Lyndsey D'Errico's Blog

Just what I'm up to and thinking about

Final installment of the story… May 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — darbs27 @ 7:39 pm

In order for someone to understand the situation here in Sligo, I should explain a few things: When I first came to Sligo, God led me to an particular church. This was the only evangelical church in the area – the closest was an hour away. The then pastor was a guy whose heart for the area of the West of Ireland was similar to my own. For various reasons and through no fault of his own, he had to stop leading the church and slowly I began to realise that the church was no longer going in the direction I was feeling we should. there seemed to be no connection with God’s heart for the community or for pastoral care.

 

From that church there were a couple of house groups meeting, one of which I attended. When a few of us left the church, nearly a year ago, the members of the house group felt to carry on meeting. This group has been going from strength to strength over this time and on a regular basis, people from the town bring their prayer requests, and on occasion their sick relatives for us to pray for. There is a rumour around the town that “when the ‘born agains’ pray, stuff happens”. Out of this group came the youth group and kids club I am running.

In January, when I returned from England, a few of us met with the former pastor, (who has been recruited by the Methodist church to “bring it into the 21st Century”). We had been attending one of the churches he is responsible for on Sunday evenings but had struggled because it was a good distance out of town and because although great steps were being taken, Sligo is the place we are called to. We also felt that the type of people that were attending our meetings would not be able to attend this church due to distance and tradition. Out of this discussion we agreed that we would meet on a Sunday morning in my home and would pray for our community, for the pastor’s ministry and for God’s guidance. We have struggled greatly with the problem that we have all these people attending our house group and our youth groups, but no church to feed them into.

 

On meeting to pray on a Sunday morning, we have been blown away by the way God has been moving. There are only 4 of us on a Sunday morning but thankfully God doesn’t limit Himself to large numbers.

 

In Sligo there is a population of roughly 20,000. In Irish terms, it is a big town and has been designated a City. It is surrounded by natural beauty – on 3 sides mountains and a Lough and on the 4th side the Atlantic Ocean. Although Sligo is physically beautiful, on closer inspection, the town has become a very dark place. There is an estate in the centre of town, where our prayers have been particularly focussed. On this small estate, in the last 3 years, there have been 4 brutal murders. The drug scene is increasing at a frightening rate and, as with the rest of Ireland, alcohol abuse and suicides are on the increase. There are people who live in this estate who literally terrorise the young people in the town and who seem to have a frightening hold over a large number of people. So much so, that the police do nothing about these people and problems and the vicious circle continues. There are many people in Sligo who are living in fear.

As far as ‘faith’ is concerned, the West of Ireland is the least evangelised part of Europe. It is 98% Roman Catholic and only 0.02% of the population is known to be Evangelical Christian. People are wrapped up in religious ritual, superstition, angel worship and many other things. They are obsessed with death and yet incredibly fearful of it. To sum up the area I would say that the West of Ireland is currently a place with no hope.

When God called me here, he planted a number of visions on my heart. First and foremost it is my passion to see Ireland once again become a missionary sending country. My heart is to achieve this by bringing people in (teams and individuals, short-term and long-term) to share the hope of the Gospel and to enthuse the Irish people to go out into the world.

I also have a vision for setting up and alcohol free bar for under 18’s in the town. This would act also as a community centre, where young people could come for homework clubs, parenting classes, counselling and various other services. Some of the people in our house group have caught this vision and are currently in the process of looking at possible premises.

I am also in the process of setting up a Gap Year Scheme, where people can come and work with us in Ireland for 6 months-1 year. There also is an option for them to link up with a Bible College in England to study theology whilst on placement here in Sligo.

As a small group of people, our passion, vision and motivation is big! Our continued prayers are that God would provide people to come and work alongside us here, for people to hold us and the people of Sligo in prayer, and to support us financially so we can press on with what we have been called to do.

As far as I myself am concerned, I went to Orlando in March. I met with Missionary Ventures and we discussed the above. I left the meeting feeling excited and also slightly overwhelmed by what God is doing. I also came to realise as the week went on, that we are not alone here in our heart for this place – God has put it on the hearts of many in Orlando.

One of the things we greatly miss here is a church fellowship like we once knew. Although it’s something we do not have as such. I do believe God is building that in the few of us that are meeting together and I also believe that as we continue to seek His will and to offer our hearts, lives and resources to Him, anything is possible!

I am now certain God is prompting me to acknowledge that He has me on the mission field and that I should be considering myself as such. I believe that I should not pursue this calling without the backing and accountability of an established organisation and feel He has led me to Missionary Ventures for this reason.

