We just celebrated our church's 16th anniversary as a Church here in Ireland, and I jotted down some memories of when we began!
Long before anyone ever gathered on a Sunday at Bible Baptist Church, I saw people. I saw chairs full of them. I saw children, and teenagers, Moms and Dads. I saw open Bibles in every lap. I saw couples holding hands, and grandparents holding grandkids! And I saw all them having one connection with each other – a love for the preaching and teaching of the truths of the word of God!
Every Saturday evening, as I arrived in Blarney, in a 110 year old Total Abstinence Hall on Station Road, I would set up two or three dozen chairs, praying, believing, and yearning for those people whom I saw to come. And come they did. The first Sunday that our church opened up for worship, two people arrived at 10.30am, and along with my family, sang, and listened to preaching from Acts 16 on “The Most Important Question.” Their names were Vanessa and Mikey. It was as if a hundred people came out that day, and I was thrilled! They didn’t come by accident either! My family and I had gone out into the highways and hedges, and had invited the Blarney area people to believe the Gospel, and come hear God’s word. And week after week, a few more would come! Some would come to the morning meeting, and others would come to the evening meeting! Soon, Vanessa would bow her head and repent and receive Jesus Christ as her own personal Saviour! Then Mikey, and then others! The T.A Hall itself had so little to offer people, being old, and drafty, but there was a warmth there that was not physical. Only God gets the glory for all the lives that were changed first in Blarney, and now in Ballincollig!
I still love coming into our simple meeting place (now in the Westgate Foundation), and praying over all the empty chairs, begging God for the salvation of countless more souls who I still see in my dreams, and still yearn to help with the timeless truths of Scripture! May the next sixteen years bear much more fruit that remains, and even hold even more precious memories for those who are just starting out on their journey of faith in Jesus Christ, as it did myself and my family sixteen years ago! I can only thank God for what He has faithfully done in this special group of believers that we call Bible Baptist Church!
For MORE memories, but loads of other people in our church, check out a page dedicated to First Impression Memories of our Church here in Ireland at www.biblebc.com/Activities/Anniv/2010/Memories.html