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 we had the wonderful privilege of participating in the wedding ceremony of a young Irish woman we have known since she came with a friend to our church’s youth club years ago. She married a wonderful Godly man she met at university, and like all Irish weddings, the celebration went on for most of the day and far into the night. We count it a huge blessing to get to see God’s work through the years and celebrate the beginning of this new family!
On Sunday our family drove to Midleton for church, instead of going to church in Youghal. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel strange. Not that the people in Midleton are strange, mind you, but after years in Youghal the reality that this transition is beginning to actually happen is a bit jarring. We do like the church in Midleton, though, so that’s nice!
On Sunday, we had two major events. First, we went to our last official service at Youghal Baptist Church. From now on we will start attending the church in Midleton, and working with them towards seeing something start in Carrigtwohill. It’s been seven years since the church in Youghal was officially formed, and it was definitely hard to say goodbye, even if we aren’t going that far away.
After church, Seth went to Cork to help with Munster Bible College’s very first graduation ceremony! We had a graduating class of eight, who have now completed three years of study. All told, 82 people have taken classes with Munster Bible College. It was a very encouraging evening, seeing what God has done and hearing from some of the students about how God has used the studies in their lives and ministries. We are thankful!
Last weekend we had our traditional end of the year BBQ for our church’s Youth group (known as Youghal Young Life) at our house. There’s nothing very unusual about that, except that this is the last time it will be held at our house in Youghal – after starting and leading YYL for eight years, we are now moving on from Youghal. The BBQ was great, as usual, but it was definitely tinged with sentiment. One of the greatest joys for us this year was seeing former YYLers now leading and teaching this year’s group! It has been a privilege and joy to see God’s work in the lives of many who have come through YYL, and we are excited to see how God continues to use them, and the group, for His glory.
Beginning this past Sunday, Seth is helping out for a month at Youghal Baptist’s mother church in Midleton while their pastor focuses on a research project. Seth is preaching on the Sundays, leading Bible studies during the week, and helping with their youth club. It’s a privilege to get these opportunities to share God’s word, and it’s encouraging to get to know our brothers and sisters in Midleton better.
This time last week we were in the middle of leading Munster Christian Camp’s Easter Inter camp for 55 12-15 year olds. The schools in Ireland get two weeks off for Easter, so it’s a perfect time to have camps. This was our first time leading, and thankfully it went very smoothly – except for the false fire alarm at 4am one night. We had sunshine, we had a great team of officers, we had great speakers and great campers. We had a great week! God is good.
Last week was a week of lectures for Munster Bible College, focusing on ‘The Exposition and Application of Scripture’. It turned out to be a wonderful week for learning, and also for encouragement, as we got an opportunity to hear the students take turns teaching from the Bible. What a joy to see so many capable students of God’s word being equipped to teach others!
This week is a Munster Bible College lecture week, and we kicked off last night with a free open lecture on the life of Martin Luther (in honour of this year being the 500th anniversary of the reformation). If you’d like to take a look at last nights lecture, the recording is below. The first 8 minutes are a brief overview of who Thomas Delaune was and why we named our lecture series after him. Apologies for the buzz in the audio at the beginning, it does go away.
This weekend, Seth sang in a fundraiser concert featuring most of the songs from the musical ‘Les Miserables’. It was lots of fun to sing songs like ‘One Day More’ with an amazing group of singers (including a few professional vocalists), but what really makes Les Mis a great musical is the depth of the story and it’s contrast between law and grace – intentionally pointing us to the grace of God. To be able to do that with masterful music is a bonus!