I had mentioned in my previous post Feb 5-7 – The Beginning of a Children’s Ministry? about the UK C&Y Director visiting us and sharing with several ladies in one of the CBSI studies about what C&Y had to offer. The result of that visit was two ladies who wanted training so that they could move forward.
The UK C&Y Director arranged to come back this Saturday, April 5th, to train those ladies and we planned to have it here in our home. As we have invited others, such as Alpha Youth leaders, and these ladies have invited others, the number has grown to up to 15 participants, so we can no longer fit into our apartment. One of the original leaders was able to get a room in the school where she would be using the materials, so we have plenty of space and a kitchenette to use … praise God!
This will be the largest training that the C&Y Director has done and it is really different in that is does not consist entirely of people who are in a CBSI study, so she is a little nervous. Pray for all of us as we prepare and present on Saturday (5-10 am US EST), that God would give us favor among these youth leaders, that we would be able to satisfactorily answer all their questions and concerns. Also pray that the use of these C&Y studies would lead to the children’s parents becoming interested in studying the Word also.
We had the pleasure this week of having visitors from across the Irish Sea … the Directors of the UK Children and Youth Ministry. Wednesday evening they joined us in visiting one of the ladies CBSI Bible studies. This study has several ladies who had expressed an interest in using CBSI materials with children and youth, either for their own children or for those in schools where they teach.
After a delightful Bible study, 5 of the ladies joined us around the table to see some sample studies and to hear how they were being used in the UK, as well as how they were adaptable to many environments and situations. Two of the ladies in particular were keen to take several samples home to review and consider which best suited their situations, possibly for use in after-school programs. Discussions have already begun for Simon and Ann to return in April to train these ladies and other interested leaders.
One of the other ladies in the study came to our house with her husband for dinner and to learn about the C&Y studies as they are long-time friends of ours and have known Simon and Ann for many years also. We had another wonderful evening together discussing how the studies might be used with the children in their church.
We have been praying for years, as have many of you, for the right doors to open for the use of CBSI studies among children and youth here in Ireland. It appears that those doors are opening and God has provided the means to respond to these opportunities. Continue to pray with us that He would direct and give wisdom to those who are desiring to use these studies and those who make the decisions to bless their use, that the children and youth of Ireland can rediscover the joy of learning God’s Word.
Shortly after arriving in Ireland in July, our counterpart in Lithuania told us about a Lithuanian couple living in Dublin who had expressed an interest in possibly starting a CBSI study with the Lithuanian congregation that they help lead in Dublin city center. We had lunch with the couple last week and they were ready to go. They had already been trained when visiting Lithuania earlier in the summer and had 5 or 6 people interested in joining them.
We found out that their church meets in an Irish church that we have visited often. We have talked with the Irish pastor several times and he is encouraged by and supportive of our ministry. In addition, the Lithuanian wife meets regularly with a lady in the church that have known Tim and Cathy Rutman for many years (Tim and Cathy started the CBSI ministry in Ireland). She is an elder in the Lithuanian church and usually preaches when the Lithuanian pastor is not there (he lives in Lithuania and comes to Dublin once a month).
We delivered the Lithuanian studies to the couple at church on Sunday, so they will be starting the study this week or next once they have arranged a suitable day of the week. During our time together last week, the wife (the husband does not speak English) invited us to preach at the Lithuanian service this Sunday afternoon (@ 2:30, which will be 9:30am EST), sharing about the CBSI study and preaching about the value of getting into the Word. So I will be preaching to motivate and Patti will follow with a presentation about the CBSI studies.
Please pray for us the remainder of this week as we finalize preparations for this time. Our CBSI activities for the week have been completed, so we have a good deal of time to prepare. Pray that people would be motivated to make the Word of God a significant part of their lives and that the number of participants for this initial study will double. Also pray for the employment situation of these Lithuanians … as immigrants to Ireland, most are unemployed and unable to find jobs.
I arranged with Louise, who I met at the IBI open house last week, to come in today to help her with the area of search engine optimization of their web sites (improving their position of appearance on search engines such as google). This is obviously not my purpose for being in Ireland, but we are seeking to use all of our skills to network and open doors to meet people and engage them and those they contact to find those interested in in-depth Bible study.
Due to missing my intended train (pulled away as I was getting my ticket) and having to wait an hour for the next one, I was late for our appointment. The good news is that I arrived just as they were preparing for tea, so I got to join them (about half a dozen staff that were there at the time, including the Principal) and fellowship over tea, coffee, and biscuits (cookies). They were interested in knowing more about my background, so I shared some of our story. It was encouraging to get to share about CBSI and why we had come to Ireland with so many of the IBI staff and volunteers at one time.
Louise and I worked together for about an hour, looking at their web sites and discussing ideas for improvement, especially seeking to understand their search engine analysis and how to improve their chances of prospects finding their site when doing internet searches. We both agreed upon some assignments for our next appointment. It was again encouraging that she was wanting to know more about CBSI as I was preparing to leave and showed interest in exploring it further.
During both the open house last week and during this visit I was encouraged to consider attending (auditing) an intensive one-week master’s course at the end of August. Pray for God’s leading in this and for His provision (about $400) if He would have me attend. It seems like it may be a strategic opportunity to interact with pastors and ministry leaders from around Ireland.
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.
I took Cathy to the airport early this morning. Despite the bright outlook last night for getting a seat, it is looking grim this morning. They apparently had so many empty seats that they switched the flight to a smaller plane, reducing the empty seats to 4. Cathy was not able to get on the flight to Atlanta and is waiting to see if she can get on to NYC, and it is also not looking good. Her nephew who got her the buddy pass standby ticket checked and says that it is not looking any better throughout the weekend, so she is pondering the option of buying a ticket, costing about $1500 at this late date. Please pray that she will get something soon to be able to get home to her dear Tim.
I have just posted our new prayer calendar (as Excel spreadsheet and as an image) at http://cbsi-ireland.org/prayer. Thank you for praying with us as we minister in Ireland.
We arrived back in Dublin half an hour before scheduled this morning. It was 11 am by the time we got through customs, picked up our rental car, and arrived at our apartment, where our hosts waited with tea and toast. We have been getting things organized and catching up on some sleep.
Thank you for your prayers. Pray for a good night’s rest tonight as we will be spending 2-3 hours on the road tomorrow driving to the other side of the island for a dinner meeting and prayer gathering in Limerick. The weather is decent … cloudy and cold; we’re thankful for not having snow and ice.
Sam & Patti
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.