Jeremiah 29 : 11-13
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray for me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart."
An old description of Weem
The village of Weem is situated in the fertile vale of Strath Tay, near Castle Menzies. On the left is the Inn; beyond it, on higher ground, screened by the hill, stands the church with trees in front; the Manse occupies a station nearer the middle of the view. The hill is composed of vast masses of rocks and broken grounds interspersed with trees, brush-wood and small cascades. Towards the top there is a remarkable Hermitage, neither painted nor trimly decorated, but rugged and romantically formed by the hand of nature.
On Sunday 15th December the Church held its Nativity Service conducted by Margaret Yearsley.
The congregation had been encouraged to take candles to the service, which were on display at the front of the church.
The children performed the nativity.
The singing group sang as well.
After the Remembrance service in Weem Church on Sunday 10th November, a short service was held at the War Memorial with Margaret Yearsley again officiating.
The wreaths were laid by Mrs Jean Keay and Councillor Ian Campbell and a British Legion Remembrance Cross by Deborh Riley.
The Servi ce closed with a prayer from Margaret Yearsley
The service was then repeated at Dull
with Ms Catherine Pringle and Councillor Campbell laying the wreaths
The service again closed with a prayer by Margaret Yearsley
The yearly barbecue organised by Sunday School was held in front of the church on Sunday 11th August.
Another good turnout, with everone enjoying the food supplied.
including the chef himself.
Barbecue was followed by scramble round the rock
Finished off by the usual ice cream.
Most enjoyable day and thanks for all the help.
The Menzies Service, conducted by Mrs Yearsley, was held on 11th August and as usual was well attended both by members of the Congregation and the Clan Menzies
The service was followed by tea and coffee in MacDonald Room
After the Remembrance service in Weem Church on Sunday 11th November, a short service was held at the War Memorial with Margaret Yearsley again officiating.
The wreaths were laid by Mr Gill Orr for the church,
Major Stewart McNeish for the British Legion
and Councillor Ian Campbell for Perth and Kinross Council, with Mr Arthur Timperley piping the "Flowers of Forest"" after the minutes silence. The service closed with prayer.
The service was then repeated at Dull with Mr John Young laying the wreath
Mr Arthur Timperley played the "Flowers of the Forest" with Mrs Yearsley again finishing with a prayer.
On the 29th September the Church held a Autumn Jubilee Festival and Bible Display
Setting up stalls and games
Bible Display in Church
Minister enjoying himself!!!!!!
Food was supplied
and church decorated with flowers
The day was enjoyed by everyone who took part
On Sunday the 26th of August the prizegiving for the Sunday School and Bible Class took place.
The prizes were presented by Margaret Yearsley
On the afternoon of Sunday 25th August 2012 the barbacue put on by the Sunday Scool for the congregation took place.
This year the chef was able to supply venison burgers
They and the normal beef burgers and sausages were enjoyed by all
Although no formal games this year the children managed to make up their own
The day closed as usual with the walk round the rock followed by ice cream
On Wednesday 25th April Weem Church was entertained by
A New Song Romania; singers Tabita, Paula, Adi, David, Alin,
Coco and Julia, pianists Richie and Jamie, sound Callum and Matt,
and driver Steven; on their British Tour. The music ranged from operatic,
country and gospel, all with a spiritual theme and sung with great emotion,
enthusiasm and strength. The music was intersperced with the group
explaining their work and experiences in Romania. Each singer took a turn at leading.
The Sermon was conducted by Mat Marshall, the co-ordinator, using Romans
Chapter 5, verses 1 - 11, which gives the theme for the tour, poured out. The evening closed with thoughts on missing member of tour, Stephen, and the singing of Pour My Love on You, Get on Your Feet and This Little Light of Mine, which was sung in English and Romanian.
The group were thanked by John McDiarmid, who encouraged the audience to give generously as all the money raised was for the work of Friendship International with children in Romania.
On Thursday the party left Weem to continue their tour with the thoughts and
prayers of the people of Dull and Weem and we look forward to seeing them back.
The Christmas Nativity Service was held on Sunday 18th December
The Church had been decorated for Christmas
The service started with the lighting of the fourth candle for Advent
Readings were followed by the singing group
and a solo by Sorcha Pringle
This was then followed by the Nativity performed by the Sunday School
and Bilble class and accompanied by the singing group
The Service was enjoyed by all and the minister thanked all who organised and took part in it.
