Newsletter May / June 2017
Jun
27

Newsletter May / June 2017

OUR FIRST IRISH SUMMER

Hello Everyone!  There’s been a lot going on since our last newsletter in April.  We have enjoyed some incredible weather with temperatures up to 75 degrees!  I don’t think we realized how few days of actually warm weather we’d get here in Ireland, but it has made us so thankful for each time the sun comes out!  Summer in Ireland also means days with up to 18 hours of daylight!  The sun is up before 5am and doesn’t go down until close to 11pm – we’ll take every minute!

Last month, we had some friends visiting from the States (Hi Ryan & Megan!)  It was encouraging to hang out and catch up, and Megan even helped me get some things done for the house!  After being here for over eight months, our house is finally starting to look like a home!

Ministry has been really fruitful at Calvary Cork.  A few weeks ago, we got to do our first family service.  All the kids stayed with their parents and we melded the children’s and adult services together.  There’s something really special about families worshipping together!  Curriculum writing is also going well.  We’ve finished Genesis and have moved into Exodus.  It’s been incredible following God’s story so far, learning to see His faithful character and having opportunities to teach and disciple the kids in our fellowship!

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Speaking of teaching, Branden had an opportunity a few weeks ago to teach for an organization here called Child Evangelism Fellowship.  They create materials for evangelism and do outreaches in Cork and the surrounding area to reach neighborhood kids with the Gospel!  It was a privilege to partner with them and to learn how others are reaching Ireland’s kids for Christ!

I recently had an opportunity to share my testimony at a women’s ministry event here as well.  Being honest and speaking about the work God is doing in my personal life, especially to women from a different culture than my own definitely made me nervous!  But I’m learning it really is when I am weak, that God can and does show Himself strong!  It’s been a great blessing to grow in community, not only in our own children’s ministry, but with our church body and beyond!

PRAYER REQUESTS

Thank you for always faithfully supporting us in prayer!  Our current needs include:

  • SUMMER OUTREACH – With school coming to a close (praise the Lord!) we are gearing up for some summer events!  Please pray for wisdom as we navigate these relatively new waters and seek to be good students of the culture here.  Pray that the Lord would use us for His glory and the work of      His Kingdom!
  • HEALTH – We’ve had a few challenging things come up (nothing critical) and are asking for prayer, that the Lord would keep us in good health and help us not be distracted or discouraged as we serve Him and those He loves here.
  • SILAS & ETHAN – Please pray for our boys.  They’ve been missing people from home a little more than usual lately.  It comes out in their behavior, which is challenging, but we are praying for God’s heart and wisdom to love on and encourage them in these real issues as we continue to transition here.
  • ABIDING – As with all ministry, we are challenged to ABIDE – set our hearts on Jesus and not be distracted, even with the work He’s given us.  Please pray that we would abide and be fruitful in Him!
  • PRAISE REPORT! –  We wanted to share something incredible the Lord has done!  When we began to make the transition from Shepherd’s Staff to our own nonprofit, Small World Big God, I was honestly overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork it would take to get everything up and running.  My prayer was for the Lord to send someone to come alongside us and walk us through.  God did more than that, and sent someone to not only help us navigate but also do a lot of the upfront work for us!  God is so good to take care of us and give us “more than we ask or imagine!”

SUPPORT

As you pray, if you feel led to support the work here in Ireland financially, please visit our missions website at www.treuimage.com and click on “Support Us” in the top, yellow navigation bar.  You can scroll to the bottom of the page and use the prompts to set up one time or monthly recurring donations.

Thank you for partnering with us in the work God is doing here in Ireland!  We’re continually encouraged by how the Lord is stirring up His church to pray, and give, and be a part of the ministry here.  It’s an honor to be on the ground and see firsthand the work God is doing among the Irish people.  We would not be here if it weren’t for the body’s support and obedience to the Great Commission!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.’”

                                                                 – Ephesians 3:20-21

Blessings to you and yours!

Ernie

and Branden, Silas & Ethan

While We’re Here
Apr
07

While We’re Here

This sweet family came to visit us a couple weeks ago! While they were here, we got to have special meals (thanks for making dinners Erin!), visit new places, take them to a few of our favorite spots (like the beach!), and stay up super late laughing and talking and eating! We got to enjoy their kids and their company – it was honestly such a huge blessing and it felt like the hours just flew by!

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You know how, when you’re on vacation (or enjoying someone vacationing at your place :), you are just aware of how much time you have left? Time before you go home? And you want to relax, but you also plan your days, fill them up, make your stay worth it. After all, you’ve done what it takes to get there, and you’ll be leaving soon. You want to make the most of your time.

