We pray that this finds you well after what has hopefully been a beautiful summer for you and yours! It has gone by very quickly for us, even though we’re still waiting for the summer weather to arrive here in Ireland. We’ve had a few scattered warm sunny days, but for the most part it’s been cool, cloudy and rainy. What a surprise, right?!
Since some people don’t read all the way through to the end, we’re going to start this letter with our prayer requests and current needs, rather than end with them. Even though we’ve been in ministry now for nearly half a century, it never seems to get easier to raise financial support. We’re so very grateful for your sacrificial giving on our behalf. You have no idea how much we appreciate your support … prayer, financial, emotional, spiritual … you name it! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! God knows and God rewards … that’s all we can promise with certainty! Our finances have been very tight as of late, but we serve a great God who has yet to let us down. If you know of anyone who loves Ireland, and who you think might want to make an impact for the Kingdom here, would you please forward this letter to them … prefaced with a personal message? Thanks a million!
We may have told you that Tip’s eight year-old laptop overheated, shut down, and pretty much gave up the ghost awhile back. (Sounds like a bunch of Christians we know!) A few wonderful friends and family came up with the wherewithal to purchase a new one, which was hand-carried over here by Laurie’s brother. Our prisoners are mostly “oral learners,” so this new machine will enable us to download YouTube videos that they can watch on a big screen TV in the prisons. One of the guys is deaf, so we can type things out on the screen so he can read them and then talk back to us. In our case, computers don’t keep us from relating, they encourage it!
Our annual visas expire on September 16, so please continue to pray that the Dept. of Justice will allow us another year. They usually only grant three years max, and we’ve already had four. If we can get to five, we can apply for citizenship … something we wish we’d done back in the 70’s-80’s, when it would’ve been a lot easier. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say!
Our prison ministry continues to thrive, thank the Lord. Our Sunday morning “Freedom in Christ” study has been the best attended program yet with 20+ guys. On Thursday and Friday evenings, Tip mentors guys in the area of addiction recovery with a God focus that will give them the power to stay on track long term. Thank you sooo very much for your prayers! Men are coming to Christ, non-believers are nibbling, and one of our biggest problems is that our guys are being released so quickly that we have to keep drawing new ones in. (Actually God brings them in!) Another problem is backbiting and persecution from both Christians and non-Christians … true the world over. We always remember Chuck Colson’s testimony of what he learned when he was in prison, and how his life was never the same from that point forward. We can say the same!
Last Monday we were driving down the hill from our house and the passenger side rear CV joint on our 10-year old car blew out. Two weeks before that the tensioner pulley gave out and had to be replaced. As the old saying goes, “It takes a rich man to drive an old car!” God is faithful, even though it can sometimes be a white knuckle ride along the way (no pun intended)!
On a personal note, we thoroughly enjoyed having Laurie’s three brothers and their wives with us for a week in late July, converging here in Ireland from Arizona, California and China. We had a wonderful time together with daily “touristing,” and sharing meals out and about, as well as at home. It was the first time we’d all been together since Laurie’s dad was in home hospice in Arizona during the fall of 2007. It was also our first time together since both of our parents went to heaven.
We’ve had many people come for meals, overnight visits, and return visits with them over the summer. Ministering to people, and being ministered to by them, is what the Christian life is all about! We got an encouraging email just this morning from a couple we visited last week who live over an hour north of us … he is from Germany and she is from Iran. It was a connection we’d been trying to organize since their invitation back in April, but God’s timing is always perfect!
“First of all, thank you soooo much for your card which we got from you today. It is so amazing to have had you both here in our home. It was such a great idea not to give up to meet you after many times changing the plans, etc. I believe that was GOD’S WILL especially to meet you on Sunday, a day that the Lord had made. We were delighted for exchanging mind with you and widening horizons, but also there are some other things that changed since you were here, but I can’t explain with words. Thank you for that. And the book you gave me is just a fantastic book. Thank you for that. Love you both so much. Stay in touch with you again.”
We don’t know exactly what changes she is referring to, but it’s just a reminder to us all that God has a plan in everything we do, if we are walking with Him.
Sent with our love and deepest appreciation,