Marilyn Harry has been an evangelist with Elim Pentecostal Church since 1982. The daughter of a coal miner from Rhondda Valley, she came to Christ at the age of 19 and worked as a nurse and midwife until 1980 when she went to bible school. She travels abroad regularly to teach, and sees 'signs and wonders' such as healing. She tells idea magazine about her passion for the gospel and her hope for the Church.
How did your ministry as an evangelist begin?
There was a position in Merseyside as an assistant and I helped to pioneer a new church in the Docks. Because it was such a long time ago, 36 years ago, it was unusual for a lady to be doing what I was doing. From the day I was saved I wanted to tell people about Jesus.
How have you reached people with the gospel?
Early on I had a vision, which is very rare for me. There was a big tent, and I knew I would see 500 people in that tent. Within two months the Lord gave me a 500 seater tent. The first time we used it, 12 churches came together for an event, and on our first night 46 people decided for Jesus.
I still do tent missions. I also lead a ministry called 'Love Wales', which is part of Elim but interdenominational. Our goal is the re-evangelisation of Wales within a 10 year period by working together across denominations to lift up Jesus Christ our Saviour.
It sounds like you put on traditional 'tent revivals'?
No… Wales is the land of villages, so we would go into a village that would maybe have a small population, maybe 500 houses, like the village of my birth. We would take a marquee. We would visit the homes and invite them to come. There is a lot of poverty in Wales, so we would do acts of kindness - put on BBQs, face painting, bouncy castles. Through the love of Jesus we would share the gospel message.
The church has become better at doing social action, but we mustn't forget we need to tell the message of Jesus. So we train the local churches how to share their faith in a non-confrontational manner, so everyone can share the message one-to-one.
At the end of the mission, you see the church encouraged that they have the confidence to reach out with the gospel.
What was it like being a female evangelist in the early 1980s?
It was unusual. Occasionally people told me I was in sin, because I was a woman I shouldn't be doing what I was doing, but that was rare. I've been very blessed and very encouraged over the years. I speak to everyone, men, women, boys and girls - everybody.
There are many more ladies now evangelising, which is wonderful.
How do people respond to the gospel?
People are much more open than we think. I think young people are very open, and children. I think the poor are very open. Recently I was in London speaking in Harrow, and 70 people decided for Jesus. Many people were baptised in the Holy spirit. One Turkish lady was wonderfully healed. She'd had a car accident and she couldn't move her arm and head very well.
She was prayed for one night and didn't seem very different, but the next day she came and told us she was healed. It's only the Lord isn't it? I can't do much at all, it's only the Lord's grace and mercy.
What have been some of the highlights of your work?
One highlight was the incredible move of God in Long Eaton in 1998. We brought the 500-seater tent for one week, and the Holy Spirit fell for 16 weeks. In total 1600 people responded to the gospel, and there were many signs and wonders. Still today I meet people and they say, 'I came to Long Eaton and God touched me there'.
What have you seen change over the years?
I think Britain has become much more secular, but I do think people are still very open to the gospel. The Church is beginning to wake up and realise we need to share the gospel in the community. And I think that is very encouraging.
I think the Church is coming back to its place of prayer. I think the Church is coming on. Some are coming on more than others, but there are lots of people who love Jesus in our country.
MARILYN'S TOP TIPS FOR EVANGELISM:
1. Love Jesus with all your heart.
2. Learn how to give your own personal testimony in a couple
of minutes without using churchy language.
3. Pray with all your heart.
4. Ask Jesus to give you appointments to share your faith.
5. Carry some good quality Christian material with you.
6. When you pray to lead people to Jesus, see if you can have them discipled too.
Taken from Evangelical Alliance Website