We came a year ago with a long term goal to see...
Irish discipling Irish, building up the body of Christ across the island.
Establishing relationships to open a door to share God’s Word & building solid biblical foundations have been our goal this first year. As we continue to build relationships, we are beginning to see how God is moving us into the next step towards this goal. Doors are opening to begin to intentionally disciple others. Praise God!
A year to the day......literally......the first opportunity opened up for Andrea to one on one disciple a lady from our church. This is what we have been praying and longing for, but we knew we needed to wait 1 year for our cultural training to be done, before we could begin this process. As Andrea sat across the table from a lady she had met several times over a period of 2 weeks, the opportunity to disciple almost came as a surprise honestly. Hearing her journey to Christ and of God's faithfulness in her life was amazing, humbling, and heart wrenching, all at the same time. As Andrea listened intently, and asked questions, she found out that this lady knows Jesus personally, as her Saviour. That she has been praying faithfully to Him, and that He's been talking to her as well about knowing Him more, and taking their relationship together deeper. She knows God is calling her to read and study His Word, but she struggles with dyslexia. She is in her late 50's, and feels every time she opens the Bible and tries to understand and read it, that there is a block. She then asked more questions about Bible translations, where the Bible came from, how to study the Bible.....all things that we teach during intentional discipleship; either one on one, or in small groups. As Andrea explained that this is why we came to Ireland, this lady right away clasped her hands to her mouth, and began to cry. Then, she literally leapt up from her chair and did a jig in the coffee shop. She was so excited that she said she wanted to buy another round of tea for us to share together. LOL!!! After more discussion, she asked me whether I would like to invite a few other ladies to do this weekly together. We praise God for this open door and our Pastor's heart to allow us to proceed in this way. Andrea has met with a few other ladies over the last week and asked whether they would like to be apart of this study. They have all had similar responses, and the Lord has already been working in their hearts about desiring to go deeper in their relationship with Him. Praise God! This intentional discipleship will begin after the Christmas holidays. We praise God for his amazing timing in all of this, what God will do in all our lives as we study and learn together.
Scott has also been meeting with many men over coffee. There has been tremendous understanding of the Irish culture, backgrounds, hearing their journey to Christ, and fruit that has come from this as well. Just this week, Scott met with a man who asked him out the blue whether Scott would intentionally disciple him. Amazing! We have been absolutely astonished these last weeks, with what God has been doing. In His mercy and grace, He has been opening up doors for further ministry, despite our faults and failures along the way. Building relationships with people, hearing their hearts these last 12 months, and them getting to know we don't claim or will ever claim to have it all figured out or the ones with the answers (only God does), has been foundational to these open doors.
We are committed to this goal God laid on our heart all those years ago for Ireland to see Irish discipling Irish, and we will continue to walk in the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit to show us how to move forward each day that we are here. Praise God!
Christian School Ministry
Both Scott & Andrea are involved with different things at the Christian School throughout the week.
Scott is the school pastor, and leads the Monday morning word of encouragement during their assemblies. He shares the Christ like character trait for the week through discussion, acting, object lessons, or puppet skits. Scott also teaches physical education to the elementary and secondary students. They seem to be really enjoying what he has planned for them this year. The secondary school just finished a 6 week study in drama using improvisational skills, pantomimes, and skits, using these skills that Scott taught.
Another highlight each week for our primary students and of course for Scott, is when He comes and eats lunch with them. They absolutely adore Scott and have such a wonderful time with him during lunch & lunch recess, playing tag. He is such a kid at heart, and they are like magnets to him.
Scott just finished the drama course for our secondary school that he prepared.
Andrea teaches Music & Art, and is a monitor in the school twice a week which involves documenting work done by students, checking over their work, encouraging them in their studies, hearing students read, and filing and pulling tests, etc. The other day, she filled in for a few hours in the primary side teaching a few subjects to 4 year olds. This was very special, and a lot of fun for her. Andrea picks a song of the months to teach the students for the Monday morning assemblies. Last month, she had 2 secondary school boys help her sing and lead the music; with a few students on the elementary side leading the actions. This is the first time this has happened during our time at the school, and it was a huge step forward. Andrea has also been teaching bucket drumming for music, and the elementary students have really caught on to it. This has been a real stretch for Andrea, as this is the first time she has ever done anything like this. However, the student have learned music theory a long with the drumming, which she hopes to build upon for other instruments and teaching the children to read music in the new year. The children have used the bucket drumming exercised to put together a really amazing version of the "Drummer Boy" for the Christmas Program this year.
We are full swing into the school Christmas program as well, and are really excited for the children to show their parents all the things they have been working so hard at over the school year thus far.
Outreach Event - Princess Party - 2
We had our second "Daughter of the King," Princess Tea Party during the students fall term break, and we had an amazing turnout. All of the young girls and their moms that came got dressed up fancy, like princesses, and celebrated together. We had 3 hours together filled with crafts, a tea party with goodies and sweets, games, a Disney princess movie, and best of all for me, was the opportunity to share a short devotional on what it really means to be a daughter of the King of Kings. How loved they are by Him, how he wants each of them to know Him, find their significance, purpose and identity in Him.
This event started from building relationships with woman in the church and having tea parties in the park with them and their children over the summer. It was first put on in our home, but this time we moved the event to Limerick Christian Centre to have more space. This event has become such a blessing with the young ladies in the church & school, along with their moms, that the next time they do this, Andrea would really like to form a team of woman to help plan and put it together in February and open it up to grandmothers to bring their granddaughters. Praise God for how He can use something so simple to be an outreach to share the gospel, and be a blessing and encouragement to others.
