April 2-15 2017
In the spring of 1748, John Newton, shipmate on the slave-trading schooner—-the Greyhound—-was returning from Africa. After a very difficult tour, the ship and crew drew near to England but in the final week of the journey, had to endure a merciless, pounding Atlantic storm that shook their vessel to the core. The danger of sinking was almost certain, not to mention running out of food and water. As the crippled ship drifted towards land, John Newton the self-professed atheist, found himself desperately praying for the first time in his life, promising to give his life to God, if only he would be saved from a watery death.
Miraculously, the ship and crew were spared and the Greyhound slowly limped into a bay in the northern part of Ireland. That day, John came under the conviction of his sin, and he was resoundingly regenerated. When the ship finally landed, during those first days ashore he walked all the way into town. He attended church for the first time as a brand new believer in Christ. Incredibly, several hundred years later, that historical connection to Newton has opened a door to ministry.
The Republic of Ireland has prospered economically in recent decades along with a strong resurgence of awareness in Irish culture and language. But in regard to faith, it is a very different story. The Irish people are statistically 85% Roman Catholic, but many in name only. Post-modernism, materialism, and clergy scandals have driven many away from practicing their religion. It is a land quite barren of the good news of the true gospel.
One patient couple has served in this town where Newton landed for 21 years with Operation Mobilization. The hard ground of religion has made progress very difficult. But when the connection to Newton was discovered, a creative idea was born. Over time, they relayed the “Amazing Grace” story to the town leaders and God progressively gave them favor. The idea…why not use John Newton’s story and his world famous hymn to attract visitors to their beautiful county?
That made the way for many unique opportunities within the community including a historic commemorative garden, a drop-in center for youth, art shows, and most of all a music festival. This week-long, city-wide event tells the historic story in a number of creative ways, but features a series of concerts highlighting Newton’s lyrics, writings, and hymns. In a place with no evangelical church, and almost no openness to the gospel, light is breaking through.
During the first two weeks of this coming April, our team will arrive to support the logistics of this annual festival, as well as perform gospel-centered music to a growing audience from the town and surrounding region. Our goal will be to strengthen the hand of those engaged in ministry, build relationships, and serve in the community in culturally sensitive ways, be a gracious witness to the truth, and play music to the glory of God.
We are asking you, our sending RBC congregation, to help us through your prayers and giving so that this team will be well-equipped to serve. Please pray for our hearts to be prepared, for our knowledge of the people and culture to be expanded, and for our financial support.
From left to right: Bill Walsh, John Huss, Kayla Kaveney, Brandon Carmack, Sofia Wolfe, Wendy Pace, and Julia Wolfe. (Not pictured: Regan Walsh & CaJuan Wright)
Ways to Give
We need your prayers and generous support! Please consider a general gift to support this team, or a gift to an individual team member.
Check or cash
Please make your checks out to Redeemer Bible Church and note Ireland on the memo line along with the name of the team member you’d like to support. Checks may be dropped off in the offering bag, the drop box near the Welcome Center, or in person at the church office. They may also be mailed to our office at the address below:
Attn: Finance Admin
16031 Woodland Curve
Minnetonka, MN 55345
- Go to our giving page.
- Choose “Give To Redeemer” button.
- Add an amount to “Other” and include Ireland and the team member’s name to the blank on the right (e.g. Ireland – John Smith).
- Proceed with your online gift.