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6 Responses to “Final installment of the story…”

  1. Natalie Says:

    Hi Lyndsay, good to hear your news. I sort of feel I ought to write to you about your missionary ventures which sound wonderful and very inspiring. Pastoral care and hope for the poor has to be at the top of our agenda – after listening to the Spirit of course.
    But, you know, the ‘established’ church can sometimes be very scared of little groups of Christians meeting with big ideas! I wonder how much you have thought about meeting with local church leaders, especially in regards to the cafe/community centre idea? It may be that would be a source of support and possibly funding and it may be God’s will that you work together. I know that you may have negative feelings about the Catholic church, but when it comes to helping the poor they have a good track record. Likewise us Anglicans (I guess church of Ireland in your case) are not all ‘lost’! Some of us have a massive heart for mission and a passion for Jesus!
    Just some thoughts.
    I’m actually just applying for ordination beleive it or not. How bizarre is that!? Apart from that I’m looking after my two kids now aged 5 and 3. The Yes scheme still goes on. I had a person here last year!
    Lots of love, Natalie.

  2. Shannon Says:

    I’m coming as fast as I can…or rather as fast as God will let me! 🙂

    Your blogs are sooooooooooo wonderful to read!

  3. Lyndsey Says:

    Thought I should respond to Natalie’s comments. Thank you loads for them, it’s SO great to get advice and feedback from people whose wisdom I trust.

    Catholicism in Ireland is very different to a lot of places. It is wrapped up in superstition, ritual and guilt. No matter how hard the other denominations try, in this town, the Catholic churches will not get involved with interdenominational events or initiatives. It’s so sad and something I feel committed to helping to change.

    As far as the other denominations go, I am actively involved in working with the Methodist church here in Sligo town and around the wider circuit. They have some amazing things going on, as do the Church of Ireland, who I have linked up with to do school’s work. I am also in contact with the Presbyterian minister and the Baptist and Elim churches. There was a time that the denominations here worked together but it’s not happening right now and although initial entusiasm is shown when working together is initiated, it never seems to come to pass. This is something I find so sad, because we could change this whole town for God if we would just work together. There is still a great sense of stigma around whether you are Protestanrt or Catholic here and it always proves to be an issue when working with the other churches. Time and time again I have said that it’s not about labels – we continue to pray and I feel a lot of what God is calling me to do here is to help to bring unity between the churches. They all know about the cafe and agree it is something greatly needed – perhaps this will be the tool that God uses to pull us together. I hope so 🙂

  4. Katy McBride Says:

    Hi Lindsey! I enjoyed reading your blog! I live in Orlando, FL and am very involved with my church Summit in Downtown Orlando and also Northland in Casselberry.

    I went to Dublin for a Day back in April 2009 and loved it so much! I felt so connected with the people there, like they were my long lost cousins. They are my kin. I am 75% or more Irish. My Dad is 100% and my Mom is 50% at least. Last name is McBride. I was researching my family history before going to Europe for 4 months and my family is from the West and Northwest parts of Ireland as well as Dublin and in the South I believe. It’s so funny b/c when people in Europe asked me what I was I’d have to say American but I felt connected with Ireland and the Czech Republic/Slovak Republic b/c that is my true lineage.

    I have had to deal with a lot of addiction problems in my family. My own twin sister was addicted to heroin and cocaine and my older sister to the same. Both my parents are recovered Alcoholics so I understand the hold that drugs and alcohol have on people. I am the only one in my family who is not addicted to anything and I attribute that to my Faith in Jesus Christ! It is amazing that I am not. I praise Jesus for that. I would love to help spread the Good News to people in Sligo. It sounds like the devil has a strong hold on the people there. I would l like to help be a bright light in this dark place! Thanks for the work you and your husband Eric are doing there!!! Hope to speak to you soon.

  5. Katy McBride Says:

    I grew up in the Catholic church. I went to Catholic School for 8 years. I understand all the intricacies of the Catholic church. I did not get Confirmed in 8th grade and my Pastor almost died. It was a BIG deal. I knew what I was doing though. I was raised by a Christian Methodist Grandma and Grandpa..adopted, but they changed my LIFE!!! I accepted their ideas of Christianity and am so much better for it. I understand how frustrating the Catholic thing can be!!!

    My family things I am super Christian and now ask me to pray at Thanksgiving and at other times. I feel very honored for that. They told me once that they thing that Christian people like me are trying to be “Better than Them” as if I am trying to act a certain way. They don’t really get it, but you just need to assure them that you are not better than them but just want to bring them the good news from the bible and mention Saint Patrick a lot. 😉 It’s hard to understand the Catholic faith if you did not grow up in it. Just try to remain open minded and have understanding for the way they are and why they do the things they do. Respect their beliefs but give them other options. 🙂 If they have faith in a Higher Power..that’s the first step! 🙂

    ~Katy~

  6. Adeline Says:

    Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.

    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.


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