Both Scott & Andrea and very involved with the worship on Sunday mornings at church in the Limerick Christian Centre (LCC). The month of November was a busy time planning Christmas songs and programs for the Christmas Eve outreach service and the music for the Sunday School play. Because Andrea has just retaught herself piano over the summer, playing the Christmas carols are all new to her. She has spend hours on the piano trying to learn how to play different songs for regular worship, and Christmas special music and carols. Praise God for helping her remember how to play and do different things that she learned 25 years ago, and praise God for our son Gaeren who helped her with this before he left for the summer.
Scott has had many opportunities in a ministry outreach that our church supports on Monday nights in Moyross. Moyross is a low income housing area (1 of 3) in Limerick. It has a history of violence, drugs and poverty in this area. 60% of the people that live there are single moms and it is a tough neighbourhood. Since the Bible studies started there 8 years ago, they have seen many of the violence acts decrease. Scott has been regularly attending this since October, and has spoken 3 times since that time. People have felt very blessed, and the leadership organizing it have been very encouraged by his commitment to attend and be apart of this outreach.
Scott also speaks around every 4-6 weeks at our church at LCC and Andrea had an opportunity, for the first time, to share something during the breaking of bread a few weeks ago and sing/play a special piece of music for communion.
We feel very blessed to live where we live, but there has been 2 men in their 40's commit suicide in the last several months, and a history of others, including a neighbour kiddy corner to us, that has had 2 of her children commit suicide, 7 & 8 years ago. As we have visited our neighbours and hear their desire to have greater fellowship with each other, we decided to open our house up for a tea and dessert on a Saturday afternoon in December. Andrea worked with a neighbour up the road to design an invitation and plan for the event. We had a fantastic turn out, and the ladies even broke out into Irish songs and held hands at the end. Everyone commented that it was a fabulous time! They wanted to do this again around Christmas, so we are organizing another neighbourhood party for Saturday the 28th of December, and plan on having a few carols that we sing together. There are 18 homes in our immediate area, and all will be invited. Please pray that more of our neighbours will come out and that we will have a house full of neighbours enjoying each other's company.
The community has really changed here in Ireland from pubs, drinking, religious get togethers, to very little of any of this going on. Many are so lonely out in the country and long for fellowship and a great crack.
We see this neighbourhood party as an outreach to break down any stigma that may come with them knowing why we came to Ireland, and hope that the Lord will open a door in the future to pray for any needs in our community at the end of our time; for those who would like to participate and stay. We will trust the Lord for the timing of this and an open door to do so.
OTHER NEW NEWS:
* Gaeren was accepted to Liberty University, in Lynchburg VA, for the Fall 2020. For many that know Gaeren, you would know his love for music, music composition, and heart to honour and serve the Lord in this area. To take a degree in commercial music was a big decision for him because it really is calling him to trust God with the doors this degree will open and the direction that will take him in. He was looking at other degrees that had more financial stability after he graduated, but the Lord would not let music go, until he made the decision to listen and be obedient to this calling on his life. He has been at great peace about this decision. However, this last week he has been struggling because the financial piece of going to school is coming more real as time gets closer and deadlines are needing to be met. His education rests solely in God's hand for everything, and Gaeren is being stretched to trust God even more that ever. January 2020 is a big month for Gaeren to hear back from the Liberty University about the financial package they can offer him and the remainder that he will be responsible to pay. He is doing this on his own, and we are very proud of him and how hard he has worked thus far.
* We are striking a 2020 budget and will let you know the details of this come January 2020. We have had a number of our faithful financial supporters unfortunately pass away this year, but praise God they are in heaven with the Lord. We have also been made aware that the Ontario government will not be having the extended OHIP for those outside their country anymore come January. This will effect not only our budget, but every missionaries budget in January who rely on their private health insurance to bill OHIP first, and then have their extra health insurance provider cover the remainder. TEAM is working hard to clarify all of this as we strike our budget for 2020 this year. We covet all your prayers and support to not only help us figure all these changes out, but for God to provide the increase where needed. We are absolutely amazed how he provides and have full confidence in Him to sustain us here in Ireland; to do the work He has called us to do.
* Lastly, we would absolutely LOVE to hear from you this Christmas in some way. Drop us a line via Email, Messenger, Whats App, a letter, or card. You corresponding with us in any way, really does help keep our candle burning even brighter knowing you are joining us in our ministry, here in Ireland.
1) Please pray for Gaeren as he writes his A.C.T.'s this Saturday in Toronto. This is a standardized test for students in the USA. He has been studying a lot for this and how he does on this test will also reflect in scholarships and grants awarded Gaeren for University.
Also, please pray for Gaeren's heart and mind to continue to be steadfast, have great courage, and trust in God completely. He and us really covet your prayers.
2) Please pray for our community outreach on Dec. 28th. That God would move in our neighbours hearts to be a part of this and that God would open the door for us to be a light in our community.
3) Please pray for the Christmas School program, the Sunday School program, and the Christmas Eve Service at LCC. That God would be glorified, that the gospel would go forth, people would know and accept God's love, and of course the things that have been prepared would come together and minister to hearts.
4) Please pray for the city and county of Limerick. There is an incredible level of hopelessness here in our area. Pray that Christmas will be a time where they see, experience, and receive the hope of the World, our Lord Jesus Christ.
5) Please pray for all matters concerning are budget for 2020.
6) Lastly, please pray that God would be with our families this Christmas as we have our 2nd Christmas away from them, and the 1st time ever without Gaeren. There is much that could be said about this, but we really appreciate your prayers.