...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

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!

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