The work of ‘Hope by the roadside’ began in May 2016. Our desire was simply to display the word of God to as many precious souls as possible and to provide free Bibles and literature to any who requested them. Romans chapter 10 verse 17 tells us, ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’. Equally, Hebrews chapter 4 reminds us, ‘For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword’, v. 12. In the scriptures, the word of God is likened to a seed. There is life in a seed; there is power in a seed. The seed that we have is soul-saving seed. It is intended to be shared and not stored, planted, and not pocketed. Haggai chapter 2 verse 19 asks a very pointed question, ‘Is the seed yet in the barn?’ Six years ago our desire was to go and sow the life-giving seed, and this continues to be our desire.
‘Hope by the roadside’ first displayed God’s word on a billboard trailer beside the very busy M77 motorway in Ayrshire, Scotland. We are still renting this billboard and the Lord has been incredibly faithful and allowed the work to grow considerably since then. ‘Hope by the roadside’ currently has billboards or trailers in Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Canada, and, most recently, St Lucia. Each day it is estimated that in excess of 4. 5 million people pass our billboards!
In 2018 we placed a mobile billboard trailer in the field of a believer in Renfrewshire, Scotland but, unfortunately, after not too long there was a complaint made by a member of the public and the council ordered it to be removed. Thankfully, this has been the only complaint we have received in six years! Receiving this complaint made us think about the future of ‘Hope by the roadside’, and, subsequently, in 2019, we purchased four new box van trailers and had God’s word displayed on them. They are general purpose trailers which anyone with a driving licence can tow. Two are with full-time workers in Wales, the third is with an assembly in Manchester, and the fourth is with the assembly in Culloden, in the Scottish Highlands. We also purchased an ex-supermarket delivery van which we have had fully vinyl-wrapped with God’s word, and we take it to as many different places as possible to reach many souls with the gospel. In summer 2020, we were delighted to take a Bible verse billboard trailer to a brother who owns land beside the busy A9 road from Perth to Inverness.
In late 2020 we were contacted by our brother Denis Noon from Airedale, Yorkshire. He had been faithfully displaying God’s word on billboards in England for many years but is now in his nineties and had been praying for someone to continue this work. We gladly agreed to take it over and in May 2021 we took on the three sites in England, all of which are forty-foot-long articulated lorry trailers. We have fitted new Bible verse banners to the three sites and receive regular requests for Bibles and literature.
We first visited Uganda in 2013 and return regularly to visit the believers there to assist with Bible teaching and gospel preaching. In 2018, ‘Hope by the roadside’ began displaying God’s word on billboards in Uganda also. We currently have eight roadside, double-sided billboards throughout Uganda.
In November 2019 we began a ministry with Boda-boda riders (motorbike taxis) in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. We purchased several high visibility vests, had Bible verses printed on the back and distributed them to the Boda-boda riders, trusting that they are of both physical and spiritual blessing to them and their passengers. Those who received them were incredibly grateful and even some Muslim men took one and happily wore a vest displaying the words of the Bible. We have purchased 1500 more of these vests and plan to distribute them on our visits throughout the next couple of years. We hope this will be the start of a real outreach to these men who are from very poor backgrounds and are in desperate need of Christ.
We were also able to assist in acquiring some high visibility vests for our brother and sister, Josh and Keri Kaye, to use in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Josh and Keri kindly offered to assist us to expand the work of the billboards into DRC and there are now three billboards displaying God’s word in very busy areas of Lubumbashi.
In spring 2022, we were delighted to see two billboards go up in County Limerick, Ireland: one in Limerick city centre, and the other in the small market town of Croom.
In October 2021, I was invited to share in a series of gospel meetings in Manitoba, Canada. Whilst there we began exploring the possibility of renting billboards to display God’s word and in May 2022 the first billboard went up beside the very busy trans-Canada highway. While in Canada, I met brother Phil Gould and his wife, who are fulltime workers in St Lucia.1 We have been working together to design a billboard and in June 2022 it was wonderful to see the billboard erected and displaying God’s word. When COVID restrictions came into place in early 2020 and all the usual ways of preaching the gospel ground to a halt, ‘Hope by the roadside’ commenced drive-in gospel meetings in a carpark outside the town of Ayr. These were also held over the summer of 2021 and were very well supported by local believers. These have recommenced and were held each Saturday and Sunday evening throughout the summer of 2022.
In December 2020 we, as a family, moved to a house with space to erect a storage shed. As the work grows so do the storage needs! We have erected a 45-foot by 30-foot (13. 7 metres by 9 metres) steel shed which houses the van, trailers, gospel tent and chairs, a large array of outreach material, John chapter 3 verse 16 bags and high visibility vests. There is an upper level where the literature is stored and packed for posting. We receive regular requests for Bibles and literature, and were very glad to free up our spare room from all the boxes!
We are very conscious that in the near future the work of ‘Hope by the roadside’ could be severely hindered by governments both regional and national, so we are eager to maximise the opportunity to publicly display God’s word while we can. With this in mind, we are continually looking to grow the billboard coverage in the United Kingdom and abroad. We are incredibly grateful for your interest and ask that you continue to remember us in prayer as we seek to grow this work for the Lord’s glory.
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