After the Remembrance service in Weem Church a short service was held at the War Memorial with Margaret Yearsley again officiating. The wreaths were laid by Mr Alan Proud and Major Stewart McNeish with Mr Arthur Timperley piping the "Flowers of Forest"" after the minutes silence. The service closed with prayer.
The service was then repeated at the Dull War Memorial. Here Mrs Liz Lines read out names and laid the wreath.
Mr Arthur Timperley played the "Flowers of the Forest" with Mrs Yearsley again finishing with a prayer.
A special service was held on Sunday 30th October to celebrate the opening of the MacDonald Room Extension.
The service was conducted by Rev Mark Drane and Margaret Yearsley.
After the service the congregation made their way to the Macdonald Room where thanks were expressed for all involved and the singing group finished the formalities.
This was followed by teas, coffees, scones, cakes and biscuits.
On Saturday 20th August with the four youngest members of my family I attended the Scripture Union Scotland Big Celebration at Lendrick Muir.
This started with a Morning Celebration workship led by Chris White, Bible teaching from John MacKinnon (Minister, Calderwood Baptist Church) and highlights from the past year.
The Bible passage John used for his talk was Matthew 28, verses 16 -20. The same passage used in Weem the following day by Margaret Yearsley for her sermon.
This was followed by lunch and an afternoon of fun around Lendrick Muir, enjoyed by all who took part.
We would like to thank Dull and Weem Church for their support to children attending Scripture Union Camps.
Tom and Donna Pringle
The Yearly Sunday School organised Church Barbacue was held on Sunday 14th August.
The weather alternated between showers and sunshine.
However a good time was held by all that were able to be there, including members of the Clan Menzies.
Burgers, sausages and black pudding, followed by trifles and many other sweets. Thanks to all that supplied them.
Games were also played by the children
This was followed by the usual scabble round the rock to St David's Well
with a quick escape by the younger ones
to get to the ice cream
Sunday 14th August was a busy day in church with the Menzies Services, which included this year the Sunday School and Bible Class Prize Giving.
The Minister presented the prizes dressed as can be seen in his Robertson Kilt
The service was followed by teas and coffee served outside the church, unfortunately interupted by rain. However as can be seen was still enjoyed by all the congregation.
The new extension to the MacDonald Room started on Tuesday 21st June.
Preparing the ground.
Site after landscaping
Sides Going On
Roof going on
Slates and Breeze Blocks and Wndows
With Plaster Board Added Inside
With Rendering and Window Sills Added
After Plaster Been
The finished article
If you should find the perfect church
Without one fault or smear,
For goodness sake
Don't join that church
You'd spoil the atmosphere.
If you should find the perfect church
Where all anxieties cease,
Then pass it by, lest joining it
You spoil the masterpiece.
If you should find the perfect church
Then don't ever dare
To tread upon such holy ground You'd be a misfit there.
But since no perfect church exists,
Made of perfect men,
Let's cease on looking for that church,
And Love the church we're in.
Of course it's, not the perfect church,
That's simple to discern,
But you and I and all of us
Could cause the tide to turn.
What fools we are to flee the past
In that unfruitful search
To find, as last, where problems loom
God proudly builds His church.
Luke 17: 13-18
“Was no-one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
I read this recently which made me chuckle:
“I spent the best moments of my life in the arms of a woman who is not my wife.”
After members of the congregation had gasped with horror, the preacher had gone on to explain that he was talking of the care and love that he received in his childhood from his mother.
Anyhow, the listening Bishop had been impressed and thought that he would use this introduction when next he preached. But sadly he had not taken into account his increasing tendency to forgetfulness and so addressing a packed church in his diocese he proclaimed;
“I have spent the best moment of my life in the arms of a woman who is not my wife. Oh dear, I can’t remember who she was!”.
How important it is to remember the punchline!
In our churches and in our schools, we are currently in the middle of Harvest Thanksgiving celebrations, and it is indeed a wonderful thing to see how much we have in this valley of ours.
Sunday morning services and school assemblies with fresh produce as a display serves to remind us that we have a tremendous bounty from the earth.
We have so much to be thankful and grateful for.
If we are not thankful and grateful for our blessings, then something is missing from our lives.
But the question is: ‘to whom are we thankful?’
We could thank the shop keepers, or the farmers, or the delivery men who all help to put food on our tables, but how much important it is to remember the punchline!
Someone once said: “The worse moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.”
Surely the punchline is that our thanks must go to God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Without Him we would have nothing. Not only has He given us the bounty of the earth but He has given of Himself in Jesus Christ so that we can enjoy life to the full.
