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Beach mission

September 2012 | by Antonia Sheldrake

Youth Feature

Beach mission

After being unproductive last summer, I felt convicted to spend the first two weeks of this summer, from 14-28 July, serving God with United Beach Missions (UBM).
    My first week in Benllech, Anglesey, can be summarised in two words — temperamental weather. Each day’s programme was uncertain, and it was typical of Britain that on the same day the previous team returned home with intense sunburn, torrential rain greeted us on our Smuggler’s trail that evening.
    One family braved the treasure hunt, won first prize and, most importantly, heard the gospel message. Throughout the week, the weather prevented many from going to the beach, so we only ran the morning session twice, which included games and a short Bible talk.
    
BBC

We were also hindered by the fact that many schools hadn’t yet finished, and our afternoon sessions often had fewer than 10 children. This session was called the ‘Holiday special’ and included short, humorous spots such as the Benllech Broadcasting Company (BBC), as well as quizzes and choruses accompanied by an accordion and two short messages.
    Our competitions were cancelled for the majority of the week due to low numbers, and on the Monday our whole programme was cancelled due to the rain. However, on that day we went round the local area putting leaflets in shops, cafes, and hotels, followed by an evangelistic training session in the afternoon.
    Low numbers of children meant we threw our energy into work on the promenade and made contacts using volleyball, including with four Muslim men who were happy to listen to the gospel. On the second time of contact, we discovered one of them attended the same university as three men on our team. He
requested a Bible.
    Another success was our ‘It’s a knockout’ Olympic-themed event. More than 50 people attended and many requested literature. We were bowled over by God’s goodness as well as the number of people willing to take DVDs and literature from us.
    The second week was a mission at Llandudno. As well as an open air meeting every night, there was in the residence where we stayed a DVD presentation called The land of song.
    
Open airs

The ‘open air’ was particularly terrifying, but I volunteered to stand on the edge of the promenade with hymn sheets and Beach Specials to hand out.
    On the first night, I encountered a lady who disbelieved creation and struggled to understand the concept of sin. When I shared my testimony with her, she exclaimed that I had nothing to be guilty of!
    We met a man who believed he had seen a vision of God while in hospital, yet a few days earlier, had refused to speak with us. However, he said that later he felt he desperately needed to speak with us and was grateful I’d approached him part-way through the meeting.
    The team also met an eight-year-old boy on holiday with his grandparents. He was a professed Christian, and told us that many members of his family had started arguments with him, trying to get him to disbelieve.
    We also had experiences with two other men who were close to approaching God with a prayer of repentance and faith, and although no one came to Christ (that we know of), we knew our prayers were being heard and answered.
    We were greatly blessed with the weather on the second week, and did not have to cancel any sessions. As well as getting to share the gospel, the teams had to do ordinary jobs such as cleaning and washing up.
    
Blessing

But this was not as boring as it sounds: on my first week, three team members masterminded a prank that involved jumping out of the airing cupboard and scaring those putting towels away!
    To be around so many Christians was a huge blessing, and the way in which a team of strangers united so quickly because of a shared love for Christ was amazing.
    I realised that, as the weeks went on, I was able to talk to strangers about Christ, with God granting me boldness along the way — something that had seemed impossible before, but which became a reality with the UBM team.
Antonia Sheldrake