Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,
We have had a very snowy, cold month. Since the end of November, we have had snow on the ground almost continuously. The recent weather in Northern Ireland has been the coldest on record with temperatures dropping as low as -2°F. Because this weather is not typical for this country, normal life and ministry has been considerably more complicated, but God has blessed in spite of it.
Thank you for praying for the Bible study in Limavady. Unfortunately, we did not have a very good response to the Bible study. Several people had said they would come but regrettably we did not have any new people. However, we did have some good times of encouragement with some of the believers that we already work with in that town.
It was a joy to have our pastor, Austin Gardner, from our sending church, Vision Baptist Church, in Alpharetta, Georgia, with us for a few days at the beginning of December. He preached for our World Evangelism Conference and was a real blessing to the people in our church and to us personally.
We have been working hard this past month putting together plans to reach out into the primarily Catholic part of our city. Like most of Northern Ireland, our city is a very segregated place. People from Protestant backgrounds and people from Catholic backgrounds have two very different cultures and ways of life. There are separate schools, neighborhoods, political parties, and many other barriers between the two groups of people. Most of the troubles between the two groups are political rather than religious, though the religious differences add even more fuel to the fire.
The city where we live, Derry/Londonderry (called “Derry” by Catholics and “Londonderry” by Protestants), has a natural divide – the Foyle River. On the west side of the river, live over 70,000 people most of whom come from a Catholic background. Only about 15% attend mass on a regular basis, but they are still culturally Catholic. Up to this point, our ministry has been more focused on reaching the Protestant people on the east side of the river. Because there are no Baptist churches among the Catholic people on the west side of the river and because of past good responses among them, we are going to focus even more on reaching these unreached Catholics with the gospel.
We had a Christmas Party in a very Catholic area called Hazelbank on this past Thursday, December 23. God blessed with 29 children and 6 adults. We gave away some prizes and gifts. What a joy it was to also give a very clear presentation of the gospel to all those present.
Please pray for God to open doors for us as we follow up with these families and other contacts we have in this area. Pray for God to provide a place for us to hold meetings in this area. Pray for God to give us fruit for our labor. Thank you so much for your faithful support and prayers.
Travis & Teri Snode