All posts by Phil

January 2022 News

January 2022 Newsletter

Happy New Year- what will 2022 bring? It’s certainly starting as another year of uncertainty, in which all of our plans are tentative. It’s a good reminder that we always need to hold our plans lightly. We never know what tomorrow will bring, as God’s word reminds us. No matter what this year brings, we know that God is with us in it. And no matter what the circumstances, we can always use everything that comes our way as an opportunity to know Jesus better and to become more like Him. So with that in mind, here is some of what we think and hope to do in 2022.

New Role in Communitas Europe
We have been appointed Staff Care and Development Directors for western Europe. We will be providing pastoral care for and looking out for the needs of our fellow missionaries who are spread over 40 cities in Europe. Reaching out to check in, offer prayer and a listening ear, connecting people with others who can provide encouragement or support, providing training opportunities, retreats and resources are some of the things we’ll be doing. Much of this work will be remote, even post covid restrictions, but we will be traveling for retreats and conferences and to visit in person as we can and as needed. We were able to go to France in September to meet in person with the Western Europe Operations Team for planning and strategising. This was our first in person gathering with fellow Communitas missionaries since pre-covid. It was so wonderful to be together to work, to dream, to worship, and just to be in each other’s presence. It made us realise just how much we are all missing, and how staff care is more crucially needed than ever as we all deal with the effects of the pandemic. Please pray for us as we move forward in this new responsibility. It is a privilege to be able to serve our fellow missionaries in this way and we want to do it well.

Emotionally Health Spirituality Course
One of the tools we will be using is the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course by Pete and Geri Scazzero. The premise of the course is that many of us are held back in our spiritual development because we have not learned to grow up emotionally. The course brings together spiritual practices, like setting aside time twice daily to meet with God ,with tools to help us understand and grow in emotional maturity, to help us really get below the surface in our spiritual journey. We are starting our first 8 week course on February first with several Communitas missionaries serving in different countries. We will meet online for the next 8 Tuesday evenings as a small group working prayerfully through the material. We are running this both as a help for their own spiritual growth, and as a a demonstration of a tool they may use in their local communities. We also will be offering this course to church leaders here in Ireland in the months ahead. If you’d like to know more, get in touch with us.

And speaking of here in Ireland…
Covid restrictions continue to impact every aspect of life and ministry here. These are constantly changing. At present, congregations can meet in church buildings, with masks, social distancing, and no congregational singing. House churches and start ups meeting in homes can have people from no more than 4 households (this is the rule for any gathering in a home). Across Europe, life is generally less open than in most of the US. It is a difficult time to plant new churches, and to sustain existing ones. It has also become much more difficult in recent years for full time missionaries to get visas for Ireland. To gain a visa you must show that you are coming to work for an established church which has a building and a budget to pay you, and that the position you will be filling could not be filled by someone already in the country. This is very difficult for church planters! We had asked you previously to pray for a young family who were raising support to work with us in Celbridge. Their visa and subsequent appeal was denied, even though we had found a church who agreed to sponsor them. They have had to change plans and are now in Northern Ireland, which as part of the UK has different rules for entry. Once again, plans don’t always come to pass. Yet these times bring unique opportunities. Please pray for us and other missionaries and church leaders here to see these and find creative ways to reach and to disciple people, and to strengthen and encourage one another.

IMPORTANT New Address for Donations

Please note that the address for donations has changed. The new address is
Communitas International
PO Box 60543
Industry, CA 91716-0543

You can find up to date information on ways to donate here.

There has been some difficulty with the USPS not forwarding mail promptly from the old address. If you sent in a check to the Lewiston address in the past few months which has not been processed, please get in touch with us directly. We are so sorry if this has caused you any inconvenience. We are so grateful for each gift, for each time we are lifted in prayer by you our ministry partners. Thank you. Whatever 2022 brings you, we pray you know God’s peace and presence in new ways and that you rejoice as you grow to know Him more deeply.

Trip to the Usa

We fly to the USA on June 25th! Here’s an outline of where we’ll be so far:

  • June 25- July 8  Western NY
  • July 9-16 Nashville TN area
  • August 2-12- New England area
  • August 13-20 New York
  • August 21-Return to Ireland

Please get in touch soon if you would like to try to catch up with us this summer, whether that’s a chat on the back porch or speaking in your church. Even if you don’t see your area mentioned above, it still might be possible to fit something in!

This will be our first trip back since joining Communitas International last year. We would love an opportunity to talk with you about this change and about the changing Ireland we are living in and the challenges this presents to sharing the gospel and planting churches.

Speaking of Changes…

Life is always full of change but don’t some stages feel like there is a lot more than others? This stage for us has brought many changes. On both of our last two summer trips to the US, we have had one of our children getting married! This time we will be leaving Brian behind in Ireland, and Colm and Scott will be spending most of the summer in Tennessee with Julia and Hunter and working Summer jobs. So for much of the summer, we will only have Sarah with us, which will be very different!

There are always lots of changes to catch up with when we return to the US too. Since our last visit, Mom Nesbitt has moved into Martha’s brother Andy’s home, and her care needs have increased.  We’ll be staying there when we are in NY.  With a big family, there is always lots going on- weddings, new babies, graduations, etc. Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Nesbitt Clan all gather at Pine Hill for an extended family reunion. This year marks the 90th year we have held the reunion so even more than the usual hundred plus are expected to attend.  We are looking forward to reconnecting with cousins and aunts and uncles, as well as to some time with most of Martha’s siblings in town at the same time- which doesn’t happen often anymore!

I’m sure you find that society as a whole is changing so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. In Ireland for a number of reasons this pace is super-accelerated, and as mentioned this poses many challenges to how we live, work and share Jesus here. Please do continue to pray for wisdom and boldness. Our last few weeks are always filled with meeting up with people one more time before we leave for two months. Pray for grace and wisdom in all we say.

Scott is in the midst of his Leaving Certificate, the state exams here that determine colleges placements. In total, he will have sat over 24 hours of exams in 7 subjects over two weeks, being tested on the entire curriculum of the last two years of school. It’s a very stressful time for students here. Please keep him in your prayers. His last exam is on the 19th.

Thank you so much for your prayer and support

New Mission Agency!!

We are now with Communitas International! After months of research, prayer, and conversation, we applied to and were accepted with Communitas. We found Communitas to be a good fit with our vision to help develop local communities of people who seek to know and follow Jesus, and to help people experience a true and transforming relationship with Jesus daily. We want to help and encourage every follower to be a fisher (Matthew 4:19). By joining Communitas we will be part of a wider network of church planters across Europe and around the world. Communitas has over 100 church planting projects at various stages in about 40 cities in Europe and 20 cities in the Americas.We look forward to the mutual encouragement and learning this will bring as we share the journey.