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91 – Helen Roseveare

Eleven years ago I met Helen Roseveare for the first time. She had not long celebrated her eightieth birthday. I’d read her books and knew her story and somehow or other I had been invited to stay. It was great to actually meet one of my heroines. She was not only encouraging, she was challenging. It was an environment – all be it just for a weekend – where i felt safe to be honest with her and Pat, her friend, about the challenges and struggles of my own little life. Even though she had been through so much herself (if you don’t know what I mean then read her books) my problems didn’t feel too insignificant to share. And the words she gave me before I left on the flight from Belfast to Inverness were straight forward – just telling me to keep on going. And I’m thankful to her and to God that I have through His strength.

After that she came over to my congregation to do a conference. It was at this conference that she gave, as part of her message, four little words that I believe are the backbone to her life and reinforced, for me, the message of her books, the message she gave me before I left Belfast and the message her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, gives all believers.

“Jesus is Worth it”.

Towards the end of that conference I had the pleasure of taking her and Pat for a tour of the Black Isle – a Scottish peninsula near Inverness. What took place at lunch that day is one of several distinct ‘Helen and Pat’ memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. If you’ve not met either of them – let me describe these two women of God…

They’re smart. Neither of them are short in the intelligence stakes. They both graduated in medicine at a time when to be a female graduate in any discipline like this was rare.

They’re cosmopolitan. Both women have travelled extensively – and they travelled before the easy days of online booking and satnav.

But if you, a stranger, were to sit down at a table next to them you wouldn’t look twice. You would presume – like the people sitting next to us probably did – that they were just two little old ladies. But that’s one point where the church and the world differs – God’s kingdom never puts the word ‘just’ before any category of person – particularly little old ladies.

Our neighbouring diners were given a visual and audible lesson in this when after lunch Pat and Helen’s conversation started as follows:

“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to get back to Afghanistan but it is a beautiful country, and the Lord is at work there…” – or words to that effect.

As my chin dropped I could see the looks on the people at the table beside us as they turned and stared. Two women they had just spent the last hour ignoring were talking about a trip they had made to what was now one of the most notoriously violent countries in the world.

Helen and Pat started reminiscing about people who had lived and worked in that region and about the brief time they had spent in a nation that was now in the thick of a conflict that threw up words like Taliban and Terrorist.

I drove them back to my parent’s house and before too long they were on their way back to Belfast discussing no doubt their plans for the development of the girls clubs they were involved in and the future fundraising for their local church.

So don’t make assumptions about little old ladies… especially when you hear the word church and missionary in the same sentence … they may very well have been where we will never go, have done what we wouldn’t dream of, and have given up what we just aren’t willing to.



My Twelve Books of Christmas #5


Moving on from the books that dominated my summer, this following book has dominated my autumnal weeks as it sparked a rather long trip to the United States in order that I could attend its book launch at Southwestern Seminary in October.

God is My Strength: Fifty Biblical Responses to Issues Facing Women Today

As well as being a book that I’ve enjoyed reading, in its manuscript form, I loved working on the editorial – simply because 1. Pat Ennis is every editor’s dream writer! So great to work with, helpful, relaxed, and 2. This book is just chock full of scripture, and with Pat’s experience as a Christian woman this book is full of practical and spiritual wisdom.

Throughout the book Pat shares God’s Word and God’s Wisdom on the issues that impact all of our lives – issues such as Friendship, God, Myself, My Home and My World.

By the end of the book you find that you’ve opened up your mind to thinking about what God’s will is for your role models, evangelism, money, the holiday season, hospitality, worry, loneliness, and many other topics.

This is a great book for women – that even my Dad enjoyed reading! Again it’s one of those titles you can read from cover to cover or dip in and out of. So you can treat it like your Christmas dinner and read it all at once, or it can be like picking at the leftovers on boxing day when you make multiple visits to the fridge for bits of this and that. 🙂

There are several endorsements for this book one of which is here:

God Is My Strength is about living wisely in His power instead of your own. If that’s your heart’s desire, you’ll find this book to be a dear and constant companion.

