Convoy & Stranorlar GO Team

9 Sep

In response to Ali’s gentle-but-amusing jibes in his Derry post about what I’ve been up to, I thought I’d better set the record straight by recounting the 11th Convoy & Stranorlar GO Team. Consider yourself in the loop, dear reader…

Despite the apparently commonly-held belief up North that Donegal is an island, accessible only by ferry or raft, six intrepid adventurers turned up at Glebe Hollow in Stranorlar on August 14th to join everyone’s favourite joint charge for our annual GO week. These troopers were Tom Somerville (foxy-eyed), Eleanor McCollum (running and running), Gavin McCaughan (destroyer of stair rods), Catherine McCullough (tea-pourer par excellence), Sarah Morrison (only came to get her Queen’s Award), and Factor 50 Pete (Pete burns, who knew?). They were joined by a cast of thousands, not least our three cooks Jenny, Helen and Elma, who once again surpassed themselves culinarily, although Rosemary may beg to differ, give the pea-content of the lasagne. Also assisting were many of our two congregations’ young people, and to be fair, the rest of the not-so-young people too. Spearheading this operation was myself, leading in a style I like to think of as being equal parts Tony Blair, Tony Adams, and Tony the Tiger.

Photos courtesy of Catherine, the only person thoughtful enough to bring a camera, although not thoughtful enough to take any pictures of any work being done

After the team arrived on Saturday afternoon and were briefed on the week’s activities, we headed to Longs’ for a congregational BBQ, which was a really great way to start the week, with plenty of banter to be had thanks to Chip’s games in the field, and a meteor shower perfectly visible in the clear Donegal sky. The good weather continued into Sabbath, which was probably the best day of the summer heat-wise, further lifting the spirits of our visitors, already enchanted by their period residence on Stranorlar’s Main Street, shower leak over Pete’s bed notwithstanding. Morning worship on Sabbath was followed by a congregational lunch (we’re big into communal dining in C&S), and an afternoon off to enjoy the sunshine, or indeed, in the case of more elderly participants, the inside of one’s eyelids. We finished off the day with a Psalm sing and prayer time in Convoy.

Monday dawned predictably damp, and we got stuck into the week’s work. After our team Bible study and prayer time, we set about giving out our 3000 4you magazines to homes in Stranorlar, Ballybofey, Convoy, Killygordon and Castlefin. These leaflets are fantastically put-together and faithfully preach the message of salvation, and no church in our denomination would have the resources to create something as good as them. Although they don’t lend themselves to letterboxes. In the afternoons, our activities were varied. We offered our cleaning and general odd-jobbing services to families from the Parent & Toddlers club, and also church members. We went into several homes and cleaned, dusted, hoovered, painted and the like. Daphne, Matthew and I fared much better than anyone else, as we received benefits-in-kind as a means of thanks at one home, including salami from Harrods, among, er, other things! Matthew will get his gift when he turns 18. We also had an afternoon off on Wednesday, consisting once again of a nap for some, and not much else for others. On Thursday, we went to Stephen & Joanne’s home for a seminar on World Missions. The presentation Steve used for this is available here, and is well worth a look. On Friday, we headed back to Longs’ to bake for that evening’s events, more of which later.

Gavlar got flippin’ stuck in

Sadly there are no photos of the alternative top hats Joel and I produced, including one with marshmallow arch and the tallest top hat ever created

From Monday to Wednesday some of the team were involved in a Holiday Bible Club held in Convoy. At least, that was the plan originally, but as numbers swelled to an unprecedented 40 children over the 3 evenings, more of us had to muck in. This was probably the most encouraging aspect of the week, as at previous HBCs there had been a max of around 16 kids, so for 40 to turn out, meaning we had to ask to use extra rooms at the venue was really exciting. Praise God that He brought along so many youngsters and that we were able to preach the Gospel to them!

On the Thursday evening, the congregations hosted a public meeting on local poet (and former Stranorlar RPC member) David Cunningham, and another Stranorlar alumni, Raymond Blair, was the speaker. Despite the lack of enthusiasm for the subject matter from team members, Raymond did a great job of expounding and explaining Cunningham’s works, and the meeting drew in people from the community who perhaps would not have darkened the church’s door otherwise. The highlight was Raymond clearly presenting the message of Christ, and those attending could not have failed to understand its implication. Then on Friday night, something altogether different, as the Agnew family (plus assorted Matthesses (Matthi?) and others!) returned to entertain the congregation and friends with an evening of banjo-centric japery. Just as they did last year, they put on a great show, with an eclectic mix of styles, and successfully overcame the dreadful acoustics in Stranorlar church building. The team’s job was to make and serve supper, and despite Catherine leaving a few people with moist laps, this passed off without major incident.

No-one thought to take photos of this year’s performance, so this is what the Agnews and friends looked like just over a year ago

After we debriefed each evening (with predictable lame jokes), there was a semi-obligatory time of team “bant”, usually taking place just after I went to bed. Activities included being irritated by Rosemary, basking in Pete’s auburn glow, nearly breaking the chandolier in the team house with a stray chair, and fives. Eleanor especially made the most of these times, resulting in her missing of the final Bible study of the week on Friday morning, as she had only been woken twice.

Our final task as a team was to help out at the Mums’ Breakfast on the Saturday morning, setting up tables, chairs and food, and also babysitting the legion of babies and toddlers who came along with their Ma. Brenda Kelso spoke after the meal, and by all accounts it was really challenging to the women present, several of whom bought some of the books that Brenda had brought along, which was a big encouragement. Once this was complete, we headed back to the house to have a quick feedback session, before everyone repaired to popular seafood eatery The John Dory for lunch. Although I wasn’t invited! But I got over it.

A massive thanks to the team, who were a pleasure to lead, and all those who from the congregations who got stuck in as well. All in all, it was a really good week, with some epic craic and true blessings from God. Pray that He would be pleased to continue to work in our congregations and that we would faithfully sow the seeds of His word.

More photos:

Helene gets to experience a rare privilege: Huggable Pete

Ladies’ Captain Rosemary Long, who thoughtfully chucked Catherine out of her room so she could have a double bed all to herself

Watch, watch, WATCH!!! THE CHANDOLIER!!!

Eleanor, definitely not pictured here at Friday morning’s Bible study

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5 Responses to “Convoy & Stranorlar GO Team”

  1. rosemary September 10, 2010 at 12:02 am #

    irritated? no! chucked? no! peas in lasagne?? no! chand-O-lier? no!
    and i noticed a lack of invitations to the bus station too….

  2. Catherine September 10, 2010 at 12:47 am #

    You did oust me from the room Rosemary, although I think it did have something to do with the ways I was talking about getting you up.
    And I didn’t pour the tea over any one, just around the trolley.

  3. Connor q September 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed the report, very encoraging to hear about the visitors to the meeting, I dont often hear of any visitors commin to public meetings.

    thought you were goin with:
    “No-one thought to take photos of this year’s performance, so this is… a picture of sunday worship.”

    also lol’d at:
    “and no church in our denomination would have the resources to create something as good as them.”

  4. Tom September 11, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Too right rosemary, i’m quite sure robert and anyone else would might be turning up was welcome to the dory dinner team lunch. I’m sorry if you weren’t invited (quite sure you were) but you disappered so fast there just mustn’t have been time.

  5. Brian Blackburn October 6, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    “dreadful acoustics in Stranorlar Building” dont think so

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