We hope and pray that you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year’s and that you will be encouraged and blessed by all that is happening in Ireland. We are excited to have fellow labourers who have started churches on the west of Ireland. It was a help when we were starting out to have a man from Pastor Ledbetter’s church in Cork working in our area, attending our Wednesday service, and going soul winning on Thursdays. For the last couple months, our family has also been able to be a blessing to the Days in Ennis and the Caravans in Galway by a service, each on a weekly basis. I pray we can be an encouragement and that the Lord will use these families greatly.
There is a sound, independent Baptist college in Europe that is located in Romania, and they contacted me the last week of October regarding coming to Ireland to perform a Christmas concert at the end of November. They had been with us in 2019, just before the COVID lockdowns, and I was delighted with their professional music abilities. This time they were planning to do a Christmas Cantata. I latched on to the opportunity immediately, and we booked them to come on Wednesday, November 29. I worked tirelessly, creating a dedicated website and a Facebook page and getting fliers, posters, and concert handouts designed and printed, as well as finding the right location to hold the concert. I ended up booking the South Court Hotel, which is the same hotel we started in back in 2011. We also made an advertising video that ran on Facebook and bought a billboard space in an area close to the hotel we scheduled. The Lord even opened the door for us to have the choir sing in the Crescent Shopping Centre, which is the largest shopping centre in the West of Ireland and just up the road from the hotel. I also sent out an email to supporters asking people to pray. We threw everything at this meeting. When the day finally came, everything went smoothly. We sang the praises of God and handed out invitations at the shopping centre, we brought the group to see King Johns Castle, we had Irish stew in the church building, and then we made our way to the hotel early to prepare for the concert. In the evening, the Devil decided to try to ruin the concert. Kelly ended up getting a flat tire on the way and had to get a lift from someone to be there. As the concert started, the police called and told us the car was left in an unsafe place and could cause an accident, so we must move it. Kelly ended up having to leave with Keith II and Bro. Andrew Day, so they could get the tire changed and the car moved. Despite this mishap, by the end of the concert, the Lord had brought 45 people, with 10-15 visitors. Our church people brought many of the visitors, and several also came through advertising. Thank you for your prayers; were it not for the financial support we receive, we would not have been able to reach out to the community of Limerick City in this way for the month of November. In addition to the concert, Kelly attended the annual Ladies’ Fall Getaway, and a church in the Dublin area had a Teen Rally on the first Saturday of November. On Thanksgiving Day, I ended up getting sick, but Kelly was able to drive up to Athlone to celebrate with the other missionaries. Also, the church family who lost their restaurant due to a fire back in September were able to find another larger and better restaurant location in their town. They opened again on the 23rd of November, before the Christmas busyness started, with loads of support from the community.
In December, I was running on November fumes and needed to get caught up on many things I had put on the back burner. Winter sickness went through our family and the church family for a couple of weeks. Kelly started a Tuesday night Ladies’ Bible Study with a couple of church ladies. Then on the first Friday, Keenan and Kendrick had a piano recital/Christmas party at the McKinleys’ home in Mullingar. Their oldest daughter has been teaching the boys through FaceTime for the last year. In 2022, when Christmas fell on Sunday, we had a meal after the morning service. Since we normally have a single Irish man over for Christmas dinner and since the church building is next to our house, we decided to extend the invitation to the church family. On Christmas Day, we had a few of our people show up, had a lovely meal, and played a Bible Christmas game I made up. I split the room into two teams. Each person had to answer a question. Some were easy, and others were hard, like “What did the shepherds follow to get to the manger?” I gave this one to my eldest son. Everyone in the room was telling him to answer “the star,” but the answer was that “they followed the angels’ instructions.” Everyone was shocked at the answer. The quiz was very educational to our people in helping to separate Bible from tradition. Everyone had a wonderful time of fellowship together. There has been a man from Ukraine helping us with maintenance at our house. On the 30th of December, my family and the Day family drove down to Cork and had a nice meal and fellowship with his family.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year to get the Gospel to people who would not normally give you a moment of their time. Great effort went into getting out thousands of concert fliers and Christmas tracts in during November/December. As we’ve gone door to door, I had a long chat with a man interested in a Bible because the one he had was small. I’ll be going by to visit him before you get this, but please pray that he gets saved, will start a Bible study with me, and come to church.
Please pray for these needs:
1. Co-laborers in Limerick
2. Protection over the ministry
3. More visitors in the countryside
4. Guidance and wisdom as we move forward
Last, I thank everyone who sent encouraging emails, letters, Christmas gifts and offerings, and for your faithful prayers and support. Also, you can see links.hamiltonsinireland.com/pics for more pictures.
For the souls in Ireland,