Porthminster beach on one of the quieter (and less sunny) days
One of our members, Mary Reid, recently volunteered with United Beach Missions. She has written about some of what she experienced:
This summer I really enjoyed being part of a 14-strong team for a week in St Ives with United Beach Missions, a first for me. All the activities involved reaching out to families and having conversations about Jesus. Many unbelieving holiday-makers were remarkably open to chatting about the Bible and our beliefs as Christians.
Morning craft activities
Each day we had “team time” at the bungalow, being taught about Integrity, Pride and Words in the book of Proverbs, then we headed to Porthminster Beach for the outreach to begin. Through the craft table, volleyball for teenagers and children’s games, we met lots of mums and dads and children each morning. The lunchtime tug-of-war made the whole beach aware of our presence before the afternoon programme got underway. This involved a bit more structure with children’s Gospel songs, a Bible story, a memory verse, a quiz and a silly competition (such as lolly licking!) Lots of parents listened in too and we were able to have more interesting conversations before packing up. On a couple of days we got more dads involved with a Penalty Shoot Out- all of them were given a Gospel book of sports testimonies, and our box of various free books and John’s Gospel was often empty at the end of the day too.
Lunchtime tug-of-war in full swing!
In the evenings, we either had an Open Air near the harbour or a family activity. The Open Airs involved some singing (I was put in charge of this and have learned some lovely new hymns!), a testimony from one of the team and then a mini three-point sermon from one of the leaders with a visual aid board. The rest of the team spaced out to look like a bit of a crowd (we didn’t have on our eye-catching red uniforms for this!) and we all kept our eyes open for bona fide passersby who stopped to listen. Lots of conversations took place and tracts and books were given out on these evenings. On the family activity evenings (a Smuggler’s Trail Quiz and a Family Knock-Out Fun Fair), we had a similar testimony/talk after the main activity, which led to some amazing conversations with those who attended.
The St Ives Team on the final day – tired but still smiling!
As well as having the privilege of being seed-sowers for the Gospel on the beach and in the town, it was wonderful to be living 24/7 with other Christians. The duties of washing up and sandwich-making were actually a joy when done in real service of each other, and we really got on as a team with A LOT of laughs all week long. As we got ready to head back to our “real lives” (ranging from university studies to hospital radiography to accountancy) we shared personal prayer requests on the last day and it was a blessing to share honest concerns of our hearts.
I would really recommend UBM (as well as their urban-based Open Air outreach work) to anyone with a heart for the lost. I really benefitted from the teaching, learned so much about how to effectively share the Gospel and how to serve fellow Christians from a variety of backgrounds. It was an exhausting but wonderful week and left me with a much more evangelistic attitude to my everyday life back in London.
You can find out more about United Beach Missions and their work across the UK and abroad at www.ubm.org.uk