I can’t believe I haven’t posted on here for so long! I’ve kept meaning to but what a year… just no time to write my thoughts down.
It’s Christmas Eve and we’re surprisingly organised – I say we… it’s my first Christmas with my wonderful husband. He really is the centre of the story I have to tell of this past year – other than Jesus of course, who had Eric set aside for me before we were even thought of by our parents!
So month by month 2009…
January – we had an awesome Month of Prayer resulting in an incredible change in the spiritual climate here and in the lives of the people being prayed for and in the lives of the people praying. Read about it in my last post. It was truly incredible and I had so wanted to do it again this year – I’ll get to that at the end.
At the end of January a team came from our awesome friends at Orlando North Community Church in Florida. This team included Eric D’Errico, a then very good friend of mine, who on that trip became my ‘boyfriend’, after lots of contact over the previous year. Handy for me, Eric had been called to Ireland in March of 2008 and we had been in very regular contact since.
February – Was the shortest month in days but seemed like the longest month EVER! That was because Eric was back in the USA and I was still here in Ireland. That said it was a great end of the month to spend some precious time in England, with my closest friends Lizzie & Tim.
March – I got to go to Switzerland to visit more wonderful friends Toby & Kathrin, who treated me to an awesome holiday in such a beautiful country!
April – I headed to the USA at the end of the month to spend a couple of weeks with Eric and then for our training as Missionary Ventures Field CoOrdinators early in May. I love Florida although it rained a lot while I was there it was warm. Hmmm I love sun! I also got to spend time with the Orlando North gang, which is always special time.
May – What an incredible month!! On the 1st Eric took me to Portofino Bay in Universal Studios, where he wined and dined me and asked me to marry him – well you can guess what my response was! I think I said yes at least 10 times in as many seconds!
We began our training at Missionary Ventures and got to meet some awesome people who are true heros in our eyes. Some who work in countries all over the world and others who work tirelessly in Orlando to keep us in ‘The Field’ going. We had a very emotional interview, as the call of God was so strong on us and also a very precious ‘sending out’ service. However the two weeks of training were even more eventful because during our first week, Eric received news that his visa application to marry me in England in September had been denied. The reasons for this were crazy and unfounded – we were devastated. We and many others prayed for a solution and we found out just a few days later that we could legally marry in Florida without any tricky forms or needing visas as Eric did to marry in England. This is really the short version but as a result, on the 20th May,we had our legal wedding at the Duford’s house in Longwood (Orlando) as the rain was hammering and 70 awesome people crowded in. It was so simple and yet so beautiful!
Also in May Isaac Williams was born. I may be biased, but he’s awesome, just like his parents!!
June – Not long after all that, we packed Eric’s life up and headed north to Ohio to spend some time with Lynne, his Mom. We had such fun, including a day out together with Carla, Eric’s sister in Amish country. I also got to meet a lot of Eric’s friends form Ohio State University and to visit the campus too.
We then said a fond farewell to Lynne and Carla and headed to New Jersey, via Philadelphia, to spend some time with Pat, Eric’s dad. We had a great time there meeting family and Eric’s old and my new friends. Then the time came to get on the plane and head back to Ireland – for Eric, this time, permanently. On 15th June we said goodbye to the U.S.A. and landed in Dublin, ready to face everything God has in store for us here.
July – In July we hosted our first team, from Twynham church for the Community in Christchurch, England. Headed by my sister Emma, the team were amazing and we had a really special and productive week working with them. Their time ended with our first ever Youth camp in Carrick on Shannon, organised with the church there. It was a weekend full of fun and excitement and we all left exhausted! The team left the following day, and they were sorely missed.
August – Eric and I and a group from Ireland headed to England for Soul Survivor, a summer festival for young people. It was an awesome few days with lots of fun and laughter and lots of very precious moments for each of us with God. We all had stories to tell from those few days!
The Irish contingent went home and Eric and I stayed in England and headed to Bournemouth and then to Worthing to get ready for the wedding celebration we had originally planned with our families and friends.
September – Started with Eric’s birthday and on the same day, his Dad arriving from the USA for the wedding. The following day, Mom and Carla arrived. We squeezed some sightseeing in and finally September 12th arrived – the day we had always planned to get married. It was the most perfect day of both of our lives and we still talk about it today with big grins on our faces. It was so special to share with all our closest people, the happiness that we have been given by being ‘Us’.
