Laurel’s Life in Ireland
Dear Friends and Family, We are well into another month. Things here are going pretty well. As I mentioned in the January edition, we are seeing increased opportunities and interest to share in school classes in a variety of ways. We are also starting to see growth and break through in the lives of some of the students we have been getting to know over the last few months (see Stories from the Café on page 3). It is exciting to see buds appearing from the seeds that have been planted. Ireland is in the midst of economic recession and a political shift. We have not seen a major impact in business from these factors but they are key in the lives of many people we work with. As I was writing this issue and deciding what to say, prayer seemed to keep coming to the foreground. There is a lot of exciting potential for change and growth, but if God is not at the center of it then all of our efforts are worthless. Please be praying for continued strength, focus and increased unity in all the things we do. There are a smattering of other specific prayer requests throughout the issue including governmental changes, new programs and continual growth in relationships. Your prayers are very welcomed and felt . Thank you to all of you that are supporting us. Love,
That we keep our focus on Jesus
Strength and enthusiasm for new programs
Governmental elections and political and economic stability for the country of Ireland
Softening of hearts ready to hear the gospel
Obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading
Election Time As you may have heard Ireland is in a time of deep economic recession. As with most nations this also brings political unrest. While this is nothing like the revolution Egypt is experiencing, a call for new elected official has been made. Ireland operates under a parliamentary democracy. The President, Mary McAleesse has been in office since 11 November 1997. The President acts as a figurehead for the nation and is elected for a 7 year term with a limit of filling the position for no more than 2 terms. The Taoiseach, Prime Minister, had been Brian Cowen for the last three, but he recently resigned as part of the call for a new Dail Eireann. The Irish Parliament consists of the Dail Eireann, and the Seanad, The Upper House. The Seanad has 60 seats which are peer appointed and rotate when a new lower house is convened. The Dail members has 166 seats which are appointed by a general election typically held every four years. However, when some one resigned or is forced to step down an election must be held within three weeks. Thus the country of Ireland will be voting on Friday, February 25 2011 to elect a new Dail. There are 5 major political parties represented in parliament Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour Party, Green Party, and Sinn Féin. Fianna Fáil had control of the Dail, but this election will likely bring a new party to the foreground. The voting age is 18, like in the US, however the voting system is different. Instead of choosing one candidate you vote for everyone, but rank them in order of your preference. This is only my simple understanding after discussing with a few friends and reading a few web articles. I’m still trying to grasp the details, but I would ask you to be praying for the right people to be elected and help Ireland get back on it’s feet financially and politically.
Life in Galway Listening to the radio as I drove around Tulsa was something I took for granted since. I had my pick between Christian stations. If I was not feeling the song on one, I had others to choose from. This luxury is not the case in many nations. Loads of people from different ministries have been working on establishing a Christian radio station for the country of Ireland. On January 27, 2011 Spirit Radio began airing full time in 5 major cities including Galway. Along with providing songs with a positive message, this is a great platform for the Gospel to be shared. Many of the songs are the same ones you would hear on KXOJ, but there are others I have not heard before. One morning one of the girls I work with was in a bakery that was playing Spirit Radio. While she was there, she heard a caller request an Andrew Feeney song . This may not mean a lot to you, but Andrew Feeney is the worship leader at my church and recently released an album, All for You. We were all excited to hear that this will be another way for him to share his music. He has an amazing voice and really powerful lyrics. If you are interested in listening or purchasing some of his music, check him out on itunes. You can also check out Spirit Radio and listen to a live stream at http://www.spiritradio.ie.
Stories from the Cafe The last few weeks we have been talking as a staff about ways to create more opportunities to share the Gospel and fill the needs of people we meet. One idea that came of this conversation was to host a College Night. The National University of Ireland, Galway is less than a mile from our café. The ministry has primarily focused on reaching secondary school students (middle and high school age), but is seeing an open door at the University as well. The campus has an active Christian Union and we have gotten to know some influential people involved with that organization. We have also met many American students who have come as part of a semester abroad. During college I spent many nights a week at different coffee shops doing homework, hanging out, playing games etc. In Galway there are very few coffee shops that stay open at night leaving pubs as the main option for places for people to gather. We are not changing our hours of operation, but as of February 17th we will be having a monthly College Night providing a place for coffee, conversation, games and a safe place to hang out. We are not exactly sure how this will unfold, but please be praying for wisdom and that this would be a blessing and an opportunity to share the love of Jesus. Another idea we considered involved having a discussion/hang out night for some of the secondary students we have gotten to know well. We work formally with several schools, but the Jes is one school, at which we do not currently have a presence on their campus, but they have a large presence at the café during lunch. Over 75% of our lunch business comes for this school. There is also a group of students that enjoy hanging out in the café almost every afternoon. They know we do retreats with students from other schools and have expressed a desire to hear the talks too. They have started asking questions about our opinion on drugs, alcohol, sex and other issues teens face. So on March 4 we will start hosting a once a month gathering. Please pray for an interest to come, desire to learn, a comfortableness to share and wisdom in what to say. God has given us so many opportunities to pour into these students lives and we want to make the most of it!
What do you want to know? I’m running out of ideas of things to share in my newsletter. So please let me know if there is anything you would like me to talk about or any questions you would like me to answer.
Want to learn more about An Tobar Nua? Check out www.antobarnua.com
For more information about Foundation in Christ Ministry, visit their website: www.foundationinchrist.org
Change of address for sending contributions
Other ways to keep in contact with me: Facebook Group: Laurelâ€™s Life in Ireland
If you would like to financially contribute to FICM a donation can be made on the website or sent to: Foundation In Christ Ministries c/o Steadfast Financial Services, INC. 691 Cricklewood Terrace Lake Mary, FL 32746
E-mail: LEAD03@gmail.com Address: Laurel Dyson c/o An Tobar Nua 25/27 Lower Dominick St. Galway, Ireland
Thank you to all who have already given so generously!
The happenings of Galway in the month of February