by Jon Galloway
EAST KILBRIDE, Scotland (BNc) — We welcomed a new coworker to East Kilbride this summer. Richard and Mary Harp moved over on 23rd June with a five-year commitment to work with the congregation in East Kilbride.
Richard and Mary both attended Freed-Hardeman University. Richard received both his Bachelor and Masters Degrees from FHU, the latter being in New Testament. Mary has her BA in Art. While studying for his Masters Degree, Richard also served as the youth minister for the congregation in Selmer, Tenn. He is sponsored by the Fourth Street church in Selmer.
Richard worked with the Cumbernauld congregation the summer of 2005. That summer he was able to work with Camp Heather and he came to the attention of the elders at East Kilbride. They invited him to come back to work with the East Kilbride congregation, primarily concentrating on building up the youth work.
Richard and Mary both returned the summer of 2008 for a month’s visit. They brought with them a group from the Selmer congregation to work on a campaign with the Lomond congregation (where we used to work). After the campaign was finished, they stayed on for a couple more weeks as a survey visit with the congregation in East Kilbride. They had hoped to arrive the summer of 2009, but school work and needing to finish raising support made necessary a delay until this past summer.
Although they arrived as we were winding down our youth activities for the summer, they were able to meet our youth group at the last youth night before the summer school holidays. They involved some of the children in various events throughout the summer, which enabled them to get to know them better. Richard and Mary both were involved with Camp Heatherbell during the summer. We already had, for the firsttime, around seven of the teens planning to go to camp.
Once camp was over, we began to see several of the teens coming to our worship on Sunday and the Bible classes both on Sunday and on Wednesday. This has been an encouragement to the congregation as it has swelled our number of teens. When school resumed, Richard took over the organising of our Tuesday night Youth Club – those who had been helping on a regular basis have continued along with a few new helpers. Due to their involvement, they have helped to swell the numbers from around 15-20 children on a Tuesday to around 30-35. In fact, our building is now so active and full on Tuesdays that we are discussing the possibility of moving the club to a larger facility.
Richard also began to teach the teen class on Sundays, with Adam Barr continuing to teach the teens on Wednesday. This has also seen better attendance, not only from the teens who had not attended before, but also from some of our own teens. Richard has organised groups of teens to attend various Youth Weekends and events throughout the autumn.
Two new events have been started by Richard and Mary. On Thursday evenings they have organised an Art Club which numbers around 10-15 teens. They are able to use the art they do to teach Biblical themes and ideas. On Friday evenings they have recently started a Teen Cafe, either at the building or their house. Once each month there is a teen devotional hosted by a family within the congregation.
Their hope is to also get to know the parents of the children and see Bible studies set up with them as well as the teens who are coming along. Thus far two studies with teens have been set up with the first one obeying the gospel just over a week ago!
It is good to have this couple working with us. Richard also helps in preaching as well as other regular congregation work. Keep us all in your prayers!
Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.