What is a RP Mission Team?
RP Missions is the Short Term Mission Organisation of the American RP Church. Every summer they send teams of university age young people to RP Churches around the world and within America.
For 15 years they have sent a team to Scotland during the month of June to work with the RP Church here. Down through the years these teams have had two primary purposes:
1. To provide an opportunity for the churches in Scotland to learn about and feel connected to their brothers and sisters in the global RP Church. We have a glorious heritage in this regard and one which we have been keen to participate in and avail of.
2. To give Christian young people the opportunity to develop and grow in their love for Christ.
During these 15 years over 150 young people have come to Scotland on RP Mission Teams. Many experiences have been shared and enjoyed. Lifelong friendships have been forged and even a few marriages owe their origins to first encounters on these RP Mission Teams.
The Scottish RP Church has benefited in countless ways, not least of all through the genuine prayerful interest that has developed in many RPCNA congregations. This has been as a direct result of them hearing firsthand about the RPCS from their young people.
In recent years we’ve also had the privilege of sending some of our young people on RP Mission Teams both as participants and Team Leaders. They have served on a number of North American Teams and also teams to Cyprus and Uganda.
This year we had the joy of welcoming a team of young people from the American, Canadian, and Australian RP Churches to visit and work alongside of us.
The Team this year was with us from the 24th May to the 26th June. The Team was led by Stephen McCollum, the summer intern in Airdrie, with his wife, Brenda, assisting him. Those on the Team were: Hollie Cloherty (Frankston RPCA), Kristy Hutchinson (Fellowship Baptist Church), Elia Kingswood (Russell RPCNA), Tava Reese (Springs RPCNA), Jake Terpstra (Trinity RPCNA), and Jonah Harper (Topeka RPCNA).
2013 RP Team to Scotland
A report by Elia Kingswood
This year’s Scotland mission team had the opportunity to visit all five of the RP churches in Scotland. We worshiped at least once with each congregation as well as spending time getting to know the members and coming alongside them in various evangelistic projects. Here is a summary of what we did in each church.
Our first Sabbath was spent in Airdrie, and it was wonderful to see how welcoming everyone was. We felt at home right away and rapidly began to form friendships with these brothers and sisters in Christ.
Airdrie was to be our base for the trip, and so it became our home away from home. We slept in the church dorms, cooked in the kitchen, and hung out in the hall during our free time.
The schedule for the trip was organised to encourage us in our daily devotions. Each morning before breakfast we had half an hour that was specifically devoted to personal Bible reading, meditation, and prayer.
We also shared in a regular team time led by Stephen after breakfast. During this time we studied the book of Acts together, sang psalms, and prayed. Seeing and discussing the work of the early church and how God brought people to Himself in the days of the apostles was an encouragement to us daily in the mission work we engaged in.
Through our study of Donald Whitney’s book ‘Spiritual Disciplines’ we gained a better understanding of the importance of reading and meditating on the Word, engaging in private prayer, and attending public worship. Being able to discuss these topics with my team mates was really encouraging to me as many of us have faced the same struggles in our Christian walks and could therefore build each other up.
One of our major focuses in Airdrie was preparation for school presentations. There were two different types of schools work which we prepared f0r.
We had a set programme which we developed for the primary schools. This included singing Psalm portions, presenting a short Biblical story on the parable of the Ten Virgins, and explaining the key point of the story – the need to be ready for the return of the Lord Jesus.
For the secondary schools, we worked on our testimonies and developed them so that they could be adapted for various classes in both Airdrie and Edinburgh schools.
God opened doors for us to be able to speak in two primary schools and three high schools in Airdrie. These were Drumpark and Golfhill Primary Schools and Caldervale High School, Buchanan High School, and St Margaret’s High School.
In the secondary schools we did a range of different things from giving our testimonies in presentation format to sitting in on RE classes and participating as students. The responses were mixed, but in every school we had at least a few students who really engaged with what we were saying and asked some great questions.
The other main aspect of the work in Airdrie was literature distribution, and God blessed us with incredible weather which allowed us to distribute 4,500 copies of the Airdrie Good News. I found this work so encouraging because even though it may have seemed as if these labours were not yielding immediate responses, the seeds were planted regardless and 4,500 homes had the opportunity to read the Gospel.
During our time in Airdrie we also had several opportunities to help out with the Kids Club and CY on Friday evenings and do general odd jobs around the church.
On our second weekend in Scotland, we took a road trip up to Stornoway to visit with the congregation there. It had been planned for us to do do a school assembly but for reasons beyond our control, that didn’t work out. However, some members of the team did spend two of the evenings doing door to door ministry and leafleting with members of the congregation.
As well as the excellent hospitality we received from the church over those five days, we were also treated to beautiful tours of Lewis and Harris.
For the third weekend we were in Stranraer. On the Friday we were able to do some leaflet distribution, and on the Saturday we had the opportunity to visit the Covenanter sites in Wigtown and Glentrool.
Although the congregation is small, we received a warm welcome at both worship services and again enjoyed wonderful hospitality during the weekend.
North Edinburgh RPCS
In Edinburgh, we did much of the same type of work as in Airdrie. It had been arranged for us to speak in four different RE classes in Craigroyston High School where their church currently meets for worship. Many of the students that we spoke to in those classes had very little knowledge about God or the Bible, and for many of them it was their first time really interacting with Christians.
We also spent three days distributing over 4,000 leaflets in the areas surrounding the school and each day were blessed by responses from people in the community.
Again we were treated to beautiful meals and encouraging fellowship with God’s people there.
Our work in Glasgow was different from that in the other churches. The Glasgow congregation has just recently renovated and painted their building, so we spent two days cleaning, scrubbing, and sweeping to prepare the church for three weddings that will be taking place there this summer.
This congregation also cared for us by providing delicious meals and snacks throughout our work days.
On our last Saturday we participated in a day long Reformation Tour with members of the Airdrie, Glasgow, and Edinburgh churches. This completed our overview of the Reformation and Covenanting period having visited the St. Andrews and Edinburgh sites with Jimmy on previous days. I especially enjoyed this aspect of the trip because Scotland has such a rich Christian heritage. Being at the sites where events such as the Battle of Bothwell Bridge actually took place gave the history a whole new sense of meaning.
The other huge encouragement that we have felt throughout our time in Scotland is the positive responses to our presentations in the schools. For many of us on the team it was a learning experience in how to effectively engage unbelievers and witness to them where they are at in their life.
One of the highlights of the trip was worshipping in the five RP Churches. We had a fantastic time getting to know the people and receiving incredible hospitality wherever we went.
Global RP Church
This mission trip was a blessed time for all of us on the team. Being able to meet many of our brothers and sisters in the RPCS was so encouraging and definitely helped us to better understand the scope of the RP church in the world.
My home church has been praying regularly for the church in Scotland for a number of years so finally being able to be here and see the work that God is doing was a wonderful experience for me personally. I will definitely be acquainting my home congregation with all that I have learned about the RPCS so that we can pray more effectively for the churches and people here.
All of us on the team would like to thank those who helped and encouraged us during the trip whether through providing guidance, help, fellowship, food, or fun. A special thanks to Stephen and Brenda for their constant care and leadership throughout our time here.
Please pray that God would use the interactions for His glory and that RP Mission Teams to Scotland would continue for many years to come.