Category Archives: General

Herstmonceux Free Church 200th Anniversary

We are looking for old photographs, postcards and your memories of the chapel in the past. Perhaps you attended the Sunday School, were christened or baptised, married or your family buried in the grave yard.

For the 200th Anniversary we are producing a souvenir book with the history of the chapel, old photographs and your reminiscences. (All the pictures, photographs and postcards will be copied and returned to the owner.)

On Wednesday the 29th of April at 7:30pm we are holding a meeting at Rose Cottage (opposite the chapel) to discuss the anniversary year and would welcome suggestions for that event in 2011.

Judith Kinnison Bourke

Five Weeks With The Mara People (Part 3)

By Nigel Lindsay

I know I said there would be a part one and two and did not mention part three, but there is a bit more to tell. I was honoured to be treated to some traditional Mara dancing, by a local group that carried on this tradition, Lachhura gave a running commentary of a dance that they would do when they came back from head hunting, other tribes. They now call themselves heart hunters for Jesus rather than head hunters from the past when they worshiped trees and objects. They showed a dance for young men when they were too embarrassed to ask out the girl of their dreams and even got me to take part in it, (I was not too sure if this was hinting at their desire to got me matched up with someone).I took part in the stick dancing dance and was looking forward to the fly dance, but was not asked. (All of these I can show on DVD)I do look a bit out of places towering above my Mara fellow dancers and was pleased as you would be not to be dresses in their traditional costume

Water was an issue in all the places I stayed, even in the city sometimes they would have no running water and many of the poorer families would have to go to a local stand pipe all the time. Some would make a business of going round selling water delivered to the door to save people getting it themselves. In Bymari village they had to go down a long way to the river to get water and had some amazingly inventive ways of getting rainwater into a tank, with gutters leading to bamboo trunks reaching across the road in to a tank, good there were o high vehicles to knock them out of place. In Srkohur (this is not spelt right sorry) they had piped water but when the local government did some work on the roads about a year ago they cut the water supply and now they have to travel by truck to pick quantities for washing, toilet flushing and cleaning and have to walk up and down a hill 2- 3 time a day to get drinking water. I went twice to get the cleaning water and once to get drinking water with the woman and children and it was a long way. The concern is that in late January the water source was beginning to dry up and with the weather getting hotter for this time of year, will the water last out till the rains come again between June and October?

Food was good and Lachhua was good to me with a lot of choice at each meal so I did not feel I had to eat some things I would not normally. They tend to eat every part of the animal and see the bits we tend not to eat as special reserved for special guest like me. Two meals a day one about 9.30- 10am and then again about 5-6pm and always includes rice even when they have fried potatoes. They called it curry, but not curry as I know it and was quite bland mostly, but maybe that was to keep me well. Many times they served the boiled vegetable water with it. I had bananas, oranges, pomali (a big grapefruit thing) and many vegetable. I kept well until 20th January when I moved between diarrhoea and constipation and think it rice twice a day for 4 weeks did not help. I used bottled water for drinking, was careful not to eat washed cold foods and had what seemed like thousands of cups of tea, small cups, with a lot of sugar. Sometimes I got black sugarless tea, which was felt to be strange and for poor people who could not afford Milk and sugar.

If any group would like to support any of the youth programme or projects in Maraland do speak to me, I said I would pass on their requests, but promised nothing. Development of music for the churches is important to them and they have a number of ongoing projects which they need to prioritise before deciding how to go ahead.

I was disappointed I did not get to stay the whole time at the youth Conference or do any training, but was privileged to preach at so many services and have chance for informal conversations with many about different ways of doing things. Staying in Aizawl for two nights on our way back was good, but I was not permitted to go to church as it would be Presbyterian or at one stage could have been a combined Congregational Church and Evangelical Church of Maraland? I moved on to stay with a friend I had shared a room with who is not a minister in the Church of North India in Nagpur right in the centre of India. He we good to me and took me to see lots including a Buddhist temple and a Hindu temple. He was concerned as a political party was in town who were opposed to Christians and where campaigning for the next national elections. There has been a lot of persecution of Christians in Orissa and a peace organisation suggested it was because of the increase in status for the lowest cast as they become Christian and now numbers are becoming a threat.

