Winter 2023 Update
Thankful and blessed! We send a huge heartfelt thank you for your 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!
Our prison ministry at Shelton Abbey has been languishing since Covid hit Ireland, but we have an event coming up on March 15 for which we’d greatly appreciate prayer. The Irish love music, so it’ll focus on just that … music! Please pray that God will be glorified and draw many of these men to the Savior.
Our ministry 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 has brought thousands of refugees into Ireland over the past year, and our church has provided clothes, food, hosted family events, mom’s groups, Bible studies, 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. Please keep this outreach ministry in your prayers!
We continue to praise God for our Irish citizenship! It’s so nice to be able to be waved through passport control these days. We’re so thankful to be able to continue to live here, as many of our missionary friends have had to leave. 22 years and counting!
FAMILY: It had been 17 months since we were able to be with our families in the U.S., so it was so special to have Tip’s siblings treat us to a trip over during the holidays. He spent a week with them in Arizona in December.
It was such a treat to spend a week with Trey and Dee in Orlando, as well as a brief visit with Sean (20). We didn’t get to see Isaac (22), since he now lives in Colorado. (After getting his MBA last year, Trey is now entering a new phase in his career as Senior Vice President of capital markets, a division of Cottonwood Communities Inc.) We also didn’t get to see Karis, Gavin and Grace (17), who live in Atlanta, but did have a lovely evening with Karissa (19).
It was a special few weeks with Josh, Jenni, Noah (11), Charlee (8), Ethan (7) … and Eric, Trinity, Everest (5), Amaraya (3) and Aliyah (9 mo.) in Maryland. We finally got to meet our newest treasure, Aliyah (All ee yah), for the first time!
We’re blessed to be able to see Jason, Summer, Liam (12) and Rowan (10) frequently, since they live just an hour north of us in Dublin. They also joined our family in Maryland during the holidays, as did Trey and Dee. Our family that began with just the two of us in 1970 now numbers 25!
HEALTH: We’re so grateful that we’re still able to carry on with a fairly normal life now that we’re in our mid-70’s. Tip’s heart issues have been so much better this year since he has a new ICD, updated meds, and the stent that was implanted a few years ago in Maryland. Having wheelchair assistance in airports has also helped immeasurably. Because of his diabetes, he has free meds here in Ireland, which is a huge bonus!
As we often tell people, “Old age is the reaping stage of life.” We received a Christmas card and letter on our arrival home from the U.S. from a disciple who dates back to the mid-70’s. We thought you’d be interested in his recent personal testimony of God’s grace in his life over the decades. We’re so thankful that he has come back to the Lord after many years of wandering. Here’s Tom’s story:
“You have heard of white Rhinoceroses, white elephants and white lies, well, I am a white Nigerian… We are a rare species. And all the rarer for being born with a spoon in my mouth, silver I think put there by parents who preferred a good safari than a frolic with their newborn son.
Misguided as I was, I decided to study medicine! When the time came –- and it was clear I was not as brilliant as I imagined -– I opted for Natural Philosophy only to discover in Galway they teach ”Natural Science.” You can imagine my disappointment! In Galway, we studied at the feet of Darwin. They still do.
I was a raging snob. I didn’t know it at the time – snobs rarely do. Soon I failed all my exams, found myself floundering and friendless; but making strides of progress on the stage, “unbeknownst to my parents” and becoming Thespian Tom. It was then, when I was at my most unpromising, I met Tipton, an American whose Americanism shone forth brilliantly. He talked about Jesus, and evinced a positivity and joie de vivre I found compelling. And he was sufficiently charming to visit me in my plays and praise my performances. Tipton told me God loves me. It was news to me. I wanted to know more. In the end, I must have decided I was loveable; I decided to follow Jesus.
Soon I discovered Jesus is a hard taskmaster. And besides His teaching is very radical. And there is a lot of the “Iscariot” in me (so much so I have come close to looking for the Potter’s Field, betimes). But my friend Jesus proved faithful, unlike His vaunted disciple. Galway didn’t work out; I failed all my exams, again!; moved to London; had a child out of wedlock and discovered very likely I was psychologically unsound,. I became a recluse. Eventually, I found a humble job in which I could be a happy recluse, all the while mindful of Jesus, but certainly not talking about Him very much to anybody.
Today, I am delighted to call Jesus my Savior, even Son of God, and incredible as it seems to me – Lord of All. Yet I am still reticent. Except for my un-reticent American friend, who spoke to me about Jesus all those years ago, I don’t think I would have a faith today. Thank you, Tipton.
Darwin does not loom large in my current thinking – I am less inclined to think we are accidents of Nature, and more inclined to think we are here by design – and it makes a lot of difference.
My son, (a doctor) does the medicine today. I continue with the Natural Philosophy, but my department has moved to its old school in Theology.
Being a dyed in the wool Gentile, I argue with God a lot (We can’t help it) ever failing to understand His choice of the Hebrews over the Hellenes, but yielding, more and more, to His irresistible charm.”
We love Tom, and are so thankful for all of our Irish disciples over the decades. Many have raised godly families who are now raising their own families. They are teachers, counselors, pastors, missionaries, Army officers, businessmen 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 someday meet those who have come to the Lord through the generations when we’re all together for eternity!
ADDRESS CHANGE: Our P.O. Box in Lynchburg, VA has continued to get more expensive over the past 20 years, and since this isn’t a wise use of our limited finances, a dear friend has invited us to share her box with us. Most of our ministry gifts 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. We know that money can be in short supply for many of us, but we also know that Jehovah Jireh, our PROVIDER, is always faithful to provide for ALL of us! Our financial support in 2022 dropped by 1/3, so we appreciate your faithful loving care for us all the more!
PO Box 10485
Lynchburg, VA 24506
Watching for the soon return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Tip & Laurie