- T. S. Morrell
Huston Nov 2020 - Ireland
This month we've incredibly passed the two year mark of being on the field in Dublin. It has been an interesting two years to say the least. In this update we wanted to take a look back at the work we have been able to do. The work we have done in partnership with you and by the grace of God.
Over the last two years we have seen six apprentices pass through. We've overseen their mentoring, ministry placements, and classes. Alanna has overseen the mentoring program and has personally mentored one of our young ladies through Serge's Sonship course in this last year. Justin has be working with ministry placements where each of these six has been a part of one if not several ministries across Dublin. This is the glory of Disciple-making. One’s reach is exponentially increased and that reach does not end with a term length. Through and with our team we have a reach across multiple denominations and churches (Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Assemblies or God, Baptist) and many parachurch ministries (Alpha, CUI, Innovista, Street Pastors, Friends International, Urban Soul, Solas Project, and more. Click on one to read more of what they do). We have both, along with our new staff the Brands, overseen the apprentice curriculum teaching classes on the Bible, prayer, discipleship, evangelism, and many more.
Part of our apprenticeship program includes taking a prayer trip to another Serge field to be prayer warriors for them. In February, our team traveled to Bundibugyo, Uganda. We were able to meet and pray for each member of the team there as well as prayer walking in Christ School, the local Hospital, and the community at large. It was a life changing event. In the words of one apprentice. “When I heard them pour out their hearts to us, I couldn’t help but pray.” Love propels us! It was also a particularly poignant trip being the first time Alanna had returned since leaving in 2017 to get married. We were so blessed to be able to get this trip in before Covid took over.
Sadly we have planned for and seen two summers’ internships cancelled. We were able to go to London and help in their internship program providing mentoring for interns in 2019. When Covid saw to the deferment then cancelation of our last internship, we found four interns undaunted. They have instead chosen to forge on looking to come and serve with us in a special internship for seven months starting in the new year.
Even now we are in full recruitment phase. Do you know someone who would benefit from our Internship or Apprenticeship programs? We'd love to chat with them! We will also be participating in several Virtual Fairs at universities. Coming up we will be Zooming in with Auburn and Messiah on Nov. 4th. Know someone there? Let them know to sign up for a slot with Serge or learn more at the website.
During our first year on the field we were fortunate enough to take part in a new leadership development course our company has created. We spent some 20 hours a month meeting with small groups, one on one with a seasoned mentor, and in a larger cohort to learn more about serving in leadership. In this last year we took on the mantle of Team Leaders overseeing the staff and apprentices of the SA Ireland team. This was a tough transition and only a couple weeks after taking the helm, Covid hit ushering in our first lockdown. Caring for ourselves and our team through lockdowns has been a significant challenge. We were blessed to have a reprieve between lockdowns, and in August were able to take our team on a retreat in Donegal, our first and only time out of Dublin in the last eight months. It was the refreshment we all needed. God really met us there.
We’ve seen the 250th anniversary of our church and were able to help host the Archbishops of Canterbury and Dublin. Alanna has been very involved in the children’s ministry, even overseeing the curriculum while the church was without a children’s pastor. Justin has recently joined in as a youth leader and also facilitates Prayer and Porridge, an early morning prayer meeting. Together we are also on the church's connect team and are looking to form our own small group in the coming months. Alanna has also begun doing admin work for the whole diocese on a project aimed at developing and implementing learning communities among pastors. With Covid we have only seen two weeks out of the last eight months where people were able to meet in person, and with our newest lockdown it looks to be many more before we do again.
We are one of several teams across the island and regularly come together for fellowship and for work. Three times a year we gather for days of prayer together for each other and for this nation. The rest of our teams on the island have a focus on facilitative church planting. One way this is done is through the Irish Church Planter’s fund through which we are able to help financially support Irish pastor’s in founding new churches across the country. Alanna serves as a trustee for our accounts helping to make these decisions. Besides financially supporting church planters we also aim to provide mentoring, prayer, and other aids as are needed. Each year we also host a prayer summit on the island. In 2019, thirteen individuals came from across the United States to partner together in the important work of prayer. Each day we met with various church and ministry leaders, heard their stories, and spent time praying for them and their ministries. All throughout the week we caught glimpses of where Ireland and the church have been, where they are now, and the direction they are headed. It was encouraging to remember that God has been at work on this island for thousands of years and He isn't going anywhere. Sadly, Covid saw to the 2020 Summit being canceled but we are eager to welcome it back in 2021. See the website for more information if you are interested in attending.
Ireland is a place where everyone you meet is happy to greet you. It is truly a hospitable nation. However, going deeper than a casual conversation takes a very long time of building relationships. We are fortunate that we have come to a team that has been building those relationships for almost 40 years. We have been welcomed into the church community with open arms. Still, we want to leave a legacy as has been left for us. To that end we strive to find ways to engage with the community on a deeper level. Joining the local boxing club has been a delight for Justin, getting to know a different side of Dublin from the usual church circles. Opening our home, at least when not on a lockdown, for meals and movie nights has been a real joy as well. We’ve been blessed to have a blossoming relationship with our neighbors. (One of whom just dropped off a fresh apple tart! Yum!) Our great hope is for these relationships to lead ever deeper and open doors for the gospel to be spread.
Looking back at our last two years, it is more than evident that God has been with us and working through us. We are honored to have you joining us in this work and look forward with joyous expectation at what the Lord will bring in the coming years as we continue to serve Him here. We will leave you with our new mission and vision we have been working on as a team, one I hope you can see as including you as a partner with us in this great work. Thank you for all you do.
Ireland SA Team Vision and Mission
Vision: Young leaders who are captivated by God’s grace, overflowing with the joy of knowing Jesus, and being transformed for the world’s good and God’s glory.
Mission: Loving God and neighbor, laying down our lives as catalytic encouragers for the renewal and expansion of the church in Ireland while providing and receiving integral experience, training, and mentoring.