We have so much to thank God for, and we should express our thanks not just in words but also in deed. Our service of Him is a wonderful way of expressing our gratitude and love for such a gracious and bounteous God.
Let us not be like the nine lepers who went away glad that they had been healed but not able or willing to show their gratitude.
Rather we should express our gratitude in our response to God who in love is continually blessing us in ways which we should not turn our eyes away from.
AFTER THE MORNING SERVICE in Weem, I have regularly received my cup of coffee neatly placed on a saucer since I have been taking the service and was therefore Minister for the day, and in Weem the Minister always gets a saucer while the 'body of the Kirk' makes do without! However, in terms of what I have gained most from the experience of taking most of Weem's services during Mark's absence, there's a bit more to it than just a saucer! For one thing I've been busier, occupied with working out the service themes, planning readings and choosing hymns.
And then there's the sermon. Actually I've never found it difficult to write, so the composition hasn't presented a problem. But the job of deciding what and how has required quite a lot of thought. Now I have just used two words which some may take exception to, and I can hear the objections. 'Taking the service shouldn't be referred to as a job, and it's not thought that's required but prayer.' Fair enough, but all my life I have tried to do two things - enjoy my 'job' and do it as professionally as I can. Now I've stopped being a teacher and have become a reader in the church I still attempt a similar approach. And as for 'thought versus prayer', surely the two are often indistinguishable, especially when you are trying to say something of meaning? After all we are commanded to love and serve the Lord with all our hearts and with all our minds and with all our souls - and composing and leading a service takes all those.
So what have I gained? Is that the point? Shouldn't be asking what you, the congregation, has gained.
As part of my return to work and fitness, I will be undertaking a programme of exercise to help get my muscles working again. Before I was ill I'd been doing some cycling and running to train for a triathlon event which will have to wait now until 2011. It has been some time since I last ran seriously (I was a member of the Manchester Athletics Club running cross-country) and I am looking forward to getting back into it again.
People run for any number of reasons don't they? People may run to work (perhaps for a bus); for an appointment (because they are late); out of fear; to chase something or someone; or simply for exercise. Whatever the reason, few run for sheer joy. I have also noticed that there are places or times where running simply isn't appropriate: remember being told at school to walk not run down the corridor? Running in a quiet place like a church is not acceptable either; and you certainly shouldn't run in a china shop!
Yet if you follow the events of Easter, and especially Easter Sunday morning, the Bible story is full of people running. We read that a group of women went early in the morning to anoint the body of Jesus, but the events of the morning caused them to run and find the disciples. The disciples, led by Peter and John, ran back to the tomb to find out for themselves what had happened.
So why were so many people running? Well, the news that had reached the ears of the disciples, and the events witnessed by this group of women, caused them to run - to run for joy. The news that Jesus was alive was sheer joy to them, and music to their ears. For man's greatest terror - death - had been overcome. Mankind was no longer to be a slave to it, but through faith in Jesus Christ would be set free even from death itself.
Have you known moments that lift the spirit and cause your heart to sing for joy, moments when you may feel like skipping or leaping or doing a little jig of delight? Such was the effect of the news from the garden - Jesus is alive! What news! What joy! That news caused them to run, and if you read the subsequent accounts, you will find that they continued to 'run with joy' for the rest of their lives, spreading this great news wherever they were.
The spirit of Easter is running with the joy of freedom. May that Spirit of the risen Christ cause you to run with joy this Easter and for the rest of your lives with the news that Christ is risen!
'Not another book about what we already know, but one about what we overlook'. Now I'm a great fan of John Bell, both his musical and written work, mostly because he so often takes a 'sideways' look at the Gospels. He doesn't just go along with the surface story, but looks at other characters involved, seeing events from a different perspective. And he is never afraid of addressing and sometimes disagreeing with our conventional ideas about Jesus and the Gospels, which is what he does in this book, exploring various aspects of Jesus' personal life and relationships in the time of his ministry. For example, the probable reality of the nativity story is considered, as opposed to the various sentimental additions which it has collected over the years. Bell discusses Jesus' attitude towards women, his enjoyment of food and drink and his emotions like anger and laughter.
If this all sounds a bit heretical, it's not. All Bell's arguments are firmly based in the gospels; there's no heresy here, just a fascinating and thought-provoking book which doesn't challenge our ideas about Jesus as much as enlarges on them. I thoroughly recommend it.
When it comes to hymns, everyone has their personal favourite, and for very different reasons. Read on..
