A Full Season
Aug
29

A Full Season

Hi Everyone!  It’s been a really full summer season around here!  In the last few weeks, we’ve gotten to host our first missions team and hold our first outreach Holiday Bible Club (aka VBS).  We’re learning so much, and it’s been really cool to see how the Lord is using our church and children’s ministry and others who would partner with us for the work of the Gospel in Cork!  Click on the image below to see a highlight video from our Holiday Bible Club:We had over 60 kids come to Holiday Bible Club this year – with about a third of them not previously associated with our church.  A few weeks before the event, I was chatting with a friend of mine from church, about just being authentic and Christlike to those around us, showing non-believers that Christians aren’t crazy and that Jesus is kind.  She is an amazing example of this and had invited a few of her neighbors (all non-believers) to the club.  Because of her family’s relationship with them, three neighborhood families brought their kids!

Some of the kids had unanswered questions about God and the Bible.  They came, heard the Gospel, got to play games, sing songs, make crafts, do activities, and ask real questions.  In the end, two of the girls, along with my friend’s own daughter, prayed to receive salvation!  All the work, organization, prayer, and preparation (both on our end and the team that came and served so well!) – seeing those girls (and about a dozen other kids who prayed as well!) come to the Lord – it was all worth it!  The greatest joy!

Sitting in the car, chatting with my friend weeks before, we talked about how the kids she invited from the neighborhood had likely never been to a Christian church service before, maybe never had the opportunity to truly hear the message of salvation.  And they’d be coming, with their questions and excitement for an event, and they’d hear the Gospel.

I’m more aware now than ever before, that the real, soul-saving work is done by the Lord.  Only He apprehends hearts, calls even the youngest child to Himself, brings us from death to life.  But He gives us a part too, if we’re willing.  Our part is to point to Jesus, to live authentic, Christ-centered lives each day, to combat any misconceptions about God by living in and walking out His love in real ways.  And to serve, to work hard and be spent, to participate in what the Lord is doing in the community He’s placed us in, to help make a space where people can hear the Good News, to meet Jesus, and to invite them to come.

We’re so grateful – that the Lord would include us, allow us be a part of what He’s doing here in Cork.  And we’re incredibly thankful for our church, and for others that would link arms and serve the Lord and His people here.

As we close out the summer, please pray with us about:

  1. All the kids who came to HBC and the families they represent.  They learned that God is the Great Creator, that He is capable of taking care of them, and that He cares greatly for each one of them.  Pray that these truths would go down deep, continued to be watered, and that we’d see many more come to the Lord in faith!
  2. The more than a dozen kids who prayed to receive Christ on the last day of HBC!  That their faith and realization of God’s love would grow!
  3. For Calvary Cork and all that the Lord is doing in this city.
  4. For Calvary Aurora, that the Lord would bless them greatly for the team and support that they sent!  That those who came would take hold of all that the Lord has for them, and that God would bless them for serving the children and families of Ireland.
  5. For us personally as we get ready to begin the new school year and season of ministry here.  Along with children’s ministry, Branden and I have felt a burden for the growing population of teens in our church.  In September, we’ll begin overseeing a youth ministry for the young people in our fellowship and any friends they might bring along!

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A couple other things to note:

Our Holiday Bible Club t-shirts were provided at great discount by Zazzle.com!  The quality was great and, although there was a little hiccup in the shipping, they worked with expediency to take care of it and get us our shirts in time for the event!  Thanks so much Zazzle!

The theme for our Holiday Bible Club this year was the Discovery Lab – Finding the Creator in Creation!  It’s an apologetics look at creation and functioned somewhat like a three day science camp.  We are very excited to say that we wrote it ourselves and that we are working to make it available for others to use!  Stay tuned for updates if you’re looking for a VBS or multiple day kids event to do!

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As you pray, if you feel led to give to he ministry here financially, you can do so by clicking on “Support Us” at the top of this page.  Then scroll down and follow the prompts to give one time or set up monthly, recurring support.  You can also give by check made out to Small World Big God (our non-profit) and mail to PO Box 305, Deer Trail, CO 80105.  All donations are tax deductible and go to support our family’s living and ministry costs here.

