After working for almost four years in S.J. McAuley Engineering, it was a little weird saying goodbye to many who I have worked with in this time. To be honest, most of them haven’t been there all that time as four years ago the firm wasn’t as large as it is now, but some good friendships were built up even with some who have only been there for about a year.
Today was our Christmas dinner at Cromore Halt in Portstewart, courtesy of our boss (thanks Jonathan). It was good fun and at the end of the meal one of the men I’ve worked with for most of the time I’ve been there, stood up to make a speech, and as soon as he did I knew that I would have to do the same.
When I got up to speak my mind went a little blank. I mean, what do you say without it sounding like the usual ‘template’ speech, thanking everybody? I just ended up stuttering a few words of thanks and then trying to let them all know that I had no idea what lay before me in Australia, but whatever it was God would help me. I then tried to tell them all of their need to accept Christ. I have no idea how it sounded, or if I made an edjit of myself, but at least I presented a final reminder to them all about their need to get right with God and invited them all to come out to church on Sunday evening.
Almost four years
As I look back on almost four years walking and talking to these men, there is no doubt that I have some regrets here and there; things I’ve said and done, and things I’ve not said and done, letting down my Saviour in the process. I have seen none of them converted to Christ either, and in some ways this bothers me. But I must encourage myself in the recognition that this is God’s work, not mine!
Having said that, I rejoice in the God-given grace that was bestowed upon me in my time spent there, to take a stand and let everyone that worked there know that a follower of Christ was working with them. I am also encouraged that I have told every one of them on at least one occasion that they need Christ.
As I leave for Australia and the men I’ve worked with for these past few years, I also rejoice that God has not left them without a faithful witness on the factory floor. I’ll not name them to save embarrassment, but I will be praying regularly that God gives them grace and power to witness faithfully.