This weekend our family attended our first conference with our new mission board, UFM. The conference was held in Northern Ireland, which is a different country (part of the United Kingdom) from where we live on the south coast. The accents may be different, but our God is the same, and it was wonderful to hear stories of his work and faithfulness from around the world. We also got to give an update at a wonderfully friendly Presbyterian church in the area on Sunday. It’s great to meet strangers who are family in the Lord!
This week Seth was elected as a parent representative to the Board of Management for the school our children attend. We’re surprised and delighted by this unexpected opportunity to be more involved in the school and community!
Another surprise came in a recent phone call asking if Seth would be willing to serve on the Executive Committee of Aontas (the Irish word for ‘union’), which is a national association of evangelical churches in Ireland. He said yes, and was elected at their annual meeting.
You just never know what doors God will open – we certainly didn’t see either of these coming!
Today Seth met with a group of local church leaders who spend the morning of the first Friday of every month in prayer. Yes, there’s tea and coffee and bits of food as well – there always is when people get together in Ireland – but mostly we just spend a couple of solid hours praying together for God to do what only He can. It’s a huge blessing to be able to join in these meetings every month and see how God answers our requests over time!
Turns out the flu Seth had wasn’t so easy to beat after all – it started taking hold as pneumonia, and knocked him out of a conference he was supposed to participate in, preaching on Sunday, and helping with a youth camp this week. Jessica and the children still went to help with the camp – Jessica is helping in the kitchen, which is probably the most demanding area of camp. Seth has definitely turned a corner thanks to powerful medicine, but the whole thing is certainly a strong reminder of just how weak and fragile we are as humans.
St. Patrick was truly an amazing individual, and the story of his life can still teach us today. How? Here’s a great article that can show you, written by Munster Bible College lecturer and church historian, Dr. Michael Haykin.
Last Saturday, while we were at a planning meeting for an upcoming youth camp and hosting a youth club at our house, 100,000 people were marching in Dublin to support Ireland’s 8th amendment to the constitution. The 8th amendment specifically protects the life of unborn children, but there is currently a push by the government to repeal it and legislate for abortion. A repeal would have to be approved by the public, so a referendum is going to be held, most likely on May 25th. The polls still say the ‘repeal’ side is ahead, but the gap is closing and there are encouraging signs that it may be possible for Ireland to keep it’s unborn children protected.
It never snows in Ireland. Well, pretty much never. And even when it does, it’s always the tiniest bit of snow you can imagine – you’re lucky if it covers the windscreen on the car enough for you can get a couple of snowballs from it.
But not this time. This time is different. This is proper snow.
Evidently, we’re getting a blast of Siberian air due to a disruption in the polar vortex – and meteorologists love fancy words. The result is: a blizzard the likes of which hasn’t hit Ireland since 1982. The whole country is covered in snow. The children all got three days – three whole days! – off school. One snow day is amazing, but three!?
The shops sold out of bread and milk, the whole country basically closed for business, and everyone is out building snowmen. It’s amazing! The best snowman we had ever built in all our years in Ireland was about six inches high and we had to use raisins for the eyes. Well, not today. Not today.