An Historic First for the Shetland Isles, Scotland

Christ for Europe - Scottish Mission

News May 20, 2023

20 May 2023 | Shetland Islands, Scotland [Weiers Coetser]

The Scottish Mission launched its first-ever series of evangelistic meetings in Shetland, Scotland on the 19 and 20 of May. A small group of pastors under the leadership of General Conference Ministerial Association Associate Secretary, Anthony Kent have been on the island since Sunday 14 May, to raise awareness in a variety of innovative ways. One highly visible and innovative way includes a series of commemorative cycle rides around the island in memory of Philip Reekie, a Scottish cycle-riding bookseller whose efforts resulted in generations of transformed lives in Australia more than 120 years ago.

From left to right: Anthony Kent, Paul Tompkins, Caleb Haakenson, Jimmy Botha, Fitzroy Morris, Kanchan Masih and Wilfred Masih setting off from base camp (Aberdeen church) to catch the ferry to the Shetland Islands. Not pictured Torben Bergland.

As the week drew to a close and the start of the public meetings were about to commence, the pastors pondered about raising the awareness even higher.  As they walked through the Tesco supermarket to purchase supplies, team member Pastor Wilfred Masih suddenly exclaimed,  “I’m going to call the BBC. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive!”

The other members of the team immediately encouraged him to do that and the call was made. To everyone’s great astonishment, Adam, the presenter of the evening BBC Radio Shetland programme, invited him to the studio immediately. Ten minutes later, Anthony Kent and Wilfred Masih found themselves sitting in front of the microphones answering the presenter’s questions. Following the interview the presenters indicated that they would try their best to give the story air time in the Shetland section of the BBC Scotland news programme which airs at 5:30 every evening.

The view from the ferry on arrival to the town of Lerwick, Shetland.

“At 5:30, we all sat gathered around the table at our lodging, waiting for this interview,” says Scottish Mission president Jimmy Botha. “We listened to all the news reports of the day. This included coverage of issues relating to local tourism, planning applications, a driver who lost his license for careless driving, and other matters. At the end of the half-hour programme, came the section promoting upcoming events. The events were listed in rapid succession, and then there was a 10-second clip in which the presenter announced our event.” While they did not play any part of the interview, the announcement said, “The General Conference Ministerial Association will be holding religious meetings in the Isleburgh Community Centre on Friday evening at 6:30 and Saturday Morning at 11.”

“That was it!” says Botha chuckling. “We were so excited about the interview, but the radio programme producers had run out of time as they focussed on other big issues of the day. The Lord really works in mysterious ways.”

The excitment of the whole team could hardly be contained as the first meeting took place Friday evening (May 19) with a number of people met during the week indicated they plan to attend.

These meetings are the central focus of a larger “Reflecting Hope Scotland” evangelistic campaign targeted at North and North-east of Scotland, including Aberdeen and Inverness.

Stay tuned to this story which will be updated as further reports reach us from the Shetland Islands.

To read more about this Christ for Europe/Scottish Mission initiative go to:

‘Cycling pastors bring message to isles’ | Shetland Times

Cyclist Team Launches Mission Initiative in UK’s Northernmost Region’ | Adventist Review

Photos:Weiers Coetser

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