This week some friends offered to collect our children from school one day, keep them at their house all afternoon, feed them dinner, and drive them all the way to Youghal in the evening – all so that we could have the whole day to pack boxes for moving (we packed a lot of boxes!). We’ve also had several friends from church help us with jobs that needed to be done on the house we’re selling, and offers coming from all directions to help when we actually do move. We are very thankful for such amazing support from the family of God!
Today we head to Munster Christian Camp, where we’ll be leading a great team to put on a camp for 58 12-15 year olds. Thankfully, the weather forecast looks good. We’re forecasting a great camp as well!
After agreeing to the sale of our house in Youghal recently, we started looking hard for a place to land – and it was harder than we thought. Most of the houses listed online were actually already sold, and we were running out of options. But at the last minute, God provided an unexpected solution and the result is that we have put a deposit down on a new home for our family!
Hurricane Ophelia, the strongest hurricane on record this far east in the Atlantic, is currently battering the shores of Ireland with very high winds. All the schools in Ireland closed and everyone has been advised to stay indoors, so we’re having a hurricane holiday as a family. So far we still have power, and our house is not in any danger of flooding, so we’re enjoying the time together!
This morning we met together with ten churches to celebrate what God has done in our area. Most of the ten were planted as the result of one small church in Cork city, and the work continues as the churches continue to work together to help each other plant new churches. What a blessing to see and be part of this!
This week a tragedy struck close to us. A five year old girl, who had just started at the same school our children just started at, died suddenly in the night. Yesterday we went to coffee morning held in aid of her family. This is what we saw:
The room was buzzing with conversations in every corner, the kind you’d have expected as soon as you saw the cups of tea and tables full of cakes. Some of the people were in large groups, some were in couples, and the chairs were nearly as full as the tables. Volunteers roamed, filling cups and gathering rubbish. It was the definition of a successful coffee morning, until she came.
The reason we were all there: The Mother.
She never said a word, and only stayed a few minutes. But her presence was a power: as soon as she entered, the conversations died, unable to stand before the awesome force of her grief. In her hands she held a small decorative light someone had given her, held it like it was the most precious thing in the universe, held it like it was the sweet little girl she had lost suddenly to a sickness that came out of nowhere and robbed the light right out of her eyes. She sat down. She cried freely in front of a whole room full of cakes and eyes. A friend eventually broke the silence by saying thank you to everyone for coming. A priest said something about Mary over and over again. Then they left.
As I looked at my cold tea, I realised that now I knew what the Bible meant when it said: “The voice of Rachel, weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more”
Last week all three of our children started in their new school, where we are trying to move. It’s a bit of a commute to get there, but we’re hoping that we can move there soon, so we thought a time of commuting would be better than switching schools mid-year. It’s Rebekah’s first year in school as well, so the last few days have been a big adjustment for all of us. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for, though, and we’ve already seen some answers to prayer along the way.