On the 13th we headed for Spain – we spent a wonderful week in my relatives apartment, leant to us as a wedding gift and then we headed for 3 days in Rome. This trip was a gift I gave to Eric as his wedding present from me, with a little help from some special friends. It was so great for me to go back and for Eric to spend some time in Italy with his Italian roots.
After Rome, we came back to England for a few days and spent some great time with Emma , my sister and Tracy, her flat mate. Then we got in the car and headed for the ferry to Ireland…We made it to Cardiff with our car coughing and spluttering most of the way. Amazingly we broke down finally at the motorway exit where some of my closest friends live 5 minutes from. We spent an extra week away from Ireland waiting for our car to be fixed but being taken care of by Phill and Rosy, who put us up at the last second. It also gave us the opportunity to meet little Jac Griffiths who hadn’t long been born and to congratulate his fab parents, Delan and Louise.
October – We finally made it home and my shoulder problem kicked in big time!! I had had the nerves blocked in April before I left for America, but gradually things had deteriorated again and the Irish damp weather sent me back to square one, if not further back. My pain management specialist suggested Botox injections, which made things A LOT worse!! Frustratingly we were due to fly back to Cardiff for Phill and Rosy’s wedding. Despite doctor’s orders, we went anyway, this was a day I couldn’t miss!! We were so happy to be a part of their day!
November – This month’s highlight was heading to Manchester for the Missionary Ventures Great Britain Conference. It was so good to meet with our MV friends and to make new ones. Also we spent time together seeking God for His direction on our work here in Ireland.
As we flew back home over Ireland, we were stunned to see from the air, the country waterlogged! The flooding in Ireland was widespread and particularly affected Carrick-on-Shannon, where we spend a lot of our time and have many friends, some of whom had to use boats to leave their homes.
Emma (my sister) came over in November for our first ever Thanksgiving Day and Eric and I cooked up a feast. We then did it again two days later when we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends in Carrick on Shannon at the Rivers Church.
December – Has been crazy!! Eric and I began apartment hunting and ended up with a house – for less than all the apartments cost. It is such a gift from God and the incredible waterfalls right outside our windows remind us of His ever flowing love and mercy for us. We are SO happy there!
During the middle of our home hunt though, my shoulder hit, with no warning and I ended up in the Emergency Department almost begging for morphine! A couple of days later, as the drugs wore off, the pain came back and my Mum, in tears, managed to get me into the Pain Management Clinic at short notice. For all the problems here that the health services suffer, I am SO grateful for their devotion to their work! They brought me in immediately to surgery, that day, and through an injection in my neck, blocked one of the nerves that sends pain into the area I struggle with. It took a few days to kick in, but I can very happily say that I am now at a level 3, pain wise instead of a 10. This is huge!
Madeline and Sara, Eric’s (and now my) friends from Uni came to visit and brought with them more snow than I have ever seen in this country or England. It was really great spending time with them and for Eric to catch up with them and reminisce about the old days.) We had some fun in the snow and enjoyed a Christmas party with the Carrick church. And then, on the way home, it was time for our car to die again 😦 Thankfully the train home was delayed due to the snow, so we managed to catch it! The car is still in Carrick.
Then Emma arrived again on Monday and Christmas is upon us!
So… January next year. It’s short notice as the shoulder stuff hampered things a bit, but I still think we can do it…. We’re going to try again to fill every single hour of every day with prayer for Ireland. I know lots of you were excited by what happened last year and showed interest in doing the same again. This year I am going to send out the daily prayer pointers once a week as I may not make it to the computer daily this time. However we’re excited about what God did last year through our directing prayers this way – We have no doubt this time around will make a profound difference too!
Please, please let me know if you can spare an hour a day, a week or just once in the month, to pray for this part of the world. Drop me a message here, at my Facebook page or at my email address, letting me know what hours and days you would like to cover. If you did it last year, you’ll remember what an awesome experience it was, if you didn’t, try it this year – God is so faithful and all that joined us last year, from wherever they were in the world, reported blessings for themselves while they prayed for Ireland.
So all that’s left to say is that we wish you a very happy and meaningful Christmas and a 2010 that is everything you hope for – full of peace, joy and God’s richest blessing.