On Saturday Seth joined a group of our new friends from the church in Midleton on a cycling trip down an old railway track that has recently been converted into a greenway. The views were incredible, the day was beautiful, and the conversation was great. After 45km the legs were a bit sore, but it wasn’t so much that it stopped being enjoyable. Ireland is truly a beautiful island.
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!
One of the realities of living overseas is getting acquainted with the US Embassy. In Ireland, the embassy is in Dublin, and there are times when getting or maintaining our US documents requires a visit. This week we’ll be going up to renew Daniel and Rebekah’s passports. Today I (Seth) took them to get their passport photos and noticed that I didn’t have to coach them not to smile – they already knew exactly where to stand and what to do. International living is the norm for these kids.
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!
It took the best part of two days to get here, but we finally did make it back to our house yesterday. The only adventure we had along the way was that our first flight was delayed, leaving us just ten minutes to run through the airport (and get a bus to another terminal) in New York to catch our flight to Ireland. We were definitely puffed (out of breath) when we got there, but we did get there in time! Now we are trying to settle back in while our bodies try to catch up to the time difference. All in all we travelled around 10,000 miles in the last three and a half weeks, and we’re ready to be done. We are so thankful for the time we had in the States, though, and thankful for a home to come back to – even as we pray for it to sell, so we can move to Carrigtwohill.
In the last couple of weeks we’ve traveled from Ireland to Georgia to Tennessee to South Carolina to Virginia. We’ve seen lots of family and friends and several of our supporting churches. We’ve had some really yummy American food that we missed, like crispy bacon. We celebrated Daniel turning ten years old and had fun being in the USA for the Fourth of July. It’s been a great trip. Even as I write this, there are evening crickets singing outside, a sound I miss in Ireland. We are thankful.
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!
This incredible kid is eight today, which is hard to believe! We are so thankful for the gift of his life and that we get to have him in our family!
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.
Last week Seth and Jessica celebrated 13 years of marriage! We went to a nice restaurant, and afterwards the proprietor came and said: “You’re Seth, right? I heard ye are moving, it’s a shame to lose ye!” Which goes to show that there are no secrets in small towns. Being known is one of the things we’ll miss most about Youghal.