March 16-21 saw Adrian spend five days on a farm in the Republic of Ireland on behalf of Romanian Ministries.
And this wasn’t the case of a misdirected aeroplane that should have flown to Romania!
A quiet week back in 2017 had allowed Adrian time to fire off an introductory email to every church in the holiday section of Evangelical Times.
While there were almost three hundred of these, an echoing silence reverberated from the many, polite refusals came from a few, but a warm invitation was received from Fahan Presbyterian Church in Ireland to be their missionary organisation of choice in 2019.
Three people from Fahan accompanied Adrian and Cornel on their November 2018 visit to Romania. David, Hilda and Lynn proved to be most enjoyable travelling companions, and come the end of the week we felt our friendships had lasted half a lifetime.
And so in March came the opportunity to present the Lord’s work in Romania to various congregations and meetings in the Emerald Isle.
After a windy flight from Cardiff, that genuinely appeared to be touching down in the sea just off Belfast, David Lamberton and his wife Linda collected Adrian from the airport.
A good lunch followed in a location not to be disclosed, before we traveled to Fahan and the Lamberton farm.
Adrian had never placed foot on a farm before, which made for something of a rapid education. Especially in view of the fact that calving season was upon us, each day beginning with the news of latest arrivals.
Sunday morning saw a warm welcome from Fahan Church, and a presentation that focused on the magnificent work of Emanuel Hospice.
Sunday lunchtime was an opportunity to meet Fahan’s ultra-industrious pastor, Knox Jones, and be served a five-star menu by his wife, Roberta.
Sunday evening was a new experience. This came in the form of a “café church” in the village of Magheramason. Sat around tables and provided with light food, hymns and a presentation on Romanian Ministries followed. It was a lovely time.
Monday’s one-to-one meetings came before attendance at a schools’ rugby cup final in Belfast. Only this wasn’t played before a handful of enthusiastic parents, but in a local stadium packed to the rafters with approximately 10,000 people. Pupils from Campbell College and their opponents from Methodist College roared defiance at each other from opposing stands. Such warlike chants made one seriously wonder if a call to the riot police might not be in order. But hostilities remained confined to the pitch and in the end a comfortable victory for Methodist College.
Tuesday saw a productive meeting with members of a youth team that had made regular visits to Romania, the evening holding a time of fellowship and information-sharing among interested local people.
Also on Tuesday came a tour of the Londonderry city walls, steeped in history and conflict from down the ages. This was given by James Lamberton, a Fahan Church officer. James combines a most organised lifestyle with an engaging and pleasant personality, thus being a lesson to any church secretaries who seem able only to manage the former!
Wednesday saw a visit to Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland, to see the spectacular views and monstrous waves.
In the evening a women’s meeting provided the final opportunity to share the work of Romanian Ministries. A good congregation attended, including several men, and the Lord blessed us with His presence and power.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to leave the shores of Lough Swilly without the deepest respect for the Christian farmers there. Unlike we city folk, surrounded by the bleeps and whirs of machinery and hemmed in by countless walls, theirs is the life of outdoor expanses and nature’s life-cycles.
Meeting the inevitable challenges of their work with resourcefulness and quiet resilience, and a clear faith in the God who sustains all things, it was a joy to be among them.
Their generosity towards the Lord’s work in Romania last year has already borne much fruit. We thank the Lord for them, and look to Him for a blessed partnership in future years.