Loving God, Head, Heart, and Hands
Today we attended an open house at the Irish Bible Institute. We got to meet several of the staff, including the Principal (Director) who gave a lecture on the Great Commission. We thought we were a little late arriving, but in fact were the first to arrive … still adjusting to the Irish culture 🙂
Louise was one of the first to greet us and as we got to know her and shared with her that we were with Community Bible Study International, she remembered that someone had told her about the study and about us coming to stay in Ireland. She realized that it was one of her best friends who attends one of the studies and that we have known for years.
When I learned that she was responsible for IBI publicity and their web sites, I told her that we might possibly work together on their web sites as I had offered to help their technical support person with those responsibilities. She was ready with questions and specific areas she wanted to work on, so we arranged to get together the following week.
We also met Joan who oversees the student mentoring program in Jonathan’s absence. Jonathan, our landlord, teaches at IBI and is responsible for that program. He had suggested in March that Patti and I could serve as mentors for students who were not able to find one in their home church and Joan affirmed that
Getting to IBI and back was a new experience in Ireland as we took the train from Rush and back … our first time on the train in Ireland. It is very convenient as the train station in Rush is a 5-10 minute drive from home and the station in Dublin is a 5-10 minute walk from IBI. It’s about a 30 minute ride where it would take about an hour to drive. We planned for an early arrival so that we could walk around Dublin a bit and have plenty of time to find the Ulysses House where IBI has classes. While walking in the area, we found a restaurant to eat where Patti and Cathy Rutman had eaten before.
The last few weeks have been a time of big changes and exhausting schedules, yet full of expectations of exciting things on the horizon …
- 25 June: Our daughter and family moved into our house with us
- 1 July: Sam retired from his job with the city of Newport News and joined the efforts at home preparing for our departure and setting up our daughter’s family in our house
- 3 July: Sam and Patti shared with some friends about our ministry and move at our previous church
- 8 July: Sam had his scheduled doctor’s appointment and learned that his blood sugar levels are now just below the trigger point for diabetes for the first time since diagnosed 1 1/2 years ago (Praise God for His healing touch)
- 9 July: had a contractor come by to take a look at some problem areas discovered on our roof over the weekend
- 10 July: celebrated our daughter’s birthday with shopping, a hair appointment, and lunch out … a no-packing day!
These special events have been surrounded by long days of packing, organizing, discarding and donating ‘stuff’, trying unsuccessfully to find a new washing machine to replace a dying one, as well as some fun meals and coffees with local friends. Saturday evening some friends are hosting a farewell dinner with an Irish theme, Sunday afternoon we are visiting Patti’s dad for dinner (a 5-hour round-trip drive). Somewhere in there we will find time to pack suitcases for 2 1/2 months in Ireland beginning with a flight from Richmond, VA at 1pm on Tuesday.
- Energy and good health in these last days of preparations
- That the contractor’s estimate for repairing the roof would be reasonable and affordable
- Discernment in prioritizing the remaining things to be done before leaving … there’s just not enough time to do it all
- Discernment in making plans once in Ireland … for the first time we are arriving with no scheduled meetings, though we do have many opportunities to follow up on
- For God to open doors and give us boldness as we seek to encourage and assist Irish Christ-followers in making the Word of God a key element in their walk with Him
- Additional financial partners to team with us in this ministry
May God richly bless you all as you serve Him where you are.
Greetings to All,
If you’re in the Hampton Roads area, we would like to invite you to join us this Tuesday evening as we share the details of the ministry that God has called us to in Ireland. We only have 4 weeks left until we leave and still a lot to do in that time, so life has been very busy.
Hope you can join us for this evening for a time of sharing and fellowship. We will be meeting at Crossroads Community Church, 1420 Lakeside Drive in Yorktown at 7:30pm.
Here’s a link to a map of the location … https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Crossroads+Community+Church,+1420+Lakeside+Drive,+Yorktown,+VA&hl=en&sll=38.003385,-79.420925&sspn=3.635608,7.053223&oq=cross&hq=Crossroads+Community+Church,+1420+Lakeside+Drive,+Yorktown,+VA&radius=15000&t=m&z=12
Sam & Patti
As they say here in Ireland, it was a GRAND day at the conference. In addition to continuing to meet people expressing interest in the CBSI Bible studies, we had excellent results through our workshop. When they asked for a show of hands of how many people wanted to attend the various workshops (about 6 of them), we and Alpha had about 20 each, the most of all the options. It looked like a lot of people were planning to do other things.
We ended up with a total of 30 (counting the 5 of us conducting the workshop). In addition to giving a detailed description of the ministry, we took them through a sample, shortened study on Joshua 1 which was very relative to the conference theme of Courageous Leadership. There seemed to be much interest in using the studies from many of the participants.
More than half of the participants were Croatians and did not speak English (fortunately they had their own interpreter). Here are some pictures from the workshop …
Grace Wort, CBSI-Europe Regional Director, tells workshop participants how CBSI Bibles studies function.
Ciaran Fletcher, class leader of CBSI-Ireland class, shares how the CBSI studies have impacted his life and ministry with workshop participants.
Veronica Alvarez, CBSI-UK Director (2nd from left) leads a discussion with workshop participants.
The non-English speaking Croatian participants listen intently as their translator reads Joshua 1 and asks the questions.
Today was the first full day of of the RELaY Conference. Lynn Green spoke to us again in the morning about Hearing the Voice of the Shepherd from John 10 and challenged us in regards to leading with love (followers responding to your voice) rather than through fear or position.
