Pastor Mark (affectionately known as "PM"), Andrea and their children left for Ireland a little over two years ago. Although several friends have made the trip to Ireland to visit them, we weren't expecting to see their family here in the states for several years when they would be on furlough.
PM and Andrea had a thriving youth mininistry in our church. God used his incredible gifts of teaching and worship to influence scores of teens over the years. Andrea is one of the most supportive and loving ministry wives I've ever known. She too has such a heart for others, teens and adults alike...an amazing encourager. When she hugs you, you have been hugged! (Do you know what I mean?) They are both so well loved by so many.
PM sharing some stories about how God is moving in Ireland.
Andrea, Baby Kate and Aisling. Would you believe this beautiful girl is from their college cell group in Ireland?! Aisling is an absolute delight. She knew that PM and Andrea were planning a trip home. She didn't tell them she too was preparing for her own visit to "the states" and instead surprised them by being there that night, as well! Amazing!
The joy and laughter that filled the air was unforgettable. (We didn't want to leave!) The really beautiful thing about that evening? For those few hours, it was as if they had never left. God has knit these hearts together with ties that truly bind.
Rick (soon to be joining PM in ministry with his family in Ireland), PM, former praise band member & friend, Micah, my husband, Tom.
Long time, beloved youth leader, Lori, Brenda (also home for a few weeks from Shanghai where her husband works and where she has a wonderful ministry to women) and Julie (who serves our junior high with her husband)
Jared & Josh -- these two can do just about anything and they were key to PM's ministry with the youth group. They created event videos, ran power point, sound board, you name it. They're both great guys and truly humble servants.
Alex with her parents, long-time, well-loved youth leaders, Janelle & Todd
Two more beloved former youth staff member, Tracy & Steve
After an amazing time of fellowship, PM joined up with two former praise band members (our friend, Dave and our son, Brennan) and played praise music for a couple of hours. It was incredible to be able to worship with him again.
PM & Andrea's precious daughter, Aislinn. We were completely captivated by her during praise & worship. She knew every word!
Another very special couple and the hosts for this wonderful celebration,
Tim & Lori
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.
From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.