Mar 6-7 Traveling to Ireland

Our trip to Ireland, beginning on Wed March 6th, was a little more hectic than usual. With the winter storm coming into the northeast, many flights were being delayed. Our flight to Philadelphia was the only one out of Newport News to Philly that wasn’t cancelled. The flight was coming to us from Philly and because of delays there was delayed getting to Newport News by two hours … fortunately we had a scheduled 4-hour layover there. Newport News didn’t get any of the snow Wednesday, but we did get a good bit of wind, making for one of the bumpiest takeoffs we have experienced.

The flight to Dublin took off on time and was not as crowded as usual, probably because of all the cancellations due to the weather. It was a fairly smooth trip and we were able to get some sleep on the way. We got in over Dublin at the scheduled time, but circled the airport for about 30 minutes while they dealt with a two-seater that had its landing gear collapse when they landed.

It was a nice surprise to find that our car rental company considers us regular customers and had our car brought to the airport so we didn’t have to take the shuttle out to the rental lot like usual. And its a 2013 Renault!

As usual, our hosts were waiting and provided tea and a snack. We had a fun couple of hours with them and their 2 year old grandson before getting our things into our little chalet and starting to settle in. We went shopping for a couple of hours where we had some lunch and picked up groceries for the week. Our hosts had us over for dinner and fellowship until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer.

It appears that we brought the wet, dreary weather with us. We’ll welcome drier, warmer weather but the forecasts are calling for more cold weather.

Good News Report

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.

 

 

Two Meetings – 5 Sep 2011

Glenn and I had two good meetings today. The first was in the morning with one of the organizers of a worldwide conference being held in Dublin in June 2012 – 50th International Eucharistic Congress. This is a conference that is held every 4 years, next year being it’s 50th occurrence and this being the second time it has been held in Dublin, the first being in 1932.

The organizer, Gerard, first told us about the conference last spring and extended an invitation to come and possibly even participate in some way beyond just attending. This meeting was both to introduce him to Glenn, our CBSI Europe Director, and to discuss further what forms of participation might be open.

Gerard encouraged us to consider having and manning an information booth about CBSI, which would be pretty much an all-day event Monday through Saturday. The other option, which he also encouraged us in, was to coordinate with a local church to use their facilities to do presentations about CBSI and any other activities which would serve to promote the ministry among participants. These church events could be every day or select days planned to complement the particular focus of each day … there were two days that have an appropriate focus matching CBSI’s purpose of getting everyone in the world in the Word.

We have two churches with whom we have particularly good relationships that we hope to connect with this week to talk about those possibilities. One of them, which hosts one of our study groups, may be too far out of the center of the city for it to be a viable place to do so and we are hoping that the church leaders will have a better feel for that. We are visiting that class this Wednesday morning, so hope to talk with the leaders about that then.

Pray for God’s leading for us and for the leaders of these churches about pursuing this.

The other meeting was in the evening with the national director of Alpha-Ireland. We were meeting with him to discuss our desire to establish a formal or informal partnership between Alpha-Ireland and CBSI-Ireland. We have seen that the Alpha courses (you can click here to learn more about Alpha) serve as a good introduction to the Bible for people who have not studied the Bible previously and may find CBSI studies a rather daunting challenge with its personal study requirements. In addition, Alpha does not offer a long-term study program that teaches participants to study the Bible on their own.

In light of this, we feel that it would be a mutually beneficial partnership to be more familiar with each other’s ministries and strengths so that when people have completed the Alpha courses, the Alpha leaders would consider recommending CBSI if asked for additional resources. Likewise we would encourage people to consider Alpha if they did not feel they could take on CBSI.

We believe our input was well-received though no indications were given of whether he was particularly interested in the proposal. If nothing else, we were able to establish a healthy relationship with another national ministry leader, for which we are happy.

Here again, pray for God’s leading for us and them on whether this is something to be pursued further.

Blessings in Christ,

Sam

P.S. Patti’s father is doing fairly well and has been moved to a rehabilitation center for what should be a short stay until he regains his strength and ability to care for himself. Patti has gone on to Tennessee after visiting him to be with our son (as well as our daughter and her family) as they await the arrival of our grandson.

The Eaglette Has Landed

Patti has safely arrived in Dublin and is getting settled in at the apartment. She called me about 6:30 this morning to let me know everything was going well. She was particularly pleased with the new changes at the Dublin airport, especially with the rental car being delivered to the parking garage and not having to walk in the rain to find it.

