Our dear teammates,
Laurie and I pray that the Lord is greatly blessing you and yours, and that you have a wonderful summer! One of the greatest blessings about our lives here in Ireland is our times of prayer. If you love intimate personal communion with God, we hope this letter will bless you, because we’ve had a ton of awesome answers to prayer lately!
Release Prison Ministry
In our last letter, we mentioned that many of our guys continue to be released. That’s good and bad, because it’s often difficult for them to have a victorious life on the outside. As persecution heated up within the walls of the prison, our numbers were dwindling dramatically. We recently discovered that some of the ‘tough guys’ had been intimidating our young guys to stay away from our meetings. Laurie and I began to pray that God would solve this issue in whatever way He chose. Lo and behold, we found out recently that the prison officials sent a few guys back to the main jail for various offenses, and the ring leader of the anti-Bible crowd was one of them! The next day his assistant compatriot in crime joined him and the others. J In addition to our Bible studies, addiction recovery courses, and Freedom in Christ courses, I’m mentoring five guys. Even though it means about 2.5 hours of drive time a few times a week … and a lot of petrol (gas) … it’s such a joy, and so well worth it!
One of the young prisoners at a local prison recently asked if I’d be his mentor, and we’re now meeting for two hours weekly. I gave him one of our mugs with “Love One Another” on it, and asked him to have it ready every time I come in. This is not for my benefit, but for his. I told him that every time he enters a room, he should ask himself how he can serve others. He’s been doing an awesome job of just that, and even brought my clean mug along a thermos of tea last time … with sugar packets in his pocket! J He recently introduced me to his probation officer, and we had a great chat. Please pray for John! His release date was moved from next year to later this month, with the stipulation that he enter a drug treatment program. His plan is to enter a drug rehab facility, where we volunteered a few years back.
Laurie is a valuable part of our ministry at Arbour Hill prison, and the guys love to have her come in to encourage them and give godly “motherly” counsel. Her book, “One Passionate Heart” is now available online as an e-book! If you’re interested in checking it out, you can access it on our website at www.masterlife.org. She was recently asked to be a guest writer for www.joyfultimestoday.com (you can access her articles there), as well as continues to build her prophecy/current events Facebook page, “This Generation Will Not Pass Away Until All These Things Take Place.” We both find that there are nonstop opportunities online to minister to people around the world 24/7 without ever leaving home.
Speaking of online ministry, another awesome answer to prayer is that God has raised up three generous friends to help me to replace my ailing nine year-old computer that crashed a few weeks ago! I’ve been sharing Laurie’s laptop, which has hampered both of our online ministries. We’re so grateful!
Wedding Trip to California
Trinity and Eric’s wedding on April 16 in the Mt. Shasta/McCloud area of Northern California was perfect from start to finish … even the weather cooperated beautifully! She waited for her prince for a very long time, having graduated from Liberty University 10 years ago. We’re so grateful for Eric, a strong man of God who loves her unconditionally, and that above all else, both of them are totally committed to the Lord! They’re now settled in Dallas, Texas, and continue to travel frequently for Eric’s businesses.
It was also awesome to have all five of our kids together in one place again, along with seven of our nine grands! Our two eldest grandsons (15 and 13) had exams in Orlando that week, but our younger seven grands were all there. (The youngest five are all under five years of age!) J We also visited some of Laurie’s relatives in California (San Mateo and Castro Valley), Oregon (Medford and Klamath Falls), as well as a few old friends in California (Hillsborough and Redding). It was a fabulous trip, but totally (literally!) emptied our pockets and bank account. It’s been a struggle since we returned home, but God has promised to provide … AND HE WILL!!
Our Current Visa Situation
We recently wrote a letter to the Department of Justice, the legal body that decides annually if we’re permitted to remain in the country for another year. We’re also gathering a dossier of other letters and documents. We’ve been very blessed to have been granted four years thus far (three is the usual limit), and are praying that we’ll be granted a fifth year, after which we’d be able to apply for citizenship (which we regret not doing back in the 70’s and 80’s, before Ireland became a part of the EU). Our prison guys tell us that their friends in the Dept. of Justice will absolutely grant us another year, and we hope they’re right! J Our current visas expire on September 16th … we ask for your prayers.
Saol Nua Church
This pic was taken after the coffee time at church recently, but a few of the ladies had already left before Laurie had the idea to organize this impromptu photo op. Every one of these sweet ladies has a special place in her heart (and mine).
We continue to be so grateful to have a branch of our family here … Jason (our second son), his lovely wife, Summer, and two of our grands, Liam (almost 6) and Rowan (4) … less than an hour up the road in Dublin. The kids spent a couple of days with us recently, and their parents joined us the next day for a picnic at Kilmacurragh National Botanic Gardens and dinner at home with us before heading back to Dublin. Having family here makes Ireland seem more like home!
We had a wonderful 46th wedding anniversary (June 6) coupled with Laurie’s birthday (June 11), and drove westward (our old stomping ground) to celebrate both! Miraculously the Lord blessed us with beautiful sunshine all week! We were invited to stay with dear disciples/friends from our previous campus ministry years, which made the trip possible. Frank came to the Lord in Galway, and lived with us for a few months in 1980 when we moved from Galway to Dublin. He and Mary now have clearance for prison ministry, and plan to come over next month to visit both of our prison ministries, as they hope to get a ministry started in a prison near them. Please pray for them!
It occurred to us that many of you have family and/or friends who love Ireland, and might be interested in investing in our ministry here. Our monthly support level has progressively dropped over the past four years, and we’re in need of new sources of ministry funds to stay afloat. If someone comes to your mind, would you be willing to contact them on our behalf? We’d appreciate that enormously!
With our love and grateful thanks for serving with us through your prayers and gifts,
Tip ‘n’ Laurie