I had the chance to reach at the Hospital Chapel once and lead a bible study with a youth group at the church. The weather here was a lot hotter and the curries were too. Sunil has connections with a hospital which is trying to provide extra support to those marginalised in society and they try to provide an after care service and some community clinics. At the back of where he stays there is a project working with street children and those in trouble by providing a work training programme and getting them set up on completion. They have a night shelter and do lots of work with those who pick litter from the streets and use what they can find , helping them with more hygienic ways of benefiting from this project. They are keen to have a social impact on their community and had a large fund raising event whilst I was there. (I have more details if you would like to know.)

If would like me to come and tell your group about me experience let me know. I can make it as interactive as you would like and tailor it for your needs. I do have a few items to show. I can also talk about my time in Nigeria and Fiji. Thanks again for all your prayers as I complete my final term at college on 4th July 2009

April Squeeze

Tossing a large, perfectly good chocolate Easter Egg into the air and letting it crash to the ground is one way of demonstrating how broken up God’s perfect creation became when Man disobeyed His Creator. Free Church Pastor Jim Beveridge’s Easter message explained how the broken relationship between God and Man which had begun so well in the Garden of Eden could only be restored by the heart-breaking sacrifice of the Perfect Jesus when He was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane to be crucified.

The Easter message was reflected in the handicrafts chosen for the Squeeze Breakfast Club at the Village Hall on Palm Sunday. Plastic food trays were transformed into Easter gardens with the Empty Tomb surrounded by multi-coloured paper flowers. Some made Easter trees, silver-sprayed twigs hung with brightly decorated cardboard eggs and crosses bearing such key faith-words as Love Joy, Peace. The crowning point was to plant an Easter tree in an Easter garden.

David told the tale of the American delivering two chimpanzees to a zoo. His truck broke down and although he could fix it, it would take some time and the wait would distress his charges. So he flagged down a young lady and asked her to take the animals to the zoo, giving her $100 for her trouble.

Several hours later he drove into town and was horrified to see the young lady walking along hand in hand with the chimps. What’s going on, he asked. “” Well, we’ve been to the zoo and there was money to spare, so now I am taking them to Sea World.”

The next Squeeze Breakfast Club is at the Village Hall from 10am until noon on Sunday 3rd May. Everyone of any age is welcome, a simple breakfast is provided with a variety of rolls and cereals, fresh fruit, make-your-own toast and pour-your-own tea or coffee, and there is no charge.

He’s a Legend

The Lord asked our Pastor’s wife to write an account of the occasion when parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed by Him (Matthew ch.19 vv13,14), but as told by one of the mothers. She was rather surprised at the style of the narrative and some of the words she used, but it became clear when, shortly afterwards, a request came for a Thanksgiving service to be held for the safe arrival of a newborn baby girl. The young mother asked if she could read the piece at the Blessing, and did so confidently to the congregation, including the child’s father and both their families, as if expressing her own feelings in the situation.

I’ve heard a bloke has been travelling around – healing people and praying for them. People are having life-changing experiences. He came to the Downs the other day, so me and my mates took a picnic and the kids up there, you know. Just to see what ‘s going on.

It’s a nightmare though, trying to get the kids ready – I was yelling at them and they were yelling back at me. I got so hot and bothered and really stressed, but I was determined to get there. Anyway, I met up with my mates, with the buggies and kids (we’ve got fifteen kids between us, well fifteen and a half actually, Kim’s pregnant again).

Our kids went running off as soon as we got there. There were loads of people and kids – then I saw Him, he looked so kind, well and sort of safe, you know. Then I saw Him praying with a kid, it was my Codie – but some grumpy old men were around and they were shouting at the kids to ‘push off.’

