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.
The Bible says that Heaven will be filled with people from every nation, and our local church in Ireland is a little taste of that – yesterday everyone put a dot on a world map on the place they were born, and this was the result:
This week Seth will be live-streaming for Munster Bible College’s Apologetics module. This module is historic, because it marks the first time we have repeated one of our courses. We run on a three year repeating cycle, so this is the beginning of our second time through. Even with our first batch of graduates gone, the class is still well attended, and we’re looking forward to a great week! Here’s a photo from a public lecture we held last night:
This week Seth got to attend a preacher’s conference with church leaders from all over Ireland. It was encouraging just to be together, but also very helpful to work together on helping each other handle the word of God faithfully. What a privilege!
We definitely enjoyed the Christmas holidays in our new home, and used the time to make a lot of progress in unpacking and getting the house set up. There are still a number of jobs left to be done, of course, but we love the way it’s coming together. We’ve also been able to enjoy some good family time and start showing hospitality to others – in the last 2 weeks we’ve had 20 people at the house. We’re excited to start 2018 in Carrigtwohill!