...Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...

Hebrews 12:1-2

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mighty to Save

"...'Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"
"...'Everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, 
but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, 
you will be free indeed.'" 
John 8:32&34-35

God is using CUs to reach the individuals on Munster's campuses! Several students who don't know Christ have been attending various CUs and asking their Christian friends questions. They are desperately seeking something greater than themselves and the Spirit is leading them to Christians for answers!

Just today, a student attended CIT CU for the first time and engaged in a discussion about God and the Bible after the speaker's talk. I had the privilege of sitting in on this hour-long discussion in which the student asked questions, gently argued his point, listened intently to the responses, and took a Bible away to read! It was amazing to see how God was turning the wheels in his head and working in his heart as the discussion went on. It was equally encouraging to see a student in CU so eloquently, patiently, gently, and respectfully answer his questions, respond with Scripture, and argue for Jesus.

Because Jesus is the one true God, I have total faith that He will continue to draw these people into Himself. Because the Bible is the Word of God, is living and breathing, is sharper than any double-edged sword, reveals our sin, and reveals Jesus as the solution, it will speak for itself and prove itself to be the Truth (Hebrews 4:12). I am praying and have faith that these students will accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. What a testimony that will be!

Hallelujah! Our God is mighty to save! 


Lately I've been trying to focus more on individuals in CU: how I can lift them up in prayer, how I can encourage them in their walks, and basically how I can love on them. Jesus gave us a great example of how it is so important to invest time in individual people so that they can grow into Jesus' likeness and be equipped to spread the Gospel.

This month I got to meet up with girls who are in a wide variety of places within the Christian walk (newer believers, solid in faith, struggling with anxiety or stress) as well as girls from various cultures and religious affiliations (American, Swiss, Irish, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, non-denominational etc). It is very cool to see how God can use me with any of these people in whatever situation they're in, and also how he reveals more of Himself to me through these people. Most of the time I walk away from a one-to-one (121) feeling really uplifted! It's "funny" that the purpose of doing 121s is to encourage others but through it I am encouraged as well!

God has also showed me that if I can't meet up with someone 121 or if we don't even open the Bible when we meet, that He can use relationships for His glory. Sometimes being there as an ear, or to give a word of comfort, or just to have a laugh is revealing God to a person. (It's also a good reason to constantly be on guard in my words and deeds so that I don't cause anyone to stumble.)

Doing 121s and investing in people is not just a Relay thing or a Keystone thing. It's a God thing that we're all called to do. So it is my hope that you will be encouraged and challenged to come alongside someone to be led and to lead. 

"Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. 
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'”
- Matthew 28:18-20

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CUs: Illuminating Limerick

"In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  
Philippians 1:4-6

It's been ages since I last posted. Sorry about that! I guess it proves how busy I've been! Here's one of the (many) highlights from October:

One Wednesday Peter and I went up to Limerick to meet up with some students at UL and to go to LIT's first official CU meeting! First off, it was great to meet up with with students! I met with three international girls who are here for the semester. It's fun to hear where they've been traveling, to give them my own travel advice, and to empathize with what it means to be on study abroad. It was great to talk about God and pray with them on campus, in the middle of the canteen (cafeteria), in front of other students! They're all lovely girls and I'm glad that I have the privilege of meeting with them and befriending them even if their time here is short. It can be frustrating that I can't be in Limerick as much as I'm in Cork but I hope that the time I do get to spend up there is fruitful.

The student CU leaders at LIT have been planting seeds, planning, and praying for the past couple of months to get the CU up and running. At LIT's societies' day they had a lot of people sign up as interested in attending and most of those people were non-Christians! This came as a bit of a surprise because the vision the girls initially had for the CU was a place for Christians to fellowship and support each other. But I guess God had other plans! So we all had to shift our thinking and ideas about what the CU at LIT would look like. We decided that a "seeker" style Bible study would be best. It allows people to examine the Mark gospel and discover who Jesus was/is and what he did. People can ask questions, make informed decisions about Christ and Christianity, and hopefully encounter God in a real way. So, needless to say, we were all super excited about the first CU meeting!

There were 13 people at the first meeting!!! Considering some CUs in Ireland have 1 or 2 people in them, 13 is hugely encouraging! Peter led the study which looked at Jesus' healing of the paralytic in Mark 2. The discussion was good, the fellowship was good, and the tea was good! It is so exciting and encouraging to see a new CU get up and running! It took a lot of hard work, a lot of prayer, and there was a lot of stress for the girls who planned it, but it all came together in that first meeting! Like all CUs, LIT will still need to be bathed in prayer and will still need a lot of commitment and hard work. But the first meeting just proves that God brings to completion those things He desires for His kingdom's sake!

Please keep praying for LIT CU as they start making moves for God's kingdom on campus, and pray for the girls at UL as they travel, study, continue to acclimate to Irish culture, and eventually go back to their home countries. Pray that all Christian students in Limerick would shine God's light on their campuses!

