Greetings from the United States!
Everything is basically unchanged. It has taken a devastating toll on people – on the souls of people! Extreme restrictions and limits really frustrate me as a pastor because I know all too well that people do not die of COVID or the Flu or of cancer, but because of sin. God says, “The wages (result) OF SIN is death” Romans 6:23. And I know that the answer to sin is not found in a vaccine, or in technology, or religion, but in believing the one true Gospel of the resurrected Jesus Christ!
The state of things in Ireland.
Church attendance is about 75% of what it should be, but we have a great spirit and are committed to growing our outreach and our influence here with the Gospel! We continue to develop our church building and are using it more and more for so many things as a church family. It feels good being together again! And the best news is that two of my grandchildren here in Ireland have gotten saved just this month!
Protecting health, yet damaging the soul.
Have you not noticed how the entire world has mobilized to save all people young and old from the effects of COVID? Protecting people’s lives sound so worthy of our efforts no matter the costs, and requires absolutely everyone to do their part, so that people do not die! But wait… isn’t that OUR calling as Christians? Hasn’t it ALWAYS been our commission to mobilise and get the only cure for sin into the HEARTS of all people, young and old, everywhere, NO MATTER THE COST? Dear Christian, do not fear death or sickness or hardship. We who are born again cannot die now – not really! Instead, we need to fear sin’s grip on this world, and the toll SIN is taking – 155,520 deaths PER DAY! Put THAT number against Covid deaths! So I hope you start to feel my frustration as a Bible believing Christian who knows most people in this world die without Christ every day. And politicians care noting of the value of a soul! In truth, the COVID restrictions are an imbalanced attempt at protecting everyone, and yet costing this generation its soul.
Hindered but not stopped.
Even though all of our evangelism and preaching and discipleship has been mainly online and virtual, we're trying to stay faithful and adapt. I still preach, both from my pulpit, but also on the local radio station in Cork City; we still reach out to drug and alcohol addicts every week (via Zoom); we put Gospel tracts into mail-boxes (it is legal in Ireland); the Discipling of believers has really expanded and exploded online; but almost everything else that we normally would be doing is now against the law. And that is wrong!
I am so very proud of how our church people have weathered this very long, constrained year. While Nita and I are in the States, faithful men are preaching, and faithful men and women are carrying the load of many burdens and heartaches: one young family just lost their first child at birth (stillborn); hidden problems in many marriages have caused great grief and even separation; while other marriages thankfully have become stronger.
Some things to Pray about...
1) For new people to get saved in spite of the lockdown.
2) Please pray for all your missionaries to stay encouraged because we can feel like failures in this “new normal” even though we know the word of God and the Spirit of God never stop working!
Until Next Time,
God bless you as you serve the King of kings!