As a believer from Blackpool, England, who was saved 14 years ago through the ministry of the late Patrick Currey, pastor and delivered from ten years of heroin addiction, my aim in this article is to put Blackpool on the map for your prayers.
I suppose when people think of Blackpool they imagine the Tower, the Pleasure Beach, the Illuminations, the beach full of families eating ice cream and children riding the donkeys, maybe even long evening strolls down the Prom.
However, the reality is much different. Today, Blackpool is no longer a family resort. It is regarded by many as the homosexual capital of the North, where for the last three years ‘Gay Pride’ days have taken place—including marches and parades on the promenade. Blackpool also has one of the highest UK rates for alcohol-related deaths and suicide, and drug addiction. Homelessness, and crime are rife.
At weekends especially, the town is overrun with stag and hen party revellers from other parts of the nation that come to Blackpool for a ‘good time.’ Often these individuals are dressed up as angels, devils, and such like, meandering drunkenly from one seedy club to another.
The resort’s churches, for the most part, are closed, dead, or involved in non-biblical phenomena. It is difficult, although not impossible, to find sound Bible exposition from the pulpit in Blackpool.
Nonetheless, within this town, and amongst its degradation, the Gospel continues to be preached. There are a few faithful pastors and believers who go out on the streets with the Word of Life and attempt to tell people of Christ and His salvation. The response however, as in so many places today, is often poor.
Several outreaches have been carried out over recent years in Blackpool, including one or two of which I have been privileged to be a small part. For a few years my friend Paul Singleton and I carried out an outreach, supported by Bible Pattern Church, where free Bibles, booklets, and DVDs were given out to those we spoke to in different parts of the town. Gospel booklets were also pushed through the doors of many homes. For two years we set up a stall at three different car-boot sales to offer the Gospel to all with whom we conversed, which included Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and evolutionists. Through the equipping by God’s Word we were able to counter their beliefs with the Bible and present the truth of Christ.
The work that blessed me most, however, was another small ministry that began shortly after the summer car-boot sales ended. When walking through the streets of Blackpool one late August afternoon in 2005 and seeing all the homeless (many of whom had addiction problems) I said to the Lord, “Oh Father, please send someone to speak to these people about your Son.” (I didn’t want to be the one to do it!) As so often happens with the Lord, two weeks later my friend Helen Dyson, I, and Paul, were walking the streets of Blackpool in the evening toting bags of food, drink, and clothing to the homeless and witnessing to them, (thanking the Lord for His chastisement and conviction!)
We did this for two years, finding out their physical needs (as did Job in 29:16), and presenting the Gospel, leaving them with different tracts each week. At first, we supplied the necessities ourselves yet after hearing of this little ministry through a mutual friend, David Dyer of Knoxville, Tennessee (an invaluable ‘Bible’ man), the women of a church in America decided to support it and sent us $30 (US) each month.
Eventually, others in Blackpool heard about the ‘homeless’ ministry and donated items of clothing and sleeping bags, particularly brothers and sisters from Bible Pattern Church and Inskip Baptist Church, for which we are very grateful. We got to know these homeless people in the ensuing months and they came to not only trust us but were happy to see us each week. Our personal testimonies appeared particularly wondrous to them as Helen, Paul and I related the delivering power of God from such things as drug addiction, and lives of sin and hopelessness. A couple of the people we spoke to, later died, so we just pray that the Gospel impacted their hearts beforehand. After two years the ministry ended rather abruptly when the police and local council ran an operation to remove all these people from the town centre. For two weeks we searched the streets of Blackpool trying to find them, to no avail, and we do not know where they are now.
However, we know that they and all the others that have had the Gospel in Blackpool from us and others, are ‘somewhere’ and I ask that you would please remember them and the ‘seed sowers’ in your prayers. We know that when seed is sown it can be watered at a later date and God can give the increase (1 Cor. 3:6). Please remember Paul particularly as there is hardly a day goes by when he does not witness to someone.
I would also personally encourage you all to tell others about Jesus. It is not necessary to be involved in a specific ministry or outreach to witness to the lost. Witnessing is the personal duty of every believer. Yet most of all, I would encourage you to test all things by the Word of God, for that beloved book, His Word, is TRUTH.
Blackpool, in spite of its annual ‘lights’ is a very dark place where people have no hope and are without God in this world. God saved me in this dark place and can save others too for even in such a town His “hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59:1)
CETF 46Volume - 14.4 - 2008 - Dec -
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