Dear Pastor, Friends, and Church Families,
As I look out my rain-soaked window and write to you this morning, I am just happy to be here in Ireland. I hear about all the snow and cold weather there in the States, and elsewhere, and am so encouraged by our rain, and cool weather here – it is so nice to have mild winters, AND mild summers. My family and I are living in the greatest place on earth! And it’s because of God’s call on our lives, and God’s people prayerfully supporting us here! Thank You!
Immigration Scare. Just before Christmas we discovered that the immigration office here wanted new documents concerning our stay here in Ireland. That would be fine, except our permission to stay was almost expired, as well as our passports. So we had quite a time getting all the documents in order, and our passports renewed in time. And as usual, all our fretting was a waste of effort, as the Lord worked everything out for His glory!
Christmas Fruit. Normally, November through January is a quiet time here in Ireland due to the very rainy weather, short daylight hours, and just overall tiredness that everybody feels at the end of a year. But the Lord always blesses our labours even as we sort of slow down. We have been seeing several new visitors, and solid growth among our regular folks. One of the men in the church named Joe M won his neighbour to the Lord with his faithful witness to just everyone he meets! I am so pleased with the incredible church that God has given me to pastor!
Teen Group Growth. One area that is very exciting to see develop is in the young people’s group! Some 10 – 15 teenagers faithfully get together every other Friday evening in a nearby home, where we have games and fellowship, and I teach them through our Discipleship Course. Several who come are not saved yet, so it is a great opportunity for the Christian teens to see the Lord work on the hearts of the unsaved through the lives of the Christians.
Ladies Coffee Mornings. The ladies in our church in Blarney are really bonding as they meet every month on a Saturday morning for coffee, tea, fellowship, and a time in the Bible. I am looking forward to these ladies reaching their husbands and families with the Gospel, and our church growing beyond our dreams!
Family Activities. We had a wonderful Christmas together as a family this year (much better than the house fire we had at this time last year!). Every year we are so grateful for the many people who write us at Christmas and send us cards, and small gifts! We really do so appreciate being loved and remembered in your prayers! Our oldest daughter, Sharon continues to do very well with her violin and piano lessons, and orchestra performances. She is in 11th grade, and just turned 17, so she is itching to learn to drive! Oh no! Joel is slowly admitting to liking his piano lessons, but is still very athletically active, and doing well in his homeschooling courses. Ruth is also doing great in school, and has such a zest for life. I hope to soon be personally training them and all our church teens how to better win souls here in Ireland. Joshua is growing up fast, and zooming along in his schooling. He is always outside as soon as school is over, playing some sport. Sarah, at 6 years old, is our little princess – she loves reading and dressing up every day, and playing with her dolls all over her floor! Oh well. She is a blessing of a daughter – all our children are priceless gifts!
Upcoming Events to pray for! Our Men’s Retreat, and Ladies’ Retreat in April, that we would see us all sharpened for the Lord’s work here; our Mission’s month in March where we focus our attention on world evangelism the entire month; And the beginning of a Soul-Winning Club in March to better train all our folks in evangelism.
· Keep praying for Marlene who has bone cancer, that she has a miraculous remission!
· Pray for several people who need to get saved: Ann Marie M, Dina O’M, Sandra O’C, Devon M, Brendan F, Martin and Celine C, and Paul H (most of whom are unsaved family members of our church people).
·Please continue to PRAY for us to be able to buy property here in Ireland, and that the Lord would supply the necessary monies to make it happen! AMEN! We are consistently putting away money for the eventual purchase of land, but need the vision to see it through!
As always, May God bless you all mightily,
Bro. Craig Ledbetter and Family
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