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Appleby Horse Fair - June 2009

posted 13 Jul 2009, 13:49 by Stephen Hind   [ updated 10 Aug 2009, 14:21 ]

Keith and Marion Bullock have kindly provided this report from the Appleby Horse Fair.

Introduction

Appleby Horse Fair - June 2009

CGO’s time at Appleby Horse Fair was very encouraging, even though it wasn’t quite so busy as in previous years. There was a number of reasons for this. Firstly the weather was extremely cold and damp. Secondly there was a lot of trouble amongst the gypsies. A family feud seemed to have developed over the weeks leading up to the event. The police arrested about 50 people over the weekend, and sadly one man was killed as a result of being struck over the head with a hammer! We detected however that this only served to make people a lot more serious, and we had a number of excellent conversations amongst the gypsy folk, and the many visitors that flocked there to see the horses and the trading. Apart from manning the mobile unit, parked in the gateway of the Methodist church, members of the team also managed to visit a number of the gypsy encampments. We even sat around a camp fire drinking tea, and chatting.

Here are just a few of the contacts we made … 

Just a few of the Contacts

Nicholas: A middle aged Irishman, who had travelled over for the Horse Fair. He was very friendly. He said that he’d been a Christian all his life, which meant that he had a wrong view of what a Christian was. He said he wasn’t very religious although he’d been brought up a Roman Catholic. He was very willing to listen and took a GOJ and a number of different tracts. We felt he was challenged by what he’d heard and he admitted that he really would have to give more thought to spiritual things. 

Glen: Glen was a local man, who lived in sheltered accommodation. He was a little on the simple side. He admitted that he had a sister who went to church. It turned out that one of the team with us knew his sister, and said that she was born again. It was good to be able to encourage Glen to listen more carefully to what his sister told him. he took a SOHCD because he said he liked to listen to his CD player at home. God can break through the barriers that this man has. 

Sonny: Four gypsy lads approached us and we thought that were bent on trouble. They had that look about them!! How wrong we were. Three of these lads, who were actual Christians, but the fourth, Sonny, wasn’t. It was great to encourage him to get right with the Lord. He knew what he had to do but didn’t want to give up a life of sin. He said that he was “enjoying himself too much”. He listened as we warned him of impending judgement if he failed to submit his life to Christ. He went a bit quiet, and his friends urged him to think again.

Paul: He was another local man, middle-aged, who had come to the church where we were based, thinking that a soup kitchen was on the go. It had been cancelled for that week. We had a nice chat with him, and with his limited ability, he managed to understand the basic idea of what it meant to be right with God. He took a SOHCD.

Colin: This elderly man, was a visitor, and just stopped to look at the literature on offer. At first he seemed to be quite sympathetic, saying he was a churchgoer. However when we began to get down to the challenge of the cross, and the fact that we were all sinners, he didn’t like it one little bit!! He told us to “back off” saying that if we persisted in saying what we’d said, he would walk away. We managed to calm him down and get the conversation back onto a more friendly footing. However he did take a number of leaflets, and said he would read them. His sister wasn’t much friendlier either. 
 
Stuart: He was an elderly Irishman who thought that the Bible was really just picture language. We explained to him that there were things in the Bible that were pictures of what would happen, and proceeded to tell him about the Passover, and it’s significance. He listened and we could tell he was quite intrigued by what he’d heard. The conversation really developed and we went on to talk about a creator God. Again he was quite fascinated by the views that we had, and said that he’d never really given it much thought. We gave him the book, “And God Said” which he was pleased to receive. He seemed to be quite an intelligent man, and we do believe he took on board a lot of what we’d said.
We also gave him a John’s Gospel. 

Christine and sister Sheila: Now this conversation was truly amazing, Various  team members spoke to Christine first. She was a very talkative middle-aged lady, whose sister could hardly get a word in edgeways. It turned out that she was in spiritualism and went to a Spiritualist church. She was adamant that this was right and that she’s found great comfort in it. We explained that just because she may have found comfort in it, that this didn’t make it right. She was the sort of person that you could pretty much say anything to, and she would take it on the chin. It transpired that she had had a bad experience of some church, and this had caused her to turn to spiritualism for help during a crisis in her life. As the conversation developed she took more and more booklets from us. She kept saying that we could never change her, and we agreed with that, saying only God could. Even though she said that she wasn’t about to convert, she still wanted the booklets and CD’s. She said that she would definitely read them. The “banter” was very good, and we were able to convey the truth in a friendly, but emphatic way. Sheila, her sister, listened all the way through, and made the occasional comment. They both went away really challenged with the gospel. We urged them to get away from the dangerous things they were dabbling in.
 
Don: A gypsy man in his 60’s who had come to Appleby to try and be reconciled to his wife, who he’d divorced 25 years before. There was every chance that this was going to happen. He was scrap metal trader, and extremely wealthy. He thought that all faiths led to God, but we managed to help him see the unreasonableness of that argument. It was a profitable conversation which ended with him taking a John’s Gospel and a Tel-It tract based on the theme of horses and racing. He seemed quite appreciative of the talk, and we parted on very good terms. We wished him well with trying to get back with his former wife.
 
Jimmy: He was an very arrogant gypsy man, in his 40’s who said he’d come to Appleby, from London, to have a “good time. He openly bragged about his sexual exploits!! We confronted him quite forcibly. His language was foul. Amazingly he didn’t seem to resent what we said, but calmly listened. We told him about how much God hates sin, and that one day, unless he repented and turned to Christ, he would face the judgment of God. It was quite hard hitting, but in the end he actually thanked us for talking to him. He wasn’t anywhere near as confident as he made out to be. A lonely, dissatisfied soul, who was trying to find some meaning to life. He took an Ultimate Questions and a John’s Gospel.
 
Tony: A gypsy man who John Heron had spoken to, on a number of occasions, over the years, when he had witnessed during the Horse Fair. He had resisted the Lord. However this year, he was invited by a gypsy evangelist, to hear the gospel at Appleby Methodist. Tony was saved on the Sunday evening. We were able to visit him at his caravan, and enjoy a cuppa with him and various members of his family. He was able to tell us of how the Lord had dealt with him. See photo above of man sitting on caravan step. This is Tony!