Oct
30

Newsletter: September – October 2017

ONE YEAR

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It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Ireland for an entire year now!  I think back to the journey, how the Lord brought us here, how He changed our hearts and brought us together, how He gave us a burden for the Irish people, for Irish children.  What a story!  And all He’s done in this first year.  In some ways, it feels like we’ve just arrived, like we really are only now getting started.  But then I think about how much we’ve gotten to be a part of already, all that the Lord has done, and it’s incredible!  Maybe there’s always that kind of “two sides of the same coin” feeling in the Lord.  Excited to be building community, but sad leaving loved ones behind.  Celebrating with those coming to know Christ, yet burdened still for the lost.  Rejoicing over the work He is doing, and also seeing how great the need still is.

Can I just say how incredibly thankful we are for you, for your faithfulness in prayer, and for your hearts to be a part of the work Jesus is doing here in Ireland.  The need is real and so is the body of Christ, co-laboring with Him, to bring the Good News to a lost world!  We cannot express how humbled and thankful we are for each of you and all the ways you support our family and the ministry here.  We really could not do it without you, so thank you!

Since our last update in August, there has been a lot going on!  School as well as several ministries have started back up after the summer.  Also, many families have come back after being away on holiday, so church in general feels more full and the noise and energy levels are back up in children’s church!

After studying each of the Ten Commandments with the kids, we’ve been looking in depth at each of the Jewish feasts.  Every week Branden walks us through the customs, what each tradition represents, and what they mean for us now as Christians.  It’s been a great learning experience for us all, and incredible seeing how God’s plan of redemption has been there from the beginning!

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My parents also came and visited in September; it was a gift from the Lord!  I think maybe, of all the challenges we’ve faced so far, distance has been one of the hardest.  Seeing my Mom and Dad, having them here, getting to show them all the things that has made Cork our home, it was like our worlds had come together!  Saying goodbye was really hard, but I’m so grateful they came.

Some of you might have heard that Hurricane Ophelia came through Ireland!  It hit the island two weeks ago with a large storm shortly after.  There was mostly property damage, loss of power and water, roads blocked because of trees down, etc.  We weren’t too badly affected, but the country continues the clean up as we head into the colder season.

We wanted to share that our visas for the next year have been approved – praise the Lord!  I remember the first time we applied, everything seemed so difficult and overwhelming.  Praying again before we went in, this time seemed so much quicker and easier!  We are waiting on official documentation, but it looks like we are able to stay and serve in Ireland another year!

CURRENT PRAYER NEEDS

Thank you for continuing to support us in prayer!  Here are our current prayer needs:

  • CHUCH LOCATION – Our church is looking for a new location!  This is actually a very pressing need as we have about a month before we must be out of our current building!  We are seeking the Lord and knocking on doors.  So far, none have really opened, but the Lord knows what we need!  Please pray for clear direction from Him and wisdom as we look for a location that will fit all the needs of our church.
  • CHILDREN’S CHURCH – Recently we’ve had the opportunity to talk in depth on topics like repentance, the rapture, and atonement.  The kids have asked a lot of big questions, and the Lord had us walk them through the prayer of salvation!  For most of these kids, this is the first time they have heard these things taught in a Biblical way.  Please pray as seeds are planted, watered, and the harvest is reaped!  It’s a great honor to be a part of what God is doing here in this generation of Irish kids!
  • CURRICULUM – Branden is working each week to put all the pieces of the curriculum together!  Please pray as we fine tune format and graphics, create lessons and crafts, etc., and also what the Lord might have us do with it in the year ahead and beyond!
  • OUTREACH – We have so much room to grow in this area as a church!  We are still learning so much about the culture here.  Please pray for an outreach event we have planned and also what the Lord has in the year ahead as He’s given Branden and me a greater burden to reach out to kids here with the Gospel!
  • VISION – We want to keep in step with the Lord, abide in Him, and fulfill the ministry He has for us here!  Please pray for fresh vision, direction, and obedience for this next year of ministry.  That we would be in tune with the Spirit and cooperate with Him in reaching Ireland with the hope of Christ!

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SUPPORT

As you pray, if you feel led to support the ministry here financially, please visit our missions website at www.treuimage.com and click on “Support Us” in the top, yellow navigation bar.  At the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to donate one time or monthly.  All donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for continuing to be a part of the work God is doing in Ireland!  One year in, and we really could not have done it without you!  We’re looking ahead with anticipation; we know the best is yet to come!

In Him,

Ernie

and Branden, Silas & Ethan

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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