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Laurel’s Life in Ireland

September 2010

Dear Friends and Family, While we were very sad to see the Autrys go at the end of August, it gave Sarah and me the opportunity to move into their flat. So, we moved down the hall and into a flat with two bedrooms, a bath, and a proper kitchen and living room. It is very nice to have a full kitchen for fixing meals and a living room for lounging and entertaining. We are already putting it to good use. I celebrated my 23rd birthday by going out to dinner with many friends from work and church. Then we invited people back to our flat for desserts and tea. It was so much fun. I also received many cards and messages from old friends so I felt well loved all around. Thank you! As the weeks pass I see my relationships deepening with the people around me. Especially those with whom I work. They are all incredible people with a huge heart for God and the people of Galway. I love that we are able to work, pray, worship, laugh, learn, and joke together, both at work and after hours. Both the secondary schools and universities are back in sessions which has brought lots of business into the café. It is so fun to see students I connected with in 2008 coming through the door. I’m excited to see how relationships that have started with a smile and a grilled cheese can blossom into so much more. Please be praying for God to prepare hearts and create opportunities for us to share more than a good meal with those that come in and for us to be obedient to his nudging . Thank you for all your prayers . We can see how God is already at work and it is wonderful to be a part of it. Love,

Prayer Request: Clarity and openness when sharing during the retreats (explained on page 3) Boldness and discernment when talking to customers

Irish Schools Elementary school = Primary school Junior infants = preschool Senior infants = kindergarten 1-6 class =1st-6th grade

Middle school/High school=Secondary school 7th-12 grade = 1-6 year Transition year = 4th year Leaving cert = last year of secondary school

The Junior Cert is a test taken to determine what track you will take to prepare for the Leaving Cert. In order to complete school one must pass the “Leaving Cert”- It is a large standardized test that is offered once a year in various locations throughout Ireland. The points one receives on the Leaving Cert determine what University he or she can attend and what programs one can study. 600 is a perfect score with most people scoring in the 200-400 range. One’s performance in secondary school does not weigh into their Leaving Cert score. Once you have started a program in University you must complete it or start completely over if you want to change. The school day is set up on a block schedule, but it may happen that a student would have one class two times in one day. Students are allowed to miss several days of school without penalty. Roughly 3-4 months worth. Parents are called but no punishment is given by the school for students skipping class Students are given about an hour lunch break to leave campus and eat. Thankfully the school lunches are slightly staggered which allows us to serve students from two or three different schools. Most of the public schools are run by the Catholic Church which allows us to openly share the gospel in some schools.

Stories from the Café Lunch times can be a bit crazy but we are learning how to work together efficiently and how to deliver love along with the student’s order. We go through a crazy amount of cookies. We bake approximately 15 dozen (168) cookies every morning and often have to bake more after lunch. The cookies bring them in, but the friendships keep them coming back. We are getting a glimpse of how God can use us in the lives of these students the more we get to know them. Right now one of the biggest things I believe God is calling us to is to be an example of a life not lived by the standards of this world, but one centered on God. As they get to know us I pray they desire to know what makes us different. Retreats will be starting this week. On Wednesdays a class of 5th years will come to the café for a day of fun, but also truth. One of us will share our story and how God has worked in our life. Someone else will facilitate a discussion of sexual purity, and another on effects of drugs and alcohol. This gives us a great platform to share a message contrary to the one they constantly hear in the media. The Gospel message is also presented. Students are not pressured to make a commitment right away, but are encouraged to really think it over and only make a decision when they are ready to truly surrender their life to Christ.

Evangelism on The Street A few weeks ago Mike and I saw a couple of guys standing outside a pub .He asked and they were very agreeable to talk. The first guy said he was an atheist, the second said a Darwinist which the first guy thought sounded better so he changed his answer. Throughout the course of the conversation it became obvious the second guy had done some research and thought on the subject so he and Mike were able to have a pretty lively discussion. This drew the attention of some of his buddies inside and they wanted to know what was going on. So what started as a discussion with 2 turned into a discussion with about 10. We also found out that the group was actually on a stag party (bachelor party) weekend. They all had pints of various drinks and were smoking, but yet they were also interested in what Mike had to say. They were very fun and light hearted, but also intent and curious. ,

From the little bits they each shared from their life if was obvious to see God was reaching each one where he was at. They had come to Galway for a weekend of drinking, gambling, smokes and I don't want to know what else, but God had slipped a discussion with us about himself into the weekend's festivities. When we finally said goodbye we shook hands with them all and Mike gave them some names to You Tube and literature to read if they wanted it. One of them that had been there from the start and hadn't said much but was intently listening. He said he was really going to be thinking about it. When we glanced at the clock, we realized we had spent over an hour with them. I think we both felt a little overwhelmed with what just went down, but prayed God would continue to work in their lives. Later one of the guys saw Mike on the street and said he was at a cross roads in his life and thanked Mike for giving him a lot to think about. Of all of them he was the one that seemed the most set in his way of thinking, so it was cool to hear this from him. You never really know exactly how God is working.

Life in Galway Tips for Grocery Shopping in Ireland You can find most any food you would want at any of the local grocery stores. Mexican dishes are the most difficult to recreate with all local ingredients. However, if you import taco seasoning you can come pretty close. Most products you would find in the local grocery stores will have fewer preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or other artificial additives than their American counterpart, which is great. However, for those that grew-up of these staples it can be a bit weird. (Thank you mom for raising me on a healthy diet.) Ireland has some of the best dairy products I have ever had. The yogurt is nice and creamy, there is a wide variety of cheeses and very rich and smooth milk. If you keep an eye out for the store brand and weekly specials you can get a week’s worth of groceries without breaking the bank. When you are filling your basket, it is important to remember that you must fit everything in your bags and carry it the quarter of a mile home. This helps you rethink those impulse purchases real quick.

Other ways to keep in contact with me: Facebook Group: Laurel’s Life in Ireland

Want to learn more about An Tobar Nua? Check out

For more information about Foundation in Christ Ministry, visit their website: 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. 411 Spring Valley Lane Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

E-mail: 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!


Laurel's Life in Ireland: September Edition  

This is my monthly newsletter to help friends and family learn more about what I am doing in Ireland.