PRAISE THE LORD AND GREETINGS FROM BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND!!
Those of us who are old enough, we remember the nightly images that played out on our TVs of the hatred, violence, car bombs, fighting and divisions between the Protestant and Catholic factions here in Belfast. One of the many tragedies, of the 20th Century. The world watched on as “Christians” fought it out! Though that was not what it was all about. It was mainly about having a unified Ireland. Instead of a North and South Ireland. (Though, just like our own Civil War in America that is a bit of an over simplification). But, Many of those feelings, still survive here today and can be sensed simmering just below the surface.
But Doreen and I, felt led to take the Cross…. (a symbol both sides recognize) into the heart of this area and boldly proclaim, there is Peace,… only, in the Jesus, of the Cross. It’s only When we know God forgives us, that we can find peace, “with” God. Then, we can move forward to find the peace “of” God in our hearts and with one another!! Then, can healing really begin here. Healing begins with forgiveness.
The last two days we walked through the city of Belfast were amazing! Though Saturday, our 2nd day, was quite interesting to say the least! As we walked down Shankill Rd, a few of the men that we handed tracts to, warned us to not go any further as, “you may get shot!” They all were quite open and friendly yet firm. One young man, about 30, received our witness eagerly! He listened intently as I shared the TRUE gospel with him. “It’s not religion!!” I told him. The answer is Jesus and a vital relationship with him!!” He said he agreed with that. He didn’t ask Jesus into his heart then but he gladly took a gospel tract and a flier of our story. He looked me in the eyes as we were leaving and he thanked us for our stand and courage!
The tension here is still thick and it breaks our hearts to see it in the faces of the people, but we, Doreen and I, both feel privileged to share the love of Christ. The Bible tells us,”Where sin abounds, Grace does much more abound!” His grace was with us! As we felt His presence, all day as we walked and shared. The same was true with the three men we shared with outside of a pub. They listened politely and thanked us for coming and sharing with them. Then they warned us “they will shoot you out there, be careful.” They graciously shook our hands and wished us well as I shouldered the Cross and we headed on. Keep us in prayer as we will be here in Northern Ireland sharing this next week…. God bless you, let us know if you are holding the Rope for us. It does mean so much to us.
From the side of the road,
Rick and Doreen