Paul was aware of the mission trip to Haiti undertaken by ourselves earlier this year, and he extended an invitation to us to come down and share our presentation on the trip with both congregations....this was felt to be an ideal opportunity to establish links and share the vision for the church twinning process, and bring greetings and prayer requests from ourselves to our brothers and sisters in Carlow and Kilkenny.
So it was arranged, and we set off excitedly on Saturday 17th May on the long trip!! It took 31/2 hours, arriving in Carlow which is an hour south of Dublin. We arrived mid afternoon to a lovely warm welcome from Paul, Nicola, Eli and Caoillin. We had afternoon tea with them, and warm fellowship and spent time getting to know each other better. The manse is situated in a quiet cul-de-sac, a few minutes walk from the lovely river which flows through Carlow. After lovely tea, while the kids were put to bed, John and I went for a dander to explore Carlow. It's an old historic town on the banks of the river Burren, with the remains of a beautiful old 3th century castle.
Sunday morning, first service was 10am in Carlow. The church is an old traditional stone church in the centre of the town. The congregation was small, about 30folks of all ages. We got such a warm welcome, and we were invited to the front where we brought greetings from CMC. We distributed prayer cards, and presented a lovely photo of CMC which had been kindly donated by Len and Gail McClimmond and we shared a little about our vision for twinning with Carlow and Kilkenny. We encouraged folks to begin praying and extended an invitation to anyone who would like to visit us, and they seemed very excited at what God is going to do.
We did our Haiti presentation which was very well received, and following the lovely service we had to make a quick getaway with Paul as we had to drive 23mikes to Kilkenny where the service started at 11-45 ... This drive , a round trip of 46miles is undertaken by Paul every Sunday as well as preaching twice...we had a new appreciation for what ministry to more than one church, covering large distances, entails!
We then travelled back to Paul & Nicola for a lovely lunch. We prayed with them, encouraged them, for life away from close family isn't easy, and assured of our continued love and prayers. we then journeyed home.
Let's pray for our brothers and sisters in Carlow and Kilkenny...they are folks like us, seeking to be God’s kingdom people in Ireland...they value our new friendship and prayers.. We felt so privileged and humbled to be invited and share fellowship with our new brothers and sisters....let's see what our God has in store for the three congregations…
John & Mel