Postal Bible School In The Republic Of Ireland
Noel McMeekin, Cotehill, County Cavan, Ireland
Origins of Postal Bible School
Postal Bible School began in Ireland forty-five years ago. It was started as a result of the vision of Bert and Wendy Gray. Originally called Postal Sunday School, they provided lessons by post to young people in remote areas of Ireland who were unable to attend a Sunday School. ‘Sunday School’ is a Protestant concept and as it developed the name was changed to Postal Bible School. This led to a greater interest from the Roman Catholic population.
In 1992, Liza and I took over the administration of PBS in the Republic of Ireland.
Development of the Work
There are five other Postal Bible Schools operating in Ireland – in Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Belfast, and the North-East. Our responsibility is to administer the work in twenty-five counties of the Republic of Ireland.
We now have over 4,000 students from a diverse range of religious backgrounds. As the administrative workload grew we were thankful that God led Helen Johnston from Magherafelt to join us in the work in 1997. Over seventy schools now use the lessons in Religious Education classes; twelve Christian groups use the lessons for teaching young people. We are thankful for over 300 volunteer markers who help correct the lessons and correspond with the students.
Liza and Helen carry the burden of the regular office routines connected to PBS.There is a wide variety of administrative tasks to be attended to. Liza and Helen deal with over 20,000 movements of lessons, and related office procedures, each month.
Impact of Postal Bible School
Thousands of young people who have no other contact with the gospel are regularly completing studies which are pointing them to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of sinners. Some have told us of trusting the Lord whilst doing the lessons. The lessons are also being used by Christian families and Christian groups to teach their young people the things of God.
Local Outreach to Teenagers
Our contact, through PBS, with many teenagers in the counties of Cavan and Monaghan led to us starting a regular youth group on the last Saturday of each month. Over the past ten years hundreds of young people have been reached with the gospel through this work. We regularly have up to seventy teenagers who will listen attentively to God’s word.
Teenagers’ Bible Class
Through the winter and spring terms I run a Bible Class for young Christians. This is held fortnightly in our own home. We have an average attendance of about twenty-four. It has been our joy to see many of them grow spiritually. We often pray that some of these young folk will become the assembly members of the future.
One of the most encouraging times of the year is from mid-February to mid- April when we travel throughout the Republic of Ireland to present prizes. We arrange meetings in Town Halls, local schools, hotels, etc. This year we have forty Prizegivings in different venues – over 4,500 people attended last year.
It is a marvellous opportunity to meet parents, build bridges for the gospel, and to present a clear message to thousands who are not accustomed to hearing God’s word. We travel over 9,000 miles often late at night, but we return home with joy in our hearts knowing that isolated believers have been encouraged and many have heard the message of salvation.
Each year in mid-July we have our summer camp when we take away over 100 campers and leaders. It is an actionpacked week when we involve ourselves in a wide range of recreational activities with the young folk. Each day the campers have two sessions of Bible Teaching and also a Quiet Time group session with a leader. God has worked and we know of many who have trusted the Lord at PBS camp and who are growing spiritually. It is also a time of fellowship for many isolated young believers. To hear the young folk pray and give testimonies gives us all cause to praise God.
As we look to the future we know that Postal Bible School is still building bridges for the gospel and that many of Ireland’s young Christians are benefiting from the regular structured Bible study. We look to the Lord to continue to bless and we covet the ongoing prayers of the many believers who have supported the work prayerfully and practically over the years.