Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year to everyone!
Here is the link to our most recent newsletter:
Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year to everyone!
Here is the link to our most recent newsletter:
Ok so it might only be October and it might sound strange but I’m getting all excited about Christmas already!!
It’s got me thinking about something I wanted to write last Christmas but never got around to. So here it is…
Last Christmas season I gave birth to our son Caoimhin (pronounced Keevan). Everyone said the love you have for your children is overwhelming and I understood that but when I held our little boy in my arms, I realised how severely I underrated how strong that love would be. It blew me away and every day it grows.
Shortly after Caoimhin and I arrived home, we attended our church’s Carol Service. A lovely Christmassy event that most churches enjoy on a yearly basis. For me though, this one was very different to any other year in any other church…
I noticed that with every mention of Mary (Jesus’ Mum), in every carol, something tugged at my heart. It carried on until the point I was in tears – hormonal you may be thinking and probably yes – but this was something far more than that. This was the understanding of what Mary went through in trying to protect her son when they fled to Egypt, of what she felt when she lost him in Jerusalem, of when he was tortured and died on a cross. Of course I haven’t been through these things but to put myself in the shoes of a mother who naturally adored her son in the way I do mine, brought me to tears and a deeper understanding of Mary.
And yet over the coming weeks before Christmas, more carols were sung and Christmas films watched, my thoughts continued from those that began at that first carol service…
Mary’s experience of being a mother was a very different one to mine.
She knew Jesus was the Son of God, my Caoimhin is the son of Eric – certainly not God, (but pretty special). My overwhelming Mother’s instinct to protect my little man, even though I can’t imagine it, must pale in comparison to the protectiveness Mary must have felt over her little one – imagine the responsibility of bringing up God’s Son!
Eric and I have so many hopes for our baby (now 10 months old). Mostly that he will be healthy and happy and that he will love Jesus. Our little guy is so
special! But Mary knew that Jesus was way more than special. Imagine the hopes she had for Him! She knew that Jesus was the Messiah promised to the Jews, that He would bring peace to the world. She must have imagined grand things for Him when He grew up! And she was right! Imagine hearing that your son has incredible healing powers! That he raised people from the dead! That people all over were talking about Him and following Him! She must have been excited for Him and concerned too… The Bible says that at one point Mary and her other sons went to get Jesus when they were concerned things were getting out of hand. She wouldn’t have just heard of the amazing things Jesus was doing, but also of the stir He was causing among the Jewish leaders and quite possibly, eventually, to the Roman Empire. As a natural mother, she would have been afraid for Him and yet perhaps believing no harm could really come to Him considering who He was.
I can only imagine the overwhelming grief when Mary watched her 33 year old son suffer a very brutal, very public death. Now I’m a mother a lump reaches my throat every time I think of it. But Mary suffered in other ways too. I imagine complete confusion over the situation given her hopes for her son, perhaps some disappointment, maybe some doubt if not certain questioning of God (she was human after all). Certainly there would have been fear for her own life and the lives of her family and loved ones. Maybe there were feelings of failure that she did something wrong in His upbringing or that she failed to protect Him.
What and amazing experience it must have been for her to see her son resurrected, alive, after all that she had been through. What an awesome experience as she began to understand that God’s plan for Jesus had been far more than she could ever have imagined!
Mary truly was a remarkable woman!
I do wonder what she would think or say now about the way we respond to her son’s life, death and resurrection. I wonder what she would think about the way we love Him and the ways we disregard Him. I also wonder what she would think about the way people treat her today. What would she think to know that after all she went through bringing up her Jesus, seeing what He went through to make it possible for us to go straight to God and yet to find that many people attempt to get to God through her. What would she think seeing the awesome power of God in her life, her life that was so humble and always pointed to Jesus and the Father and yet to find that now, many worship her – sometimes even more than Him! I just wonder.
So that’s what I was thinking about last Christmas, or should I say who I was thinking about. It’s funny, I was just trying to work out how I was going to end this blog and then Caoimhin woke up. The smile he just gave me as I went in to him and the feel of his warm sleepy babyness in my arms was a great way to end my thoughts. There’s no verbalising it but I know all you Mummies know what I mean.
Last May, we very strongly felt that we needed to stop all the ‘things’ we were doing and to ask God what it is He wants us to be doing. It was so tough to let go of the things we had going on and to tell people so but we knew we had to.
