‘We want the Lord to be glorified and we want the Word that we hear today to change our lives’.
So began the Pilgrim Tabernacle Fifth Ladies’ Conference, held at the New Life Bible Presbyterian Church in Queen’s Park, London. Organised by Kim Eng Sherwood, who also gave one of the presentations, the theme was how a Christian lives by faith through suffering and how the gospel can be spread even in lands torn by persecution.
The first session, ‘Suffering as a Christian – learning from John Bunyan’, was given by prolific author and biographer Faith Cook, from Beeston Free Evangelical Church. She spoke in detail about the England of the 1600s, and the political and religious upheaval into which Bunyan was born.
His conversion, through overhearing women talk together about the Lord Jesus Christ, led him to exclaim ‘Christ, Christ! Nothing but Christ!’ His preaching engagements increased after this, so that by 1660 the magistrates determined he should be imprisoned.
By 1662, Bunyan was in Bedford jail, a ‘disgusting, vermin-infested, freezing’ prison. But despite this deprivation he did not disobey God, but like Peter and John kept on preaching. ‘A day may come sooner than we think when we will face persecution. We already ensure discrimination. What can we learn from Bunyan when true suffering comes?’
Mrs Cook said that we should learn that suffering brings tokens of God’s special love and strong personal assurance; and it can be transformed into blessings.
After a delicious lunch, provided by the men and women of Pilgrim Tabernacle, Mrs Sherwood spoke on the plight of Chin and Karen refugees in Malaysia (see p.16). She presented a moving account of the poverty and terror in which these Christian brothers and sisters live.
There are more than 30,000 Chin refugees in Malaysia, 90 per cent of whom are professing Christians who have escaped the tyrannical Myanmar military junta, but are refused refugee status by the Malay government. A Chin pastor was among the scattering of men at the conference sessions.
The final session was taken by Ann Winch, who with her husband David was a missionary in Turkey for 40 years. She presented a short history of the gospel in Turkey, including describing various translations of the Bible into the Turkish language in the 20th century.
‘Since the 1960s, Christianity has grown in this secular Muslim society to around 4,400 believers. If it continues at the same rate of growth, in 44 years’ time there will be seven million’, Mrs Winch exclaimed.
There was also the opportunity to buy Christian books from the Purple Tulip book ministry run by Anne Newman. This year, any attendee who bought any book from the stall could receive a free copy of Overcoming the world by Faith Cook (ET).