Mission Hope gets started this week

SUNDAY sees the start of Mission Hope, a Christian mission that will deal with a wide range of life’s issues such as hopelessness, debt, depression, drug and alcohol abuse and suicide.

Jay Lowder, from the USA, will be the speaker for the week long mission that runs from Sunday to Sunday, May 13-20, and will be held in Shankill Parish Church.

The mission promises to be an exciting event that also includes Paul Jones, former lead singer with Manfred Man and his wife Fiona, a West End and TV actress. The Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle Choir will also be making an appearance during the mission.

Gerald Hewitt, Chairman of Mission Hope said: “15 local churches from the Lurgan area are supporting the mission and we do hope that Christians and those who do not have a faith in Christ come along to hear what God has to say about the issues we face every day. Many people are struggling, yet God’s word deals with, and helps us cope with facing life’s issues.”

Jay Lowder is a man with a story to tell.

From Wichita Falls in Texas, Jay is an American evangelist who breaks the mould, a man who has lived life on the edge and been on the brink of suicide.

Unafraid and unashamed in his faith Jay’s message is a simple one, he doesn’t speak religion, he’s not affiliated to any church but he does want to bring people to a true relationship with Christ.

Jay speaks from hard earned experience and gave a hint of what he’ll have to say: “Come hear from a man who understands the path of suicide. Come hear from a man who at 21 years of age decided to end his life with a pistol, come and hear his personal story.

“I am going to take time to share my personal story, about the day that changed my life and what transpired that day that kept me from ending my life and what, as a result of that, gave me the purpose, the reason and the hope to continue on.”

From a churchgoing family himself, like so many of us, Jay might have attended church but was by no means a Christian.

That changed when he was converted at a mission very similar to what’s planned for Lurgan.

He told the ‘MAIL’: “I was invited by a family member to attend a mission, an outreach. I was someone who grew up in church but I discontinued going, I went to the mission, I didn’t even plan on going but went and accepted Christ there.

“Three nights later they had a special student event, a strong outreach to students and that night I saw over 300 students make a commitment to Christ. When I saw that I just knew that was what I was supposed to do with my life.

“I’d been a believer for three days and I wanted to help other young people like myself discover the truth that I had recently discovered.”

Developing his ministry Jay first started his own small Bible study with a group of close friends: “We started ‘street witnessing’, we would go out to the street, where we lived at the time there were a lot of bars, strip clubs, nude dancing - some very rough people, a lot of drunks, homeless people, prostitutes walking up and down the street and so we started walking the streets at night time. Once the streets got cranking, we started sharing our faith.”

After learning from other evangelists Jay’s own ministry developed through Harvest Ministries and he said: “I’ve always done the work of evangelism, I’ve never been a pastor in a church, never served in an official role, I’ve been invited to do that on several occasions but never had a desire to do that.”

Most of Jay’s work is done in the USA but his work also has an international dimension through the use of TV and the internet and, as he put it: “With modern technology you have ability to do international ministry sitting in Ireland, Texas or Kenya.”

Jay will be the key speaker at Mission Hope which will run from May 13-20 and has the support of 15 churches across the town.

Everyone is warmly invited to attend during the mission and hear more of what Jay has to say.