Jul
14

Mid-Summer Update

Hi Everyone!  This isn’t a proper update, but we wanted to share a bit about what’s been going on with us here in Cork and also what’s up ahead!

We finished school with the boys at the end of May.  We’re always excited for the break, but honestly, this summer has been exceptional!  Before we moved to Ireland, we really had no idea what the weather was going to be like.  We’d done a small bit of research, learning that the climate in Cork is quite mild.  But I don’t think we realized how much rain we’d get!  SO MUCH RAIN!!  For pretty much all of the year, the forecast shows rain to be possible or guaranteed.  All things here are weather dependent, and there are times where the sun may not come out for a week or more (something has keep this Emerald Isle green!)  In the winter, the days are short and the humidity makes them cold.  Nothing like a fire and a hot cup of tea!
In the summer, the days get quite long (which we love!) – like sun up by 4:30am and not down until around 11pm!  Cork would usually get a few days of real sunshine, but no one expects it to be consistent.  But, this summer has been amazing!  We’ve had days and days of real sun – what the boys and I call BEACH WEATHER! – for weeks now!  All of our Sabbaths have been spent discovering new beaches, exploring coves and caves – picnics made on blankets with views of the Atlantic!  The beach guys – it’s definitely my happy place!

The warm, dry weather has also allowed us to host a few events at the new house.  Praying into 2018, Branden and I both felt like the Lord was saying “OUTREACH!”  But what did that mean practically?  The culture here is all about relationships, which means time and hospitality (we’re learning!).  As we were getting settled into the new house after our furlough in March, we were praying about the summer – such a good opportunity to be with people!  We went to work making a list of possible things we could do at the house.  After all, we’d prayed that the Lord would provide a place where we could extend the ministry of the church, and the Lord came through big time!

So far we’ve done an outdoor movie night, which was a blast!  Nothing quite like turning the side of the house into a giant movie screen!  People came early and brought food, ate and hung out.  The kids had an impromptu dance party, and once the sun finally set at around 10:45pm, we covered the lawn with blankets to watch Shaun the Sheep!

We also got to host a big barbecue for Father’s Day.  Lots of people were able to come, and there was so much food!  We invited some neighbors and non-church friends, and it was cool to see some of them come out and enjoy the day with us.

Okay…what’s up next…

Calvary Aurora (our church in Colorado) is sending a missions team here to Cork – they actually arrive in just over a week!  Our church here doesn’t really host many teams, and there hasn’t been one since we moved here, so we are learning so much right now.  While the team is here, we’ll be doing a Holiday Bible Club (what we would call a Vacation Bible School in the States).  Praying about it, we felt like we were actually supposed to write our own – something else we’ve not done before!  The last month+ has been full of research, prayer, writing, and preparation.  So far we have about 50 kids signed up – praise God!  Most of the practical prep will be done once the team is on the ground, but we are plugging away getting the writing and logistics sorted before they arrive.

The Holiday Bible Club is an apologetics science theme – looking at creation and seeing the character, design, and heart of the Creator!  We’re so incredibly excited!  Where truth is twisted and lies are taught so casually, we hope to challenge in grace and knowledge, and to shine a light towards the heart of God – that kids would see that they, and the world around them, are made and with great intention and purpose, out of great love to a great end – relationship with their Creator!

There are a few other plans for the summer, including a back garden (or yard) campout at the end of August – gonna be fun! Branden and I are also hoping to get away for a couple days for our anniversary, and we’re planning to take a little road trip with the boys before school starts up again in September.  Praying the weather stays with us!

We would love if you would pray with us about these needs:

  • Branden and I, along with the boys, as we prepare for the team to come
  • The team as they finish making preparations and travel to Ireland
  • That their time here would be led by the Lord and very fruitful
  • Holiday Bible Club – final prep, for the kids that will come, and that Jesus would be seen in real ways!  Also that relationships would be formed and families and kids would come to know Christ!
  • For our church, Calvary Cork, which is ever changing and growing
  • For our family, that we would be faithful to the Lord and all He is calling us to here.  That the Lord would use us and accomplish all that He purposes, for effective ministry. 

The Holiday Bible Club’s theme verse is Colossians 1:16-17, which says:

“For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible …all things have been created through Him and for Him …and in Him all things hold together.”

So grateful we serve a God who literally holds all things together, right now, out of love for us!  And humbled that we get to be not only recipients, but conduits of that love, participating in the Gospel!

Thank you all so much for reading and praying, and for all the practical ways you support our family and the ministry here.  Knowing that you are bringing the needs of our family and the body here before the Lord is such a great encouragement!  I am aware and so thankful, that the work here is much more than us – that many join in, and so many are blessed!  May the Lord richly bless you all!

In Him, Ernie

Oct
30

Newsletter: September – October 2017

ONE YEAR

www.treuimage.com

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!

www.treuimage.com

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!

www.treuimage.com

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

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