A mission at our new church bowled us over. We experienced the explosive dynamic of the Holy Spirit!  We recommitted our lives to Jesus Christ!  David and I had just relocated, with our teenage family, to be nearer his new job in Hinckley in Leicestershire. I had left my teaching job and was at a loose end. I was seeking God’s direction for my life. I was restless…

The leader of my new house group invited me to become part of the team to set up a Community Bible Study (CBS)! I felt God’s call in this. I blurted out “yes” immediately without knowing what was involved or anything about it! 

It happened that my last salary cheque, which I had in a small savings account, was exactly the right money to cover my airfare (the training was to take place in the US). We had four weeks to prepare, get visas and book tickets. Our feet scarcely touched the ground and my comment at the time was “We shall all do very well as a team if we can stop laughing!”.

Hinkley

Seeing hundreds of women in one place and a Leaders’ Council of ’86 directed by the founder, Lee Campbell, blew our little UK-scaled minds. A sense of total inadequacy set us all tingling with anticipation and fear. We knew that if God had brought us this far, we could trust him for what was ahead. We left training with a plan of action and the fervent prayers of our fellow trainees who seemed to be so much better equipped for this than us. Lee graciously sent us off with a personal blessing for our country to know the Lord through CBS. What a responsibility!

Back home, we blitzed the local churches with information and visited as many as we could to explain and encourage a wide variety of people to join, both men and women. In September 1984 we began a class with 46 members. We were exhilarated and very unsure as we put into practice the systems and procedures of a CBS class. It worked! God is good!

Our class settled down to be a blessing to all of us, we welcomed two Roman Catholic nuns as well as Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Free Church, Congregationalists and URC members. Most had never studied the Bible in this depth before and we had never taught the Bible before, we were all learning and loving it, even the homework and 6 pages of commentary!

In June 1986 I was invited to take over as Area Director of CBS for the UK. I knew I was not able, I had no experience of running an organisation of any description and I was totally unfitted for the task. But apparently, I was the only candidate for this. There was no one else!

In 1987 we left Hinckley for York where David had a new job. By this time there were new classes starting in Leicester, Woodford Green and others were thinking and praying. And so, by personal contacts and encouragement, we grew. No advertising, no one in the church hierarchies or organisations knew of us, it was grassroots growth and the testimony of changed lives…including ours!

Gillian Mason