Why would Ireland need missionaries?
The Republic of Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Known for their generosity, hospitality and love for life; many think the Irish have it “all together”. With a population cresting 4.8 million Ireland is traditionally a Catholic nation.
As of 2016 census, only 78% now consider themselves to be Catholic and of that less than 10% attend any sort of mass regularly. Over 35% of those ‘Catholics’ also consider themselves to be atheist or agnostic. Less than 1% of the nation would call themselves born-again believers with an active relationship with Jesus Christ. The rise in Agnostics rose by 132.4% and Atheists rose the most by 320%!
We have been told that the Republic of Ireland is the least reached English speaking country in the world. With atheism’s massive growth comes an increase in depression, despair, hopelessness and suicide. Ireland has one of the highest rates of Suicide in the EU and Limerick has the highest rates in Ireland. Add to that a struggling economy and you have a nation that is seriously in need of hope.
The Lord, however, has not forgotten them and He is moving powerfully in this country. Young and old, people are hearing the gospel and responding. Broken people are seeking counselling and hearing about Jesus in a life changing way for the first time.
Bruce and I have felt God calling us to the Celtic peoples for years and have partnered with TEAM on a long-term basis to Ireland. It is our heart to connect with local pastors and encourage them in whatever ways they may have. This may come by very practical means like Bruce helping a few churches get modern audio/visual sound systems, computer systems, etc set up to giving the pastor a break on a Sunday by preaching and/or leading worship. One-to-one discipleship and leadership development is our hearts desire but time and coffee will allow that to happen.
God has directed us to partner with Limerick Baptist Church. We have resonated well with Pastor Paul and Caroline Ritchie and the elders. This is a church with a heart to reach their community for Christ and be a light in a very dark region on Ireland. We partner with them rather than starting our own “thing” because that is the biblical model we want to follow. This way we are under the headship of a local church who will hold us accountable to God and our call. This body of believers has been in Limerick for many years and knows her community so to partner with them is wise. They hold us loosely but we feel their protection and guidance as we seek to minister to the People of Limerick and area.
God has given us this prayer for the Irish:
Roman 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Here is the area where we serve.