On January 14, I arrived in Ireland and quickly received my first answer to prayer with the gift of a 90-day visa. As most of you are aware, I am here in Ireland to meet and make connections with an organization to partner with me. Brand new visa regulations have made this a part of obtaining a long-term visa here in Ireland. Thank you to everyone who has been praying specifically for the logistics of this new path God has placed in front of me. I have been staying with my teammate Kathi Perry in Greystones while I search for a ministry partner. I have found a couple of groups willing to consider partnership and I am waiting for decision makers in those groups to decide to partner with me or not. In the meantime, I am learning how to drive on the left side of the road, baking for Kathi’s toddler and baby groups while she’s in California, attending church events, meeting new friends and having dinner together and taking long walks while I listen to God, podcasts and worship music. I am adjusting to all the little things that are different about living in Ireland instead of California. Little things like hanging laundry to dry, weather changes, how forgiving round-a-bouts can be when you miss your turn and reveling in the sun being out in a way I never did in California.
I’ve been constantly taking photos of paths, trails and roads for years especially in Ireland. The above photo is the cliff walk from Greystones to Bray that is literally a minute and a half walk from Kathi’s house. Paths have become symbolic in my journey because I see God in these paths. I can only walk the path that is set before me. I cannot tread a path that I cannot see yet, so I shouldn’t worry about it. I can prepare for that path by wearing the right shoes and checking the weather, but I cannot know the path if I haven’t walked it before. Walking this trail almost every day, God has spoken to me about my path here in Ireland. Almost every day Kathi and I will look at each other and say, “We can only do what we can do.” What we’re trying to remind each other of is, we can only walk the path we can see right now. I prepare for that path by praying for grace and favor in each interaction with each person I meet here in Ireland. Preparations are also made through asking other people how the path went for them and listening intently to their answers.
The very first time I attempted the cliff walk I wore the wrong shoes; Dr Martens are not hiking boots for your information. About halfway to Bray which was about six km, I realized I had unforgiving shoes which had resulted in massive blisters on each heel. I stopped several times to readjust my socks, the laces of my boots and to just rest. By the time I reached the Bray train station, I could barely walk. After riding the train back down to Greystones I attempted to walk back to Kathi’s house. I purchased blister band aids in town and took my Docs off on the side of the road to put them on my ridiculously sore feet. Shortly after that I realized I wasn’t going to make it home. Kathi was back in California, so I felt like I didn’t have anyone to come rescue me. But I remembered a few women from church and the baby groups that had given me their phone number. I rang a few of them desperately asking for a lift from the harbor which is as far as I had gotten. Thankfully, one blessed woman came to collect me while I waited in the rain because of course it had started raining as well. I needed help and asked for it. Then, God blessed it. I’ve journeyed down several paths in Ireland before but this path in Greystones and with EFM is brand new. I am trusting God as I walk this path with Him leading me to something I cannot even begin to imagine. I am truly excited to see who and what God brings to me on this new path because I cannot do this on my own. Sometimes it’s as simple as calling a friend for a lift from the harbor.
I am so grateful to each of you for continuing to pray for this journey I’m on in Ireland. Thank you for praying for the uncertainty of it all and my response to that unknown. Please continue to pray for grace and favor with each group I’m talking to. Please keep praying for Kathi as she is in California with her family following the passing of her sister Lori. Please keep praying for David and Jonathon Howell who are on furlough in Ohio, Kansas and Oregon. Please keep praying for me as I look for only the next step and that I wouldn’t worry about ten steps ahead, only what I can do right in front of me. Also, please pray that I would have clarity to see the next step and it wouldn’t be lost in a sea of anxiety and fear. It’s challenging to live in another country no matter how close to home it feels, please pray for my adjustment and my homesickness. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.