Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
Friday, April 1, 2016
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Some of you have wondered why the newsletters from Limerick have become infrequent. There are two main factors: 1) Apart from the day-to-day and week-toweek activities common to all churches and to many missions, there is not a lot of “unusual” news to report; and 2) The “unusual” occurrences tend to be private or confidential (pastoral issues or personal trials, which do not belong in a public newsletter).
Despite the lack of “news,” the normal work on the field continues. Since the last newsletter, I finished a series on Psalm 137 (“Remembering Zion by Babylon’s Rivers”) on November 8 (5 sermons), and I started a series on “The Nativity and Childhood of Jesus Christ” (using material from Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2). Since we in the CPRC/LRF do not observe religious holidays, we rarely have an opportunity to preach “Nativity” texts. I must be the only Reformed minister who is still preaching a Nativity series past Easter! Our current sermon (number 19) in the series is “The Son of God Called a Nazarene” (Matt. 1:1923). I also finished the third time through the Heidelberg Catechism on March 6, and recommenced with the Catechism on March 13 with a sermon, “Walking in the Good Old Paths” (Jer. 6:16).
Some of our members/regular visitors have suffered afflictions recently. Bill Davies, our oldest member (81 years old), has undergone two operations on his colon (in October 2015 and February 2016), and has not been in the LRF since October. He is regaining strength and hopes to be able to return to the worship services soon. Jimmy Hogan, who has attended our evening services, Bible studies, and public lectures for several years, was in hospital for much of the month of December. He suffered breathing difficulties, and even after several operations he must carry a personal oxygen tank in case of an attack. He still enjoys attending our Bible studies, and a few weeks ago he came back to the evening service. I was privileged to visit him both in the hospital and in his home to minister the Word of God to him and his family. Joanne Cesar is the sister of Rev. John Flores of Bulacan in the Philippines. Although she and her family do not attend the LRF, I have been teaching her children in Shannon for some time. She became seriously ill and was hospitalised for a number of weeks. (Because of this, there has been no catechism instruction in Shannon since before Christmas). Her parents, Tino and Nancy Flores, who are members in PRC Bulacan in the Philippines, have come to Ireland to assist Joanne and her family at this time. While they are here, they are under the spiritual oversight of CPRC/LRF.
The Floreses and the Mansonas
They are a welcome addition to our little group. The Mansonas, who are also Filipinos, especially enjoy having them around. There is much Tagalog spoken after the services! I was able to tell Tino and Nancy on March 20 that Rev. Daniel Holstege has accepted the call to be the second missionary to the Philippines. They were very happy about that.
On Tuesdays, we continue our Bible study. We started the book of Romans on October 6 and have reached chapter 5. We have a second Bible study at the Mansonas’ home on Revelation, which we have almost finished. Last time we began chapter 22. In addition, Chester and Dale continue to be excellent catechumens in “Essentials of Reformed Doctrine” on Saturday mornings. We begin Christology (Lesson 12) this week.
We continue our “Back to Basics” Lecture series in Limerick. The last four lectures were “Why the Cross?” “The Resurrection” “What Is Sin?” and “Our Sin and God’s Justice.” Our next lecture will be “God Is Good” (April 16). The lectures are about 30 minutes long (sometimes I stay within the time limit), and are designed to explain fundamental truths to an unbelieving audience. My last two lectures in Wales were “Spiritual Gifts” (November 19, 2015) and “The Love of the World” (February 2, 2016). The next speech will be on “Christian Wisdom” on May 12, D.V.
The group enjoys visitors, especially if they stay for the Sunday services. Rev. N. Decker and Peter VanDerSchaaf from the Contact Committee were in Limerick for the weekend of January 17. We enjoyed their fellowship and the preaching of Rev. Decker. Dr. Julian Kennedy, deacon of CPRC, was here for the weekend of January 24. David Hutchings from South Wales stayed for about a week in late February. We are also expecting visitors around the time of the British Reformed Fellowship Conference (July 16-23). Some have already indicated their desire to visit Limerick. We look forward to that and to an excellent conference with friends old and new, and near and far!
Some of the saints in South Wales.
In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn McGeown