Ploughing in to rural shows

I had visited our local agricultural show on many occasions, both as a visitor and also as a business exhibitor, but in August last year I was there as a representative of GideonsUK to be God’s witness in offering people copies of the new Rural Testaments, alongside Farming Christian Link. I had no way of knowing what the response would be.

It was a perfect sunny day for the show and there was a sense of anticipation as all the stallholders were waiting for the show to open – with the exception of one. Mark, a conservatory salesman, arrived late because he had got his dates mixed up. He had gone to the opposite end of the county where they were preparing for a show the following day. Once things were set up he came across to where I was standing offering Testaments to a few early visitors and we discussed his faux pas and why we were each at the show. I offered him a Testament which he refused as he said was an Evolutionist. Among the literature that FLC had was a book which I thought may be of help to him, but again he refused. This was a work in progress – throughout the course of the day Bernard of FLC and Richard a fellow Gideon had chats with Mark and eventually he was happy to accept both the book and a New Testament. We pray that he will read them and find the very best place to be in God’s timing.

A Christian lady who was a hospital volunteer was working on a stand seeking to recruit additional volunteers. I had met her the previous day at a presentation on the dementia ward at our local hospital. While at the Show she returned a number of times with different colleagues so that they could receive Testaments. Later one of the nursing staff who was with her came across and asked if she could have a couple of extras to pass on to patients. Assuming she was a Christian I asked her about this, thinking that she might make a good Gideon. Imagine my surprise when she said she wasn’t a Christian but found the Testaments were really helpful for stressed patients. My prayer is that she will find cause to read God’s word for herself and find that same peace.

Throughout that day 211 Testaments were given out, as well as other literature and I met many friends and family (some of whom were happy to take Testaments) as well as receiving support from fellow Christians who were keen to encourage us and delighted to see us at the show.

The final blessing came when some Christians shared that they had been present when a young man was given a Testament. They had subsequently witnessed to him in the car park where he was reading the Testament and he “thought he was going to pray the prayer in the back of the Testament”.

It was a great privilege to be part of the Gideon team working alongside FCL that day and I give thanks to God for the opportunities we were given. I pray that in 2019 many more members will get involved in witnessing to their friends and neighbours and those from further afield at their local Agricultural Shows.

Submitted by Teresa Lovering, Devon North Branch

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