Autumn in Northern Ireland…a time of change. A time when the leaves on the trees change colour and begin to fall. A time when the cool nip in the air becomes obvious. The light clothes and sandals of Summer are pushed to the back of the wardrobe and the thicker, warmer clothes begin to be common place from day to day.
But for the people of the Northern Ireland the Autumn of 2019 has brought another change. A change that has far more serious consequences than cold toes because you haven’t wrapped up warm. This change has brought our society to a new low and placed our little land in a position that many of us never thought would happen.
Northern Ireland was, at least until 22 October 2019, probably one of the safest places in the world for the unborn child. But as the clock struck midnight, everything changed. The darkest day; as some have renamed the day; became a reality. There and then, abortion in this little land was decriminalised and suddenly we find ourselves at the other extreme; living in a country that has now the most liberal abortion laws in Europe.
Those engaged in children’s ministry have often found themselves in a position were they have had to consider what age is appropriate for the outreach they are engaged in. Perhaps it is a children’s meeting or Sunday School class…maybe a 3 or 4 year old can start to participate. Perhaps it is a Bible Correspondence Course; the child may need to be 8 or 9 years old before they can register. But when does our responsibility really begin? Can we really wash our hands of these little ones until we reckon they become our charge?
The Word of God says in Jeremiah 1 : 5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…” God was not speaking of a mass of cells. He was not speaking of something that did not matter. He was not speaking of something worthless. God was speaking of a little baby. A little person whom He created. A little one who was known to God. A little one who was, and will always be, precious to the Lord from the very beginning and long before they leave the womb for this sinful world.
“It’s 2019, move with the times!” This is the cry we often hear. But God never changes. God’s Word never changes. A sin is always a sin. The killing of unborn babies is a sin. The position of this organisation and it’s workers is that abortion; the killing of an unborn baby will always be wrong.
Quite apart from the UK, we realise that we minister in countries where abortions also take place. Very often they are backstreet abortions which also endanger the mother. We realise that very often these mothers themselves are young and vulnerable. We do have a duty of care to them also, to show love and to speak as Jesus would have spoken; especially in situations when the mothers themselves are children. But these mothers need to know there is another way.
Today we have been reminded of statistics. Orphans in Kenya could be as many as 3 million! That is a figure which none of us can really fathom. Does this mean that the unborn child should be destroyed in order to prevent one less orphan? No! This one unborn child may be one among millions, but he or she is precious to the Lord.
Let us, not just as children’s workers; but as parents, teachers, Christians, humans…remember that God gives life and it is only for God to take it away. Let us remember then that we have a responsibility to nurture the life that God has given….not from the day a child is born until they become old and frail; no…it is our God given responsibility to nurture that life from the moment of conception (if not before) until the day God takes that individual from this scene of time.
Time is moving so fast. Here we are in October! Each member of the team has been so busy with ministry that our updates to the blog have been scattered of late. However, the work continues in Northern Ireland and Africa with opportunities to share in Churches and in Schools. We thank God for children hearing the Gospel. We thank God for volunteers who continue to be part of the work. We thank God for those who continue to pray.
Currently our prayers would do well to be directed towards the families affected by the collapse of a School in Nairobi. It is just a few minutes walk from our office there. Two children who received Bibles from Feed my Lambs were present in the building when it collapsed. Though shocked, they were spared. For others the outcome was very different. 8 children lost their lives and over 60 were treated for injuries. Please pray very much for all of those affected by this terrible tragedy.
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regular updates and thoughts from Northern Ireland and Africa...