As I write this letter, we are over halfway finished with our furlough. I cannot begin to tell you how quick it has passed by. We have had a wonderful time getting reacquainted with supporting churches, as well as meeting many new friends. We did not have many new churches to visit when we arrived, but the Lord has filled in all our extra dates.
When I arrived in America, it was a mad rush of getting insurance, visiting family, getting a laptop and printer for travel, getting a U.S. sim card, and putting together our furlough video. While I was showing one of our sons around my hometown, I was sitting at a stop sign, and the oncoming traffic was facing me—I immediately realized I was driving on the other side of the road. After nine years in Ireland, it has taken a while to get accustomed to driving in the U.S. again. On Saturday, September 9, Kelly and our two youngest flew to Virginia to visit her parents for a month, and our oldest boy and I drove from New Hampshire to Erie, Pennsylvania. While in Virginia, Kelly was visiting many different churches, and several pastors asked her to have me call them for a meeting. One of the meetings was a missions conference. The pastor’s guest speaker was sick, and we needed a meeting, so we were able to be there for part of the conference and fill a need. We were in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, back to New Hampshire, and then headed to Maryland, where we stayed with my uncle for a few days. All the churches and missionaries we met along the way were a great blessing. Keith II got to shoot a gun for the first time, fish, use a kayak, and see Niagara Falls. We went to a zoo in Erie, Pennsylvania, and also saw a submarine in Groton, Connecticut. I have noticed that being back in the U.S. for furlough has been a big change. Before we left, two-hour drives in Ireland seemed long, but now we are making four- to nine-hour drives.
As October began, we were stationed in Maryland with a meeting nearby, and then we travelled to the Hershey area in the evening. From Maryland we travelled to Fayetteville, North Carolina, and then to Shelby, North Carolina, where we visited a friend at Ambassador Baptist College. From there we travelled to a missions conference in Spotsylvania, Virginia, where the pastor also had a fellowship meeting. I saw an old friend of mine, and we scheduled a meeting in Virginia. When the conference was over, I drove to Newport News, Virginia, to finally see the rest of my family after four weeks. I finally got to see my in-laws. We had one meeting in town and several last-minute, unscheduled meetings in Suffolk, Chesapeake, and Yorktown, Virginia. While in Newport News, Virginia, the Lord enabled us to buy a trailer for our luggage, and we began travelling for the first time as a family. I was not sure how that was going to work, since the two youngest have never been on a long trip and the youngest is very shy around new people; but God had a lot of grace, and they have adjusted quickly. We first travelled as a family to Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, for a Wednesday meeting and then all the way to Berne, Indiana, for a Thursday meeting. Finally, that last Sunday we had a meeting with some dear friends from Bible college in Magnolia, Ohio, who spoiled us with an abundance of gifts, and in the evening with another friend in Washington, Pennsylvania, where we had great fellowship. This month the kids got to see a popcorn farm, eat Southern BBQ, and meet many new friends.
In these last two months of furlough, we are going to be in West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Please pray for our travels.
One Saturday in Elmira, New York, we went out soul winning with the church. My son and I had many closed doors, but at one door in particular, there was a man named James. We got to talking. I told him who I was, and he allowed me to share the Gospel with him. We were there for a long time, and he was listening and answering questions. He understood clearly, but he still had a lot of doubt and didn’t want to just take my word for it. He didn’t want to pray immediately, but I was able to sow the seed of the Gospel. He had never heard it before.
On another Saturday in Newport News, Virginia, my son and I went out with a Spanish-speaking man. The third door we knocked on was a man from Mexico. He was very open and invited us in. The man I was with was able to lead him to the Lord. The whole time we were at his house, my oldest son played quietly with the man’s boy, removing any distractions so his dad could hear the Gospel without distraction.
In Ireland, things are going well. The Belisles finished and returned back to the U.S. in September. They did a great job, and we are so thankful they were able to help keep things going. Then the Days took over. They have seen visitors, and the people have really enjoyed having them. Since we left, all the regulars have been faithful.
Please continue praying for these needs:
1. Our support level is at 95%; please pray it might increase.
2. Co-laborers in Limerick
3. Protection over the ministry
Last, I would like to thank all of you for your continued prayers, support, and all the churches who have gone out of their way to be a blessing.
In the campaign for Irish souls,