Where we are from in America, churches are essentially like Starbucks in the city: there is one on every corner. If one church is too loud, too charismatic, too boring, too old, or too young, next Sunday you simply drive down the street to another one. Even churches among the same denomination with essentially the exact same beliefs are separated by only a few miles. The main difference is that people from the other side of the family go there. Church hopping and shopping is a real thing. If you don’t like a certain aspect of your church, you go find a different one that doesn’t do that. Then you find out that church isn’t perfect either, and you continue shopping and hopping. This is the culture we grew up in. This is all that we knew. If you wanted to go to church, you certainly didn’t have to look too hard to find one or drive too far to get to one.
However, here in Ireland, things are so very different. Last Sunday, we had a couple visit our church. They are a married Christian couple living here in Ireland. The wife is from Ireland and the husband is from South Africa. As we were talking with this couple, we discovered that they lived almost an hour away from the church. Once they told us where they lived, we realized that we were the closest church to them. That’s right, they had to drive almost an hour to get to the closest Bible-believing church. Just for reference, you can drive from the far west coast of Ireland, Galway, to the far east coast, Dublin, in 2 1/2 hours. This couple had to drive the distance of nearly half the width of the country to get to the closest church.
We were thrilled that they visited with us, and at the same time we were heartbroken. It’s so sad that a couple who wants to go to church has to drive that far. In the west, especially in the Connemara, Bible-believing churches are basically nonexistent. Other than our church, church planting hasn’t happened in the Connemara in over 100 years. It’s devastating to think of the people who haven’t had the opportunity to hear the gospel because there is no church. PLEASE join us in praying and also doing whatever we can to bring more churches all through the entire island! #PrayForIreland
(The featured image of this post is one that we took of the Galway Cathedral.)