Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
Friday, March 2, 2018
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Yesterday the entire Irish nation was on shutdown from 4 P.M. onwards because of an unprecedented weather event—Storm Emma and the “Beast from the East” (I kid you not) promised nationwide whiteout blizzard conditions, so that all schools were closed, public transport shut down, flights in and out of Ireland were cancelled, people resorted to the “panic buying” of bread and milk, and the “National Emergency Coordination Group” urged everyone to stay inside. 4 P.M. came and went and this morning we have 2-3 inches of snow in Limerick. Other parts of the country are harder hit with much more snow. I am glad that I did not have to travel to Wales this week (I gave a speech there last week), while one of our members, Manuel Kuhs, was able to get back from his business trip early before he was stranded in Germany (Psalm 146:15-17!).
“Tech Team” - Chester Mansona, Sam Watterson, and Manuel Kuhs holding Jonas
In my last newsletter, I mentioned that our “tech experts” are working on a way to install speakers in the cry room so that people can hear the sermons. Several at-tempts have been made with different equipment options, including radio transmitters, but so far we have been unsuccessful. Thomas Edison reportedly made 1,000 attempts before he invented the lightbulb. Hopefully, our crack team of tech support (pictured) will reach a breakthrough quicker than that!
We have two new regular visitors. The first arrived on 31 December. As we were standing outside waiting for the gate-keeper to open the hall (he was late!), a gentleman arrived asking for the “church on Thomas Street.” His name is Noel Kelly (aged 69) and he is legally blind. In the past, he attended Limerick Baptist Church, but he has decided to attend the LRF instead. He also lives a short distance from me in Corbally, so that I can give him a ride to the services every Sunday and to the Bible study every Tuesday. The sermon that I preached that Sunday morning was “Jehovah Turning Our Mourning into Dancing” (Ps. 30:11-12).
The second visitor arrived on January 14, invited by Colm Ring. She is a student from Greece studying toxicology at the University of Limerick. She arrived as an unbeliever, having never heard of Protestantism, and was amazed at the clear preaching and teaching of the LRF. The first sermon she heard was “Comprehending the Dimensions of Christ’s Love” (Eph. 3:17-19). She has also been enjoying the Heidelberg Catechism sermons on misery (I spent four Sundays on LD 3 this time, which is my fifth time through the Catechism): “Diagnosing Our Misery” (LD 2); “The Good Creation of Man” (LD 3); “The Fall of Man into Sin” (LD 3); “The Total Depravity of Man” (LD 3); and “Except We Are Regenerated” (LD 3). In the mornings I am preaching a short series on Romans 1:18ff. entitled, “The Operation of God’s Wrath in the World,” which deals with God’s wrath, man’s idolatry, and God’s giving man over to sin and debauchery. It is a fascinating, and sobering, subject.
She and Colm came to my house for lunch her first Sunday, where she asked me, “What is spiritual blindness?” and “Is predestination in the Bible or just something your church teaches?” (She had been reading some of the articles on our website). When I read to her from Ephesians 1, she remarked, “Wow, that’s very clear!” She is, however, very sad and frustrated—why is the Greek Orthodox Church so idolatrous and why are there no Reformed churches in Greece? (Alas, the same could be said of many European countries, where Reformed churches are very rare). She and Colm have begun to attend an Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class on Saturday afternoons. She is keen to learn and has many questions. She has also translated “Knowing the True God,” “What Is the Reformed Faith?” “The Sovereignty of God,” “Sovereign Election,” “Total Depravity,” “Justification by Faith Alone,” and “Our Only Comfort” into (modern) Greek.
Another recent highlight was the visit of Rev. Decker and Sid Miedema of the Contact Committee. Several members of the LRF—Sam and Jason Watterson, Manuel Kuhs, Chester Mansona, Colm Ring, and I—attended the CPRCNI annual “congregational dinner” in Ballymena (January 19). The church visitors were in Limerick from Thursday 25 to Monday 29 January, which is a longer time than usual. The saints in the LRF appreciated the extra days of fellowship with the American brethren. While they were here, Rev. Decker gave a very challenging lecture on “Living in a Digital Age” (Saturday 27 January) and preached twice on Sunday 28 January: “The Life and End of the Righteous” and “Boast Not Thyself of Tomorrow.” It was good to have Rev. Decker preach, for it meant I could get up early on Sunday morning and prepare several dishes for our congregational lunch! Everyone came to my house after the morning service where we enjoyed food, fellowship, and conversation together.
Many of you will have heard the radio interview on “Iron Sharpens Iron” with Chris Arnzen on Friday 5 January, where the topic of discussion was my book, Called to Watch for Christ’s Return. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the questions from callers; and I hope that it was a good witness to the Reformed Faith.
The next time I write a newsletter, D.V., I will be married! While I am in the U.S. for the wedding and honeymoon, Candidate Jonathan Langerak will be preaching for the LRF. Larisa and I look forward to married life together.
In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn McGeown