HEALTH DAY ON A HILL IN SLIGO

10th April 2017

A Health Day that took place in the Sligo church on Sabbath 1 April, brought so many pleasant surprises, that it left the leader of the small congregation speechless.

Shupai Matewa, who describes herself as someone who 'likes to talk a lot', was overwhelmed with joy when Pastor Tony O'Rourke arrived on Sabbath morning to lead a worship service, with his wife Betty, (Health Ministries sponsor of the Irish Mission), who was due to give a presentation in the afternoon.

Her surprise lay in the fact that not only were two people in the parking lot, but almost the entire congregation of one of Pastor Tony's churches, the Longford church which is a two-hour drive away. After a moment of stunned silence, she sprang into action. She called the rector of the Presbyterian church, from whom the Sligo group rents a small room to worship in, who kindly opened the main church building to host the visitors.

Shupai resides in Sligo, the most westerly, and perhaps most scenic part of Ireland. This petite lady has done a giant work for the Lord over the past ten years in growing an Adventist Church presence in this remote part of the island. She nurtures a small but vibrant group in the town of Sligo which is supported by Pastor Weiers Coetser who visits once a month from the far-off city of Derry / Londonderry.

As worship commenced, further surprises laid in wait for Shupai. An Evangelical church group attending a nearby birthday party heard the beautiful singing and some came in to investigate. They stayed for Sabbath School and remained to hear the inspiring sermon on the topic of prayer, given by Pastor O'Rourke who was recently appointed the Prayer co-ordinator for the Irish Mission.

Sabbath School was a lively affair as visitors and members alike asked relevant questions and made contributions to the lesson. The visitors were clearly impressed with the interaction of the class. A man called William said, "A great work is being done here and I am blessed to see this."

Later in the afternoon, three local ladies who came in to view the church, stayed for the afternoon health presentations and were particularly intrigued by the mental health workshop on forgiveness which was led by Betty O'Rourke. Responding to the Healthy Eating programme, these ladies confided that they disliked 'chewing' but would try harder to eat those fruit and veggies! They were especially inspired by the lovely array of colourful fruits on the PowerPoint presentation. During this seminar, even the children became involved.

The Presbyterian church is an imposing building erected in 1828, built on a high hill in the heart of the town and displaying beautiful stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings. This was a wonderful blessing and in stark contrast to the little hall adjacent to the church where the members normally worship.

As the evening came to a close, the Longford church members promised to visit again, encouraged by their elder, Patrick Appiah to organise a future visit.

As the attendees left town, Shupai's beaming smile said it all as she experienced the confirmation that her small group is not working in isolation but are part of a larger church family.



[Elizabeth O'Rourke]


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