Hello there, everyone! This is Branden. Typically Ernie is the voice of our blogs and newsletters…and she is quite the wordsmith, if I dare say so. But for this newsletter installment, we wanted to give you a glimpse into our lives as seen through my perspective! So grab a cup of your caffeinated drink of choice, relax, and enjoy as I craft for you a tale of intrigue and excitement that is otherwise known as “our life.”
We’ve been in Ireland for just over six months! It seems like a long time, and yet it has breezed by! Everyday life is beginning to have a sense of normalcy. Going to the grocery store no longer feels…different. Driving on the left side of the road has become more natural. The sights and sounds of the city are becoming less foreign. We have settled, more or less, into our routine.
The Children’s Ministry is beginning to hit its stride. We even have a name and logo, calling ourselves “The Lighthouse!” The curriculum that we mentioned in the last newsletter is taking shape. We almost have one quarter (13 weeks) of lesson plans done as we make our way through the book of Genesis. Tweaks and adjustments are being made on a weekly basis as we test out the curriculum practically. Next will come formatting the content and putting it into a cohesive layout that anyone can follow. There are several elements of the actual service that are still a work in progress, but we have been richly blessed and encouraged by the comments of many parents and kids. More than just verbal encouragement, we are seeing the church body buying into the ministry through their eagerness to volunteer and be involved.
Family life is going well! We’ve celebrated two birthdays (mine and Ethan’s) since the last newsletter. I got one year younger while Ethan became a year older! We have a tradition of giving the boys a “Birthday Week” celebration, doing activities that are tailored for their specific interests. Two of Ethan’s activities have been cliff climbing at the cliffs of Ballycotton and backyard camping. In addition to “Birthday Week” activities, the boys are developing an interest in local sports. The neighborhood kids have taken it upon themselves to teach Silas and Ethan rugby! It has been interesting observing each of the boys as they grow into their own person, exhibiting characteristics similar to each other, yet vastly different. They are both becoming quite adventurous and confident in their own right.
Since the last newsletter we have officially launched our non-profit, Small World Big God! Ernie has been hard at work getting the logistics pulled together. Running the house, teaching the boys, and taking care of all the admin tasks that are part of serving on the field here, she never ceases to amaze me with her tireless dedication and work ethic! Going forward, Small World Big God will be handling our support and ministry finances. Though it’s still in its infancy, the organization’s purpose is not to solely handle ministry contributions. As it grows, we hope it will help to connect people and ministries and share the love of our great, big God!
Thank you for continuing to support us in prayer! It is encouraging to know that our family’s needs and the ministry work here is continually brought before the Lord in the prayers of saints around the world. Here are some specifics that you can be lifting up to the Lord right now:
- Weekly kids’ services and curriculum – It is truly our heart’s desire to impart a love for God and His Word to kids under our care. We dedicate a great deal of time to the preparation of service and lesson planning. We want the kids (and their parents) to see Jesus in us and through us and to be a part of helping them grow in a personal relationship with Him.
- Cork City – In addition to discipleship within the church, we want to reach the city we serve with the love of God. Pray that the Lord would show us how to effectively do so.
- Health – Please pray that our everyday health will be at its peak so as to not take away from the work God has called us to.
- Irish Driver’s License – We need to begin the process of getting full Irish driver’s licenses. This is not really a simple or quick process. We need to take a driver theory test, complete Essential Driver Training (12 – one hour lessons each), apply for a Learner’s Permit, and complete a driving test.
Until recently, an organization called Shepherd’s Staff was handling much of our financial support. With the launch of Small World Big God, we are excited to transition the administration of donations to the
non-profit! This will mean that people can give more directly to the work here, which in turn allows us to use more of the funds given for our family and ministry needs. As you pray, if you feel led to support the work in Ireland financially, please click on “Support Us” in the yellow navigation bar at the top of this page and follow the prompts for either one-time or monthly donations. All donations will still be tax deductible.
Thank you so much to all who partner with us, both in prayer and financially, as we serve the Lord and the people of Ireland! We couldn’t do what the Lord is calling us to without you! Thank you too, for letting me share what God is doing on the ground here with you. Please know that, though distance may separate us, you are part of the work here in Ireland!