It never ceases to amaze me – that instant sense of bonding in the Holy Spirit that comes when true Christians meet for the first time, even across cultures and nationalities. And that was certainly the blessed experience Ruth and I had when we met at the midweek evening meeting of the church in Castlebar that Calvary Mission has recently established.
We met in the house of Stephen and Nikki Childs as their children, Saoorse and Eoin, were just being put to bed. We had a wonderful time talking and praying with Stephen, Nikki, Andrew and Larry about things of the Kingdom, the state of Christ’s church in Ireland, and the work God is doing through them in Castlebar. It was heart warming to witness the commitment and dedication of these disciples to live 100% for their Saviour in this key town in County Mayo.
Stephen and Nikki grew up on the west coast of Ireland and moved a year ago to Castlebar after education and work in Ireland and London; Andrew and his wife are from the US and been in Castlebar from April 2012; while Larry is a native of Mayo. They are looking forward to September when two new families join them, and they hope to start meeting regularly on Sunday mornings in a venue that will make it easier for people to come along.
After our time in Westport with Paudge we had the wonderful opportunity to see County Mayo in the exceptional summer weather. So we spent a wonderful afternoon/evening driving round the coast from Westport to Achill Island to find at Keel the most amazing of beaches full of children swimming and surfing in bright blue water against white sand and clear skies. Ireland is just not meant to look like this!
In the midst of all this fun and beauty, a God-given discussion with a dog walker turned into a deep talk about spiritual matters. It drove home a point Paudge had been making about the cultural environment of Ireland: unlike the UK, and despite the recent public failings of the established church, gloriously the Bible’s words are still respected here and are a sound bridging point for sharing the true Gospel of Jesus. Continue reading
The Octagon, Westport
Wednesday 10th July
Our first full day in County Mayo started with a major discovery: inside two weeks we had been in two places with public spaces that were, for obvious reasons, called “Octagon”. The first was in Budapest, Hungary, and the second in Westport, County Mayo. Perhaps you know of more places by this name?
We were in Westport to meet Pastor Paudge Mulvihill who is the experienced but unassuming leader of Calvary Mission – a network of Christians working together to establish Bible-centred churches in the West of Ireland. Paudge is also a key partner for One Mission Society in the Republic of Ireland.