At the February meeting of the Dull and Weem Guild four guests were invited to choose three of their favourite hymns and to tell the Guild members why. Judy began with The Lord of the Dance which is associated for her with being 14 years old and living in Australia. She remembers that a group of 'older' people (aged between 18 and 22!) visited the church and afterwards at a barbecue the group sang this song. It seemed such a cool thing to do - to enjoy playing tennis, eating a barbecue and singing a song like this. Her second choice was In Christ Alone which was sung at the conclusion of the first Church without Walls Conference which she attended in Aviemore. Judy's last choice was Father God I wonder. This - and in particular the lines 'Now I am adopted in your family' is for her a summing up of the church in Weem - a family where all are welcome.
Stan introduced his first choice, Guide me O thou great Jehovah, which he played on the cornet in the Salvation Army Band and with later groups. He found both the words and the music inspirational, especially when it was sung 'properly' - in other words with men providing the tenor and bass lines. His second choice was s great Wesleyan hymn, loved for its words and music, and always popular at weddings - Love divine all loves excelling - and his third choice was chosen as it always conjures up memories of his younger days - O love that will not let me go.
Sandy chose two fairly modern hymns - Seek ye first (which he loved to hear sung with the women singing the Alleluias while the men repeated the verse) and Be still for the presence of the Lord which for him was filled with reverence and the knowledge of the nearness of God. His third choice was shared with Iona, was O Lord my God. Both Sandy and Iona spoke of how the words of this hymn reflect the glory of the world in which we are privileged to live and of God's love which surrounds us. Sandy recounted an experience of singing this hymn with a Mormon choir on a visit to the Grand Canyon in the United States - a very emotional experience.
Iona's other choice was Amazing Grace and she described what this hymn meant to her, and told of the definition she had found of the word 'grace' - 'the full, unearned favour of God'. She also chose Be thou my vision because it asks for God's wisdom, protection and inspiration in all aspects of our lives. She felt that is asked that we see the world as God sees it with all its beauty and potential.
The choices at this meeting reflected a wide range of old and modern, praise and devotional hymns. I wonder what your choices would have been?
The Sunday School again put on a successful nativity, with some unexpected help.
Some photos below
Below are some photos of the setting up for the Flower Festival in 2009
Who are your family?
Martha Thom (nee Heggie) was one of a family of five brothers and two sisters, born and brought up near Errol. Martha is the last remaining member of the family. She married Charlie Thom in 1955 and they had three sons - Charlie, Gordon and Brian. Charlie is the only married son and he and his wife Alison have two children, Mairi, 17 and Finlay, 15. Charlie Senior, who was a very much-loved member of Weem church, died in November 2003.
How long have you been attending Weem Church?
Martha has been a regular member of Weem Church since her marriage, which took place over 50 years ago.
What sort of roles have you played in the church?
Martha has been in the choir for over 50 years and has always been supportive and interested in the Sunday School.
Do you have any special memories of Weem Church?
Martha is proud that both of the Charlie's - her husband and son - were and are elders of Weem Church. All the sons and both grandchildren have been christened in Weem. She is also grateful that the lovely Rowan tree was planted near the front door of the church in Charlie Senior's memory. It was placed there at Hamie MacDonald's suggestion, since that was where Charlie used to welcome visitors to Weem.
Weem harvest flower festival
Weem Church, early in the third week of September – what seemed like chaos! There were ladies balanced on pews, ladies perched halfway up the windows; there were ladies carrying step ladders and ladies up step ladders; there were flowers, foliage and assorted farm implements scattered along the pews and straw everywhere – on the floor, on the pews and, I am sure, in the hair of various ladies as well.
But come the evening of Thursday 24th September and on all the subsequent days of that weekend, all was order and beauty.
The church in Weem was open as part of the Perth and Kinross Open Doors Weekend and this was combined with the Harvest Flower Festival.
The theme of the festival was the local bounty of our area and the entire church was decorated in a way which demonstrated this. The garlands on the church gate, the decorated milk churns and the two scarecrows welcomed the visitors to our church.
Once inside there was a feast of floral beauty with each window reflecting its chosen theme and with flowers which echoed its colours. There were windows dedicated to the corn harvest, to the production of whisky, to the local newly created ‘Aberfeldy Tartan’, and to the making of honey, complete with tiny stained-glass bees. The produce of vegetable gardens and flower gardens, the natural world of trees – complete with an owl and a fox – all added colour and interest to the church.
