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Appleby Gypsy Fair 2015

posted 16 Jul 2015, 13:00 by Stephen Hind   [ updated 16 Jul 2015, 13:10 ]

Workers:  Jim McCallam, John Heron, Friends from N.Ireland and Appleby

After much preparation and planning by the Local Authorities and the Police, the time for the Appleby Gypsy Fair brought 10,000 Gypsies and 30,000 visitors to Appleby and some to surrounding villages.

Ronnie McCracken and his wife Pat, had also been making preparation to bring a team of 12 to the Fair including a Tent to erect among the travellers’ vans providing refreshments and an opportunity to share the Gospel with them.  Billy Welsh, the Gypsy Leader, was more than happy to welcome them to the Fair as a Christian witness.  The weather was fine most of the time although a cool breeze prevailed both days.

We appreciated our brother David Johnston preparing the Van for another season of visiting Fairs and Shows.

We  arrived at our parking place kindly given to us by the Methodist Church before 8.30 a.m. ready for the crowds arriving.  Soon after 9 a.m., a young lady who lived locally, stopped to talk when we soon learned that she and all the family had been  Jehovah Witnesses but only her Mum was now practicing that faith.  The young lady listened so well as we shared the Gospel promising to listen to a Key Fob giving a clear Gospel message.

David, a photographer from Bournemouth, listened as we told him why we were at the Fair – he was a Quaker.

Susan from Newcastle and David from Scotland were really interested as we explained the message of salvation – neither of them attended a church but showed a real desire to know the Gospel, taking a CD and “Why Jesus”.

Another two young  ladies talked to us.  R and C asked many questions and again happily took literature including “Reason to Believe”.

A dear couple from Devon who spoke to us last year (G was  surprised we remembered his name).  Please remember this couple –  His wife is a believer but G has many questions.  Ronnie shared with him Billy Welsh’s story of coming to the Lord.  We gave him a Billy Graham DVD and a CD testimony by Dick Keogh.  They fulfilled their promise and came to speak to us on Saturday.

Many local visitors pass the Stall one being the local Catholic Priest, after a chat he happily accepted a booklet “What does the Catholic Bible Teach”.  It was encouraging to be joined by our Irish helpers and some friends from the Methodist Church.  We had a good time of fellowship  when a number of Christians called to say “Hello”.

Saturday began with a profitable time talking to a young couple from Kendal, one was a Teacher and the other a Medic.  What a joy to talk to two young people who were seeking the truth – we gave them a Bible, God’s Story and “Why Jesus” and a CD.  May they find Jesus as Saviour.

Jackie who had come to the Fair from Gosforth, Newcastle, talked freely of her search for truth – we gave her a CD and “Why Jesus” and encouraged her to attend Regent Chapel.

We spoke to a lady who attended the Catholic Church  accepted “What the Catholic Bible Teaches” after which another really devoted Catholic Gypsy spent almost an hour speaking to two Irish brothers.

T from London called enquiring about the Christian message and while we spoke to others he happily listened to the Gospel on the Key then taking it back to London along with a Bible and other booklets.

Lynn from Halifax stopped to talk with her twin girls and Kathleen from the Methodist Church shared her testimony and and the lady said her friend from Halifax had told her about Jesus and told her the same message , do pray for Lynn and the twins will open their hearts to the Lord as we explained how the Lord knocks on the door but never forces us against our will.

A short distance from the Van is the entrance hall to the Church where a family who lived near Heathrow Airport were sheltering and talking when we had the joy of witnessing to them.  Another family from Whitley Bay were nearby with 2 boys and 2 girls – what a joy to share the Gospel with a whole family and gave them tracts and booklets.

Mother and daughter arrived with a little girl, asking “Can I have a Bible”.  What a privilege  to be able to give God’s living Word to seeking souls.

We all returned home for a meal, some of us to return later to the tent again that evening and on Sunday morning to join an Open Air with our Gypsy friends from around the country.  We enjoyed a great time at our Evening Service at Kirkby Stephen when the Northern Ireland Team came  along sharing Testimony and Ronnie McCracken spoke – we praise the Lord for fellowship in the Gospel.

John Heron