We hope you had a happy and blessed Christmas and New Year!
We had our Carol Service on Dec. 16. It was a lovely finish to a full, challenging, and rewarding year in ministry. As in the past few years, we had lots of visitors, mostly friends and family of congregation members, but also a few who saw advertisements in the local papers or a poster. Our friend Helen came, you may remember praying for her last year when she attended the Alpha course. We have been able to spend quite a bit of time this year in follow-up with some of the others who did the course, counselling or going through discipleship materials. Several of these people are now in cell. The marriage course finished up at the end of November. It went very well and everyone seemed to find it greatly beneficial. Youth cell is going quite well. The youth lead the entire service last Sunday (Dec 30). Patrick spoke again, this time on the full armour of God (Eph. 6), and Julie lead the meeting. Others in the group lead worship. The morning went very well, despite technical difficulties, which they handled well. Please pray for them. It’s encouraging to see them growing in leadership, and taking on more of the responsibilities in the weekly cell meetings.
It’s been a full year for us as a family, too. Patrick and Julie are now both in their final year of secondary (high school). They are studying for their leaving certificate (state exams) and also the SATs, and researching colleges and courses both in Ireland and the U.S. They have participated in lots of youth activities this year. Paddy had a very successful season in soccer playing for Belvedere, his last season in the Dublin schoolboys’ league. They finished by winning the league, the all Ireland Cup and the Leinster Cup, a feat never before accomplished by a single team in one season. He then went on to play for Kildare County under 21 team, and is currently playing rugby for the school. Besides studying hard, Julie is continuing her musical interests with piano and voice lessons. She also puts her baking skills to good use, to the delight of her friends and family. She has made birthday cakes for lots of her friends and brothers and sister!
Brian, Colm and Scott have all started swimming lessons, which they really enjoy. Brian is also attending a program at Dublin City University on Sat mornings for gifted children. He’s completed a math course and is hoping to do engineering next term. He’s also taking a typing class and an on-line computer course. He’s not always too happy with having so many extra school type activities, but hopefully it will help prepare him for going to secondary next year. He just turned 13 this week. Yikes! Colm is still enjoying school. He does very well and has made lots of friends. He loves playing soccer and his team is having a very winning season so far (which makes Coach Dad happy too!) Scott also enjoys football. He’s showing a lot of the same creative interests as Brian, and I never know what might be happening in the back garden when they decide to do a science experiment. Baking soda and vinegar explosions seem to be favourites! Sarah is full of imagination and fun, and amuses herself (and us) with her games. Current favourite is shop and she often lines up shoes on each of the stairs as her shoe store. She loves to dress up and loves seeing all her friends in church on Sundays.
Thank you for your prayers for us this year, and for gifts, letters, e-mails, and financial support. Thank you for being partners with us in ministry. May 2008 be a year of rejoicing and growing in Jesus our Saviour!
In His Love,
Phil, Martha, Patrick, Julie, Brian, Colm, Scott, and Sarah Matthews
EMMANUEL & ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL
PO Box 8000 Drawer 8123, Laurel, MS 39441 USA