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One of those happenings is the decision of where to live in Ireland. Which county? City? Neighborhood? The first question came down to Cork or Dublin. Both cities equally appeal to me for ministry purposes and personal preference, so I really needed either a church to stand out as a partnership possibility, or for Stephen (OMS field leader of Ireland)’s opinion. Tom (HOPE61 director) and I had a Skype chat with Stephen and the results are in…looks like DUBLIN is the place!
This is not to the exclusion of Cork or any other interested city/town/church, but as God provides, Dublin will be my first home-home in Ireland.
Because Ireland, Republic, still has a lot of ground that is still uncovered by OMS, there is a lack of OMS structure on the field. This is why we have been praying that I will find a specific church home in Ireland, willing to hold me accountable, help me to grow, allow me to be a part of their family, and to join with me in HOPE61 ministry as God leads them.
In the past few weeks God provided some awesome emails between me and other Irish pastors, both in Cork and Dublin. Those I spoke with in Cork were either too far from the city center or were uninterested. (This was prior to Stephen’s advice on Dublin.) Still, they encouraged me in following God and invited me to visit once I’m on the ground.
When it came to connections with Dublin churches, though, there are two great possibilities. One church had a good relationship with previous OMS missionaries, who we hope will use their influence, to make a place for me to partner with the congregation. A second Dublin church was recommended to me by a pastor from Cork (one of the men I met this summer at OMS HQ). This morning Tom and I talked with the assistant pastor via Skype. We had a fun conversation that very much reflected the same spiritual goals: to create disciples who make disciples and to spread the word of Jesus Christ.
Our conversation ended with the pastor saying he is excited about the possibilities for HOPE61 in Ireland. He even said he will present our ministry to their church’s elders at their mid-January meeting. Tom and I agreed that, if a sort of partnership doesn’t work out between HOPE61 and this church, we 100% still want to stay in touch with them. The pastor’s joy for Jesus was evident even across the ocean and on the computer screen, and we were encouraged.
I don’t care that Ireland is not a magical place where all your troubles go away, or that there are seas of circumstances that should discourage me from telling the Irish about Jesus or from encouraging those Irish who do love Jesus to seek justice for the oppressed.
I just can’t wait to go and live among a unique people that God created intentionally, lovingly, and with a desire for them to know Him: the Irish.