...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

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!