Our dear friends and partners,
Last Sunday after church Tip was enjoying a cup of coffee when a young man came over to show him a pic on his phone of four guys with him in beside a rescue helicopter. He said, “You used to teach us at the addiction recovery center that one day we’d be involved in ministry and leading others to the Lord. My buddy and I used to talk about how you were the craziest guy we’d ever met. We don’t think you’re crazy anymore. The men in this picture are my co-workers helping to rescue juvenile offenders.”
One day he showed Tip his back and the scars looked like railroad tracks … the result of some local hoods who attacked him with claw hammers. Tip always reminds him that he’s a trophy of God’s grace.
This encounter triggered some memories of our 21 years in Ireland, and as we reminisced together, these are just a few of a multitude of memories that came to our minds ….
- We met a young student shortly after moving to Ireland in ‘75 at a play at the University of Galway. He’s been through a lot over the decades, and we continue to meet up occasionally and stay in touch by phone and snail mail. (He’s about the last person on the planet that prefers to write letters long hand and send them in an envelope with a stamp!) J We’re so thankful that he has come back to the Lord after many years of wandering.
- Another Galway student who was drying marijuana in one of our staff ovens J found the Lord, married one of Laurie’s disciples, and has been a teacher and a pastor for decades. Their church is one of the only churches built from the ground up … and in a very dark part of the country, at that. The faithfulness of one man … one woman … one family.
- A parade of Irish army officers who were student cadets in Galway came to know the Lord during our early years in Ireland in the 70’s. The first guy Tip led to the Lord in Ireland was a cadet who was also instrumental in bringing many more to the Lord over the following years. He married one of Laurie’s disciples, and they now have six children and a host of grandchildren. These men put their careers on the line as they testified through the chain of command about how God had changed their lives, and many have had significant ministries over the years. We continue to stay in touch with many of them with personal visits, meals, phone calls, email, and social media.
- A stream of precious Irish students passed through our homes as we led weekly Bible studies during our first dozen years here. One night a guy sat in our kitchen and said, “How could three million Irish Catholics be wrong?” Tip told him that only the Bible could help us divide right from wrong, truth from error. He told Tip that he wrestled all night, but when morning dawned he gave his life to the Lord. After he retired from his career as an Irish army officer, he graduated from Bible college and he and his wife continue to have ministries of teaching, counseling and music.
- We were just kids ourselves in our mid-twenties when we first began to meet Irish students, so they watched us as we went through our own trials and tribulations, including a miscarriage, the births of our four Irish-born children, and learning how to raise a family from the ground up. These college students are now parents and grandparents, but were part of a spiritual incubator in those early years.
- Many of our Irish university disciples found their mates through the ministry, and have themselves had significant ministries over the decades. Many have raised godly families who are now raising their own godly families. They are teachers, counselors, pastors, missionaries, Army officers, business men and women, and in every other area of Irish society and beyond to the world. We often talk about how wonderful it’ll be to meet those who have come to the Lord through the generations when we’re all together for eternity!
- After six years in Galway, we moved across Ireland to Dublin to start the Agape Student Center near Trinity College Dublin, where we were for the following six years. We hadn’t been in Dublin very long before one of our disciples from Galway moved to Dublin and roomed with us for a few months. He subsequently found his wife through the ministry in Dublin, they now have children and grandchildren, and continue to minister to others near Galway. He’s such a funny guy … calls us his “Spiritual Giants” (ha!) and stays in touch by phone weekly.
- Much of our ministry at Trinity College and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin was with foreign students, mainly Malaysian Chinese. We keep in touch with a number of them to this day as they continue to reach others in various parts of Asia and beyond. We met up with one couple just a few weeks ago as they were visiting in Dublin for a class reunion.
- Tip was asked to lead a team of volunteers to set up the first Irish live-link satellite conference to beam in the ‘84 Billy Graham Crusade from Sheffield, England. The first person to speak in Ireland by live satellite link was Billy Graham preaching the Gospel! Over the three nights there were about 3,000 Irish people who attended. Tip was chatting with the leader of a prison ministry in Dublin a few years ago who told him that he was an usher for that event in Dublin and gave his life to the Lord on the second night. One of the pastors in our church at Cornerstone also found the Lord through that crusade.
