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Light shining at Norwich missions conference

IGO3The International Gospel Outreach conference in Norwich last weekend highlighted the need to bring God's light into the current state of chaos in the world. Helen Baldry reports.

Hundreds of people from Norfolk visited the International Gospel Outreach (IGO) conference in Norwich last weekend which highlighted the work of missions locally and overseas.

The conference was buzzing with visitors from all over the country, as well as from local Norfolk churches. All the sessions were packed and the new Norwich Family Life Church (NFLC) sanctuary was filled with colour at the sunday morning service with an array of flags from different nations, a display of artwork created over the weekend and dozens of people dressed in international costume.
 
The theme for the event, a joint venture between NFLC and IGO, was from Isaiah 60 where God asks us to arise and shine for our light has come.
 
Senior pastor Trevor Pimlott said, “We’ve had an awesome time this weekend finding out about mission. This weekend was a great celebration of all God is doing and has ignited the fire again for mission. Whatever stage of life you are at you can get involved. Not only does it bring light and hope but you get to meet the most beautiful people you will ever meet in your life.”
 
IGO5Over 50 children enjoyed the special activities that ran alongside the main sessions during the conference. The sessions were fun and interactive and helped the children learn about mission. A room was transformed into a departure lounge where the children created passports and they collected stamps from the themed international areas.
 
38 local and international missions had stands in the exhibition hall, including WOW, YMCA, Saltmine Trust, Christian Aid and Cambodia Action. Representatives from all the organisations were able to hand out information and talk to the hundreds of people who passed through the doors over the weekend.

Andy and Jenny Hargreaves from Christian Compassion in Action spoke about how their missionary work working with prisoners in Egypt and Ghana.

Their ministry involves helping victims of injustice defend themselves as well as helping prisoners to rehabilitate by giving them the chance to learn a trade so they are employable when they are released.

Andy from Norfolk Street Pastors described some of the opportunities he has of helping people in a practical way as well as sharing Jesus in a vocal way. He has developed good relationships with many of the nightclub door staff and has the opportunity to share the love of Christ week by week. Andy said, “We do whatever God calls and leads us to do. We break up fights, give out flip flops and build up relationships. All we do is take light into the darkness and represent Jesus.”
 
IGO4Christian artist Sarah Strong's paintings were on display [pictured right]. Sarah works as a volunteer with the Kenyan Children's Project. Her life has been greatly impacted by the number of orphans and street children she has met.

Her paintings are an expression of all that Africa means to her. Sarah's intention has been to capture the children's story from personal insight and to bring these real lives and true stories to the world.
 
The speaker on the Sunday was Revd George Verwer. Decribed as one of the greatest innovators in the field of modern missions, George was founder and director of Operation Mobilisation (OM) for 47 years.

He preached about the compassion and passion needed for mission, as shown in the story of the good samaritan. He drew upon his experiences on the mission field and how his own strengths and shortcomings have influenced his work. He also talked about the current state of tremendous global chaos and the opportunities and challenges that this presents to Christians.

 


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