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Stories & Blog

Same Circumstances, New Life

IRELAND — Philip faced a dead end.

His wife had health problems, he had heart problems, one of his sons had a learning disability, and another son was about to be jailed for multiple incidents of drunken violence. Life felt overwhelmingly hopeless, and he didn’t know where to turn.

But the son about to be jailed had started attending a Crossworld church plant in Youghal (pronounced “y’all”), Ireland. He invited his father, Philip, to go with him. At church, Philip listened intently to the sermon on 1 John. It was the first Bible teaching he had heard in his life.

“I have to go back and see what happens next,” Philip thought.

He made friends with a Crossworld worker who gave him a 30-day Daily Bread devotional to go through. At the end of the devotional, he read, “Is there any reason why you wouldn’t believe in Jesus?” Philip felt God telling him to believe, so he prayed the prayer on the back of the pamphlet, surrendering his life to Jesus.

That surrender marked the start of a new life. The Crossworld worker led Philip through the booklet Growing in Christ, and Philip raced through it, finishing all 13 lessons in a few weeks. Philip also volunteered with the church to hand out Christian literature at a local festival. While there, he fearlessly shared his newfound truth with friends and neighbors. Five months after Philip’s first visit, he was baptized: the first immersion baptism ever recorded in Youghal.

Although Philip’s life situation is the same — he and his wife still have health problems and both of his sons still struggle — he sees life differently. He has a new sense of peace and hope, as well as resources and a supportive church to help him handle the hardships.

Those around him have noticed the change. Although at first his neighbors criticized Philip for leaving the Catholic church, they have now started asking him for prayer. They recognize that he has something they don’t. Likewise, Philip’s wife has asked him to do a Bible study with her because she wants the same hope she sees in him.

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