Ru MacLean is your man

I was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, in the Western Isles of Scotland. Even though I was brought up to go to church and was under strong Christian influences, it wasn’t until I was almost sixteen that I came to a clear understanding of salvation through Jesus Christ. That set my life on a path of seeking to honour my God, who loves me with such an amazing and undeserved love.

After finishing secondary education, I went to study architecture in Aberdeen, following which I returned to Lewis to work. During that period I began to learn Biblical Hebrew motivated, in part, by a growing interest in Jewish mission and the work of CWI. But where had that interest in Jewish mission come from? I think it grew from a number of seeds planted over many years.


When I was at primary school, I remember my father, who was my teacher at the time, teaching a lesson on Joshua and the entry of the children of Israel into the Promised Land. I clearly remember the sinking feeling I had as I realised, for the first time, that I was not Jewish but was, in fact, an uncircumcised Gentile. Although I had not been told I was Jewish, I just considered Bible history as part of my own history. I was as familiar with biblical history as I was with my own history as a Gael*, maybe even more so.


Another seed of empathy with the Jewish people was planted in my heart around the same time through reading They Looked For a City by Lydia Buksbazen, the story of an Eastern European Jewish family and their bitter but triumphant struggle for survival.


These seeds were further stimulated by Iain Murray’s The Puritan Hope which opened my eyes to the biblical imperative for Jewish mission.


As this interest grew, I also sensed a calling to serve the church and the Lord led me to train for ministry. I began my studies at the Free Church College in Edinburgh in 2004. Somehow my interest in Jewish mission became an open secret and, as a consequence, Mike Moore and Alex Cowie made contact with me during my time at college.


I considered applying to work with CWI but when I finished my training in 2007 I was called to and accepted an appointment to the Free Church congregation in the Isle of Harris. It was during my time in Harris that I married Peigi.


The appointment to Harris was reviewable after five years. After the review process my appointment was not renewed, in large part due to the financial constraints faced by the church. This was hard for us, especially with our first child on the way, yet in the midst of all the upheaval we felt assured that God would provide.


And so he did! CWI was on the horizon, despite our not being sure at the time if that was the way to go. When the post of Scottish Deputation Secretary was advertised at the end of 2012 I thought that if the timing had been different I might apply but I didn’t feel that I could at that time, as we were waiting for the outcome of the review. We were committed to continuing the work in Harris, if God re-affirmed that that was where we should be. The thought also occurred to me that if God wanted me in CWI, he would keep this post for me. And that is what happened.


Shortly after we knew that our time in Harris was coming to an end, a friend phoned me to say that he had been speaking to Ray McCabe who had told him that the post had not been filled. My friend’s response was, ‘Ru’s your man!’ I still wasn’t convinced this was the way we should go but, after some thought and seeking advice, I applied.


Providentially, whilst I was awaiting a response to my application I put on The White Horse Inn, an internet radio programme focusing on Reformed theology, and instead of the usual discussion format they were featuring a testimony; the speaker was none other than David Zadok! This was an encouragement to me that we were going in the right direction.


The rest is history. We are now settling into a new home and a new work, seeking to serve the Lord in this new sphere. We serve a great God and, while he doesn’t promise us an easy ride, he does promise to be with us all the way. I am looking forward to getting into the work to which the Lord has led me and I value your prayers, so that the message of the priority of Jewish mission would again touch the heart of the church in Scotland.

Ruairidh MacLean


* A Gael is a person who speaks Gaelic

This article first appeared in the summer Herald 2014

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