Greetings loved ones!
I begin the first newsletter of 2021 with a song in my head,
“I’m pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned.
Struck down but not destroyed.
I’m blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure.
And His joy’s gonna be my strength.
Though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the morning.”
Are you feeling pressed, persecuted, or struck down? In my head I keep hearing “locked down,” but I supposed the concept is the same. It’s a feeling of confinement and restriction. This song is a reminder to us all that we’re not crushed. We’re never abandoned. We won’t be destroyed. The joy of the Lord is going to be your strength. Hold fast to that reminder, that although there’s sorrow in this season, His joy in right around the corner.
Here in Ireland we’re facing yet another full lockdown. Pastor Jamie explained it in an interesting way. He said the first lockdown was a punch to the gut. The second lockdown came when we were bent over and we got an uppercut to the chin that knocked us out. This third lockdown is like being kicked repeatedly while we’re down and out.
Frankly, I’m not sure how much more of it we can take. Mental health was already a huge issue in Ireland. These lockdowns have completely compounded the issue. Suicides are through the roof, and sadly due to the shame associated with taking your own life, many of these deaths are being recorded as Covid deaths! It’s gotten so bad that it’s actually at the point where I’m not sure which is more deadly, the virus itself, or the complete shutdown. Our heart breaks for this nation!
HOPE There is a message of hope within us and an understanding that this season we’re going into with lighthouse church will open doors to the platform from which we’re meant to share this message of hope on a larger scale. Lockdowns have slowed the process down a little, but we’re moving forward with our involvement on the Lighthouse team.
This month we traveled out to the East, where we were able to look at an apartment and have an orientation meeting with Pastor Jamie. It was a great meeting, where he explained his vision, expectations, and got to know us a little better as well. It was a meeting that was supposed to happen at a staff retreat this month, but that retreat has been postponed until this lock down ends.
NEW APARTMENT Oh and by the way we got that apartment we were looking at! We moved in yesterday. Praise God for answered prayers! We’re super excited because it’s a place that’s really close to Pastor Jamie and a few others we will be working closely with. Although we’ve felt so isolated and alone in this past season, it’s awesome to be able to enter into this new season surrounded by such an amazing group of friends.
21 DAY FAST We are currently finishing up the last week of our church-wide 21 day fast. This is where we sacrifice some sort of food, meal, or activity and spend more time in prayer and worship. We try to do a fast every year. Last year we didn’t because we were in the States, so when we started this year’s fast I was quickly reminded how the withdrawal symptoms can be pretty harsh.
It’s all worth it however, because we really believe strongholds will be brought down and clarity of vision will be increased as we draw closer to God and seek His will in our lives and our church. We end each week with a virtual prayer meeting on Zoom. There’s a guest speaker at each meeting and a few people from the team are asked to pray.
This past week I was given the honor of praying over the nations. During my prayer, God gave me a word to share that Ireland would become a land of Lighthouses. This was a vision of the churches that will be planted in the future, as well as a call to let our light shine, sharing the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ for all of Ireland and also to the nations.
ANNUAL BUDGET MEETING We are doing our annual budget meeting with the board members of Hope Ireland Missions this week, and it’s amazing to look back and see just how God has provided for our every need.
We had a few unforeseen things come up this past year. One major one was a baby boy! Every step of the way, God has continued to provide through the faithfulness of those He’s called to partner with us. Please keep all of our supporters in your prayers. Pray for each other because we’re all a part of this team together!
Please also pray for Lighthouse Church, for the building purchase, for the upcoming Easter plans (that we can meet in person), and for the church plants. Please pray for our family. This upcoming season of traveling back and forth will be the biggest challenge we’ve faced in a long time. Pray that we will have a perspective that it’s an adventure!
All our love! ~Chris, Larena, Anora, & Liam
We would be honored if you would pray with us concerning:
Please continue to pray for COVID to end and restrictions to lift so we can have church in person by Easter Sunday.
Please pray for the transition of living in two locations, for this season to glean and grow towards the future church plant.
Please pray for the building in Navan for Lighthouse church, the funds, and all the details to fall into place.
Please pray for our 2021 budget to be met via our February Fundraiser!
Please pray for all of our donors, for blessings, immense favour and answers to their prayers!
If you would like to team up & contribute to this important mission, please make checks out to:
Hope Ireland Missions
229 W. Exchange St.
Crete, IL 60417
(Chris & Larena Johnston on the memo line)
Simply go to:www.hopeirelandmissions.com & click on “partner.”