As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Today I bring to you something very different. It is a slightly edited version of an email that was recently received by our church, the Mustard Seed Fellowship, in Woodside, Glenrothes, Fife. It was received with much excitement as it gave us further information regarding the history of our wee church. it is a very exciting story showing God at work across the years. The red text is the body of the email from Fran Corby, and the blue text is the testimony of her husband’s grandfather.
I will first introduce myself, I am Fran(ces) Corby and my husband is John. We live in Colorado, USA. We recently retired after working for 46 years with The Christian and Missionary Alliance We served for 34 years as missionaries; in Gabon Africa (16 years), France (6 years), and the rest of it spent overseeing 170 missionaries in Europe and the Middle East. My husband was born in Gabon to missionary parents: Bert and Betty (Elizabeth Mason) Corby. Betty was born in Congo to missionary parents: David and Elma Mason.
It is my husband John’s grandfather David whose testimony we want to share with you today. On his fifteenth birthday his mother gave him a Bible, after which he went into an apprenticeship, sailed the world and fell away from the Lord. By God’s grace he came back to his faith and served God the rest of his life. Here is his testimony in his own words:
“I was born (1883) in Fifeshire, Scotland, living in a small town (Markinch) situated on the mainline of the railway which ran along the east coast connecting London and as far north as Aberdeen. This location caused the town to be a center for smaller villages in the surrounding area. My parents (John 1846-1939 and Elizabeth 1852-1946) were godly consecrated people and were deeply interested in the salvation of men and women. My father was a working man and our home was a humble one, but a happy one, for God was honoured there. There is no question that the godly upbringing I had was the greatest influence in my life.
My parents were members of the Free Church of Scotland in Markinch, there also being two other Presbyterian churches in town. My parents were much concerned about the older people living in the smaller villages in the surrounding area who were unable to walk the few miles to attend a service. There was no public transportation to be had in those days. The distance was also an excuse for those who were able but did not desire to attend. The churches made no effort to serve those people in any spiritual way. this caused my parents to begin open-air meetings in a small small village about three miles from our house, by the name of Woodside. as there was a definite response to these meetings, an elderly lady donated a house to the village to be used exclusively for religious services and named my father along with another Christian man who was a resident. I may say that my father never missed a service in this place for forty years, A bad accident ended that record. The meeting place was named “The Mustard Seed,” and was the only church I attended in my boyhood days.
Another organisation named “The Faith Mission,” founded by a gentleman by the name of J.G. Govan, had begun to train men and women as missionaries to work in rural areas, and the workers were called Pilgrims. I believe the work was begun with headquarters in the city of Edinburgh. The surrounding areas to the city were named the Lothians and word began to spread that a real revival was in the making. The Pilgrims also came north to Fife and the same results followed, in spite of opposition in some mining communities and also from the established clergy.
It just seemed natural that my parents and others of like mind began to support the work, and since converts from the evangelistic efforts were not welcomed in the local churches – many of them from two to seven miles away began to attend the services held in the Mustard Seed. The services there usually began at 11 a.m. and continued until at least 2 .p.m. The Faith Mission extended its work. Prayer unions were founded and gospel services were held in various places on sunday evenings by those who had been converted. I can recall marching to open-air services held at the railway station, where many people gathered to get the only train coming to town on Sundays. The old Sankey hymns were sung as we marched. Many of the visiting Pilgrims and others engaged in the evangelistic ministries were entertained in our home, thus my sister and I were both well versed in the work involved in evangelism as we listened to discussions held in our home.”
While serving in France we and our children took a trip to Scotland and visited the grave of John and Elizabeth Mason in Markinch. On the headstone was written the words “For them to live was Christ, to die was gain.” what a blessing it was to stand there and rejoice in the heritage we and our children can hold dear. It seems to me that your story (Mustard Seed Fellowship) and our story go hand in hand, with just a variation of perspective. Share this as you wish with whom ever may be interested. In the meantime we all continue to servethe One who gave Himself for us. And we rejoice with tears that we share the same riches as “co-heirs” in different places of this world, until He calls us home.
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