Hi my name is Jonathan David Heenan. I have grown up at Barbican Farm in Bryansford but at 12 I went to boarding school in Lisburn. School was painful until upper sixth and I left an obtruce teenager but saved by God. My abilities began to develop during my year out in Newry at Newry Baptist. I was still quite a mixed up teen but god was at work. In the 90′s I was at Queens and involved at Newcastle Presbyterian. Youth work in Newcastle was probably the same as in many towns. Young people were coming out to things but were starting to opt out of church earlier and earlier. For the fews years we had them at YF nobudy became a christian. In fact one year we were about to kick everyone out of YF because we had lost all patience though Maggie who was in charge relented. Thank God but it is hard to describe the disillusionment we felt. My christianity was back on the ropes and at my final year of University I used that as an excuse to drop out of everything.
After an year in england I returned home and back to God and began to get involved again in the youth work. God changed everything in Newcastle in that year. Our first young person became a christian Paul Truswell. How it came about was through an American team from Kentucky staying at Murlough House and our first Summer Programme. The church employed me as a summer worker but I must give all credit to Judith McCance who really did all the work. It is my view that all the major changes in the church of Newcastle could be traced to God working because of the bonds with America and also the prayers of some Godly individuals in the town. It is not that the Americans do anything in paticular or that they are somehow better people than us. (though spiritually their youth programmes are more advanced than ours) but God works when christians come together. Summers became a launch pad for the rest of the year and year by year the kingdom grew. In the 90s all youth work stopped for 3-4 months over the summer apart from CSSM. Jane was the only necastle leader on cssm but by 2005 most of the leaders were from newcastle. Eventually the whole thing had changed so in ten years we moved from one person Jane to a team of 60.
The most startling thing God did though was FUSED. About 5 years ago everything changed. Things were in a bit of a slump at our regular programmes so after another great summer we decided to keep the program running on fri nights. This was great as we had 60 on our first night. The major question was though whether to keep fused going or return to our old programs. It was a difficult job but 3 youth groups were almalgamated into 1. God did it and because of this 100′s of young people have heard the gospel in our town and today and many youth have become christians. I am extreemly exicited to see all that God is doing and excited to be at home to be involved.