On Sept 19th we had our training day at St Martin in the Bull Ring. We had about 60 people attending the course including a couple dear friends from America, Fred and Laverne Smith. I asked Fred to write a reflection of his experience on the day.
Both Fred and Laverne are lecturers at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Laverne lectures on religious studies and Fred teaches world religions. He also has a special interest in worldview and culture. Recently, he published a book, ‘Developing a Biblical Worldview: Seeing Things God’s Way’. You can also hear his podcast on world view and the implications for Morality on
Here is what he wrote about our Training Day. It is sooo encouraging and sooo exciting. Please read on.
‘My wife, Laverne, and I were eagerly looking forward to the HOTS (Healing on the Streets) day of training and ministry at St. Martins in the Bullring, and what God would do there. I had been reading e-mailed reports for about two years, and knew that God’s Spirit was active in this ministry, and our expectations were high. We were not disappointed. The day divided into two parts, a training session and then the prayer ministry on Edgbaston St. The training session was held at St. Martins in the Bullring, beginning with biblical foundations, but also practical instruction in praying with non-believers. The real value of the training, though, lay in how it developed confidence in the leadership, as well as preparing us to minister as a team. The trainers, David and Linda Isgrove deeply love Christ, His church, and people in need. This was evident in the time we spent with them, and by the end of the session, we knew we could follow them confidently anywhere. In addition, testimonies from experienced prayer warriors among the group helped build a sense of being part of a team that was sensitive to the Spirit and ready to minister to whoever came by.
After lunch we stepped out of the church onto Edgbaston St. Right across from the church is a huge outdoor market. People were coming and going, busses unloading, and vendors, offering everything from strawberries and squash and tomatoes to soap, cheese, Persian rugs and bedding. There was much shouting and noise. We set up chairs quickly and began passing out cards explaining why we were there, and offering to pray with whoever had a need. The passing crowd, of hopeless, weary, Christless humanity nearly overwhelmed me. I had to fight back tears as we prepared to begin offering prayer to whoever would stop. And stop they did. Moments after we set up, people began coming for prayer. They took seats and two or three of us gathered around, to pray for them. At times there were people waiting to be prayed for. The sense that we were involved in serious spiritual warfare was heavy on us all. The Holy Spirit was definitely present, and protecting us. We often dealt with people whose physical struggles masked underlying spiritual needs, and the prayer times could be intense.
There were mothers concerned that they might miscarry their next child, and people with pain, anxiety, and various spiritual issues. Some were worried for missing family members, and others were stressed over work or other issues. All were in need, and we saw God’s hand at work many times. By the end of the day we were exhausted, spiritually drained by the effort and the spiritual warfare involved, but filled with joy. When we move in God’s will, He empowers us and so we sensed his pleasure as we gave him glory in Birmingham that day. So many people live hopeless lives without Jesus Christ and the comfort of His Spirit. We were able to demonstrate that God loves them, and that Christians care about them. Pray for them, that God will remind them of His presence, and point them, in faith, to Jesus Christ, the only hope for the world.’
I want to thank Fred and Laverne for their zealousness to God and for encouraging us with our ministry of HOTS here in England. May they be blessed and fruitful in their ministry to the glory of God.
Revd Elsie Blair-Chappell.