Nicky Gumbel, who plays a major role in the development of the Alpha program used by churches around the world, spoke to us twice today about the Values of a Courageous Leader. Between his messages this morning and this evening we had meals and afternoon sessions around the four main focuses of RELaY …
- Reconciliation (between the various Christian denominations of the world)
- Evangelisation (primarily focused on Europe)
- Leadership, and
Grace, Patti, and I chose to each take one of the first three and then share with each other what we learned. We all thought the sessions we attended were excellent, but have not had time yet to share all of the content. Between meetings and in the sessions we have met many wonderful people and many have shown real interest in knowing more about Community Bible Study International. The bags have not been as big of a hit as we expected, but we don’t have great visibility and some people have said that they didn’t know that they were free. We expect they will go more quickly once I have the opportunity for a short presentation either tomorrow morning or Saturday morning and I say a little about the bags then.
Pictures are not turning out well, but I am including a video that I took of one of the wonderful worship times …
The RELay (Reconciliation, Evangelisation, Leadership, and Youth) Conference on Courageous Leadership began this evening at 8pm. Registration opened at 4pm, so we were able to get there at 4:30 to set up our information table.
RELaY Conference Greeting Area
We don’t have counts yet, but we heard they have about 250 registered, so there should be many opportunities to meet new people from across Europe. The largest contingency seems to be from Croatia.
We met several people this evening and had some very encouraging conversations. We are being led in worship this week by a group primarily from Slovakia (I say ‘primarily’ because there is a guy attending one of our studies here who is playing guitar with them).
We had a very challenging message this evening by Lynn Green on Preparing for Courageous Leadership using the example of Daniel. Lynn has served for many years with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) and now focuses much of his energy on international leadership development.
We’re looking to learn a lot, be challenged a lot, and draw closer to the Lord as we also seek to introduce these Christian leaders from around Europe to some effective Bible study tools. Thanks for praying with us. The days are long, but I will try to post updates each day.
We have been blessed with news of some great opportunities for advancing the ministry over the next two weeks. On Saturday I called Tim, the director of the conference that we will be attending 15-18 Feb to confirm that we were going to be able to have an information table and to make a short presentation at the beginning of one of the main sessions as previously discussed with another conference organizer.
He confirmed that he had arranged for these and that they had about 200 lay leaders registered from all over Europe. In addition he asked about our interest in organizing what they are calling ‘special-interest groups’. They originally invited us to conduct a workshop, but limited facilities eliminated the workshop option. Our original contact had mentioned the special-interest groups that would be held in small groups gathered throughout the main meeting room, but I was under the impression that they were being held during a break, so I was expecting 10-20 minutes.
Tim told me Saturday that they would be 1 1/2 hours, so I told him we would definitely like to do that. This will give us the opportunity to not only share about the ministry, but to also walk through a model study so that they can actually experience what a CBSI study is like.
We have purchased some bags with the CBSI-Europe logo printed on them for people to use for materials at the conference and then take home and hopefully use regularly and advertise the ministry through-out Europe. Here’s a photo:
So, on to the next opportunity, which came by way of an email this morning. We are scheduled to drive to Cork on Tuesday to visit with friends and key contacts Roger and Carey. They have been a strategic connection for interviews at LifeFM Christian radio station in Cork and for connecting with Christian leaders possibly interested in using CBSI studies. Roger, an American missionary, has completed his term with LifeFM and is now working with Focus on the Family Ireland.
I received an email this morning asking if we would be available to come on Monday instead. He explained that “we have an ongoing partnership with Transformation Limerick in one of the roughest housing estates in Ireland (Moyross); but the Lord is doing some amazing things there! Each Monday night there is a prayer meeting in the Community Centre, and the Director of Focus on the Family Ireland (Stephen Cardy) asked if you might like to come along? It might be a tremendous opening–please let me know what you think.” Stephen had emailed Roger earlier to ask us “to come here on Monday and possibly stay for the Moyross Meeting – Their tools and expertiese might have a compelling application there?”
This seemed like a ‘no-brainer’ from the Lord, so I coordinated with the couple with whom we had planned dinner on Monday to meet another evening and called Roger to confirm arrangements and possibly arrange a dinner with Stephen Cardy before the prayer meeting. We hope that we may have a chance to share some about CBSI at the prayer meeting and to collaborate in the future with Focus on the Family in offering CBSI as a Bible study resource for those connected with their ministry.
Please join us in praying for these opportunities as they have significant possibilities for expanding the ministry not only in Ireland but throughout Europe.
I have found that at least one internet browser does not let you get to the audio file. If you experience a problem, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to email it to you.
Ciaran Fletcher leads a CBSI group for men on the south side of Dublin. He and his wife, Els, who leads a group for women, have been doing this for 7 years now. Their studies, along with one other in the area for women that started out of the same fellowship, are the longest lasting studies in Ireland … in fact they have been involved with CBSI longer than we have.
This morning Ciaran had the opportunity to share about his faith journey and how it has been impacted by the CBSI studies on Spirit Radio in Dublin. Spirit is the first Christian radio station to be authorized to broadcast nationally in Ireland and just began broadcasting early this year.
Ciaran’s interview was just under 15 minutes and you can download/listen to the interview here.
I just received an email from Ciaran Fletcher, one of our key leaders in Dublin, that he will be doing a live interview on Spirit Radio between 11 and 12 (6 and 7 U.S. Eastern Standard Time) tomorrow morning (Sat, 12 Mar). You can listen online at http://spiritradio.ie or at one of the stations in Ireland shown on their logo on the right.
Pray for Ciaran, that he would do a great job, and for listeners who would be interested to know more about starting a CBSI study in their area.