Jun 20, 2015 – Training Volunteer Leaders for Prison Ministry Studies

Sam Teaching Volunteers

Sam Teaching Volunteers

Since March, Sam and Patti have been working with the key leaders of an Irish prison ministry called RELEASE, to establish a Bible Academy for prisoners using CBSI studies. In the picture above, we are conducting initial training for about 20 volunteers who have expressed interest in becoming study leaders. Studies are slated to begin in August in two prisons and we will be training these volunteers by doing studies together over the next month.

Bible Academy Team

Bible Academy Team

Sam and Patti have been working closely with Connie, center, who is the RELEASE Volunteer Manager, and Tip (with wife Laurie) who was introduced at this meeting as the new Dean of Studies for the Bible Academy. Tip and Laurie are also missionaries from the US, having moved back to Ireland a few years ago to work with recovering addicts. We met Tip and Laurie through Tim and Cathy Rutman who knew them from their home church in Virginia.

Pray for us and this ministry as it has much potential for widespread impact. RELEASE is beginning to work in two additional prisons this year, so should be starting studies in those as soon as the time is right. Tip even invited some friends from Galway who have expressed interest in doing something in a 5th prison in their area.

July 23 – Irish Bible Institute Open House

Irish Bible Institute

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.

Blessed With Opportunities

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.

Spirit Radio is Up and Running!

Spirit Radio Banner

Spirit Radio, first Christian radio station broadcasting nationally in Ireland

Spirit Radio began broadcasting out of Dublin, Ireland in January 2011 and we wanted to encourage you to give them a listen. If you are in one of the major cities shown in the banner you can listen on the indicated station. If not you can listen online at http://spiritradio.ie.

Give them a listen and maybe drop them a line or call them to let them know how much they are appreciated.