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Apr 07

March Report from the Johnsons in Galway, Ireland

Greetings from lock-down in Galway.

What an interesting time we are living in right now! COVID-19 has reared it’s ugly head and spread all over the place, infecting people, and bringing death in it’s wake. As a result, Ireland has been on a lock-down. It started off that we weren’t able to shake hands or hug. Signs were posted everywhere about it. I actually thought it was a joke at first when our pastor told us we wouldn’t be able to shake hands with anyone at church.

Soon after that, social distancing came into effect, causing people all over the country to have to self isolate. Churches, pubs, restaurants, and other businesses are closed. Grocery stores have glass barriers protecting the cashiers, and signs mapped out on the floor, telling you where you can stand in relation to others. It’s wild.

The isolation hit us hard initially. I mean, we’re so used to connecting with people, doing ministry, getting out in the community. Despite the isolation, we’ve been able to reach out to people using social media. Thank God for modern technology! We have been able to talk to family and friends, share humor, and bring some hope to people who are feeling panicked. We’ve had conversations on Facebook that have really led people to an understanding of the Gospel. Earlier this week a girl randomly contacted Larena, telling her that she had some interesting circumstances happen to her and she didn’t know where to turn to for answers, but she knew us from a year she had lived in Galway and wanted to ask how she could receive Jesus! So listen, even tho the virus is shutting down church services… it surely can’t shut down church! We are the church. It’s not about four walls. It’s about each one of us living out the Gospel and sharing Christ with others.

At Galway Christian Fellowship, we’ve joined a team that will be assisting anyone in our communities with needs, for example delivering groceries, medicines, etc. Our church has also volunteered our team to assist with a local charity called COPE, who already provide meals for elderly in Galway. We’re attempting to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a time of crisis, so that needs can be met, and people can be supported.

It’s tragic that many businesses are suffering and may end up going out of business. My heart goes out to those who have lost their jobs as a result. This virus has many negatives, including the economic hit that many of us are going to face. However, I believe there will be certain opportunities that will open up that may not have been available before.

One opportunity that you all know has been on my heart for a long time has been the dream of a drop in center in the heart of Galway City. I have a strong feeling this economic downturn will actually open up an opportunity for us to get a prime location for an affordable price, especially at a time when other businesses will be struggling to afford their leases. We still need to raise the funds for this venture, but God has already confirmed to me that He will provide through people He is preparing to partner with us in this. I’m keeping my eyes open, and praying for guidance every day on this matter.

Pastor Sean Mullarkey, the national leader of Christian Churches Ireland was on national television (RTE) a few days ago, bringing hope and encouragement to a nation that is in desperate need of it. What a great opportunity for him to reach out to the nation. We pray that through this time of trial, many people across this nation turn their hearts to Jesus, and find the peace that only He can provide.

So, we are waiting this thing out, working from home as much as we can, assisting others when needed, connecting on social media, and spending time with each other. I’m so thankful for the family time we’re getting. We are finding creative ways to bring fun and adventure to each day. Isolation can be a depressing thing, but when we have each other to lean on, we can lift each others spirits when any of us are getting down.

I just want to encourage you all in this season. You may not be on lock-down like we are. Who knows, if you aren’t now, maybe you will be soon. I know they’re trying to decrease the rate of spread as much as they can. Just be safe out there. Stay healthy. I pray a blessing over each one of you. I pray for protection over your health. I pray for your finances. I pray for a peace that surpasses all understanding for those who are facing uncertainty with loss of work. I pray that God also uses each of you to be a beacon of hope to those you can impact in your own spheres. Thank you again for all of your prayers and support. You all mean so much to us, you have no idea! God bless! ~ Chris (L&A too)

PRAYER REQUESTS

Prayer Requests We would be honored if you would pray with us concerning:

Please pray God stops this horrible virus by sending out His angels to destroy this thing!
Please pray for the way this virus is effectng our world and economy-pray God will turn this around for His good.
Please pray for all the people who have died from this horrible virus, or are suffering with it. Pray for their families & loved ones as they will be unable to connect physically & their grief is real. Pray for emotional/mental/physical healing.
Please pray that God will open up more opportunities for us to share the Gospel with everyone we can in this time of isolation.

Support Information

If you would like to team up & contribute to this important mission, please make checks out to:

Hope Ireland Missions

229 W. Exchange St.

Crete, IL 60417
(Chris & Larena Johnston on the memo line)
TO GIVE ONLINE: Simply go to: www.hopeirelandmissions.com & click on “partner.”