I just entered a contest on Facebook that those of you who use Facebook may be interested in. The contest is sponsored by Regent University and is highlighting leadership that is changing the world. I submitted a photo of one of our classes and explained how we are helping to change the world by training people in Ireland to start and lead Bible studies using CBSI studies and methodologies. Visit http://apps.facebook.com/promosapp/186433/entry/195303?=f2fhr4 to see and vote on the entry and see the many other ways that God is using people around the world.
Thanks for your prayers for us, our ministry, and our family. We are excited to announce the answer to one of our prayer requests, the arrival of our newest grandchild, Chase Riley Allgood …
Chase was born on Sept 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm, weighing in at 7 lbs 12.5 oz and 20 1/2 inches long.
Patti will be staying with them in Tennessee until the first weekend of October when I will join her for the weekend and bring her home … four long weeks apart!
Note: I am actually writing this on Tue, Sep 27 as I have been busy catching up on things at home and trying to keep up on events in Tennessee, but I am dating each post as usual as of the date it occurred.
My trip home was uneventful. I was able to catch up on some writing on the plane and get a good night’s sleep for going back to work on Monday.
Patti is still in Tennessee awaiting the delivery of our grandson. Our daughter-in-law is having some labor and contractions today. If she does not deliver tonight, they will induce labor tomorrow.
Another item of good news is Patti’s dad went home on Friday (the 16th) and is doing well there.
My final night in Ireland was shared with good friends and CBSI study leaders on the southside of Dublin. The dinner was hosted by Ciaran and Els, leaders of the longest-lasting and healthiest studies in Ireland and we were joined by the leaders of the other studies that have grown out of Els’ original group. We had extensive discussions about two international conferences coming up in 2012 in Dublin and what to expect at those conferences.
Despite having made a mental note to be sure to take my camera to take pictures of their beautiful newly-remodeled kitchen and dining room … I forgot it. So no pictures with this post.
After that I went back to the apartment and made final preparations for an early beginning to a long day of travelling to get back home.
This is a recent story written by Joan, one of the key CBSI-Ireland leaders in the Ulster region of Ireland. When we heard the story, we asked if she would write it to share in this fall’s CBSI newsletter. She did and I’m also sharing it here that it may bless you also if you don’t get the newsletter.
I have an amazing testimony of how God used His Word to rescue someone in need. In March my family was going through a difficult time as my sister-in-law Jenny was terminally ill with cancer. During this very sad time we were going back and forward to England to be together. While I was preparing for another trip to England which turned out to be the last time I spent time with Jenny I received a text from a woman in the hospital.
The women in the hospital was from my old church and a young woman in her ward whose name was Denise saw her reading her bible and went over to talk to her. Denise asked her a few questions and one question was did she know Lenny Allan. The lady reading her bible said she did not know Lenny but did know his sister who is me. Denise asked the woman if she could have my mobile number and she sent me a text to ask permission.
I gave her permission to give Denise my number and within a few minutes I received the phone call that God had set up to rescue Denise. At the time she rang I had been reading Psalm 20 that another one of God’s people had given me to help me through this difficult time with Jenny.
We talked about how she couldn’t cope with life and how she had been hurt by wrong choices but equally how she had hurt so many people even the people she loved. I started to share how Jesus helps those who are in the place where she found herself. I read Psalm 20 and the verse that spoke to me, which I shared with her, was verse 5 and it brings tears to my eyes when I think of how this verse was fulfilled.
Denise had been to church years before and was seeking God but wrong choices led her away from God. We talked for a couple of hours during which Denise gave her heart to Jesus and accepted him as Saviour and she reminded me that people would only remember all the pain she had caused both herself and others. I reminded her God would remember her decision and that all her messes He would turn into messages. I reread verse 5 in Psalm 20 and even I did not realise how God would fulfil this verse.