Even tougher was waiting on God for His guidance on what was on His heart for us. Sitting down and waiting has never been either mine nor Eric’s strongest point. But boy are we glad that we did! So what have we been up to??
Firstly we strongly felt God leading us to Sligo Elim Church (now called Sligo City Church) and began to fellowship there on Sundays. We continued with our house group, which now also became part of the church in Sligo. At the time the church was being led by a wonderful couple who had committed to oversee things until a permanent pastor could be appointed. More about that later.
Secondly our beautiful son, Caoimhin Stanley Patrick entered the world in December. He is now 7 months old and a complete blessing. He has a smile that would melt even the hardest heart. We absolutely LOVE being his parents!
Over the months we have seen lots of things we would love to get involved in but have learnt not to jump and take on so many things that we can’t give 100% to all that we do. We have learnt that when there are things we are passionate about, to give them to God and see Him bring opportunities into being or not.
One of the first things is that Eric has been heavily involved in working alongside the African community in Sligo and particularly a man named Jacques. Together they run a French speaking outreach for the very many asylum seekers in the town. This has been going from strength to strength and Eric really loves spending every Monday with Jacques, praying before the meeting in the evening.
We have been praying about opportunities in the University, which is on our doorstep. At one point our enthusiasm caused us to sit down to write to some people there to see what we could do. Before we did, again we strongly felt to wait and then God would open the doors for us. Very shortly after this a couple of young people I had met a few years ago form further down country, got in back in touch and said they were both studying here in Sligo. Very shortly after that, I bumped into the local Church of Ireland Minister, who is the Chaplin at the Uni. I told him we had been praying for him and for the students and if there was anything we could do to help, we’d be happy to. He was really excited by this and we are looking into working with him and the two girls come September.
In May, the wonderful couple overseeing the church left to make way for another wonderful couple… John and Joanne Fitzimmons. We had met them a good while ago when we were overseeing the church in Manorhamilton. When we knew the Sligo church were praying for a new pastor, we felt very strongly to pray for this couple. We had no idea they were even considering it! 7 weeks in and we’re blown away by what God is doing! Lots of reports to come especially on incredible answers to prayer!
Nearly two weeks ago we returned from Listowel in Co.Kerry, where we helped with a Kids Camp at Listowel Christian Fellowship. We linked up with Pastor JP Walsh through Eric’s MA course at the Irish Bible Institute. We had a fantastic week and are really excited about future work with JP, his wife Fidelma and the church in Listowel. This is our remit with Missionary Ventures; to support local pastors and projects and we love it!! We’re hoping to take regular teams to Listowel in the future. If you’re interested in being on one of these teams as an individual or bringing a team from your church, just let me know!
Last week the New Wine Ireland Conference came to town. We managed to get to a few sessions, which were wonderful but the most amazing thing that we have noticed every year when the conference is in town, is that the dark spiritual cloud that hangs over this area lifts. That’s why we love hosting teams – when there are more Christians in the place, being Christ to those they meet, praying and shining God’s light, it has the power to change the atmosphere of a whole town!
All the way through, the nerve damage in my shoulder has been a constant ‘thorn’ in both our sides. It really has restricted us. I’ll write more about that in another post but just to say that the last couple of weeks have been really good! I’ve begun to feel like me again. Although the pain is still there, it is nothing like it has been. Praise God!!
Well, there’s loads more to write about, especially regarding the coming months but I’ll save that for another day. I’ve just put the boy down, Eric’s at the weekly prayer meeting and I have some catching up with laundry to do. As always I’d love to hear your news too!!
Before I found out I was expecting, our dog all of a sudden became very attentive to me. She wouldn’t leave my side. When we found out about the baby coming, we assumed this was why. I always knew dogs had this weird sense of things. Just recently she’s started doing it again… maybe baby’s coming soon!
Well, yesterday Meg came bounding into our room as I was just about to get out of bed. She rested her head on the edge of the bed and looked up at me. I said to her something along the lines of, “There’s going to be a baby coming soon. Are you going to be a good girl for me? Are you going to help me look after it?” With that she very slowly and quietly walked out of the room, which is very unlike her, she usually bounds everywhere in the mornings. She walked over to a box I had in the hallway with some things I was sorting through. She very gently picked up the only baby item in the box and came back to me and placed it on the floor by my feet.