In the sanctuary the pulpit, the lectern and the communion table were all most beautifully enhanced with flowers, with bread at the foot of the lectern, vegetables and fruits beside the table and even a dish of fish to represent the salmon of our rivers.
On the table itself was the lovely silver of which the church should be rightly proud, two chalices which date from 1748 and which originally belonged to the church in Dull, as well as a salver and a silver jug dating from 1901. All this was backed by flowers of every shade of autumnal colours.
There was so much loving work put into this Harvest Flower Festival, from the skill of the flower arrangers, the dedication of those who served tea and coffee to visitors or sold gifts or books, as well as those who acted as stewards, welcoming and talking to visitors.
The whole congregation of Weem church should be rightfully proud of the weekend’s display, in that it showed us as a church which is alive and flourishing and as one visitor remarked “A really lively witness to the work of the church in the area”.
Words cannot properly describe the wonderful displays of floral art which were in the church over that weekend.
Bòchdan or Crawbogles in Weem At the door of the Weem Church two figures stood ready to greet visitors during the days of the Harvest Flower festival – figures created by the children of the Sunday School, under the supervision of Muriel Robertson. Later she wrote:- “Why did I have sleepless nights? Well, I had never made scarecrows before and there was I offering to make them with the Sunday School. I needn’t have worried, I provided the props, the children did the rest. What Fun.” She also added:- “I hope some tell of what happened when we lifted the finished articles from the work tables!! We should have taken nails from Mark’s children’s address!” Some of the ‘workers’ reports were:- We got a brush and then we put clothes on the brush. Muriel showed us what to do. We used another stick to go across for the arms. The paper maché head went on. Then we popped the hat on. The hair was straw. We put a smiley face on. Then we put it outside. It fell apart. We tried to hammer it together with a nail, but it still fell apart. Muriel took our scarecrow to her car. But she came back. I had a lot of fun. Angus Hulbert I helped make a scarecrow for the flower festival. I enjoyed making the scarecrow because it was really fun and we used teamwork and we got to choose what we wanted to put on the scarecrow and they looked so nice on the day of the flower festival. Deborah Reilly. It was great, we had lots of fun. Muriel came to work with us. We made the Scarecrows for the Harvest Thanksgiving flower festival. All the kids helped. I helped put the clothes on. We all helped each other. When we put the hat on... it fell off. The scarecrow was taken outside...and the hat blew away. The hat was secured on... but the clothes fell off. All that was left was the brush and the hat. The whole room was covered in straw. The McDonald room got covered in straw. Everyone at church was drinking their coffee, ankle deep in straw. But the scarecrows stood proud welcoming people to the flower festival. Mharit Hulbert
Bòchdan or Crawbogles in Weem
At the door of the Weem Church two figures stood ready to greet visitors during the days of the Harvest Flower festival – figures created by the children of the Sunday School, under the supervision of Muriel Robertson.
Later she wrote:-
“Why did I have sleepless nights? Well, I had never made scarecrows before and there was I offering to make them with the Sunday School. I needn’t have worried, I provided the props, the children did the rest. What Fun.”
She also added:- “I hope some tell of what happened when we lifted the finished articles from the work tables!! We should have taken nails from Mark’s children’s address!”
Some of the ‘workers’ reports were:-
We got a brush and then we put clothes on the brush. Muriel showed us what to do. We used another stick to go across for the arms. The paper maché head went on. Then we popped the hat on. The hair was straw. We put a smiley face on. Then we put it outside. It fell apart. We tried to hammer it together with a nail, but it still fell apart. Muriel took our scarecrow to her car. But she came back. I had a lot of fun.
I helped make a scarecrow for the flower festival. I enjoyed making the scarecrow because it was really fun and we used teamwork and we got to choose what we wanted to put on the scarecrow and they looked so nice on the day of the flower festival.
It was great, we had lots of fun. Muriel came to work with us. We made the Scarecrows for the Harvest Thanksgiving flower festival. All the kids helped. I helped put the clothes on. We all helped each other. When we put the hat on... it fell off. The scarecrow was taken outside...and the hat blew away. The hat was secured on... but the clothes fell off. All that was left was the brush and the hat. The whole room was covered in straw. The McDonald room got covered in straw. Everyone at church was drinking their coffee, ankle deep in straw. But the scarecrows stood proud welcoming people to the flower festival.
To my many dear friends for your wonderful support on the 24th September. Close to £600 was raised for this excellent Charity
Thank you all for supporting Rotary’s ‘Musical Evening’ on behalf of Erskine Hospital. The evening was well attended, with a mixture of local people together with a good number of visitors to our area. It is, as always, a welcome to see our local participation, although disappointing to note, so very few from our linked-charge with Aberfeldy.
