“Hey, Gary, look- I found a cell phone on a bench back there.” Two minutes later a young man is giving Dennis a bear hug for returning his cell phone. He then spends the next 30 minutes hearing the Gospel, asking questions and hearing that Jesus gave us far more than a cell phone – and we want to give him a bear hug too. We pray for the lad, share phone numbers and say goodbye. That’s ministry in Galway. Building relationships one at a time and responding to divine appointments. We use the tools we have, but organized events aren’t as effective. Without relationship- people don’t come. Through simple conversation we help people know Jesus.
Over the past 8 weeks we’ve lived in 2 flats (apartments), found a car, hosted 3 short term missions teams from the US, walked I have no clue how many miles (as have our children), visited 4 castles, preached the gospel to dozens of people and talked to a dozen more at length, helped host 3 women’s teas and 3 men’s meals, cleaned and painted and set up the new building for New Hope Calvary Chapel, hosted another missionary in our 2nd home, taught 8 Taekwondo classes, encouraged and supported the missionaries here, added lots of homeschool hours, taught a church service message, grocery shopped every other day, developed relationships with locals – and prayed constantly about what the Lord’s will is for us long term.
The Lord has taught us so much during our time here. Even if we were to serve elsewhere, the time we have been here has been a fantastic time of growth. One of the US teams taught Gary he has the ability to creatively draw people’s attention on the street and engage them to share the gospel through a paint easel (who knew my artistic talents – rivaled only by most 6 year olds – would be used to spread the Gospel!?).
He’s also been able to use the gifts the Lord has developed in him with the Taekwondo outreach (check out the Facebook post with the video here) and listening and giving counsel to some of the men in the church.
Carli has been learning what life with kids would be like here, supporting Gary’s ministry efforts, adapting to cooking with minimal kitchen supplies in the student housing, supporting Mrs. McCurnin and encouraging her, dominating a Crossfit workout and overseeing the Children’s ministry and setting up the kids’ new classrooms. She truly has been a blessing to the women here and even more so to Gary and their girls.
As a family- we have learned to rely on each other and spend more quality time with each other. We’ve learned that we have to actively work to keep distractions from keeping us from the Lord – our prayer time and time in the Word- both individually and together. Even away from the daily life we are used to- distractions are so easy. We’ve witnessed the Lord coming through in prayer and answering prayer in ways you just tend to miss when you are caught up in the daily grind of “normal” life. We have been blessed to see Him working around us. Even with the spiritual warfare we experienced, He has shown himself in control and strengthened our faith. A quick ‘n easy example- one of the women was stranded with her kids – car wouldn’t start. Gary got the text asking for prayer by accident. He delayed at first (it wasn’t supposed to be his to read!), then knew he needed to pray. So he gathered the people in the room and they prayed for the car to start. Less than 2 minutes later the text came through- the car just started and they were on their way. Just COOL to watch Him work.
We have to leave in 4 days. Our hearts are sad to leave – yet looking forward to seeing friends, share what the Lord has done here and to see what is coming next- as Pastor Ed says, “the best is yet to come!”. We will keep you posted as to what the next steps will be when the Lord has revealed them. Thank you for your continued prayer
1) The Lord to make His will obvious to us through His Word.
2) Safe travel as we head to London, then home.
3) The fruitfulness of the ministry here in Galway, Ireland.
4) Salvation for the lad in the 1st paragraph – Emile (Em-EEL-ay).