Thursday, March 21, 2013

PAST, Present, and Future (1 of 3)

This is the first post in a series of posts I will be doing. Many people have been wondering when we will begin church planting as well as how we will go about doing it. I thought that I would take this as an opportunity to share with you about our ministry. If you are a regular reader of our blog than you know Alisa does a great job of sharing about what we have been up to in Drogheda. So this first post will only be an overview of what we have been doing since we moved to Ireland and will focus more on why it has been so important. In the second post I will be discussing the immediate future and all that will entail. In the third post I will discuss our vision for the extended future. It is my hope that you will read this series of posts and be as excited about what God is doing as we are.

When we moved here almost a year and a half ago (it doesn't seem like it was that long ago) we had all kinds of expectations and plans. Many of these have proved true but most of them were ignorant. We had never spent a significant amount of time in Ireland and did not really understand the culture. Rather than moving straightaway into church planting we have taken the time to correct (and be corrected) our preconceived notions. The church in Drogheda has allowed us the opportunity to be actively involved in both established ministries as well as starting new ones. Their wisdom and grace has been invaluable as we learn how to present the Gospel in an Irish context. When we church plant we will make mistakes but Lord willing we will have avoided some of the stupid cultural mistakes we would have made.

Before moving here we basically knew no one in Ireland. In this last year and a half we have had the chance to make great and lasting friendships with fellow Christians in Drogheda as well as networking with churches in Galway and Limerick. Through relationships, advice, research, and prayer we decided to church plant in Galway.

During our time in Drogheda God has really worked on us. Shaping us and molding us, changing us into the people he desires us to be. God has challenged us to trust Him and has continually provided for us and opened doors. He has shown us so many places in our lives where we needed to repent. He has given us friends that have challenged us to grow and love God more deeply. By being here He has given us a church family that loves us and desires to see us succeed. We believe God sent us here to Drogheda not so we could stay here permanently, but so He could prepare us to plant a church in Ireland.

Thank you for your support in this time of learning! We are excited to begin the work of church planting but will always look back with gratitude to God for the time we have had in Drogheda.

Here are some highlights of the last year and a half...

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We kicked off our Kid's Club with a Christmas party. We had no idea what we were getting into. It has been so amazing watching the children grow in their knowledge of the Gospel and faith in Jesus. This is something we want to do in Galway as well so this has been great experience.

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We started a Bible study for young adults (young adult has included people from age 19-39) shortly after we arrived. We have so enjoyed studying God's Word, growing in our faith, and growing in friendship with this group. We plan on starting Bible studies in Galway as well so this has been great experience.

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Preaching in Ireland is different than preaching in the U.S. It has been very beneficial to be able to preach a few times since being here. I am very thankful for the experience I have been able to gain.

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It was very hard to leave our families behind when we moved to Ireland. We miss them very much. However, we are so very thankful that God has given us a family here in Ireland. The Rakauskas family has really taken us in and even invited us over for Christmas.

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Every Friday we have been working with youth from Junior High all the way through College. It has been a great privilege to teach these young people and see them begin to develop their own faith. There is a huge need in Ireland for youth activities and we hope to be able to do something similar in Galway.

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We have had the opportunity to work with Christian leaders here and see how they do ministry. This Summer Bible Club was a great time of learning as we helped and observed.

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Almost since we have been here we have been involved with the Boyne Hockey Club. Playing field hockey every Monday has given us the opportunity to meet people and make friends outside of the church.

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Being able to network with other church planters and ministers in Ireland has been of great value to us. Our friends, Dermot and Marie O'Mahony, are church planting in Limerick and have started Elevate Community Church. Dermot is from Limerick but worked at Christ's Church of the Valley in Phoenix, AZ while attending Hope International University. 


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