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David and Mary RobinsonHope Springs Eternal. Newsletter No 35 - 15th March 2021

Next Sunday, the 21st March, the speaker at our ‘Zoom Service’ is David Robinson. Originally an engineer at GEC in Trafford Park, David and his first wife, Jenny, went to work in central Thailand in 1972. Living in a house built on stilts amongst rice paddy fields, they established three churches during eight years. While there, David was bitten twice by scorpions and in the daily task of emptying a wastepaper basket he literally came face to face with a rearing cobra snake.

After fourteen years the family moved to Bangkok where David became the leader of the forty-five strong mission team based there. Part of the team was involved in church planting while the remainder supported the existing fellowships. Typically, he challenged the three existing churches to set a goal for growth. They responded by setting a target of establishing a new church every year for seven years. By 1995, nine churches were established with a further two at the stage of being planted.

Following the death of his first wife from cancer, David married Mary who had been working with an Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) team in southern Thailand; an area where kidnapping was a constant threat. Here, Mary, a physiotherapist in a general hospital for 20 years, worked with those who were suffering from the effects of leprosy.

After their marriage in 1996, David and Mary were asked by OMF to go to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Over the next ten years, the team there grew from nine to eighty and included seventeen different nationalities. While David went out into the various regions leading his team to establish new churches, Mary stayed in the city and took responsibility for the orientation programmes as well as the care of visitors.

Whilst in Cambodia, they learnt that their visas would probably not be renewed. David and Mary could do little about the situation except to do something that they knew would work, pray. The answer to their prayers came in the form of a request by a Government Minister who required his staff to learn English. With no training, Mary stepped forward to run two sessions a week for twenty people: the reward for David and herself being an extension to their visas!

Throughout the course of their missionary careers, David and Mary’s love for the people of Thailand and Cambodia grew. Under their leadership and guidance, they witnessed the birth of many new churches who would eventually be led by local leaders. In 2006 they returned to the United Kingdom but almost immediately came to realise the needs of the Thai population in this country. You would be surprised how many Thai people there are in the UK today, many of whom have a Christian faith.

In the years since their ‘official’ retirement they have continued to support individual Christian Thai and Thai groups around the country. This has involved visiting and speaking at various group meetings, linking up isolated Thai Christians with others in the faith, staying in touch and encouraging those who return home to Thailand and organising a summer camp which provides the opportunity for members of different groups to come together for teaching and fellowship. As you can imagine, during the pandemic much of this work has not been able to take place except over Zoom. Doubtless, David will update us on the current challenges that he and Mary face.

Zoom Meeting ID
: 874 0789 6194 Passcode: 427 632. Alternatively, if you receive emails you will have received one advising you to simply click on the link contained in the email for all Church Zoom events.

Remember - Return to Church – Sunday 28th March – Palm Sunday led by Diane Bennett

Front of church
Last Sunday, following our Zoom Service, as I pondered at how successful these services were, a thought came to my mind, ‘Why do we need a building when we can meet for fellowship in the comfort of our own homes, to not get cold or wet or sit on old wooden pews?’

I believe that the aftermath of the pandemic will bring about many changes in both society in general and in the church, but I do think that it is still vitally important that we are able to come together for worship. I do not think that meetings over the internet, however useful both now and in the future can ever replace that bond of fellowship when Christians come together in person.

When we moved our services to Zoom at the beginning of January, we did so because of our responsibility to both the health and welfare of our congregation and the wider public. As the pandemic subsides and most of us have been vaccinated, we believe that now is the time to return to public worship and hopefully by the 21st June we will not only be able to sit as normal in church but sing as well!

Lent Challenge Continued – Doing the little things in life by being kind to others, the world and yourself.

Tues 16th Identify a book or DVD you could lend to someone else. Something they might enjoy.
Wed 17th Offer to do a job that somebody else normally does. Could be at home or church.
Thurs 18th Use the washing-up water to feed your plants.
Fri 19th. Make a list of all the good things in your life and thank God for them.
Sat 20th Have a leisurely breakfast and make something special.
Mon 22nd Make some cakes and share them with friends.
Tues 23rd Sit still for five minutes in a quiet room and listen to yourself breathing. Thank God for life.
Wed 24th Take a bunch of flowers to somebody you know.
Thurs 25th Smile and say hello to everyone you meet today.
Fri 26th Find something you don’t use and give it away.
Sat 27th Make a list of five people you have met today and pray for them.
Mon 29th. Get out some old photographs and reminisce.
Tues 30th. Think about what might make somebody happy and do it.

Lenten Bible Study Series - The Prayers of Jesus – all meetings start at 8.00 pm for just one hour.
Tuesday 16th. The Farewell Prayer. Bible Reading. John 17
Tuesday 23rd . In the Garden of Gethsemane. Bible Reading. Matthew 26:36-46.

Bible Thoughts. This week Roy asks us to consider John 20: 1-18. Jesus died but rose and spoke to Mary, the disciples, and others. Tragedy was turned to victory for ever. How blessed are we that he rose also to live in our hearts and reveal God's love. Pray thanks for his loving presence.

Recipe Booklet
- Do you remember enjoying one of Joyce's delicious oat biscuits with tea or coffee at church? Have you ever cooked Scotch Scallops? Just a taster of some of the recipes for the coming church cookbook as described in the last newsletter. But we need more so please give one of two of your favourites by email, handwritten or phone to Kath, Anne, cluster leaders or the newsletter delivery service.

A date for your packed diary, 31st March at 3pm - Welcome Wednesday will focus on two more of our artistic church members. More details will be in the next newsletter. Please join us.

Let us not forget our own Warrington Food bank.
Items currently in short supply are, tinned rice pudding, tinned potatoes, cream crackers, tinned meat(hot), corned beef, Angel Delight, custard, potato mash, tinned fruit, fish / meat paste, jelly, cat food. If you wish to donate any of the above or other items via church, please advise your cluster leader, Anne or Brenda.

Good news. A number of our church members have now received their second vaccination.