LEDBETTER'S IRELAND UPDATE
Vol. IX, No. 1
Greetings again from Ireland! It amazes me how the ministry is always so fresh and new each day. What a joy to serve my loving Saviour! I and my family want to thank you all for your wonderful love and kindness that you continue to show towards us, in the cards you send, and the gifts we received here back at Christmas! THANK YOU so very much! The kids appreciate (as we adults do) the sacrifice you make in taking the time to gather the items, and boxing them, and shipping them to us, and we are always humbled by your generosity!
Christmas Events. Christmas here was packed with our first Church Worker's Banquet (which was absolutely a dream, as the people's hearts were unified in commitment to reaching more souls for Christ), our annual Christmas dinner (which by the way was fully catered by a man in the church who is a chef), our annual Christmas play (which so blessed us all at the super presentation of the Christmas Story and Gospel), and to top it all off, our Christmas Day Meeting! Every year, we make sure that Christmas Day is not wholly given over to greed and grub, but we make sure the Lord Jesus is honoured on HIS birthday in worship, and Gospel preaching! The folks wouldn't miss it, because it just would not be the celebration of Christ's-birth without the Gospel being preached, and Christians being together!
Family Stuff. It has been said, we don't mention enough stuff about our family. Well, here is some of the latest gossip! Sharon, our oldest, is TWELVE years old this month - WOW! I am amazed at her growth. She continues to do well with violin, the piano, homeschool, as well as Irish folk dancing. Joel, who is ten years old, is a strong young man. He also is learning the piano, and doing well in his schooling. It has been hard for him to not be in the sporting clubs here since they ALL play and have their matches on Sundays, but he is an exceptional blessing to me, and I look forward to his help in the ministry as he grows older! Ruth, who is eight years old is one sweet girl! She too is learning the piano well, and Irish folk dancing. Sharon, Joel, and Ruth are avid readers, and thankfully love books! Joshua is five years old, and in kindergarten, and would much rather be out playing (obviously) than reading and studying. He takes very well after Joel though, and is a blessing of a son, with his great attitude and energy! Sarah, our youngest, melts everyone's heart! She is a year and four months now, and a handful! Nita and I are really blessed to have such a family! Nita is obviously busy home-making, but also in teaching Sunday School, and is about to start up a ladies' Bible Study in February!
Final Note. Loads of people here are on the verge of getting saved. Patience, consistency, prayer, planting and watering are what we are busy doing, but waiting is the hardest part. So many come and go, and then come back, and then go away again. They know what they must do, but fear the cost. The darkness of religion and ignorance is so strong here! Please, remember the precious souls listed below, as their eternity is in the balance.
See also the Back Page. The back of this month's Prayer Letter is meant to brief you on the current ministry accomplishments the Lord has been doing through both you, and us Ledbetters here in Ireland. These are YOUR accomplishments as well as ours, since you co-labour with us in your fervent prayer and financial support!
v Pray for a series of special meetings we plan to hold soon in a Mallow Hotel about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We need a lot of prayer for this to take off! The Christians in Mallow need a lot of courage!
v The following need to get saved: Josephine Anders, the Mayer Family, Mary Sommers, Warren Cross, Mary Tighe, Marlene Layton, Isabella Lynch, and Jeff Monaghan.
v Pray for these to grow strong: Derek and Eileen Anders, Jenna Monaghan, Deila Buckley, Emmet Lynch, Kevin Butler, Ken Manley, Pat Tighe, and The Daly Family.
Some of the 1998 Accomplishments in the Ministry in Blarney and Mallow:
v We celebrated FOUR years of ministry here in Blarney in June, and our First in Mallow!
v I got to speak 4 times at two different universities here in Cork; three of the times on the Creation/Evolution issue, with over 50 people attending (they are very interested in this subject, and want me back)!
v 3 folks were led to Christ this year (Derek Anders, Eileen Daly, and Jenna Monaghan)! Oh that there would be more for the LORD!
v 5 folks were Baptized this past year! Each one is still going strong for the Lord! Thankfully, that has been our experience, that when someone does get saved (even though few in number), they usually get baptized, and they seem to really grow, and grow, and grow!
v 41 visitors came for the first time to Blarney, and 31 came out to the church in Mallow! Praise God!
v We blitzed the Tour de France bike race crowds with 10,000 Gospel tracts! All over the crowd people could be seen reading the saving Gospel from start to finish - they had nothing else to do - AMEN!
v 10 people are being discipled in the word of God on a weekly basis with our discipleship program! Our Wednesday evening Bible Study in our home is packed out almost every time!
v The church in Blarney has taken on its first missionary, and is preparing to take on a second soon!
v And yet, both churches are encountering serious opposition from the devil - you must expect this when you set out to do what the Lord leads you to do! Praise God! But let me repeat, there is a great need for prayer for these folks, and for God to send help in training them in being good soldiers of the cross!
Areas We Need Prayer About As We Work On Them:
I wish for so many more folks to get saved - it can take a whole lot more effort than you ever dreamed, but our Lord says even just ONE makes it all worth while (Luke 15:7)! AMEN! So pray that we ALL win more souls this year!
Many of the new Irish Christians get so much pressure and persecution here, that they lose sight of our Lord's command to "count it all JOY" when they find life rough going (James 1:2)! Naturally, I think people are so programmed into thinking once they get saved, life will be automatically easier, and better, and more enjoyable. But as they study their Bible, and begin to live for the Lord they encounter struggles that just aren't what they expected. Pray that these folks "endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ!" (2Timothy 2:3). Attendance overall has slumped due to some amazingly difficult trials in their lives. Discouragement is a formidable enemy of the Christian's life - but it shouldn't be!
We need COURAGE among our folks to witness more, and lead people to Christ themselves! This is where God will really be able to bless, when the Irish begin to win the Irish!
The folks in Mallow need to catch the vision that Mallow is going to hell, and they have a responsibility to reach them as a unified body of witness, willing to sacrifice everything for souls! Pray they reach for this goal!
We have seen so many great miracle events here in our corner of God's field, and so desperately hunger for greater things to be accomplished. We do not know when our Lord is coming, but we know there is ever more work to do!
Furlough Facts. I have been written, and asked many many times recently about when we are going to come back on furlough and report to all our supporting churches. I can say without hesitation, I don't know. The Lord called me to come to Ireland to start a church. That means, getting folks saved, training them, baptizing them, and then equipping them to operate as a local body of believers, representing the Lord Jesus to the surrounding community in witness, and life, and worship. They MUST be able to function on their own, with their own Irish pastor before I can leave them. Otherwise, experience shows, that all the labours that I have invested, will have been wasted. Please understand - I did not come over here for a short visit, but have moved here, and am settled in for the "long-haul." Pray that the men in these two churches take up the challenge of spiritual leadership, not just in their homes, but in their church!
Until next time, God Bless Ye All!
Craig Ledbetter and Family