A group of evangelists came to portray the Gospel in Markethill in 1878. The following description appeared in a book by David Rea on the lives and labours of past missionaries:
"In Markethill, which is a small town in County Armagh, we encountered much greater opposition that that related in any previous chapters. We had much difficulty in securing a place in which to conduct our meetings, but at length succeeded in renting four upper rooms from an aged shoemaker, who was greatly addicted to drink.
"On the first night the place was almost filled with a boisterous class of men, and on that evening, and for several nights afterwards, many of them kept on their hats: if anyone took his off some of the others put it on again, and shouted, "Why do you take your hat off to these fellows?" and altogether behaved so badly that I was on several occasions obliged to stop preaching and put some of them outside; although I was sometimes surprised at them allowing me to do so.
"The windows were frequently broken with stones, and often the shoemaker and his companions were revelling downstairs while our meetings were going on above. Occasionally stones were thrown at us when passing along the streets, and the lady with whom we lodged, although a professed Christian, requested us to run past her house when we were being thus attacked. Notwithstanding this, and amidst all the confusion, the Spirit of God worked mightily through the Word preached, and several were brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"We continued here a few weeks, and then left for a brief period. On the night of our departure Mr.McClean asked a young man if he were saved, or if he would like to be. With tears in his eyes he replied, "It's me who needs to be saved". He remained behind, and we sought to show him the ways of salvation. After we had been speaking to him a short time, Mr.McClean said, "We will now get down on our knees. What shall I say to God? Shall I ask Him to save you?" "Thank Him that He has saved me" was his reply.
"We returned about eight days later, and on the night of our opening meeting we scarcely got to the door the place was so packed with people. A man asked us if we remembered the young man who had professed conversion on the evening we left. We replied that we did. "Well", said he, "he died a few days afterwards, rejoicing in the Lord. he often spoke of the last night of the meeting in the room where God had saved him, and pleaded with all of us to meet him in glory". His testimony and death had an effect in the whole neighbourhood. Some of the more respectable people came afterwards to the meetings, and three in one family were brought to Christ.
"A brother, speaking in the market-place a short time after this, used the expression, "Friends - you have no tomorrow". A woman going to the pump for water heard the words, and they so impressed her that she crossed over to our landlady, who was standing at the door, and told the woman what the man had said. She answered, "Well, you should go and hear him out". She did so, and truly she had no tomorrow, for she died that night. I was informed that, through the words she heard, she had been led to trust the Saviour. How blessed it is to sow beside all waters - to be "constant in season and out of season!"
This extract appeared in a booklet published for Markethill Horse Fair on Saturday 17th August, 1996.