Hi everyone at the Village Chapel!
Greetings from a thawed Cork. The snow has melted, and I’m so excited to see all the bulbs and primroses beginning to poke through the dead leaves in our garden. Spring is still a few months away, but I’m counting the days!
We had such a lovely time in California, and it was a real joy to spend time with those of you we were able to see. We’re always so blessed to be at the Village Chapel. You guys have such a wonderful church and we always look forward to visiting!
We’ve been back in Cork now for a month, and what a busy month it’s been! A week after we arrived, it began to snow. And considering that the temperature was well below freezing for most of December, the snow didn’t melt. This meant that life stood still for a few weeks. Schools closed down, roads closed down… Our pipes froze (as did thousands of others), not just at home, but at church as well. So we had no running water for a week. No showers, no toilet, no laundry. Praise God that for some reason, our kitchen sink’s cold tap kept working. So we just boiled kettle after kettle to do the dishes, and filled bucket after bucket to be able to flush the toilet. And we took showers at our friend’s house. Actually, just one shower…. one thing we’ve learned living in Europe- Americans take far too many showers!
On Christmas Day, we braved the frozen roads and drove to the beach (an Irish tradition). Probably not the best idea, as while we were driving, we were just two cars away from a van that lost control and hit the next car. Quite scary. Nonetheless, Mike took the plunge into the freezing Irish sea, and we were waiting for him with a big thermos of hot tea after wards. And somehow, he didn’t go into shock!
We hope you all had a Merry Christmas as well, and that this year brings blessing to you and your families! I better start the “updating” now 🙂
I just want to quickly fill you in on some praise reports…
Praise God for:
*our visa renewal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The letter was waiting for us when we arrived. Oh, the butterflies in my stomach as we opened the letter! But praise God, we are allowed to remain for another year, and then we’ll just appeal again.
*our newly installed Board of Elders! After years of prayer and consideration, Mike (with the happy consent of Calvary Cork) has installed three elders to help share the load of governing and shepherding the church. This is a huge milestone for our church, and we are so incredibly excited to see how God will use these three local, Irish men to build up the church body (and to build up Mike!).
*Phil and Andrea’s marriage: just last week, a couple from our church got married in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. The wedding was held at a lovely, tiny stone church in the middle of nowhere. And there were no bathrooms! But no one seemed to mind. I’ve attached a photo of Mike preaching at the service. He was so excited to be able to speak from an old-fashioned elevated pulpit!
*Eimear’s baptism! Eimear was saved 6 months ago, and we had been praying for her over the past few years. Mike and one of the elders baptized her in the Lee River in Iniscarra (see attached photo). It’s a beautiful spot in the river, right next to an old graveyard. A perfect reminder of the death, burial, and resurrection that was Christ’s, and that is every believer’s. We were so encouraged by the dozens of people who attended the baptism, including Eimear’s own father.
(Oh- and I’m sure you all want to know if it was cold. Yes, it was… and I was standing by the bonfire! Our baptisms always seem to happen in the winter!)
*our kid’s Christmas pageant! It was our first ever, and such a blessing- thanks to Aan-Sofie and Esther for organizing the whole thing!
*new (matching) chairs for the church! A generous man in Calvary Cork ordered 80 beautiful new chairs for the church while we were away. It’s such an answer to prayer and we’re so blessed!
And speaking of chairs, we had more people at church last week than every before! We need to try to rearrange the room so we can fit more people. A good problem to have, as everyone reminds us. But do pray that we can get things set up in a more conducive arrangement!
A few more prayer requests….
Please pray for:
*unity, wisdom, and protection for Mike and the new elders. Two of the elders’ wives are pregnant, so pray for them as well.
*our new program, Brothers in Christ. It’s a “youth group” within the main service, where older men sit with the younger boys, and help them to follow along with the sermon. Pray that these boys will be blessed by the older, godly influence.
*more volunteers within the church!
*Eoin’s school situation- that he will be accepted (in September) into the school that will best meet his needs (autism)…. and that Mike and I will figure out which school that is!
*protection for our house and family. Just the day before yesterday, right after prayer meeting, a group of kids threw a rock at our window, and broke it. They’ve been targeting our house since Christmas, and have thrown lots of things at our windows, but this is the first time it’s been broken. We called the gardi (police) and Mike is making a statement tomorrow. But there’s not much anyone can do, except pray. So please do! They’ve broken all the side mirrors off both our cars as well, and it’s so very frustrating.
*continued provision for 2011
I’m so grateful that you’ve read this. Next month will mark seven years that we’ve been living Ireland (and next week will mark seven years of marriage!). It’s been amazing, and we’re so blessed by all the years of love, support, and prayer from you all. Thank you for being a part of this ministry!
Rachel (and Mike and Eoin)
p.s. if you’re interested in supporting us, just talk to Pastor Chuck.