Take a walk around the streets of Glasgow and you’ll come across a smiling couple sat in front of a table full of Christian books and tracts — and sometimes tea and coffee — that’s set up twice a week at strategic locations in the city.
The street bookstall is one of the many ministries Lawrence and his wife Elizabeth are involved in since arriving in Scotland in the summer of 2021 as part of SIM’s ENGAGE programme.
SIM UK’s ENGAGE ministry recruits and places gospel workers from around the world in local UK churches that want to share the gospel with their multicultural communities.
Lawrence, originally from Sierra Leone, served in The Gambia for 24 years and has taken away from his role as a pastor to help Harper Church grow its cross-cultural gospel ministry – the first time the church has welcomed a mission worker in its 124-year history!
The church, which eagerly awaited Lawrence’s arrival, has a congregation made up of more than 25 nationalities, including many believers from African countries.
With more than 20 years’ experience in evangelism and discipleship, Lawrence has begun a Harper Africa Church fellowship, which uses African form and language for worship.
He also runs other activities, all with the overall objective of ensuring the Africans in the church are firmly rooted in their faith and connected with the wider Harper family.
Pastor Alan McKnight says: “Lawrence is a gifted strategic leader and as the church is also a few hundred metres from an immigration receiving centre, it’s a great opportunity for us to engage with people from all over the world.”
Lawrence says: “Elizabeth and I are excited and passionate about our call to serve God in Harper Church, primarily because by his grace, we have the relevant skills and knowledge to enable us to serve as agents of change in transforming the lives of immigrants in Glasgow from West Africa and other parts of the world.
“All my past ministry activities have deepened my discipleship strategies, which I’m confident will help me, in collaboration with the Harper Church leadership, to empower and raise disciples, who will further produce disciples.
“However, we know there’s still room for improvement and want to acquire new skills and knowledge that we could take back home to raise up more gospel workers to reach the West African diaspora in Europe.”
And that’s why Pastor Alan has been helping Lawrence (left) learn that in Scottish culture, men – even pastors and reverends – do the washing-up, which is something he never did in The Gambia!
By Kerry Allan
- Praise God for the amazing ministry opportunities opened for Lawrence and Elizabeth at Harper Church.
- Give thanks Lawrence is building relationships with the West Africa diaspora in Glasgow.
- For more workers to join ENGAGE and work alongside UK churches in building bridges into their multicultural communities.