Earlier this week, I was asked what I was grateful for in the lead-up to Thanksgiving. I realized that I was grateful for the Irish government changing the regulations on the Minister of Religion Visa back in 2018. If you have been supporting and praying for me for any length of time, you’ll know how long a road it has been to finally live and serve full-time in Ireland. Many different kinds of delays have happened along the way. One of those delays was a change in the regulations of the Minister of Religion visa in 2018, the visa I was hoping to enter Ireland with. Amongst several new regulations was one in particular that required an in-country partnering charity. It seemed an easy task since I had several existing connections in the country but as I would come to find out, not as easy as I had hoped. All of my existing connections were not able to partner with me in this way which led me to ask some charities and organizations I had never met before.
In 2019, I visited Ireland and more specifically Greystones with the purpose of finding a partnering charity. To make a long story short, the Church of the Nazarene Greystones agreed to be my partnering charity for my Minister of Religion visa. Currently, I live and serve in Greystones, Ireland. This town was not on my radar at all in 2018, only as the town my teammate Kathi lived in. She had suggested asking the church she attended. But now I live here. Now I am blessed to serve a rapidly growing and diversifying church family at “the Naz” as it is locally known.
As I thought about how different the reality of my life in Ireland is to the one, I imagined, I was struck by the creativity of our Heavenly Father. I would have never imagined that I would live in County Wicklow because all my connections were further north in County Louth. I would have never imagined that I would be in a pastoral position in a church. But now I serve as the administrative pastor at the Naz. But God knew. He had it planned this way all along. I am so incredibly blessed to serve in this community. The one God designed for me.
Some of the ways I’ve been able to serve in this community in the last few months have been so fun. In August, I was privileged to accompany residents from Peace Haven, a local charity that provides housing and support for adults with intellectual disabilities, on their vacation to Orlando, Florida. All three residents, Rachel, Beverley, and Clara attend our church. We got to go to all the Disney parks, ride a fan boat in the Everglades, visit Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village, and swim with dolphins. It was so much fun to help provide a safe and relaxing holiday for these ladies. It also was really nice to be within driving distance of a Target for two weeks!
Right before Florida, a team from my home church of Gateway Friends in Diamond Bar, California came to Greystones to help us provide a craft and cookery camp for over 50 children. I loved having some of my favorite people from Gateway here with me in Ireland. It was immensely gratifying to be able to show them our ministry here. They loved meeting all the people I’ve been talking about and getting to serve our church family.
We as a church family are looking forward to the Advent season as we journey towards Christmas morning and the gift of the Son of God. We have lots of plans to engage our community. We are excited to host a carol service, men’s and women’s dinners, ecumenical gatherings, and children’s programs.
Thank you so much for your intentional and generous prayer and support of what God is doing in and through my ministry in Greystones, Ireland with the Church of the Nazarene. I am so grateful that those visa regulations were changed all those years ago.
All my love and prayers,