I told her all about CBSI and told her about a new class that was going to start on the 15th of March and she was planning to be there so when I ordered the lessons Denise lessons was in that order. I rang Denise later that night to see how she was and she had been released home from the hospital and was in bed reading her bible that her mum brought to her. I told her I would be in touch with her when I got back from England as I was going to see Jenny and would arrange transport for her for bible study. Just for the record Denise is the niece of Jenny from her side of the family and I had not seen Denise for a very long time and was not aware of the things that she was going through.
I headed off to see Jenny and spend time with my brother and family and when I got there Denise’s mother was also visiting and she mentioned to me about Denise… her daughter coming to CBSI bible study in the coffee shop. I stayed for a few days and I got the opportunity to share about the new class in the coffee shop thinking nothing of it.
This is where I stand in awe of our God for on the day I was leaving Jenny…Jenny had to go to the hospice and while we were waiting to say goodbye to her I was left alone with Denise’s mother who again shared about Denise coming to bible study and about Jenny’s funeral that seemed inevitable and God reminded us that we did not know who was next as only God know the days each of us have but that we should all be ready. Her mum said she knew she needed to be ready but left the matter there. Just then it was time to say goodbye to Jenny and it was the last time I saw Jenny alive for Jenny died shortly after that … but there was to be one funeral before her that not even I expected.
As I was in the airport about to board my flight home…my heart already broken with saying goodbye to Jenny…my brother rang to inform me that Denise, yes Denise the woman who I had the privilege to lead to Jesus just over a week before had been found dead on the sofa within the last hour and was now absent from her body and in His Presence. I still stand in awe at how right now God has and will as others read this testimony be fulfilling Psalm 20 verse 5 Awesome God!!!!!
I shared the good news with her mother and father of God’s Grace!!! And then I attended her funeral and God was Glorified and banners were waved at the Grace and Mercy of our God…PRAISE GOD.
I found and appreciated that travelling between Belfast and England is quite easy since Northern Ireland is still part of the U.K. There was no passport checking, customs checks, or anything. The other lady who had arrived at Luton about the same time as I did on Tuesday complained that it took about 2 hours to get through customs from Zurich whereas I had just walked right in. It was the same going out and quite easy. Sammy picked me up at the airport and we had dinner at their home with Joan and their son shortly after we got there. We had plenty of time on the way, so Sammy showed me some of the sights, to include the port where the Titanic was built (in Belfast) and a cruise ship was currently docked.
Had more great discussions with Sammy and Joan both Friday evening and Saturday morning about some roles I had asked them to pray about and about Catholic / Protestant relations in Ireland. It was good to come together in unity.
I had talked with Sammy shortly after arriving the previous Friday about entering into a more intentional discipling relationship with me. He had agreed to that, so we discussed then and some more after my return about how and when we would do this using email, Skype, phone calls, and my blog on discipling one-to-one … http://discipling1to1.wordpress.com. I am looking forward to this developing relationship and learning more about long-distance discipling.
I got on the road to head back to Dublin about 2pm Saturday afternoon and arrived back at our apartment around 4:30pm. I had not rushed back because I did not have anything scheduled until dinner with some couples on the southside of Dublin at 6:30. I realized that I should have left earlier though as I did have a few things that needed to be done before I left to included getting some clothes washed. It all worked out, but I would have liked to not have been so rushed … but I’m also glad that I got such good time with Sammy and Joan.
Sammy, BTW, is the one for whom we were all praying earlier with a brain tumor that had returned after being surgically removed. He is doing extremely well and currently showing no signs of ill-effects of the tumor or surgery. Be looking shortly for a story that Joan wrote for the CBSI fall newsletter edition … I’ll share it here on my blog also. I was encouraged to hear that she is keeping a journal of her stories, all of which are amazing … maybe a book is in the making!
I had coordinated with the teaching director of the CBS class that I attend in Virginia Beach to do a class opening for their Thursday evening class via Skype while I was in the UK. Brian and I conducted several tests between our computers and we were connecting well, so we set up the time to do it. Unfortunately, it was 12am in the UK, but I was not usually getting to bed much before then anyhow.
