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Newsletter May 2008

large product photoFreddie and Mark Drennan at the front of the Crumlin Road church sanctuary   People Make the Place!

Ward and Marda Stothers moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland in mid April 2008 to do charitable work in the Greater Shankill community!  This is our story.

Freddie continued to be one of our delightful new friends.  He and his dog, Jade, his two sons Keith and Gareth serve the church continuously.  He lives a few hundred feet from the church and is there for every event.  Debra and her son Carson also live within a few hundred feet of the church and opens her home for tea gatherings.  Mark Drennan, will take his masters degree in Ethnic Conflict and move to Sierra Leone in June to work with Children of the Nations for 15 months to counsel and design a conflict management course.  Stuart Drennan works long hours in media production and also staffs the church projector.

We have joined in Sunday morning prayer time, worship, and evening worship, small group prayer sessions, and midweek Bible Study group.  The church moved its worship out of the sanctuary in the winter to save oil, and we moved back at the beginning of May.  A half day of cleaning made ready.

Gillian and her daughter Ruth cleaned our new home and set up a new bed.  Soap, detergent, and toilet paper were all in place.  Suzan sent us with rubber gloves and dish sponges and with separate faucets on each sink the scalding water is quick to come.  The garbage routine is still a mystery alternating blue bin recyclables and grey bin waste put out on Monday nights.  They store in our wee concreted yard and go out into the back alleyway for pickup.

We have lived here three plus weeks.  Banking, Metro bus system, phone and internet, library, medical intake, car insurance and road tax gave us contact with the service sectors.  Virgin Media has door to door cold sales.  It took three trips to the Bank and a two hour intake session to set up an account with cash.  We bought our car from Neal Beattie in Markethill, County Armagh, an automatic right hand drive Renault Scenic hatchback.  Driving is a challenge with narrow streets, right hand drive on left side roads with parking allowed on either side of the street in either direction!

Our neighbor straight across is from Zambia; all the rest look Irish.  Our neighborhood is Ballysillen, adjacent to Woodvale, Crumlin, and Ardoyne.  We are a block and a half from two green grocers, convenience store, butcher, bakery, Joan’s Hair Salon (she’ll cut my hair), luncheonette, fish and chips, small hardware store, drug store, and Post Office.  Three short blocks in the other direction is Lidl, a small supermarket.  A mile and a half  away is a giant brand new TESCO supermarket, and downtown shops are 3 miles away.  Gasoline is going up costing $8.80 for an American gallon.  Food is slightly higher.  Utilities are lower.  The weather is warming up and the sun is plentiful but intermittent with overcast and rain.

We have begun our home visits with a list of 20.  Most are members in their 80s and 90s.  Evelyn is 88 and her grandfather started the church with Reverend Mitchell from a meeting in the linen mill.  The original stone church was blitzed in WWII and rebuilt in brick in the 1950s.  Mrs. Cahoon is 92 and her family is very tight knit and sees her every day.  Bob and Marian and her sister Tily lived through a pipe bomb meant for someone else but thrown into their home six years ago. 

Do they need “missionaries?”  A listening heart and a fresh voice is heard.  Thank you for supporting us.

Email: wardstothers@cten.org
Website: www.quonstothers.com

New Phone: (028) 90 291986  From US 01144.2890.291986

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