Latest Report from Beth
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
TRUSTING GOD WHEN EVERYTHING GOES SIDEWAYS.
Jeremiah 29:11 is always a verse that when looking for encouragement people often quote. While it does bring encouragement, the original context of the verse was spoken by the Lord to the Israelites when they were facing complete uncertainty and displacement. Some were prophesying that their exile to Babylon would only be a few short years. But the truth was that it would take a lifespan for them to return to Jerusalem. In the mean time God was asking them to trust Him, to build houses and to have families and prosper. The Lord knew what plans he had for the people of Israel and how they would influence and change the Babylonians. Many times when I am in a season of waiting or a season of change, I look to this verse and pray for an easy and short season of displacement. However, that was never the promise; no the promise was trust God and he will take care of you for however long it takes.
This season has been one of changes and struggles, I have done a lot of praying and waiting and waiting and praying. In May I was anticipating that I would be receiving my citizenship, however I did not. Just a few weeks ago I received a letter that told me I was denied citizenship. It was because of a minor technicality and something that I didn't fill out on my form. I am able to reapply, and I will, but the disappointment in waiting so long to hear that I made a simple mistake that cost me so much time is crushing.
The Lord has a purpose for every season and while I was waiting for one transition, it actually came in a different way. Over the past year Unbound has really become more professional and the business more streamlined. Both shops have been able to increase sales, we have hired our first employees and have become established in both Killarney and Cork. At the same time new opportunities were opening up for me to partner with other ministries. I notice that my attention was drawing away from Unbound and after sharing this with Padraig and Evanne, I really felt the Lord leading me into a new season. So I decided it was best for me to move on from Unbound. It was a hard decision to make and both Padraig and Evanne were very understanding and supportive. However, it will take us both time to get used to this transition. Please pray for them and Unbound as they restructure their staff and move forward into the Holiday season.
August 31st was officially my last day at Unbound. It was a bitter sweet day. I was sad I was closing the door on one chapter of my life yet excited about the new opportunities that await me. I have been serving with Padraig and Evanne in some capacity over the last 11 years. It's hard to not picture the shop as part of my ministry anymore. I am very grateful though that I have such a supportive friendship with them and their family will continue to be a part of my life. Moving forward, I'm really excited about this new season and the new opportunities I have to serve God in Ireland. So what will I be doing....
I will continue to support and devote more time to the youth work in Fermoy. This summer we said goodbye to five of our leaders; leaving only three of us to plan, organise and teach. I will be committed to doing teaching and organising events. This year we plan on being more involved in the community as well, teaching the youth the importance of serving. We have some projects set up to teach them about social action and suicide awareness (Ireland continues to hold the highest suicide rate for teens in Europe).
YOUTH ALPHA IN SCHOOLS
I'm also very excited about a new opportunity to teach the Youth Alpha series at the high school. There is no division between Church and State; here all the primary schools are run by the Catholic Church. Secondary schools are government run, with a very strong partnership with the Catholic Church. All through 12 years of school they have religion class. During the 4th and 5th year (Sophomore and Junior years) Alpha Ireland has been able to partner with schools and for nine weeks to teach the youth alpha programme in those classes. I'll be participating in a team in the city to see how it is run this year and hopefully next year we will be able to work out a partnership with the schools in Fermoy to begin teaching Alpha in their religion class. Please pray the schools in Fermoy and the administration will welcome Alpha in their school.
The Church that I am attending in the city is a non-denominational Pentecostal church. It is one of the largest in the city and sees many new people come to faith each year. However, like most churches in Ireland the need for discipleship and training is great. I'm so excited that this church is responding to that need by starting an Pastoral internship programme. They have asked me to join the team of teachers to bring Biblical teaching to the interns. Starting at the end of September I'll be teaching Church History and Hermeneutics over this next year. Please pray for me as I have never taught in a class setting... its very different from a Bible study!