Me, Sarah, and Noemi (2 girls from UL)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

God is Faithful

"He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  
Go!... '"
Luke 10:2-3

Yesterday Peter and I were in Waterford for WIT’s Societies Day. There are about three people in the WIT CU out of a student population of about 10,000. We sat at the table for almost two hours without anyone signing up. I sat there silently praying that God would bring at least one solid, evangelical Christian and one seeker to sign up. By the end of the day we had about six names, three of which seemed seriously interested. By American standards this seems so tiny! Some people might call it a failure. But if those three people come to CU, it will DOUBLE in size!

On the flip side, last night was UCC CU’s first meeting. Although we had about one hundred sign up at societies day, we didn’t know how many to expect. But we prayed for many hungry, seeking hearts. I was blown away when I opened the door to the Peters’ house and people came streaming in! I lost count but there were at least fifty students jammed into that house!

After the contrast in yesterday’s events, God gave me this word last night: 

Even in seemingly “small” ministries where there isn’t a big harvest being brought in, God is there and He is working. Our work is not in vain. Churches that are getting hundreds of decisions every week aren’t better or more important or more worthy than our ministry. If one person has a seed planted, our ministry is just as successful as dozens coming to salvation. Our job is to spread the Word. It’s the Spirit’s job to work in their hearts. Don’t be discouraged by small turn outs. God is working in every scenario and every group. He has His reasons and His timing and they are perfect. Bathe it all in prayer. He answers prayer! (You’ve seen it!) He alone saves souls! He will fulfill His promise: every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Week in the Life... So Far

"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; 
establish the work of our hands for us—
   yes, establish the work of our hands."
Psalm 90:17

Well, the freshers are arriving, classes are starting, and things are starting to get busy around here! Here's what a typical week looks like so far:

  • Monday: Peter and I drive up to Limerick (about 1.5 hours away). We meet with a few girls who are trying to start a Christian Union at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT). Their enthusiasm is so exciting and there's encouragement all around! Then we go over to University of Limerick (UL) to study, meet up with the CU committee, and attend the CU. There are a lot of new people there this year including a lot of international students who I obviously connect with very easily! I'm hoping to meet up with a few American girls there one-to-one. Mondays may be long (13 hour day!) but I love 'em!
  • Tuesday: So far Tuesdays have been a bit random because things are starting slowly here in Cork. But Tuesdays will be a bit busy at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), and University College Cork (UCC) helping the committee, and going to the CU. 
  • Wednesday: I'll be trying to meet up with students, studying, and doing other administration. 
  • Thursday: We go to a weekly prayer meeting at Frank & Jo Peters' house. This awesome couple has been meeting and praying for UCC regularly for 6 years! Its great to meet with other Christian leaders in the area to pray specifically for the campus. (AND Jo makes some pretty mean scones! :)) After prayer, Peter and I meet up to discuss our schedule, the CUs, what's been going on, and what I've been learning.
  • Friday: I usually study, work on raising support, look at my finances, and do other administration. 
  • Saturday: I TRY not to work but that's proving to be difficult! 
  • Sunday: I go to church at Grace Fellowship which is a vibrant, solid, multicultural church. I'm starting to settle in there and meet people (praise God!) so I think I'm going to make Grace my "home church" here. 

That's just a taste of the kind of stuff I've been doing here so far! There will be a LOT more added to this schedule in the upcoming weeks and I am so excited for it!

It is just so cool to be a part of the Christian communities on the campuses here in Munster! I am so excited to see what God has already put in place and I'm even more excited to see what He has planned for the year ahead! I feel so blessed that God has called me to work with these college students and I can't wait to see how He uses me in their lives and how He uses THEM in MY life!

I am constantly reminded of how small I am and how I can't do any of this on my own effort. But praise God that He is so big, that He goes before me to prepare the way, and that He will bring His work to completion (Philippians 1:6)!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grace Be With You: Greetings from Ireland!

 "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. 
But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us 
and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of 
his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the 
beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior
Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life 
and immortality to light through the gospel." 
- 2 Timothy 1:8-10

Sorry I haven't posted sooner! Life has been pretty busy here in Ireland. Here's a "quick" recap:

18 Aug: Landed in Dublin! Yay!
18 - 25 Aug: Lived at Esther's house while I house hunted and explored the city
26 - 28 Aug: Staff and Families Conference at Castle Daly in Athlone
30 Aug - 5 Sept: Relay 1 Conference in Weston Rhyn, England!
6 Sept: Back to Cork, moved into my house!

It is amazing how God has so beautifully orchestrated everything so far! Its just proof that if He wants you somewhere, He's going to provide and take care of it all. Its also proof that He answers prayers! I know a lot of you have been praying for things to go smoothly and I'm seeing the fruits of that! Keep it up! Haha :) Here are just a few examples of how God is working it out:
  • I didn't have intermediate accommodation up until a few days before I left for Ireland and God provided it through Esther & Mikael opening up their home to me.
  • I didn't have any issues with the immigration officers at Dublin airport or at the Garda station in Cork so I am legally allowed to stay in Cork for the year! 
  • I didn't have any housing lined up when I got here and God provided a place, with nice people, in a great location, for a low cost, in His perfect timing!