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James 4:13-14 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

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My kids have been asking about eternity lately, and I’m always thankful for how Jesus teaches me through their inquisitiveness. Eternity is not so far away. And though we are called to live here today, it must be with a sober understanding that we are just passing through. When I stop to realign myself with that perspective, it makes the trials bearable. And it makes the days in front of us short. We don’t have much time. We are going home! What will we do while we’re here?

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The morning they left, I found our firstborn crying by himself. He’s our deep feeler and constant processor. He asked why they couldn’t stay longer? Why they had to go home so soon? We talked about how they needed to get back to things at home. They couldn’t stay. I know he felt like we did, those few days with this precious family, was like a little piece of home had come to us.

I’m thankful that one day, “home” will be with Jesus. We’ll be with Him and goodbyes will be a thing of the past. Until then, I want to steward well the hours before me. Making the most of the days while we’re here.

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Hope
Mar
10

Hope

We could hear the muffled voice of a woman speaking into a megaphone.  A large crowd was gathered on the pavement outside Brown Thomas department store, some holding posters and signs above their heads.  An occasional cheer erupted as the woman spoke with conviction.

“What’s going on Mom?” Silas asked.

“I don’t know.”

It was Monday, our family day.  We had made breakfast, gone to a playground, eaten lunch at our favorite place in town.  Now on foot, we’d finished up with a few errands in the city center and were walking back to the church where our car was parked.  As we approached, we could see a symbol on the signs we didn’t recognize.  There were garda in reflective jackets standing amongst the crowd.  In front of the woman with the megaphone, there were several others holding a long banner.  This was a protest to repeal the law banning abortion in Ireland.

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The area was wide, but we had to walk through the crowd to get to where we were going.

“What’s going on Mom?”

There was a sign that said, “Warning: Graphic Abortion Photos Ahead.”  The boys were holding my hands, one on each side as we walked.

“Mom, what’s happening?”  Their voices sounded concerned now.

“Don’t look at the pictures.”  Ethan buried has face in my sleeve and I wrapped my arm around Silas to cover his eyes.  We walked quickly, Branden right behind us.

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There was a woman arguing with a man on our right.  As we passed, he said, “But there was no baby here.”  “Yes, there was!” she was almost shouting.

I couldn’t help but look at one of the large banners.  They were labelled with the number of weeks of gestation.  A graphic image filled each one.  Parts and pieces and medical utensils.  Children.

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We got through the crowd and kept walking.

“But Mom, what’s happening?”

I felt my face get hot, my eyes blurry.  I was looking down and buried my face in the front of my jacket.

“Mom, why are you crying?” Silas asked.  “She’s crying,” he turned and said to Branden.

Branden stopped me.  “Are you okay?”  I couldn’t really answer.  He put his arm around me.

“Lord help us.  This is where you have us.  This is how You feel when You see our sin.”  He contained to pray for me, for our family, for this country and the people we are called to love and serve.

People continued to pass us, walking around our little family huddle, past the protesters and giant banners.  I sobbed into Branden’s coat, still holding each of our boys by the hand.

The next hour was spent answering questions about abortion, what it is and why people are talking about it, about God’s heart and this broken world.

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There have been a couple of really sobering experiences that have taken place this week, and we’ve found ourselves  overwhelmed, feeling almost helpless.  In this world where sin and its effects seem so inevitable, how do we stand?  How do we disciple and train up our children?  How do we advance the Kingdom?  How do we love those in front of us?  My heart echoes Branden’s prayer – Lord help us.  This is where you have us.  This is how You feel when You see our sin.

A friend of mine said recently, “Where there is prayer, there is hope.”

Hebrews 12:2 says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

He died in hope.  Rose in hope.  Believing and being joyful in anticipating that this broken world be brought back to Himself – broken and scarred, but reconciled.

So we pray, and bring our hearts to His own.  And we have hope.  Because the Lord’s love is greater, and if He allows us to be a part of this pursuit, this ministry of reconciliation, then He’ll give us the wisdom and grace to co-labor with Him in it – for our own children, and for those wandering all around us.

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Thank you for praying with us, for being a part of what God is doing here in Ireland.  It is still illegal to abort a child here, except under extreme circumstances.  Currently there is a lot of talking/protesting/media coverage, but we know this is a heart issue and pray for the Lord to draw this nation back to Himself.  Please continue to labor with us in prayer.

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