Appleby Gypsy Fair 2015 - Northern Ireland Team
Post date: Sep 11, 2015 12:14:10 PM
Once again a team from Northern Ireland travelled over to the fair at Appleby. The team was augmented by the addition two men from the Republic of Ireland, Mr. Maurice Patterson from Donegal, and Mr Tim Quinlan from Ballinasloe. Tim leads the small Christian Fellowship that meets there in County Galway. Many of the Gypsies go over to Ballinasloe to buy horses and Ronnie and Pat McCracken went there to see what could be done by way of outreach. There they met Tim and Marie and they have worked together since in several efforts in Ireland and Russia. It was great to have these men from the Irish Republic along with the other team members.
We made the Wild Rose Caravan site our base, several slept in the camper van and the rest in a rented static caravan. Meals were taken in the restaurant and this proved to be a very satisfactory arrangement. The first big task was to erect the marquee on the Fair Hill among the Gypsy living wagons. We were assigned a very prominent site not far from the entrance and right among the wagons. Very soon we discovered that we were next to several Believers. Harry and Jane Smith were next to us, Harry is a real trophy of God’s Grace. Known previously as “Angry Harry” he has been transformed by the Lord. Three years ago, Harry, was diagnosed as seriously ill and he requested prayer. We believe that the Lord has wonderfully answered and Harry is doing extremely well. A little further away but still very near was a family whose son is in prison. Through reading the booklet, “The Long Road Home” in the prison he has had a meeting with the Lord. The family were so grateful for the interest we have taken in this man and even insisted to give Ronnie a present of “Pike” poles for over the fire. The team were busy every day distributing literature in the Fair and through the town. Many very serious conversations were held about Eternal things. One man who we will call simply ‘G’ came especially to the marquee to renew the conversation. In the providence of God this man has been spoken to by John Heron in the past and three years ago met Ronnie in the town. Now we discovered that he is also known to dear friends of ours who live in the Southern part of England. Some might say “small world”, but surely the Lord has declared an interest in this man and wants to save him. Please do pray for ‘G’ as time is passing swiftly away. Alex, a Gypsy brother came from Carlisle to assist us in witnessing and proved to be a wonderful addition to the team. A highlight of the whole fair was the Sunday morning meeting when more than 100 Gypsies gathered to listen in the open air. Billy Welch, the King, took a bold stand with us at the service and Joe Mitchell preached and conducted the Breaking of Bread and Ronnie gave a closing message. It was a thrill to see Gypsy and non-Gypsy (Gadget or Gorgio) standing together for the Lord. This surely spoke to many. One R.C. man asked for prayer for Salvation at the end of the service. We do not know how deep was his understanding of the Gospel and can only leave him in the hands of the Lord.
All too soon it was all over for another year and we were on our way to Kirkby Stephen for the Sunday evening service. Tim shared his testimony with the friends who gathered there. The ladies gave us a wonderful supper afterwards that was a glorious end to a blessed day. Then it was back to Cairnryan for the ferry home to Ireland, tired but rejoicing at the wonderful privilege the Lord gave us to reach out at the fair.
In August, Ronnie will go to stay for a few days in Darlington on a traveller’s site, to visit Billy Welch and several others. The Lord has opened the door for Ronnie to get into Frankland Maximum security prison to visit the gypsy lad and to conduct a Bible study with a group of men. Please do make this a matter for special prayer, it has come directly from the outreach at Appleby. If the Lord tarries and spares us to see another year we will hope to be back again to mingle among the needy Gypsies and seek to share the Good News of God’s Salvation with as many as possible. These are surely the end times and we must be about our Father’s business.