“…God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…”
1 Corinthians 1:27b
God blesses and uses simple, ordinary people to accomplish His purposes. Therefore, He chose simple, ordinary people to start and develop the work of CEF in Ireland. That work began in early 1950 when He called a young couple who had been saved from a non-evangelical background a few months earlier, with no training or experience of any kind in Christian work, and gave them a burden for and a call to the children of Ireland. Sadie and I were that couple and we were soon joined by other simple, ordinary people who had the same burden and call.
We started the first Good News Club® in our home. The children who came probably knew more about the Bible than we did. More clubs were started by inexperienced people like us. The leadership of CEF heard about what was happening and appointed Sadie and me as National Directors of CEF of Ireland! (That would be our ministry for the following 14 years.) God blessed the work and it grew strongly right through the 50s and early 60s, and many thousands of children were reached with the Gospel. Over 100 Good News Clubs were operating by the early 60s. Hundreds of weekly open-air meetings were taking place all over the country with often 100-200 or more children in attendance. Many Holiday Bible Clubs were conducted. Seven teams of workers organised and led many children’s missions and an extensive programme of weekly and monthly training classes took place in a number of centres.
But all this ministry was carried on by simple, ordinary people who learned as we went along. We were “a self-financed layman’s organisation”. None of us were full-time, and that included the 11 local workers and the National Director (I continued to be a teacher). We all had our regular jobs from which we financed ourselves. The first full-time workers were appointed in the late 50s to work in the office and promote the work. We were all simple, ordinary people but we were serving a mighty, powerful Lord and it was He who blessed and expanded the work, and, by doing so, brought glory to His Name.
I am writing these few words firstly, to give honour to those hundreds of devoted teachers and committee members who invested their time and strength in the ministry of CEF in Ireland in those early years. Many of them are now in Glory. It was not always easy; the work was new, the methods were quite revolutionary and not everyone approved. They persevered and laid a good foundation upon which the future work of CEF in Ireland could be built. Secondly, I trust that what I have written will encourage some simple, ordinary person like ourselves who is praying about the call he/she has received from God to reach the children. Obey Him; He will bless you and meet all your needs just as He did for all those simple, ordinary people back in the 50s and 60s.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2018 National Newsletter