The GraceLife Family of Churches sent out Patti Parks as a missionary to Ireland in the Summer of 2016.
2021 IN REVIEW:
Things have been very busy here and feel a bit more normal. What a joy it is to share in the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you all! I hope each of you has a very Merry Christmas as you consider this Gift from God!
Praise the Lord for seeing us through another year. 2021 began in lockdown. For us here in Ireland, this lockdown spanned from December 2020 through May. Although the lockdown lifted, there were still many restrictions including restrictions on churches and other large or intimate gatherings. We were not able to meet as a church until June, and the remaining restrictions were lifted in small increments until October. We were thrilled when we could implement more normal gatherings and activities as a church! Yet, while all of this was going on (our government's response to COVID) God was still at work. He neither sleeps nor slumbers! This has not taken God by surprise, and he is not wringing his hands in worry.
2021 was an interesting year for me personally. Some of you know that my Dad turned 70 and had given each of the siblings a generous Christmas gift that would enable us each to travel to NY for his birthday. However, this was all a great surprise because we convinced him Covid prevented us from all traveling. Despite the restrictions and many hoops, we all had to jump through we all ended up in my Dad’s living room for his birthday and it was the first time my Dad had ever been in the same room with all of his children. This was a great blessing and answer to prayer.
Another blessing this year was getting to go on an 800+ mile road trip down the Wild Atlantic Way, exploring the nooks & crannies of Ireland’s most beautiful coastlines. With hospitality prices soaring the only way I could afford this trip was to camp in a tent. Camping has never appealed to me, but road trips have always been my “anti-depressant”, my reset, and my re-charge. The experience was worth it and I have changed my opinion on camping.
Ministry has had a lot of ups and downs this year. The restrictions have felt oppressive at times, but we have seen God at work. Here are some of the highlights in ministry from 2021
- Belturbet Baptist was officially planted in September
- Evan and Rachel, new missionaries in Cavan have settled in really well into life
in the midst of restrictions
- Bible studies for the women have been effective in growing our women’s faith and
- The addictions group transitioned into a discipleship group and we have seen God’s salvation. That lovely woman I mentioned prayer for, who had been sitting on the fence has trusted in Christ! The sale of her home has been delayed and allowed time for discipleship. She will be moving over to Ballina, where I previously served, some time in the near future!
Let me tell you a little bit about this lovely lady. I don't want to say her name out of privacy and respect. One morning in our group meeting she came in distressed over the complications of her home sale. I asked her why she was sad or what was bothering her about it. She said every time she walked past her bible, she knew she wasn't turning to God in her stress. While she was saying this, she began to cry. I told her I thought this was the Holy Spirit drawing her closer. I asked her if she was ready to jump off the fence and trust God with all of her life. It has been a blessing to see God at work in her heart, slowly changing her. She has been coming to church and said to me, "when I come to church I get the feeling that people genuinely want me there, and it feels like family." After a sermon from one of our elders who had 12 hours to prepare a sermon, he spoke from his own personal study and shared about the life of Abraham. She messaged me after the service and said, that after hearing that man speak she wanted to go and study more about Abraham. That is every preacher's dream?! It has been a joy to walk alongside her and teach her about the Lord's supper and baptism. Please pray for her as she continues this journey of walking with the Lord.
I am so thankful and grateful for all who have prayed for these things and we praise God for this fruit!
This year has come with some disappointments, discouragements, and sadness, but the Lord has helped me through them all. I am grateful for the love and support from all of my “advocates”- you know who you are! For all of my supporting churches, for all of my prayer warriors. For all the folks at Pioneers and for all of those who long to see God be glorified here among the Irish and the ever-growing diaspora from Europe and beyond.
If you would like to give to Patti Parks mission expenses - click here
If you would like to view previous updates - click here.