Not only has God provided physical things, He's also been taking care of me spiritually and emotionally. It can be difficult to move to a new country and start out knowing hardly anyone. But God so perfectly timed the Staff & Families and Relay 1 conferences. They came at just the right times for me to be encouraged and excited to do His work.
  • It was great to finally meet everyone from IFES Ireland at Staff & Families. It was like being welcomed into the family and I could feel the love and support they give each other as an organization. I also finally got to meet the other Relay workers for this year: Fiona & Christina in Belfast and Sinead & Hannah in Dublin. We've already all become really close! The conference was at a beautiful old mansion and we got a lot of great, applicable teaching from evangelists Michael and Rosemary Green. 
  • Relay 1 was absolutely incredible! There were 77 of us Relay workers from all over the UK and Ireland (plus one Brazilian and one American, of course). Every day was packed with theology, training, Bible studies, prayer, worship, and fellowship. 
    • Team Ireland really got closer to each other though prayer and embracing our individual senses of humor :)  I also connected with my fellowship group which consisted of 5 other Relays (Steph, Rose, Andy B, Mike, Stuart) and a staff worker (Andy R). It was amazing to get to study God's Word in depth with each other every morning and express ourselves through song - literally! :)
    • There was just such amazing teaching all week long, all focused on grace. Session topics included: Grace in Ministry, Getting to Grips with the Cross, The Bible in Life & Ministry, Grace and Truth, Grace in Life, and Dealing with Doubts. It made for a pretty intense week. But it was an incredible reminder that we're not perfect but God is and because of Jesus we are covered in His perfection. It gave me a new confidence and understanding in why I'm here and what I'm doing. (Check out 2 Timothy and Colossians to study what we studied this week).

I am so excited to reach Ireland's college students for Jesus and to get deeper into God. I realize that I have an amazing opportunity here. Probably at no other time in my life will I be able to study God's Word and who He is so intensely while ministering to college students in a foreign land. So I will end with the wise words of last year's Cork Relay, Donal (paraphrased): "Keep up your relationship with God and the rest of your ministry will fall into place." 

Cliche jumping pic of us Ireland Relay workers at Staff & Families
Please pray for ALL of us as we start meeting students this week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1 Week Away!!!

"For we live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, 
obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; 
he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." 
- Hebrews 11:8-10

It's been a few months since my last post but that's only because I've been so busy preparing for Relay! I've been trying to soak up every second of summer and time with friends while getting everything in order and preparing spiritually for what is to come.

I have some crazy awesome "God stories" of how He is preparing me and divinely organizing everything for me in His perfect way. I've been challenged, tested, refined, and extremely blessed. He's given me such incredible peace about my financial needs, finding an apartment, leaving my life here, and doing full-time ministry across the pond. Looking at that list of challenges, I should be extremely overwhelmed. But God has an amazing way of enveloping me in His love, peace, and comfort. Here are just a few things He's reminded me of this summer:

  • He has everything under control (Job 36:22-33).
  • He doesn't want me to worry (Proverbs 16:3, Matthew 6:25-34).
  • He's weaving everything together for my good (Romans 8:28).
  • He will provide all that I need (Matthew 6:33, Job 10:12, Psalms (basically all of them)).
  • God fulfills His promises (Lamentations 3:25, Genesis 21:1). 

He has been using this time of preparation to draw myself and others closer to Him and I am so excited to see how God is getting the glory for His provision!

So this is the part where I ask for your help: I still need $2,200 before I leave in one week and about $9,200 for the entire year. Please pray about whether you should give and how much. I'm also still looking for an apartment in Cork so if you know of any girls looking for a housemate, please let me know!
If you'd like to give, please email me at: troyer.samantha9@gmail.com so I can give you details.

I am so excited to get to Cork and begin God's work in Relay! Thanks for your prayers and support! :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Very First Blog

          Well, this is my first blog! I'm new to this whole blogging thing so please bear with me!
I decided to start this blog so I can share all of the amazing things I know God is going to do while I'm doing Relay in Ireland!
           I studied in Galway, Ireland for a semester in 2008 and absolutely fell in love with the country! When I got home, all I could think about was being back in Ireland and telling people about how a relationship with Jesus is so much more than what their traditions dictate. When I graduated from college in December 2010, that desire was still there and I decided to apply for Relay. There are so many stories I could share about how God kept reaffirming that I was going to Ireland, so ask me if you want to know! Long story short, I was interviewed and offered a position as a Relay worker in Cork! Since then, I've been busy raising support (it will cost me approximately $14,000 to live in Cork for 10 months), finding a place to live, and preparing spiritually for Relay.
          I will try to keep this thing up-to-date so you can follow me on my journey!! It's going to be a long race, but "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13)!!!!