As we prepared to lead our first mission team to Northern Ireland, we were not exactly sure what to expect, but we knew if anything was going to happen, God was going to have to show up. And as always, God did not disappoint. Our National Director, Andrew Clements put it this way: "Sometimes people want to know, "if you pray and share the gospel in the streets and homes of Northern Ireland what kind of people will you be sharing with? Here's some of the people we met with last week: Pensioners, young people, Catholics, protestants, atheists, agnostics, drug addicts, alcoholics, paramilitaries, the terminally ill, Irish, English, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Slovakian, German, people involved in cults, people who believe in reincarnation, people who have been victims of child abuse, new mothers, single men, the wealthy, and the unemployed...to name a few! Thank God that the one gospel we have, is good news for all kinds of broken people!"
As we set out to share the gospel in Kilkeel, Warrenpoint, Guilford and West Belfast, we knew the ground was going to be tough but we also knew there was power in the gospel; power to transform lives and power for salvation to all who will believe. Here are some stories from the harvest:
We set out with high hopes. The weather was beautiful and as we knocked on the first door we received a polite, "no thanks," and then the next door and the next and the next, only not all were polite. The first community was a little disheartening, but we pressed on. The next community we came to was a street lined with fourplexes, with two apartments on the top and two on the bottom. At the first home we met a man and his two roommates. They invited us in and were very receptive to the gospel. All three men had been homeless and living in the streets for about two years and were grateful for a roof over their heads and were willing to open up their home for a Bible study. At the next home, we were met with a little skepticism and were asked what we wanted. When we stated that we just wanted to pray for him, he invited us in, as he was a taxi driver on a mid-afternoon break. We prayed and shared the gospel with him. As he listened, his eyes started to well up and he explained that he wasn't sure why he let us in, because he usually ran people like us off. He then told us that he was concerned for his health and that he was struggling with alcoholism. We prayed for him and he also agreed to meeting for a Bible study. As we wrapped up our day in that area, we had five people committed to meeting for a Bible study which we hope will be the seeds for a new church plant that will reach that community. -Tony
Psalm 34:18 says, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. As I knocked on doors in Warrenpoint and West Belfast, God lead me to meet three wonderful women. He is using each of their situations to call them back to Himself. One woman, a single mother, just lost her beloved father and was struggling with grief. One woman, upon finding out she was pregnant, was abandoned by her husband and he had moved in just around the corner with his old girlfriend and the children they had together. The last woman was unsure of how to deal with the suicides of three of her friends within the last year, so she began self-harming in order to somehow cope. As we sat on her couch, not only did we pray for her and share the gospel, I also shared the parable of the Prodigal Son and she was enthralled. Afterwards she told me the most lovely part was that the son wasn't even close to the house when the father ran out to meet him. The father had been lovingly and diligently watching and waiting for his son and was ready to greet him when he did return. It is beautiful to see people discover God and His love for us by sharing Stories of Hope. Besides brokenness and hardship, these three women had several things in common. They all stated that they had recently been thinking about God, none of them owned a Bible, all were open to prayer and hearing the gospel and all want to have someone come back and study the Bible with them. -Lisa
We would love to tell you more stories, stories of young men dealing with drug addiction, men and women without jobs or hope, the sick struggling with the prospects of death, and on and on, but what we really want you to know is that the gospel brings hope. Andrew Clements and his team will spend the next few weeks following up with the 35 people that were interested in studying the Bible. Please join us in praying that the seeds of the gospel that were scattered across N. Ireland will grow up and multiply and bring hope, healing and salvation to all of Ireland and beyond.
Give: Please consider becoming a partner by your monthly giving. Your partnership makes it possible for us to continue doing what God has called us to do full time. Prayerfully consider a monthly donation of $25, $50, $75, $100 or whatever amount God leads you to give. Or if you have a small group or church that we can share our ministry with, we'd love to have you contact us.
Pray: We greatly appreciate your prayers! Please continue to pray for and with us to see all the world reached for Jesus.
Go: Come with us! The world is in dire need to hear the Gospel. Come labor with us and bring the Light to Europe. Who knows, maybe God has called YOU to take His message to Ireland or Poland for such a time as this!
Well, we are settled in Houston. The move from Tulsa went very smoothly as even our cat, Munchie, has adjusted well. Although it was difficult saying good-bye to friends and family, we know that God has wonderful things for us here in Texas and we look forward to continuing the work that He called us to so many years ago. With that said, we decided to hit the ground running and have already met with NPLHouston and church planting team members; we're looking forward to working alongside them to reach Houston for Christ. Houston is the 4th largest city in the nation and with the economy booming, an average of 200+ people move into the area every day! Also, Houston ranks highly in being on of the most ethnically diverse city in the country. There is so much opportunity here to reach the world by just stepping out our front door.
A lot is happening...As of this writing, we have our team from Canada on their way to County Mayo (Republic of Ireland) to share Jesus and serve the …
Thankful as we look back and ahead... Once again as we close another year, we look back with praise and thanksgiving to all that God has brought into 2018 and look ahead with praise and excitement at what He has planned for us in 2019.
Lisa's New Role: This fall, Lisa was made a Senior Trip Leader and starting in January, she will be the Implementation Director for Ireland. So what does this all mean? Our plan is to be in Ireland about 3-4 times in 2019, and Tony will focus on training leaders and Lisa will take over a larger role in team development and overseeing implementation of the country strategy.
Trainings/Outreach We continued to train churches and equipped them for both local and global ministry. The opportunities that exist in Houston have us very excited as it is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation and we are actively raising up teams to reach Unreached People Groups in the area.
Plans for 2019: The new year is fast approaching and will be filled with won…
Twelve years ago, we came on staff with e3 Partners! In that time, we have shared the Gospel, planted churches, trained disciples and help start an orphanage while working in countries like Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, Jordan, India, Nepal, Peru and Uganda. And of course, our recent work in Ireland as well as being part of the NoPlaceLeft network to reach Tulsa OK for Christ. Being part of the e3 family is an amazing blessing for us! Every now and again, we comment to each other that this ministry is pretty much all we've known as a married couple. On June 3, we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary and if you include the several mission trips we did prior to e3 in 2004 & 2005...well, it really is what we've dedicated our lives and marriage to. As we continue to serve Ireland with e3, God has opened another exciting door for us with Cypress Bible Church in Cypress (Houston) Texas where Tony has accepted a position as Outreach and Missions Pastor. Cypress Bible is a wonderfu…