First, I want to say we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a great 2021. Thank you for taking the time to read our letter. We hope and pray that it would be a blessing to you and would motivate many to pray for our ministry and for the souls of the people in Ireland. February of this year began the spread of the Coronavirus, and the projected impact on the health of the world’s population was greater than what we actually encountered. Unlike in America, the majority of people here do not question what they are told, and there is very little dissent. Even the few protests have been shut down with laws banning any kind of opposition to the narrative. This clamping of free speech was preceded by the banning of any vocal public opposition to the new abortion laws. My reason for explaining this is to give you insight into the creeping authoritarian climate that we are moving into here in Ireland. My guess is that there will be pastors jailed in coming days, judging by the direction society is heading. I want to thank you for your faithfulness in praying for us as I seek the Lord’s help in making the best decisions I can for our church. The following is what happened at the beginning of fall.
As September began, the church had voted to continue meeting in a building on my property. This building is not ideal, but in case of another lockdown, which really impacted our tithing families, we would not be under the heavy burden of making monthly rental payments. As the days have begun to get shorter, I have been adding motion-detecting lights all around the property so that our elderly church people will be able to walk around safely. During this month, Victor decided he really wanted to begin the discipleship programme, and we are meeting an hour before our Wednesday Bible study. He has faithfully attended and has started to make some real headway through this series of books. Kelly and I were able to take the kids on a needed family trip to Dublin. It included some uncomfortable COVID surprises. We knew we would be required to wear masks on the Luas (commuter train); but we discovered we had to preregister online to go to the museums, and even the restaurant had an online menu and registrar. Despite these inconveniences, we still had a great time together. At the end of the month, we celebrated our youngest son’s 9th birthday with a new bicycle and a small party.
We began this month with the threat of a lockdown, which became a reality on October 6, when we were hit with a Level 3 restriction. This meant a ban on all church meetings, as well as a county ban (people needed to remain in their own county). This affected us because we are presently meeting in County Clare, but our people live in Limerick. There were police checkpoints stopping cars at the borders of the county. On October 22, this lockdown changed to a Level 5 on for 6 weeks. They eliminated the county restrictions but added a limit of 15 kilometers (9 miles) of travel and a continued ban on church meetings. This has been incredibly difficult on our church people, both financially and spiritually. For many of our people, it will six-plus months of church restrictions this year.
Soul Winning – We really took advantage of our open time to get the Gospel to as many people as we could. We have also been coming up with creative ways of using social media and the Internet. Our family likes to watch different pastors we know, and one week we tuned in to Pastor Williams in England. He mentioned The Gospel Film by Bro. Caleb Garraway, and we have been using that video online in many different ways. Please pray that the Lord uses this for His glory.
Please pray for these needs:
1. Co-laborers in Limerick
2. Protection over the ministry
3. Kelly’s health
Last, I thank everyone who sent birthday cards and emails and for the faithful prayers and support. May the Lord bless all of you for your sacrifices to hold the ropes.