Recently, I was thinking about the time in 2004 when our family was being considered for candidacy in Yorba Linda, California to come to Ireland. I remember standing tentatively before the board and being asked what it was that I saw our ministry looking like. I remember gingerly holding both of my hands out, in an upwards fashion. I said my prayer is this, “Lord, here are all the things that I have, my personality, my talents, my capabilities, my gifting. Lord take what you want to use, out of this hodgepodge of myself, and may it be a blessing to the people of Ireland in your name.” I’ve been thinking about that time because that simple prayer has been the cornerstone of our ministry. Even now as our ministry has evolved once again, I find myself holding out my hands in prayer.
Opportunities have come up recently that I never would have dreamed possible in 2004. Ever since my home church put on “Sir Oliver’s Song” in the mid ’80s, I have been enthralled with performing. I found a love for all artistic expression through acting or music or even speaking in public. One positive that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic was a reigniting of this in me. I have been painting, writing, and even taking acting classes at the Gaiety Acting School in Dublin. Each of these endeavours creates a new avenue to help fulfill the mission of EFM-Ireland. The first part of our mission starts with a purpose and passion to fuel a worldwide movement of people who seek first the kingdom of God. This only happens when we can come alongside people and proclaim the good news. I want to share a bit more about how God is using one of these areas.
Last year, I put my name out to do some background extra work and have been selected for a few productions. This opportunity has been a lot of fun, but more importantly, it has allowed me to meet a group of people that I never would have had the opportunity to meet before. People from all corners of the island and from every background imaginable. Executives, crew members, actors, background actors, caterers, construction, stunts, etc., I’ve had the honour to have a conversation with each of them.
Recently one of them asked me what I do when I’m not doing this, since this is such a sporadic and random industry. I said this is what I do only when my schedule allows. My real gig is that I am a Quaker minister who finds opportunities to meet with people who are hurting or lost. People who are asking questions and who are looking for hope. I look for ways to help people who are broken and try to have an impact on their life. He smiled and he looked at me and he said, “Oh, so you mean everybody on this set.” We laughed together and, in my mind, I thought, “Lord here are my tools, what do you want to use today?”
On these sets, I’ve had countless opportunities to hear the hearts of those around me. I have been invited to share my faith in a real and personal way. The conversations that take place are such a blessing for me. From the comical and trivial to honest and soul-searching. The seeker who has no idea where to go for the truth. The beauty is that in all of this, I see God at work in a mighty way. Placing people and opportunities in front of me that I never would have been able to connect with. Enabling me to speak truth in love, to continue “to carry out the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.”
Would you please pray with us that these conversations will be a catalyst for change? Please pray that as God uses the tools that are in our open hands, that lives will be transformed and that it won’t be contained on this island, but will grow and go forth throughout the world. Pray that I will be in tune with what God would have me do. God is truly at work in Ireland. God is truly at work in me. God is moving. Thank you for being our partner in this work. We love you all.
Grace and Peace,
The Howell Clan