My Favourite Day Yet

Today was a very special day.

I began visiting the Ranfurly Homes for Children a little over 2 years ago, shortly after my arrival in Nassau. It began with a basketball game in which I was greatly outmatched by a group of emerging basketball stars and where I learned what it feels like to be dunked over (a bit frightening). I quickly discerned that I needed another venue to connect with the Ranfurly youth—realizing that my aging body wouldn’t hold up playing ball against these boys. I began to regularly take a few boys from Ranfurly to breakfast at McDonalds on Saturday mornings. Relationships were forged, and I began formally mentoring one of the boys. Over time, they began to ask more and more questions about the Kirk and about Christianity. Eventually, I am told, that many of the youth requested to the Ranfurly Administrator that they be allowed to attend services at the Kirk. Shortly thereafter, a bus was procured by Ranfurly and was used to transport most of their youth to the Kirk each Sunday.

Those who know me well, know that I resist titles. I’d rather you not call me Reverend MacPhail or Pastor MacPhail. “Just call me Bryn” has been my mantra during my 15 years in ministry. These youth, however, only refer to me as “Pastor Bryn” (pronounced “Pasta Bryn!”). I must admit, that I’ve grown to like that address. Not because I like being addressed according to what I do, but because of what I think they intend by the phrase. To many of the youth at Ranfurly Home, they see me as their pastor. This theory was confirmed when I inquired as to whether some of them were interested in taking Bible classes with me, with a view to joining the Kirk as members. The children were surveyed, and 7 signed up for the 6-week course.

When I showed up at Ranfurly to teach the first class, 17 showed up! For 6 weeks we studied together, what I termed, “the essentials of the Christian faith”. To my delight, some of the leaders from the Kirk showed up each Tuesday to audit the class and to build relationships with these children. The youth at Ranfurly enthusiastically engaged in the process. They were eager to read Scripture, ask questions, and dialogue about what it means to be a Christian living in Nassau in the 21st Century.

As the course drew to a close, it dawned on me that there might be a couple youth who have not yet been baptized. I asked them to put up their hand if they needed baptism. 11 of the 17 raised their hand.

This morning, at St. Andrew’s Kirk, 17 youth from Ranfurly professed their faith in Jesus Christ and became members of the church. 11 of the 17 were first baptized.

It is difficult to put into words how I felt. I tried not to think too much about what was happening for fear that I might be overwhelmed by emotion and not be able to proceed effectively. I could see people in my periphery wiping tears from their eyes. I think everyone in the room fully understood how huge this moment was–first, for these 17 youth, secondly, for this 202 year-old congregation, and thirdly (most importantly) for the kingdom of God. Young lives are being transformed and these baptisms and professions of faith were marking this profound change for us.

After the professions of faith, I proceeded to hand out Bibles to the youth, along with a hand written note for each of them.¬†When the formalities were done, someone yelled (uncharacteristically!) from the congregation, “Amen!”. Moments later the congregation broke out into spontaneous applause.

I recognize that not every Sunday service is a memorable one for those that gather. Today was different. I suspect that everyone present at the Kirk today will remember what they saw, and will give thanks to God for it.

After lunch, I took a couple of visitors to Nassau on a tour of Ranfurly. When we went into the boys dormitory we immediately realized that we had awakened one of the boys from a nap. It was one of the boys who had professed his faith in Jesus earlier in the day. I was moved by what I saw–this boy awoke, not clutching his pillow, but clutching the Bible which was given to him a few hours ago.

I will forever thank God for allowing me the privilege to participate in His plan to draw young men and women to Himself. What a blessing.

Yes, today was a very special day.

6 thoughts on “My Favourite Day Yet

  1. How exciting for all of you! I love stories like this…Kingdom investments never return empty. Surely there was a great party in Heaven today, and those in attendance at the Kirk had special invitations for a glimpse of it.

    Authentic community is contagious, and the folks at the Kirk are to be congratulated on looking like Jesus to those around them.

    • Thanks Diana! If there are highlight reels for each congregation being made in heaven, Oct. 21, 2012 is definitely going to be on it! Have a great week in FLL for WOF. Praying for you all.

  2. Dear Bryn,

    Just wanted to say what a wonderfull thing you have done. Reading this brought tears to my eyes not in sadness but pure joy. So many of these children at the various homes have been “let down” by so many people and situations in their little short lives. I know that you coming in to their life is such a wonderfull, positive thing as what so many of them need is a postive role model and a hope for a better day. The fact that you have done that but in doing so also lead them in a Christian way is truly beautifull.

    May God continue to bless you and your family,

    Cathy Moultrie

    • Thank you for your kind words Cathy. I was already very motivated to invest in these children and today I feel even more compelled–and inspired–to come alongside them. It is a privilege for which I am truly grateful. Hope to see you soon!

  3. Bryn, I can’t even imagine what it feels like to know you’ve played a part in making such a difference in someone’s life. I love reading your posts/blog/musings/thoughts/whatever you want to call them…..it gives me hope that some day I’ll get things figured out a little. Those whose lives you’ve touched really are blessed….as are you to be able to make such an impact :)

    • Thanks Christy! I know I don’t post on this blog as often as I once did, but I appreciate kind words like yours when I do post. It is a delight to invest in these young souls. Thanks again for your comment…and–I knew you were having a good night with the Steelers winning :-)

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