Luke 5:15-16 English Standard Version (ESV)
15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
The last week or so has given our family a chance to reflect on a crazy year. Of course, the loss of Eoin has dominated our year. However, 2015 was also the year we moved halfway across the world to join a Servant Partners team in San Antonio, began a church plant on the East side of the city and spent a month living in a slum in one of the world’s largest and poorest cities, Manila.
That’s why this year we felt it was important to take some time out to rest, recover and rehabilitate in Florida. The truth is we are doing pretty well. Nobody knows how they are going to respond in the kind of situation we were faced with in October, when baby Eoin was stillborn and never recovered from a very traumatic birth.
Over the past few months, God has often led me to the story of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-29.) Our faith in God’s goodness has been fully tested, but things have never come close to falling apart. I’m sure that steps we had taken earlier this year to obey God’s calling to full time urban ministry, putting our full trust in Him and seeing him come through, helped prepare us to cope well with the tragedy of Eoin’s passing. God has reminded us constantly of the importance of establishing strong foundations, stormy times are never too far away.
Ministry wise, things in San Antonio have been going well. Church planting in an urban poor neighbourhood is complicated. Broken relationships, mistrust, suspicion, family troubles, neighbourhood grudges, a variety of other problems mean it’s difficult for people to commit to a relationship with Jesus, and a church community.
Slowly but surely, we are building a consistent group of neighbours who are meeting weekly to learn about God together, who are attending weekly bible studies and are beginning to care about Jesus and each other. We have a group of 30-40 neighbours who are meeting each Sunday for church. I have recently started a soccer ministry which has quickly gained momentum and is helping us to meet more people. Its been a crazy year but we are finishing the year with a lot of hope for what the future and 2016 holds.