Steve and Becky Miller, Christian Authors

Christmas Story Time

Christmas Story Time: Kingsview Christian Centre, Balnafettack Road, Inverness. On the 5th, 12th and 19th of December between 10.30 and 12 noon there will be a Christmas Storytelling time by local authors Carine and Catherine Mackenzie.

On the 5th there will also be a puppet show

On the 12th there will be a craft time and

On the 19th there will be an opportunity to wrap up Christmas gifts – just take along a sheet or two of paper and any other odds and ends you might have. Then everyone can share what they have amongst each other.

There will be tea, coffee, juice and some baking available each week.

This is a great opportunity for anyone to get some chill out time before Christmas. Spread the news and bring your friends – Stories aren’t just for children – they’re for the young at heart too.

Please share this post if you have friends and family in the Inverness area.

Kingsview Christmasb

Mission Partners: Thailand

365 Great Bible Stories has now been translated into Thai.


Children’s Editor’s Travels


Well just thought I’d post about what’s happening over the next few weeks. Throughout the months of September and October I will be visiting the United States in order to attend two conferences as well as meeting up with contacts and authors. It starts off in Philadelphia, goes on to Washington, D.C. Next stop Indianapolis, for the Revive15 conference then Dallas where I’m giving a workshop at an event called Biblical Femininity. Final stop Tulsa before returning home for a few days before going to the Frankfurt book fair. Looking forward to meeting up with several friends on route but it all seems kind of a bit crazy when I think about it. I’d appreciate prayer as I try to pack and make sure I’m organised.

Book Scenario 3: Young Men’s Study Group

ImageA while back I got asked for some information on books to use at a young men’s bible study group. Here is what I recommended:

The Sporting Guide to Eternity – a year’s worth of devotional stories and pep talks for the Christian life. It deals with issues such as purity, truth, discipline etc. There are scriptures and prayers for every day. Written by an ex American football player for the Chicago Bears – who is now a committed christian, husband and father. He is the chaplain for the Scottish Claymores.

The other suggestion is the WEC bible study material which we co-produce. This is a large range of small booklets on either: Themes; Old Testament; New Testament; Characters.

Each book has no more than 50 pages and is A5 format. They are being used in a wide range of situations from new to mature Christians. WEC have been producing these for years with amazing results.

Here are some Themes: Freedom you can find it; Understanding the way of salvation; Freely forgiven a study in Redemption; The problems of life! Is there an answer; God’s heart my heart: World Mission

Characters: Abraham; Serving the Lord: Joshua; Achieving the impossible: Nehemiah; God plans for Good: Joseph; A man after God’s own heart: David; Grace and Grit Ruth and Esther; Men of courage: Elijah and Elisha

O.T; Triumphs over disasters Judges; Messenger of love Malachi; The beginning of everything Genesis 1-11; Hypocrisy in Religion Amos; Unshakeable confidence Habakkuk and Joel; A saviour is promised Isaiah 1-39; Our magnificent God Isaiah 40-66; The throne and temple Chronicles;The cost of obedience Jeremiah

N.T; The World’s only hope Luke; Walking in love John’s epistles; The early church Acts 1-12; Faith that works James; Made completely new Colossians and Philemon; Jesus Christ who is he?; Entering by faith Hebrews; Heavenly living Ephesians.

Billy Graham – Trailblazer

I’m going to post some reviews and endorsements for some of my books past and present. The first one is about Billy Graham, entitled Just Get Up Out of Your Seat. It’s part of the trailblazer series. This commendation is from Christian Market Place.

Catherine balances knowledge of the subject well with personal anecdotes that make the characters come to life. It also makes you want to praise God for them. If you were teaching about famous Christians or wanted to challenge young people about what God could do with their life these would be ideal. Questions at the back of each chapter are helpful for class or group study. The ‘how to become Christian’ section at the back is a vital inclusion.