July news

Greetings from one of the wettest summers ever. It’s just been raining nearly every day. Yesterday we woke, unexpectedly, to blue skies and sunshine, so we seized the moment and brought the kids to the beach, where we had a lovely day of finding crabs among the rocks, playing in the sand, and braving the waves in a cold Irish Sea. We only had to huddle in the car through one shower. It actually felt like summer!
A day like that makes you realize how much happier you feel, how much more positive your outlook on life when the sun is shining. It’s the same when we are living in the light of God’s presence. Yet in our busy lives, we often don’t take time to feel the sunshine kiss our cheek.
This year (and I mean the past ten months or so, the year really starts in September) has brought this forcibly home to us, as it has been one of our busiest ever in ministry. Speaking, running Alpha, leading cell, youth group, pastoral needs, leadership decisions, have kept us both very busy. Along with that has been school; Phily had a tough year of papers and deadlines in his masters course, and everyone else of course had an active school year as well. We’ve taken a little time off this month, so feeling a little less worn!
In June we started leading a marriage course with three other couples. The plan is to run through it as a taster with a few couples, then lead it on a larger scale in the autumn. So far it has been going really well, with all participants getting a lot out of it. With so many things pulling against marriages, it’s a great way to help couples build strength into their relationship.
Also in June, the youth group took part in Radiate, an initiative by Trinity and other youth leaders to involve our youth and those of other churches in reaching out to the city. They did clean-up projects, put on barbecues, painted, and had fun with the kids in some of the poorer housing developments (some of it in conjunction with Dublin Christian Mission). Patrick and Julie took part and Philip was one of the leaders. The kids all worked really hard and were brilliant with the children; which was the best part for them. Next year the plan is to run this again on a much larger scale, hopefully involving churches from all over Ireland.
This week the youth are helping run a kids club (like VBS) in Dublin. They are working with the youth from another Church, St. Mark’s, which is hosting the club, and a team of teenagers from Oklahoma. They run the club together during the day, then have dinner and fun activities together in the evening, so it’s a full week.
On Sunday our youth will be leading the morning service in Lucan, a first. Patrick will be giving the message, so please pray for him as it will be his first time.
We are trying to get our website up and running; we are still trying to figure out how to put pictures on it. You can check it out at philandmartha.org but remember it is still a work in progress. So if you have any recommendations/ideas please let us know. Philip adds brief updates, so you can keep up with what’s happening between these epistles. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and support.

The Marriage Course update

We are taking a break from the marriage course for the month of July. Some of the couples are away on holidays and I have other commitments at the beginning of the month. We will resume the marriage course in August. We have had a great response so far from those participating in the course and already many inquiries from people about when we are planning to do the next course.

The Marriage Course update

We had an interesting time at the marriage course this week. The session was on ‘Resolving Conflict’. It was interesting seeing the couple’s faces after they did the three exercises on the night. The three exercises were; ‘Showing appreciation’, ‘Recognising our differences’, and ‘Changing our behaviour’. We ended with a small session on ‘Learning to pray together’. The homework for each couple was to find time each day (about 5mins) to pray together just for each other. Thank you for your continued prayer.

The Marriage Course update

We had an excellent time during the marriage course last week. It was good to see the couples work through the materials. Each week the couples work through a number of exercises and then discuss with each other the answers they came up with. Last weeks session was really about making time for each other. Each couple was encouraged to; plan time together, prioritise your time together, and protect your time together. Couples are then given some home work to put into practice what they have learned.

This week the topic is ‘The art of communication’. In almost every marriage that breaks down, there is a failure of communication. In my opinion there is no substitute in marriage for effective talking and effective listening.

Thank you for praying for us, please pray with us this week that we would really grasp how important learning the art of communication is in maintaining a intimate and healthy marriage.

The Marriage Course

Martha and I begin leading a marriage course tonight. The theme of the course is ‘How to build a healthy marriage that lasts a lifetime’. We are very much looking forward to leading it. Our plan this time is to run the course with a small group of three couples, and then sometime in the autumn run a larger course and use it as an outreach in the local community. The course lasts for 8 weeks with some follow up later. Please pray with us that the Lord would really bless our time with these three couples and that their relationships with each other would grow stronger and stronger each week.