Then the Man started to say something about the Kingdom of Heaven and that it belongs to people who are like ‘our kids.’

I discovered his name was Jesus.

I don’t know about my mates, but when I got home and put the kids to bed, they were happy and went to bed without all the fuss we usually have.
I never felt so relaxed, peaceful and yeh, different.

That Jesus, you know, He’s a Legend.

Five Weeks with the Mara People (Part 2)

By Nigel Lindsay

I thought I was going to a boring meeting with the elders of the 6 or 7 Churches in that area and knew we had to travel to a village bit remote. It was exciting as we travelled in a kind of Jeep (gipsy), no seat belts, no roof, in fact it looked quite basic, but it did get us to all he places safely. Thank God. I stared by travelling I the front, but after we stopped I got in and sat back and what with my body being so big and legs so long ,I manages to break the seat. Eventually our driver Mr Harkeye lashed a pole behind it ,but from then on I travelled in the back, where I was able to stretch my legs more and wedge myself with my leg so I didn’t get knocked about too much. I held on to the roof bar, but that came off in my hand, I managed to repair that myself and hold on to where it connected.

We stayed the first night at Lachhuas Mothers house in Tankalo Village and I had the chance to preach in the village Church, many people came to hear this strange white man talk about James 2: 14-24. I could hear something running in the roof at night and discovered the next day it was rats, Lachhua recons he got his foot nibbled. We travelled on to Bymari Village where we stayed four nights for this conference that was for all from the Church and not just the elders. The numbers where apparently, higher than usual, as people came to see this white man. I was told I was the first to come to that Village. We were near the Burma boarder and some came from there to see me, or was it for the Rice distribution, by ‘Save the Children’ and funded from the EU?

I was well looked after and they had build a corrugated iron toilet for me out the back, but it had no door so they found a curtain. This was fine for me until after we left I discovered people had been viewing me from above (it had no roof and all the Houses are built on the side of hills).The bed was a tad short and I could just jam in between the foot board and the head board and the big event was me cutting my head on the roof beam, (white men have Red Blood was a revelation). I attended many services and had the chance to preach at one, I did a talk on the field before the Volley ball match and to my complete embarrassment sung ‘The Lords My Sheppard’ saved by a man on the keyboard. For me the most moving time was the baptism of about 12 young people. One mum came to get one to stand back and not go ahead, but he was clear he wanted to acknowledge Jesus as his Saviour. It is difficult to Video when you have tears in your eyes.

We travelled back and stayed in Phura Village where again I preached at the Church and then gave my testimony at the Community singing after. I also had the chance to play Frisbee and football as they have flat piece of land (unusual for MaraLand). I spent the next 8 days in the city of Saiha in Lachhua house and experienced the wedding and reception for about 300 people of his bother in law. I went on walkabout with Francis (Lachhua bother) and preached at one church 4 times, but I did not get to do the training that I had planned.

We travelled to Srkohur the village the missionary had gone to. I stayed there from 20th – 30th January 2009, in the room with Lachhua which was where Rev A.B Lorrain Foxall had lived after his wife died. I had the chance to preach at both the village Church and the Lorrainvill Church on a number of occasions and twice at the Youth Conference. I enjoyed doing an interactive service with the youth in the village Church and talked to the Woman’s meeting about Martha and Mary, or was it Worship and Action? I also told the Woman that like in many situations they have role of mediation, in the church between the split Mara Church.

It is my view that the Congregational Church in India (Maraland) is struggling and that reconciliation with the bigger Evangelical Church of Maraland needs to take place. I have had a lot of informal conversations, but more is needed to help these people. They need you prayers for the Missionary family, for the Leadership, for reunification and for wisdom. I have Photos, PowerPoint, and Video, can teach a Mara Dance, do and interactive talk about my experience, or Preach on a Mara theme that, I have done an essay on incarnation and missionaries. Give me a ring or email to arrange

Nigel Lindsay (Nigel can be contacted by getting in touch with the oversight using the contact form on the website.