"Do you know any Christian ceiling fixers?"
This was the question asked of Gary Moore on a building site in Glengormley, one day. “Not the usual run of the mill building site enquiry!” he thought. “No, but I will ask about” was his response.
Later that evening Gary was telling John Purse about the strange request put before him that afternoon, and the reason behind it.
After hearing the ins-and-outs of why Christian ceiling fixers were required, John suggested (in half jest) that he and Gary, despite having no ceiling fixing experience could get the general gist of what it takes and do the job themselves!
The next few months was breath-taking with everything falling into place the way only God can do it. They had training on how to fit a suspended ceiling, funding came in, time was given off work and the support and encouragement they received from families, friends and their church was remarkable.
At the end of November 1997 they headed off with another six members on a team to Guinea Bissau, West Africa, a country they had never even heard of. The team were to work in a church that had taken local Christians seven years to build. Another team had went out in April that same year to install the roof on the church - Gary and John’s task was to install a suspended ceiling, working alongside electricians who were installing lights, fans and a P.A. system.
This is how Gary and John summed up their time in Guinea Bissau” It was truly a wonderful experience. We had seen God working in both the church there and in our own personal lives. We learned very quickly to trust God for everything; we lived by faith and He never let us down. We really did feel God’s presence all the time and the sense of achievement in completing the project was truly remarkable”.
Being involved in this project has been so rewarding to our own church and us as individuals. We believe that the Christians of the Guinea Bissau church and the WEC missionaries, who we went out to, also gained so much from our time together.
On returning home and after much prayer, we felt God lead us to form LIFT “Labour In Faith and Trust” so that others may share the experience and benefits of serving in God’s work overseas as we had done.
LIFT was launched in March 1999. During the first year much time was spent promoting the services of LIFT at exhibits in local churches and in Christian publications. We also met with many Missionary organisations who were very supportive and encouraged us greatly.
The time for talking was over and in April 2000 the first LIFT project was upon us; now was the time for action.
In 2003 John Purse became full time worker for LIFT, working initially from his office at home before we purchased a derelict butchers shop at 2A Kilcoole Park in North Belfast and spent nine months fixing it up as our LIFT office, from where we still operate.
As the organisation grew Gary and John realised that additional help was required and they asked Jim McGardle and Colin Thompson to join the management council. Jim was a graphic designer and designed our logo and many publications over the years and was responsible for making the organisation look professional. He resigned from LIFT in 2009. Colin Thompson became the LIFT Treasurer a position he held until September 2009, when Walter Maguire joined the LIFT management Council as the new Treasurer. Colin resigned from LIFT in 2014.
John Purse after fourteen years of service, ten of which he was employed as a full time missionary, resigned in April 2013. The remaining Council members then invited Elizabeth McClean and Sandy Cranston to join the management council in 2014.