May 23, 2014

Irish Mission Welcomes Mark Finley to Dublin City of Hope

BY WEIERS COETSER

Seventh-day
Adventist church groups from across Ireland converged on Dublin on May 10 in an
overwhelming show of support for the Dublin City of Hope project.

Pastor
Mark Finley, a retired General Conference vice president, has arrived in Dublin
for the first of two major evangelistic series that have been planned for the
year. In anticipation of this event, which began May 17, church members
worshipped together at an all Ireland Day of Fellowship in the Ballsbridge
Hotel, the venue for the next two weeks of activities.

"A
sense of expectancy and enthusiasm was palpable through the day,"
commented British Union President Ian Sweeney. "Irish Mission members are
clearly ready and committed to reach people in all of the cities, towns, and
neighborhoods, across the mission."

Pastor
Finley, a veteran evangelist and public speaker, spoke enthusiastically about
the commission to make God known regardless of how impenetrable the culture
seems to be. He shared personal experiences from around the world where people
responded to the Gospel in surprising ways.

In one
inspiring story he shared how he encountered opposition in Russia as he
preached in a town hall where a particularly militant group of people
physically disrupted his meetings. Twenty years later, at an anniversary of
that event, he met some of the troublemakers. They were touched by the Word of
God, despite their ill feelings, and were now life-long disciples of Christ.

Finley
gave some glimpses of his passion for Ireland. "The home that I grew up in
was a Catholic home. The church that I attended was the St. Patrick's Church.
It was just behind our house. I was confirmed there and became an altar boy in
the congregation. I have memories of my family members relaxing with pints of
Guinness over weekends," he commented.

Finley
shared how his dad was the first member in his household to become an
Adventist. His dad never argued with his mum about religion, or about food, or
anything that made him different. Even though his lifestyle changed, he kept
being a loving father to the family.

Over time
Mark and the rest of the family also joined the Church. In those early days
Mark experienced great uncertainty about his own salvation. When he confided in
his dad, his dad shared the Gospel in a way that made that uncertainty
disappear. "This joy of salvation has been a driving force in my life
since that time," he said.

Irish
Mission President David Neal shared details about the upcoming series: "We
are planning four concurrent seminars designed to enrich lives. The theme for
the seminars is Living Life to
the Full. There will be separate strands focusing on faith, health,
finances, and family."

Church
members were encouraged to take brochures for these meetings and to invite
their friends. About 75,000 brochures were printed and distributed across
Dublin.

During
the day members were introduced to singing evangelist Charles Haugabrooks. He
shared his passion for singing with the audience: "I see myself as the
instrument. Every instrument needs a musician to play it. I always ask God to
be The One who makes music through me."

Haugabrooks
is helping to raise interest in the City of Hope seminars. Over the weekend he performed
in two concerts in addition to the worship services at the Day of Fellowship.

At the
conclusion of the main worship service for the day, Finley encouraged members
to pray a dangerous prayer:
"Take my little and make it into much. Lead someone into my life that I
can reach for You." It was an emotional moment as members prayed earnestly
together.

It was
clear however that the whole Irish Mission is praying for this event. Much
prayer will be needed over the coming days as the City of Hope project gathers
momentum

Follow Big4Dublin on Facebook for recent updates, or visit the Irish Mission website regularly for
further news.