Join us as we give thanks for the funds raised through our Community Connections project and as we launch our new project for 2019/20.

We look forward to hearing from our speakers who’ll update us on their work in various places around the world. Barbara Davies will tell us about her work in Marseille, Caitriana will speak to us about her work in East Asia and we hope too to hear from some of the young people who received a grant from our Support a Volunteer fund.

If you’d be interested in the possibility of booking a seat on a bus to Glasgow from Dingwall & Inverness, please contact Marion Gray by email at marion.macaulay@hotmail.co.uk or by phone on 07717452226 by Saturday 4th May.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS – PROJECT 2018/2019

Over the last year, various groups over the country have been raising funds for the following projects:

  • Building Work in Manila
  • Medical Support in Bulgaria (Bear Necessities)
  • Helping disabled refugees in the Middle East (DARP)
  • WfM’s ‘Heart for Home’ Fund

Thank you to all congregations and groups who have already sent in their donations!
It’s not too late to organise a fundraising event to raise money and support the work of these projects. Could you organise an event in your church or in your group? How about quiz nights, bake sales, coffee mornings, afternoon teas … or a sponsored walk or run, if you prefer something more active! Whatever your fundraising events are, please know that all efforts and donations are greatly valued!

Please send all donations to Mairi MacDonald:

Post: ‘Greenfaulds’, 8 Linicro, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9YN For bank payment information, please email donations@womenformission.org

Jo Hulks: Delaware Report (SAV)

Last year, Jo Hulks spent four months working as an intern at an after-school programme for elementary-aged children in Delaware. WfM were able to offer Jo some funding for her trip through our Support A Volunteer Fund. Her honest report below describes her experiences living and working in an area of urban and spiritual poverty in Wilmington.

My main responsibility was leading our after school program (ASP), “Camp Victory”. Outside of ASP hours I prepared lessons – Bible, crafts, prayer etc., visited families in their homes, assisted in classes in the Urban Promise school and discipled a small group of girls from camp

While academic progress was definitely prioritised, emphasis was placed on growth and transformation in character – explaining attributes of a godly character and holding our kids accountable to this. Most of our campers have been strongly influenced by their environment which is saturated in conflict, substance abuse, sex and little opportunity to be a child. Consequently, lots of energy was invested in discipline at ASP – this was often emotionally draining but undoubtedly worthwhile as in the short time I was there, I saw transformation taking root in even the “hardest” kids.

Walking around the neighbourhoods I worked and lived in, you could be forgiven for wondering, “where’s the poverty?”. They have flashy cars, a roof over their head and regular trips to the nail salon so while it’s not a place of lavish wealth, there are people far worse off materially. My boss put it this way however, “people here can always afford what they value most”. The central and most painful poverty entrenched in the hood is spiritual. Regular shootings, school drop-outs, expanding prisons and recurrent patterns of regret in families are the overflow of a deep lack of peace, hope and purpose. For several of the single mums I met with, Thanksgiving was going to be particularly special this year because it was the first time ever all of their sons were at home rather than incarcerated. What other message could save these families other than the gospel?

One memorable highlight was Jameela. At 10 years old her world orbits around gossip, defensive language and visits to the principal’s office. However there were strands of sensitivity, repentance and a painful longing for love somehow glowing through it all. She warmly described her Mum’s fried chicken (her favourite) and explained that they were saving up for some cooking oil to make it again. She was in my discipleship group and one week – with more concern than she may have liked to display! – asked, “how do I know I’m not accidentally believing wrong things about God?”. Her eyes fixated on me (for about 2 minutes!) as I explained that if it’s in the Bible, we can know it’s definite truth and if we’re not sure we can ask God to help us understand. Praise God He answers our insecurities with power and hope.

A consistent difficulty was that, contrary to some short-term ministry experiences, my time was not a “spiritual high” – it was a drag! That was hard. Nonetheless, God was faithful and He is due all glory for using my doubting, tumultuous faith to do eternal kingdom work:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches”

Matthew 13:31-32

 

Women for Mission were pleased to be able to offer Jo some funding towards her trip via the Support A Volunteer Fund.

Could you or someone you know benefit from this fund? Find out more here.

Carys Bilton: Three Weeks in Ecuador (SAV)

This July, I went to Santa Domingo in Ecuador for 3 weeks to serve the local community as a STEP team member with Latin Link. The fundraising target was difficult to reach, as I’m a 17 -year-old who’s still in full time education, but WFM helped me out so much contributing almost a quarter of the needed funds.

Our main focuses of the trip were to help build a second floor onto the “Hombre Nuevo en Jesucristo” church in Santo Domingo, a city 4 hours to the west of Quito, Ecuador’s capital. We got to help out by cleaning and painting massive steel beams which would contribute to the structure of the building, and smashing holes in the wall for the beams to fit into.

As well as practical work, we were able to get alongside people in the community by helping to lead the worship music in church – in English and Spanish, and taking Sunday School. The people there – our host family and some families from the church – were so hospitable and generous with their time, and despite the language barrier we were able to form such close connections with them.

One highlight was visiting a local orphanage for children with AIDS and spending time with the children.

Between our 13 hour layover in Mexico city, and our trips to Quito (including the Equator) and the Ecuadorian coast, we also got to explore a lot.

Another highlight was work closely with a missionary, Sharon, who supports a group of disabled children and adults: they made our ‘elevenses’ every morning and brought them to us while we worked at the church, which they loved, and we were able to go for day trips with them (the picture is from when we went gardening with them in San Pablo.)

The trip was challenging in a lot of ways: Latin American culture is very relaxed and at the start we got stressed that there wasn’t a lot to do and we wouldn’t be able to help in the ways we wanted, but this proved to be a good thing as we were able to help out more in the Sunday School, with worship music and we were able to build stronger relationships with people. We also had a few accidents and health problems between us but thankfully nothing major.

We all really felt like the experience had more of an impact on us than we had on the church, but during our leaving do some people did speeches about how we had helped and inspired them and it was really moving – lots of tears were shed!

We were blown away by the hospitality we were shown every day. Their culture focuses on relationships rather than tasks, and on people rather than materialistic things, which really struck me as a good way to live and changed my perspective.

Full weekly reports that I wrote during our trip can be found at https://www.latinlink.org.uk/step-team-reports

Away Day 2018

On Saturday 15th September 2018, almost 200 women of all ages met together at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness for a special day of fellowship, singing, hearing about mission work in both Benin and Bulgaria as well as exploring the theme of continuous prayer with main speaker Catriona Murray.

A huge thank you to all who came to enjoy the day – it was a real encouragement to see so many people there, of all different ages, supporting the work of WfM.

Special thanks must also go to all the crafty ladies who worked so hard to provide such lovely goods for sale which contributed an amazing £2000 towards our 2018/2019 fundraising project Community Connections.

Find out more about our women’s conferences here.