Islay Beach Mission: Calum and Sue MacFarlane
2018 saw our 6th Summer Beach Mission in Port Ellen, partnering with the Baptist and Parish Churches in addition to the 5 to 10 students we take.
In addition to the all-day holiday club on the beach we host a Friday Family Ceilidh on the beach, and 2017 saw the launch of our evening Teens' Café.
Numbers of children started small in our first year, and have steadily built, retaining the same children and attracting new ones each year, now giving us a group of young teenagers. They were happy to keep coming to the daytime events but now engaging slightly deeper with the Bible in group time and helping run games for younger children. But when we offered an evening Teens’ Café they were delighted.
We decorated our marquee with festoon lights and beanbags; silly/messy challenges prepared, games on the beach and hot chocolate, but also an evening talk and space to talk about what matters to them, faith, and a chance to ask questions. About 10 teenagers all asked for Bibles and wanted to follow Jesus which was so exciting! In 2018, word of mouth increased us to 17 teenagers, helping during the day and having their own café at night. The older ones are keen to take on leadership and know how the club runs as well as we do! This summer we invited them to our early morning team devotions; 4 attended daily, others more occasionally.
We went back to Islay for a Children’s Saturday Club in October and a Teen Pizza and Bible Café night, 17 teenagers came, all now having a Soul Survivor Bible and reading resources. They all helped at the Children's Day and when the minister interviewed them, asking what they would like, their response was “a weekly bible study”! Please do pray for these young people - the Baptist minister retires at Christmas and a new couple take up the role in January, so it would be wonderful if they could implement something in the two main towns of Islay for young people.
It has been an absolute privilege to lead the Islay Mission and watch it grow and develop from nothing...we know God called us there originally and have loved being part of the plan He has for the island. Our dream would be to get these young teens to Basecamp, to train them through SU Scotland to lead in the future, so that the younger children have local role models.
Sue & Calum MacFarlane