Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Helen Shapiro

Helen Shapiro

We were quite excited about hearing Helen Shapiro’s story about her converting from a Jew to a Christian.

As we had managed to sell 800 tickets (along with the Church that organized this outreach) we decided to get there really early in order to bag good seats if possible.

Dave and I had made a run the evening before and peeped in; we found the seating to be 800 plastic chairs one behind the other (not graduated). Both Rosemary and I were only 5.½"tall, also having Millie with us, (a tiny Philippino lady who is a head shorter than me!) We needed front row seats!

The outreach started at 7.30pm, we live about 15 minutes from the venue, and we decided to start off at 5.15pm. We arrived at 5.30pm and were the very first in line :O).

All the counselors were let in first for a briefing and a bite to eat (they had been there all afternoon praying for the outreach), eventually at 6.30pm the doors were opened for us, 800 seats are a lot of seats so there were no jostling at all. We managed to get the very seats we had decided we wanted the evening before, right in front of the rostrum!

We had been warned by Babs not to be disappointed as she had heard on the radio thgat Helen Shapiro did not sing at out reach events, also Jeanette who had attended one in Doncaster thinking it was a concert, was also very disappointed to find it a ‘boring two hour talk’ also a third lady who had attended one of these outreached by Helen Shapiro said Helen did not sing.

Well all I can say is we must have prayed hard enough and been very blessed because whilst we were sitting there at 7pm Helen walked onto the stage, she smiled and said “ I have 30 minutes before I officially start, what say we have a few songs” We were on the way to a fantastic evening :O)

Helen sang 21 gospel songs; we had not heard many of them before, a lot she sang in English breaking into Hebrew. It was extremely nice the way she had arranged the evening, she would be talking and the music would start very quietly, gradually getting loader and Helen would break into a song that was relevant to what she was saying, again the music would gradually get quieter as did her voice until it stopped and she would continue with her story.

Of course like many of these ‘witnessing’ stories there was also a lot of humour. At one point when she was telling us she had dared to eventually touch the new testament without God striking her dead on the spot, she then built up the courage to actually open it, she said she has never looked back, in fact she…. At this point the music started up and she sang ‘Walking back to happiness’

It would take a long time for me to tell you how she became a Christian, you must go yourself next time you see her advertised, but it was extremely interesting, funny and inspiring, not at all like Jeanette described as a boring two hours (sorry Jeanette).

Sitting where we were Helen often looked straight at either Dave or myself when singing, we would of course smile broadly at her. After she had sang her last song she came off the platform and whispered to Dave and myself, thank you for smiling so much, it is always so nice to get someone that welcomes you like that. Oooh great stuff :O)

Many, many people crowded Helen and virtually ignored the counselors who were lined up either side of Helen. She also had a body guard each side of her, one from our Church and one from the other Church.

Unfortunately at one point she got very agitated as people crowded her and kept tapping her for her attention whilst trying to talk to someone else. She said in no uncertain terms “Please step back, let us have privacy, I have been singing and talking for over two hours, please stand back.” They did so, for all of two seconds! I think that the body guards should have perhaps organized to row to stop her being crowded.

We waited patently until all had finished and then Dave and I went up to her, she gave us a wink and asked what she could do for her ‘smiler's’ Dave said he had always been confused about the Jewish ‘New testament’ how could the Jews have a ‘New testament’ when they have not excepted Christ as their Messiah. She explained that the Jewish New Testament was written by Christian Jews, she said she had read it and it was very heavy going, for her, she preferred our new testament.

We spoke to her for a while and then told her to go get some rest, she smiled and said ‘God Bless you both’ and was led off.

I asked one of the councilors from our Church ‘Liz’ if she could get the photo signed to all in ICA Church for the next News letter :O) Catherine managed to do so, in hind site it would have been very easy for us to have got it signed.

We returned to the car all buzzing from the evening. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time BUT the main highlight of the evening was when Dianna (the Mum of two members of our Church) gave her life to the Lord. Also Millie (the lady we took) friend and neighbor who is also a Philippino devote catholic also committed herself. Her husband who was a Steward become a Christian some time ago but his wife had remained a Catholic. She had many tears and trepidation but eventually went to talk with Helen,

after about 30 minutes we saw her repeating a prayer so we new at this point she had committed her life to being ‘born again’. Her husband was over the moon for her.

We have been told that eight people on that night became ‘born again in Christ’ many others perhaps to follow at a later date. Many asked for the leaflets and booklets and showed interest.

Tina Spain