The opening went pretty well except Virginia Beach was having a huge downpour at the time and the din of the rain practically drowned the audio of my presentation. I could even hear it on my computer … I doubt that my voice could be heard more than two or three rows back. It was fun to do anyhow and my fellow class members got to see me ‘in the field’.
North of London, actually. Flew in to London – Luton which is north of London and where we were meeting was north of there, very close to Bedford where John Bunyan was in prison when he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. Grace, our immediate supervisor in this ministry, picked up myself and one other lady at the airport for the short ride to our meeting place, which was a very old and gorgeous home on a small farm with pasture land, orchards, and barns.
One of the barns has been converted into a youth conference center complete with an indoor pool, game room, kitchenette, and bedrooms. Some of the 10 or so participants at our gathering stayed there while the rest of us, myself included, had rooms in the house (which we learned in an earlier visit comes complete with its own ghost … at least stories of one).
Tuesday evening was simply getting everyone together and then going out to dinner together. Richard and Veronica had lined up a nice restaurant for dinner each evening and breakfast and lunch at the house. Wednesday and Thursday were full days of meetings. I led a good portion of Thursdays meeting with discussions about our new role mentoring and encouraging the CBSI-Europe Calebs and then some demonstrations of some things Glenn has had me working on to provide some internet-based calendar-sharing tools as well as a new CBSI-Europe web site.
One fun part was having Patti join us for the Caleb discussion via Skype from Tennessee … unfortunately no announcement about a grandson having arrived. She has been reporting that her dad is improving and hoping to go home this weekend and that our daughter-in-law is having labor pains and some contractions, just not intense enough to deliver yet. Patti has been doing well also with only minor spells that eventually go away. Thank you for praying for all of this.
We had a wonderful evening of food and fellowship with Sammy and Joan, but first they had to show us there new car (new to them anyhow … recently purchased). Actually, it wasn’t the car but the license plate (registration in Ireland) that they wanted us to see …
They felt it was providential given the ‘interpretation’ and that they did not request it …
TF: The Fultons
07: The year they started their first CBSI class
CBS: Community Bible Study, of course.
They had been waiting excitedly to show us rather than tell us … unfortunately, Patti was not able to be there to share the experience with me.
Glenn really enjoyed getting to know them over a long visit. He left for England on Sunday to join his wife with some friends before going to the home of the UK CBSI National Director for a CBSI-Europe regional servants team meeting. I stayed with Sammy & Joan until Tuesday when I joined Glenn and the others for that meeting.
I got to talk over lots of things about the ministry with Sammy & Joan and was very encouraged to hear their heart to see the ministry expanding and taking the Word to many, many more people in Ireland. We pray their passion and vision will be multiplied abundantly among other leaders.
In addition, I got to meet their niece and nephew who live two houses from them after losing both their parents to cancer within the last few years. The niece is helping Sammy and Joan lead the CBSI study that meets in the coffee shop (shown below) and is showing a heart to grow into more leadership in the future. The nephew and I connected on a technical level (computer geeks), but he is working through some issues in being more comfortable in public before fully committing to the study.
Wow, it’s been a busy week and I am more than a week behind in updating my blog. I am actually back in the U.S. now (Sun, 18 Sep) and doing some catching up while I am in the airport awaiting my last flight to Newport News.
Glenn and I left mid-morning for Northern Ireland, part of the Irish region called Ulster. On the way we stopped in Newcastle to have lunch and visit with Stuart and Elsie, friends of Glenn from his earlier days in Europe. In addition to time with them, we got to see the Christian conference center in Newcastle that Elsie runs for the YMCA/YWCA. It was a beautiful place on the water that we definitely want to remember for conferences and large meetings in the future. The name of the place is Glenada and this is a picture of the view from one of the upstairs meeting rooms.
From Newcastle, we headed to Strangford to catch the ferry to Portaferry where we would meet Sammy and follow him to their home about 20 minutes away in Greyabbey.