- In 1986 God led us to return to the U.S. for what turned out to be 26 years. Our children were 9, 7, 4 and 2 at the time. Tip got his Masters in Missions in California before we embarked on a variety of ministry opportunities, including working in the Athletes in Action office, and chaplaincy with the NFL Rams, NFL Raiders, and NBA Clippers in California. Laurie taught the Rams and Raiders wives Bible studies, Saddleback Church women’s ministry Bible studies, and was very busy raising four young children at home.
- After five years, we moved to the Cru HQ in Orlando where Tip worked as Asst. Dir. in the International Resource Ministry (resourcing international staff) and Laurie developed Passionate Hearts, a women’s conference ministry. After 11 years and our kids were moving on to higher education, we moved to Lynchburg, VA where Trinity, Josh, Laurie and Tip all studied at Liberty University. Tip also taught at LU, pastored at two churches, and Laurie continued to teach women’s Bible studies and lead Passionate Hearts conferences.
- When God called us to return to Ireland in 2012, we were ecstatic! Never did we imagine that we’d ever be able to return for more than just a visit … and now we’ve been back here for a decade! When we returned, our ever changing ministry target readjusted to addicts and prisoners.
- Our prison ministry at Shelton Abbey has been languishing since Covid hit Ireland a couple of years ago, thus our emphasis has shifted more toward the Ukrainian refugees that have descended on Ireland since the war with Russia began last spring. If we don’t go to the world, God will bring the world to us! Cornerstone Church was already an international church with people from Nigeria, Finland, Brazil, South African, Malawi, UK, US, etc., but now has nearly doubled in size with the influx of Ukrainian refugees. The Irish government moved over 300 into the Royal Hotel across the street from our church in Bray. We now have simultaneous live translation of our services and even translators in our Sunday School classes. Many are women with children, but we also have some intact families. Some are educated professionals, including a barrister. The church has provided clothes, food, hosted family events, and even weekly showings of “The Chosen” with Ukrainian subtitles. Our men’s indoor bowling has provided an unusual contact point for men, and we have games and prayer together weekly. We also have some Algerian Muslims who attend, including some teenage boys. Please keep this outreach ministry in your prayers!
- FAMILY: We’re blessed to be able to see Jason’s family the most frequently, since they live just an hour north of us in Dublin. We haven’t seen our U.S. families in 17 months, and are planning a trip to the states to see our other four children and their families during the holidays. Tip’s siblings have organized our travel, which is an enormous blessing. We can hardly wait to meet our newest treasure, Aliyah (All ee yah), for the first time. She was born on Good Friday, so will be seven months old before we get to cuddle her for the first time. We’ll be in Florida (Trey and family) and Maryland (Josh and Trinity’s families) through the holidays and return to Ireland in early January, Lord willing. Our six youngest grands all live in Maryland, so we’ll spend the majority of our time there. We hope to connect with Karis and fam in Orlando, Lord willing. Our family that began with just the two of us now numbers 25!
- We continue to praise God for our Irish citizenship that was finally granted in May. We remember hearing Dr Ralph Winter, the great missions expert, say that he was so thankful that many cults hadn’t learned how important it is to live among the people.
- ADDRESS CHANGE: Our P.O. Box in Lynchburg, VA has continued to get more expensive over the past 20 years, and is now up to $200/yr. Since this isn’t a wise use of our finances, a dear friend has invited us to share her box with us. Most of our donations come via PayPal, but for those who prefer to send a check via snail mail, please take note. All gifts to our 501c3 non-profit ministry are tax deductible.
MasterLife, International, PO Box 10485, Lynchburg, VA 24506
A huge heartfelt thank you for your arms of love, encouragement and support as we link arms to reach the world. We’re so grateful for your faithful partnership in ministry, and we pray for you by name daily. Please feel free to contact us with your news or prayer requests anytime … we’d love to hear from you!
Watching for the soon return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ ….
Tip and Laurie