Barry's final mission
On June 18th Barry arrived at our town of Winsford (Cheshire,
England) where he spent the last days of his ministry. From the moment he got
out of the car to his departure to the Pear Tree Hotel, we were all struck
by his extraordinary combination of warmth, humour, and Godliness.
Barry remarked that the key to it all is "to enjoy your Christianity"
it's as simple as that, and Barry certainly did!
Barry's ministry went from strength to strength as the week
progressed. On the first night he was evidently feeling tired and he requested
that we pray so that the Lord would strengthen him. Every night souls were added
to the kingdom of God, many Christians made re-commitments and the wives of
Freemasons came forward and were set free!
By the last night there was an incredible expectancy as
people poured into our Church and prepared themselves for what would be Barry's
last prophetic message. As a young Minister I have read books on C.H. Spurgeon,
Whitfield and Wesley and the kind of meetings that took place with these men of
God. I have often wondered what it must have been like to be in those kind of
meetings. On Saturday night I witnessed it first hand. Our Church, which
normally has a small group of dedicated believers, was filled to capacity from
downstairs up to the balcony. The presence of God, even before Barry ministered,
was incredible. Barry was on full form. His message for the night was the
Rapture of the Church and he clearly did not want to stop preaching. At one
point he launched into the worship song 'Ancient of Days' and the place erupted.
I am sure we would have gone on worshipping all night long but Barry had
yet to make the final appeal. After asking if he could carry on until ten
o'clock (quite a feat for an English service!) he finally brought the meeting to
a close with the timeless hymn (yep, you've guessed it!) 'Amazing Grace'. I
watched as people poured forward for Salvation. I saw a young man so covered in
tattoos that the only part of his face not covered were his eyelids. I
looked over towards him and smiled and he smiled back as though to say
"this is it! This is what life is all about!" It was a night that we
will never forget and as Jesus said to Martha "Mary has chosen the better
part and it will not be taken away from her" - so this week has been for
us. We have sat, listened, and digested both Barry's words from the platform and
his very character. He has left a sense of joy in this town and in our hearts.
On the Sunday morning Barry was preaching a sermon on the
Christian way of life. A young youth leader was told by the Lord she must take
her young people to hear Barry's message. She was not planning to come but the
Lord insisted that she bring her young people and at the end of the message
Barry gave his last appeal and all of her young people came forward and Barry
and Apollo (Perelini) prayed for them. What privileged young people they
For us, more than anything else, we learned through Barry's
life that God requires of us a relationship with Him and not religion. Many of
us are running around like Marthas, desperately trying to impress the Lord and
other Christians whilst Jesus looks on us and says "I require a
relationship with you, I want to fellowship with you, I want to see your
face". This is where the joy and the peace and the fullness of life flow
from; a day by day relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Barry certainly had
this relationship and commented one day in the week something along these lines;
"the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have
finished my course, I have kept the Faith!!" And so the Bible goes on
'Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness
which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day and not to me only
but unto all them also that love His appearing'.
We would like to thank all of the family, Keith Jones and
Steve Avery for making our time with Barry possible. May God bless you all.