Great thanks must go to the Aberfeldy & District Gaelic Choir for their wonderful performance during the evening, singing some eight delightful pieces, which enhanced and enthralled the evening with their virtuoso ‘pipe-music’ - superbly done, and I can only say that I hope that this may be the beginning of a rejuvenated Gaelic Choir coming back once again to endear us, as always, with their award-winning singing.
Now, what can I say about the ‘Fiddlesticks’ from Breadalbane Academy. Peter Butter has done, once again, a magnificent job to get together with these young school children, not only to ‘gel’ with one another, but to perform as a group as fiddlers. As a musician, I find it extremely heartening that someone – like Peter Butter – is carrying out the good work to promote music in our current ‘disharmonised’ society. Peter, to you, and the ‘Fiddlers’, I wish you, and your young protégés, all my best wishes for the future.
As you will appreciate, as organist and organiser of the evening, it would be somewhat inappropriate for me to comment about myself. However, I will leave you with this thought - as an elder and organist of the Parish Church of Dull and Weem, it has always been my pleasure to give to our local community, an evening of musical entertainment with a recital, on what can only be described, as one of the few original ‘tracker’ organs of the late 19th century, which still exist in Scotland today, and is played on a regular basis every Sunday of the year.
In concluding my thanks, I would also like to thank all of you who attended and gave most generously towards the Harvest Flower Festival at the close of the evening, for what I can only describe as ‘out of this world’ – the sum of £112 was contributed. It never astounds or amazes me, at the incredible generosity of our local friends.
With many thanks and God’s blessings,
Favourite Hymns from Rhoda Caskie.
'Ye gates, lift up your heads on high' (Psalm 24)
My late father's all-time favourite hymn over 40-plus years of singing in the church choir. He said he got a great spiritual uplift every time he sang it.
'There is a green hill far away'
This hymn sums up for me, so clearly and so simply, the Easter story and its clear message to all people. His death is not the end, His Spirit lives on in you and me.
The words and the music of this hymn do exactly what the composer intended them to do: create stiliness and calm - much needed in the hustle and bustle of modern life - and provide a chance to take time-out and be alone with God.
'Guide me, 0 thou great Jehovah'
Who could not be moved by the power and majesty of this wonderful hymn? It's enough to raise any church roof - sung, of course, to the tune Cwm
'Lord, For the Years'
The sound of over 2000 women singing this hymn the Glasgow Concert Hall a few years ago at the Guild Annual Meeting certainly 'set my soul ablaze'. A very emotional experience.
'The King of Love my Shepherd is'
An expression of true faith to the end.
These hymns have not been chosen in any preferential order - they all evoke different feelings and emotions.
Many years ago a man called Hotchkiss went to Nigeria where he spent 40 years as a missionary. One day he received a pith helmet in the mail, and he spent so long showing it to his native friends that he was late for a service he was to stage in a village located across a large plain. There was a rule in Nigeria those days that no one ever crossed an open space for fear of stampedes by the herds of wild game. A safe path always passed within a short run of the trees. Well, Hotchkiss knew he would only be on time if he went directly across the plain, but halfway across, the worst happened. He heard the thunder of rhinoceros hooves, and saw a herd of the animals headed toward him. It was too late to run so he knelt down in the middle of the plain, clasped his Bible to his chest and prayed. 'Lord here I come'. An eternity passed as the roar grew louder and then died away in the distance. At last all was quiet. Hotchkiss arose and, very much alive, went on to the meeting in the village.
Years later a couple from home visited Hotchkiss in Nigeria. As they talked the husband said to Hotchkiss: 'I had a most unusual experience that concerned you. One night I woke up suddenly with an irresistible urge to pray for you, and I did, committing you to God's safe keeping'. The man had written the date down in his Bible. Amazingly it was the same day and the same hour that Hotchkiss had been on that plain.
Now some will say: 'But God would have saved Hotchkiss anyway, even if the man had not prayed'. Yes, but the point is that God's working moved a man halfway around the world to pray for Hotchkiss in that hour, years later the man was able to share in his friend's supernatural deliverance. In the same way we have the privilege, as God's children, of committing others into His hands for His blessings - friends, neighbours and family. As we do, we are permitted to share in His blessings on them. Our Christian life holds few joys greater than this.
Gregor Macmartin, Prayer Promoter