Vine Trust is an international interdenominational volunteering charity which seeks to enable volunteers to make a real and significant difference to some of the poorest children and communities in the world. It welcomes people from all backgrounds who share their ethos of caring and their belief that whilst they can’t help everyone we can all help someone.
The Vine Trust arose out of a small cooperative venture between two Churches of Scotland in Bo’ness, the ministers at that time being Albert Bogle, a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and Willie McPherson, a close friend of Kenneth Gray’s, both of whom have preached in Freeland in days gone by.
It has grown over the last few years into a considerable sized charity headed up by Willie McPherson, with a twofold emphasis-firstly on medical and dental care provision in Christ’s name reaching out into rural disadvantaged communities firstly in Amazonian Peru, and more recently Lake Victoria, Tanzania-and secondly contributing to the provision of children’s homes for orphaned street-children in these same countries (7 homes in each country). The means for the former has been the purchase and refitting of old boats in this country, these boats then being sailed to the target destinations ferrying volunteer work teams into these rural, sometimes very remote communities. Some of our own congregation contributed to the work on the boats that went to Peru-“Amazon Hope 1 & 2”- and Dave & Shona Thom have gone out on work-parties with the Trust. The Vine Trust have recently promoted a big fund raising initiative for their boat for Tanzania “Jubilee Hope”-for more information on how to give to this contact me or go onto their website. More information can be found on the website www.vinetrust.org
Teen Challenge Strathclyde is part of the UK and Global Teen Challenge Ministries – one of the most successful outreach and drug rehabilitation ministries in the world. They believe in miracles and that success is based on man finding God’s way out of the slavery and hopelessness that addictions bring.
Today they have 4 buses operating throughout the Strathclyde region. They operate in 18 locations across Scotland each week. Over the years they have referred hundreds of people to residential programmes and have seen many able to live drug-free and fulfilling lives.
Teen Challenge Strathclyde is an organisation with an amazing ministry to men and women with drug and alcohol problems. The first point of contact for addicts is often through the bus ministry where buses go out at night into town and city centres to offer coffee and support and an introduction to the organisation’s ministry possibilities.
The main rehabilitation work entails residential rehabilitation over the course of 12 months, first at “The Haven”, their rural complex between Kilmacolm and Greenock, and then in Wales. The organisation originally arose out of Pastor David Wilkerson’s work with gangs in New York. There is a central emphasis on sharing of the Good News and meeting individuals’ spiritual needs hand in hand with their physical and psychological needs, and on a complete withdrawal of all forms of drug misuse. Addicts are often coming for help when at rock bottom, and to witness their transformation and their testimonies is quite remarkable and inspiring.
As a church Freeland’s association with the organisation has grown gradually over the years. James and Laura MacLaren do work for them and Roy & Mary Lees, two of the leaders, are now members at Freeland. We have welcomed the residents of the Haven to a number of events at the church, and the organisation has been able to use our facilities for some special events of their own. More information about regular giving and copies of some of the remarkable testimony DVDs are available from James. If you feel able to provide help with the bus ministry James would also be delighted to hear from you. Their website is www.tcstrathclyde.co.uk
OMF International (formerly the China Inland Mission and Overseas Missionary Fellowship) was founded by James Hudson Taylor in 1865. OMF serves the church and brings the gospel to many of the countries in East Asia, and have a pioneering ministry in the rest. They help place Christians with professional skills in China and other Asian countries, and share the love of Christ with East Asians worldwide. Their mission is to Glorify God by the urgent evangelisation of East Asia’s Millions.
David and Lorna Ferguson are Freeland’s OMF missionary Partners. They are a Scottish couple, members of St Paul’s Church of Scotland in Milngavie, who responded to a call to overseas mission in the 1990s and went to Japan with OMF in 1998. We have been a supporting partner church with them in this ministry from the beginning. They departed from Scotland leaving behind life here in the legal profession, and set up home, initially, in the north of Japan with their two young boys. They now have four boys-Daniel, Matthew, Calum and Alastair- with the eldest, Daniel, now a university student, and Matthew between between school and university. They have had to immerse themselves in the language and culture of Japan, and have been associated with two churches and then a new church plant situation. They have been involved in helping provide support to the tsunami hit area on the eastern seaboard of the country.
In 2013 David assumed the position of field director in charge of all of OMF Japan’s personnel, a company of around 150 men and women, with responsibility for strategic planning and some pastoral oversight of the workers. This entailed them moving their home base to Tokyo. They visit us every three or four years when back in Scotland, and keep in regular touch through prayer letters-some of these are published in Freeland News, and others are distributed monthly by email. If you would like to start receiving their monthly letter please let The Session Clerk know.
The Church of the Resurrection, Lutsk, Ukraine
This is a Baptist church in the west of the Ukraine, a country which has of course sprung to international prominence over the last two years through the political unrest there. Our association with the church there however, as with the Fergusons, extends back several years. Members of our church-(Joyce Bennie, Jack McHugh, Barrie McStay, and separately Andy Robertson)-have visited the church and been warmly welcomed by Pastor Victor and his congregation. Living in a country and community with big economic needs, they conduct regular support and outreach work with orphaned children and poor families in their area.
Formerly called The Open Doors Trust, Chanan ( Hebrew- God is gracious)) also have a tremendous ministry to the poor and marginalised in our society, virtually on our own doorstep in Glasgow. Their mission statement “Rebuilding broken lives” aptly captures the essence of their ministry. They provide food and support to those afflicted with homelessness, and drug and alcohol problems, and run a Christianity Explored course n the city centre. They also seek to share the Good News within the walls of Barlinnie Prison with a regular Bible Study for inmates and support for them upon release.
Chanan has a small full time team of workers but are heavily reliant on volunteer support such as our own Andy Robertson who has worked with them for many years now and would, I am sure, be happy to give more detailed information to anyone with an interest in this work. They have a website www.chananglasgow.org.uk