She will be resting today. She is planning to meet with our national coordinator either today or tomorrow in order to pick up a GPS (SatNav in Irish lingo) that he purchased for us so that she could have it before heading to Belfast. In the morning she will meeting with another national servants team member before heading to Belfast to spend the rest of the week with the other two members of the national servants team.

So pray for safety in traveling, especially since the weather forecast is for rain all week pretty much for the whole island. I am bringing sunshine with me next week 🙂

Thanks for your prayers.

A Testimony from Galway

I have been thinking recently that I need to update our blog with some recent developments regarding the ministry that have been particularly encouraging and continue to do so on a regular basis so that it is not just a trip blog. Therefore …

What has us really encouraged recently is what has been happening in Galway. Rather than duplicating the beginning of the story, I’ll direct you to our latest newsletter, the Galway Report particularly, on the 2nd page. In that report, our key contact in Galway, provides a report of the response of the group participants to doing Bible study for the first time in their lives.

Since this study was a follow-up to an Alpha course, one of our Irish pastoral board members recommended that we contact the director of Alpha-Ireland to discuss their willingness to recommend CBSI as a good follow-up to Alpha. We have contacted the director who has replied with a willingness to meet and we are working on details of an appointment, hopefully on this trip.

Since those discussions began, we have also received two more emails from the Galway leaders with more good news. The first one did not actually seem good initially … after completing their 2nd CBSI study later this year (or early next year), they would be starting another Alpha group. We were disheartened at first, wondering what the problem was that they were returning to Alpha instead of continuing to use the CBSI. We thought that maybe that it was an interim move to recruit more people and they would be returning to CBSI.

Sure enough, we received a follow-up to that email clarifying that that they were starting the Alpha group to recruit new people and would be using participants from the CBSI study to lead it and then encourage the new participants to study the Bible with them using CBSI studies. This could turn out to be an excellent model as CBSI studies can be rather daunting for people who have not done any personal Bible study before.

The second email that encouraged us so much was another one from our key Galway contact with a scan of a 3-page hand-written testimony from one of the study participants. Here’s is that testimony:


When I started the Bible study on the book of the Philippians, I thought I just could sit back and listen & take notes. After the first night I discovered I had to do homework. I find reading the bible difficult, I open it then close it again. I’m not a reader so I went and bought cd’s on the bible which I found very good. But with this study we had to read scripture over & over again so that I could answer the questions. So I said I better do the homework or I’m wasting my time, I was also praying that I get a love for the bible and that I would learn to understand it. So the best time for me to open the bible was early in the morning.

In the beginning I found it difficult but as the time went by I was beginning to like it and use to enjoy reading about St Paul. I was amazed with the strength of St Paul and his joy while in prison. I couldn’t believe how could anyone be so joyful in them conditions, I became more interested. Reading the bible was better than listening to the cd’s because it had to be read a few times to understand it.

So when it came to the lesson about forgetting the past in Phil 3: 13, tears came to my eyes how St Paul could leave the past and move on. I found it hard to forgive something that happened to me in childhood. But reading how St Paul could leave the past behind and focus on the future, it was so encouraging. I got a lot of strength and hope from it. I often had hands laid on me for healing and I did get a lot of healing from healing ministries. But this was like if Jesus’ hand came out from the page and laid it on my head. I could feel a deep healing.

It’s hard to explain. The Lord I think was trying to show me how the scripture can speak to us and heal us also. I often heard people say how they were healed through scripture, but I experienced it myself and reading about St Paul has given me great hope and encouragement. If the Lord Jesus can give that joy to St Paul, He can give it to us too. I have a great desire and hunger for the scriptures now. I pray it will become a habit for me to read scripture every day. I thank the Lord for guiding me into Tabar Nua so that I can learn about his word and for the great work that’s been done, praise the Lord. As St Paul says, it is not enough reading and learning about the word, but I have to put it into practice.


I’m sure you can understand why this testimony has encouraged us so much. It is stories like this that make our efforts worthwhile.

Note: An Tabar Nua is a coffee shop & Christian training center that our key contact in Galway, Susan, manages. Mike, who led the Galway course and leads the CBSI study with Susan’s assistance, works with Susan at An Tabr Nua, pictured below.

Blessings to all,
Sam & Patti Allgood
CBSI Calebs to Ireland