Thank you for praying, for reading and being a part of what God is doing in Cork, Ireland!  God is up to big things, and we’re grateful for the church worldwide who would partner in this work!

49 / 52 – The First Sunday
Dec
07

49 / 52 – The First Sunday

On April 26, 2014, our family was standing at the starting line of something we could not ask or imagine.  A year prior to that, the Lord had told me we would go to Ireland.  He told me, but said He wouldn’t tell Branden for a season, to teach me to be quiet (ouch!)  Of course, in my excited stubbornness, I was adamant that I knew the plan (and how and when it should be carried out!)  Branden fought to lead, to protect and provide with all his might and understanding.  And God would wait.

Finally, a year later, we both conceded.  I was learning that the more I spoke, the less Branden could hear the Lord.  God was well able to speak to my husband, without all my “helpfulness.”  And Branden was learning to trust that God had a good plan, better anyway, than the plan he had himself.  And that God could and would take care of us, whatever He called us to.

We knew two things, separately.  I knew we were supposed go to Ireland.  Branden, in his time in prayer, believed the Lord was calling us to oversee a children’s ministry.

“We’ve been praying for a year.  The Lord hasn’t told me ‘Yes’ to Ireland, but He hasn’t said ‘No.’  Maybe it’s time we just take a step of faith.”  Branden’s words were honest, almost defeated, but there was also a looking up.  In throwing up his hands, he was saying he was open.

“What does that even mean?” I asked.  There were no open doors, no one waiting for us to come.  We didn’t even know any churches or ministries in Ireland.

“I don’t know,” he said.  “Maybe we should talk to our pastor.”

The next night, I took the boys to church.  Branden was working a shift at his overnight job.  After service, I sat with our pastor.  He knew that we’d been praying about missions, and that we had been on opposite sides.  I told him what Branden had said.  He told me he didn’t know anyone, any ministries in Ireland, but that maybe I should look in the Calvary Chapel Magazine.  There is a section where churches and ministries can put prayer requests and news.  Maybe there was something there.

I picked up a copy of the magazine and headed home.  Later that night, after the boys were in bed, I sat on the couch by myself.  Flipping through the pages, I found my way to the Ireland section.  There were five or six entries – some churches, some missionaries.  About halfway through was an entry for Calvary Cork.  Their only prayer request – someone to come and oversee their children’s ministry.

I closed eyes in teary disbelief!  Only God could have given each of us both sides of the same map, changed our unwilling hearts, and brought them together.

We sent an email to the pastor of Calvary Cork.  A few days later, we got a response.  The door was open!  We began praying and talking about a scouting trip.  Six months later, October of 2015, we came to Ireland for the first time.  It was then that the Lord finally told Branden we should come back, live and serve here full time.  We got home and began making preparations – selling everything, talking with people and churches about what the Lord was calling us to, getting ready to live in another country.

This October, one year after our scouting trip, the Lord brought us back!

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December 4th was our first Sunday leading the children’s ministry of Calvary Cork!  There’s been much preparation going on since we’ve gotten here.  Branden and I were both really excited and extremely nervous about this first service!  Parents and kids began arriving; the room quickly grew fuller and louder as Branden led the kids in a game.  As service got started, we went through rules and announcements, did praise and worship together, watched a puppet skit, teaching, and object lesson.  Later we divided into smaller classes and did activities and crafts, looked more into the Bible and then came back together to look at a memory verse.

Overall, things went really well I think!  There are some big and small logistical things we are needing to work on, but the kids seemed to enjoy and learn, parents looked pleased, and God’s Word went out!

I heard a quote once about children’s ministry that said, “Kids go where there is excitement.  They stay where they feel loved.”  I hope we provide a place that has both!

I’m thankful for this church, for the Lord’s plan and that it includes us living and serving here, with these families and kids and fellowship!  And I’m thankful for each person and church that is sending us, the global body of Christ, supporting and working together for the purposes of the Kingdom.  He uses the foolish things, and I’m grateful that when we bring what little we have, even through stubbornness, He uses it to accomplish things for eternity!

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I pray that we are faithful, that we remember how the Lord brought us here, that we love and follow and serve Jesus wholeheartedly every day we can.  And I pray that in Him, we love and serve His people well!

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