How sweet is my dog!?! I often wonder what she’s thinking or why she does the silly doggy things she does but yesterday it was like she knew exactly what I was saying and she found a way of telling me what she was saying too.
It brightened my day and made me smile so I thought I’d share it with you all too!
I haven’t posted since March! Lots of reasons for that but mainly the incredible roller coaster of life we have been on over the last few months! Hopefully now things are more settled for us, I can write more often. There are so many things on my heart to write about but for now I’ll just fill you all in on our news.
By now I’m sure you’re all aware that there is going to be a new little D’Errico in the world in just 10 weeks time! We are so excited and feel so blessed! Baby is due on the 8th December and we decided not to find out if it is a boy or a girl. All we know is that our child is healthy and VERY lively!!
Last time I wrote, the spring had just arrived – it’s strange to think we are now well into Autumn and watching the chimneys belch the sweet smelling smoke of Irish peat. Eric and I moved house 2 weeks ago. It’s an upgrade as well as a downgrade. The house has a garden, which we didn’t have before and it is far more local to where we spend most of our time. It is a much older building though and needs a lot of work done on it! Also we have discovered that our neighbours are noisy – beyond belief! But it’s okay because we are praying for them!!!! What is wonderful is that the new place is considerably cheaper! It is in a community where there are many needs and we are praying about how best we can reach out and be Jesus to those who live around us.
We have spent some time over the summer looking at the things we were doing and asking God about what He would have us do. As a result of this, things have considerably changed for us. We are determined not to ‘do’ things for the sake of it but want to work and be where God would have us.
Eric has had ongoing issues with securing a Visa to stay in Ireland. We have tried to jump through so many hoops – most of which didn’t feel right to us but seemed necessary for Eric to be able to stay. None of those ‘hoops’ seemed to work out and we became increasingly frustrated and concerned with the situation. All of a sudden, Eric discovered that if he were to study in Ireland, he would be allowed to stay here without any other conditions. He searched through the list of approved courses, willing to study anything if it meant he could stay here. He discovered a Bible College in Dublin, where he can do his Masters in Applied Theology with a focus on 21st Century Ireland. He would only have to go down to Dublin for a day every two weeks. It’s completely perfect! He is currently going through the application process, but all is looking good. God had it all planned out – we just had to listen to Him! It is relatively cheap at 2000 Euros but with little regular income, we’re praying for God’s provision. We’d really value your prayers for this. Eric is also applying for his Italian Citizenship, which would mean he can stay in Ireland for good, as an EU Citizen. The process will take a while but in the long run, it’s the perfect solution.
So our current situation has us living and worshiping in Sligo at the Elim church here. It’s so exciting to see what God is doing in the town that has been on our hearts for so long. This Sunday the church is hosting an American Gospel singer – Johnny Ramirez and are using the opportunity of having him and his team here to host a concert in one of the local hotels. (If you’re in Sligo, it’s at 3pm at the City Hotel.)
So, since March, we have visited Orlando, Ohio and New Jersey… I have turned 30 and had Pneumonia and Pleurisy in the same week (completely fine now)… we had some great visits from family and friends (we’d love some more of those!)… we’ve moved house and the baby bump has been growing at an incredible rate!!
There are lots of things God is speaking to us about the future – we are REALLY excited, so watch this space! We are currently looking for teams to come and join with us and local Christians throughout 2011… Let us know if you’re interested!!
So I might be on again soon, writing about my thoughts and sharing more news. Until then, hello to you all! Would LOVE to hear your news too!
Ireland is experiencing the calm before the storm this evening. Tomorrow everyone will be involved in parades, dressing in green and many, many will be heading to the pubs as early as they can.
We’ll be heading down to the Sligo parade and then to the one in Manorhamilton.
We’re not going to give you a huge list of prayer requests this time around. We’d just really like you to lift Ireland before God and pray the things you feel to pray.
Please do let us know how it went and if you felt God saying anything to you regarding Ireland.
We’ve attached a fun link for information on St. Paddy himself. He’d be distraught if he saw what goes on here on the 17th March to celebrate him. It’s our heart to see Ireland the way he did – with it’s eyes on God and on the world He loves.
Thank you all!!!
“But after I reached Ireland I used to pasture the flock each day and I used to pray many times a day.” (from The Confession of St.Patrick 450AD)