IRA and Protestants back outreach
“We saw the power of God moving in no uncertain terms and experienced the peace of the Lord which passes all understanding,” said Angus Buchan of his recent two-night evangelistic outreach to Roman Catholics and Protestants at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Describing his time in Belfast as “one of the highlights of my life” Buchan said that thousands of people came forward in response to the gospel message and much healing took place. “The people responded like I have never experienced before,”he said.
About 12 000 people attended the meetings on May 27 and 28, and in an unprecedented development the co-leaders of the Northern Ireland Government, First Minister Peter Robinson (Democratic Unionist Party, with strong links to the Protestant churches in Northern Ireland) and Deputy First Minister Martin Mc Guinness (Sinn Fein – regarded as the political wing of the Catholic IRA movement) contacted the outreach organisers before the event and said they wanted to endorse Buchan’s message.
Robinson said: “Angus Buchan has a reputation as an international evangelist but also as a humble man. As a South African he comes from a country that has experienced division and conflict but is seeking to build something new. He is coming here with a message of how God’s power is able to change lives and transform communities. Anyone who comes here with a message of hope for the future is to be welcomed.”
Mf Guinness said:“In the Executive we are aiming to deliver a better future for all in society and this is as event where everyone should feel comfortable. I particularly welcome the participation of the Omagh – Waterford Peace Choir. Angus Buchan has talked of how he and many people in his country are praying for reconciliation among all people here, old and young and of all backgrounds. As we look to the future we can only welcome such a hope.”
In a newsletter published today, Buchan says: “We were called there to preach to the Roman Catholics and the Protestants in the same building, an amazing opportunity, something I don’t think has ever been done before on that scale.”
“The first evening, the Friday night, there were 14 bomb hoaxes phoned in. I stand to be corrected, but I believe that the police actually blew up one car because it was standing on its own in a dangerous place and no-one owned up. We started off with a beautiful band and the Peace Choir which was formed after the Omagh bombing in which over 30 civilians were murdered, one of them a young pregnant woman. Out of that tragedy, and we remember Romans 8:28, this beautiful choir was born, young people singing from their hearts. They had me in tears before I even started to preach and what a harvest we had! We had two meetings, Friday and Saturday evening and many people gave their lives to Christ. On Saturday night particularly, half the stadium came forward. There was much weeping and much healing took place, spiritual, physical and mental.
“What a wonderful people the Irish are, so open to receive God, the Prince of Peace. That war that is taking place there is a religious war, it has nothing to do with Jesus. The people responded like I have never experienced before. The leader of the IRA was at the Saturday meeting. We thank God that there was a photograph in the local newspaper of him and the First Minister, the leader of the Protestants, shaking hands with a picture of Faith Like Potatoes behind them, truly a miraculous happening.”
In his newsletter, Buchan also pays tribute to the organisers of the event which was billed locally under the name of “Maize ‘n Grace”. “I thank God for ordinary country folk like Brian Keys and his team. Brian is a tractor dealer who has such a heart for his beloved Emerald Isle,” he says.
When Buchan got back from Northern Ireland this week he was greeted by an email inviting him to speak at the famous Lansdowne Road rugby stadium in Dublin, in the southern Republic of Ireland, next year. “I am deeply in prayer about that opportunity,” he says.