Pray for Missionaries in Republic of Ireland

This morning I received a very important prayer request from Bob Zemeski . Pastor Zemeski has served the Lord and the people of Ireland as a missionary for many years and has a thorough understanding of the culture and politics. With permission I am copying his prayer request here:

Dear friends,
There is pressing matter for those interested in the
evangelization of Ireland and for those who wish to serve here as missionaries.
We are facing huge immigration issues at the moment. As a result the government
is revisiting some old legislation that has been on the books, but unknown to
all and unenforced until recently. One of these is a law, which limits foreign
missionaries, no matter what their affiliation, to one three year term. The
traditional method for visas has been to enter the county as a tourist and then
go to the Aliens Office or local Garda (police) station and apply for a stamp in
your passport, which could be one year or three. The Department of Justice is
now saying that after your third year you must apply to them for permission to
stay in the country longer. It is still early days, but this looks like it could
cause huge problems and may even result in Ireland being closed to long term
missions, not just for current missionaries, but for those who are already
here.

Kathi and I believe we personally have no bother as we hold dual
citizenship.

Nonetheless, we need your prayers in this matter. Each
application is handled individually. Those who have had children born in the
State before January 2005 have and advantage according to the present law as it
makes allowance considering them Irish citizens and makes a case for the parents
to stay. One couple who has been here three years this June has been told they
must leave. We gave them a name of a solicitor who has presented their case to
the State and because they had children before 2005 they may be able to
stay.

Prayer is needed for new missionaries
coming into the country. The justice department is requiring that a missionary
apply to start a church BEFORE he comes. This restriction has been placed
unwittingly on a couple that has been here one year.

Sadly,
because of this new rule, today a couple is being forced to leave the country after being
here one year. They entered the country the traditional way – not applying for
permission to start a church and when they did, they were told they should have
done that BEFORE their entry into the Ireland. As a result they never received
permission
to stay. Up to this incident, no one knew
of such a regulation or legislation.

There are at least four missionary
families on deputation to come to Ireland. My guess is that these issues have
risen because of the great influx of immigrants. No one has seen a written
policy or law on this issue to get a clear understanding of the situation. The
question remains what is to happen to those who leave the country for furlough
upon their return?

On a wider scale this has
huge possible implications. Anyone who is here on the basis of being a
missionary is facing the same challenge. The fact is, American missionaries are
pastoring many of the Bible preaching churches in Ireland. The vast majority are
threatened by this legislation.

Again, we are in early days. Lawyers are
looking into this issue. We are asking God to make us aware of every angle and
possible solution that we can consider. We basically need to see either the law
changed, or that God will prepare the hearts of the people in the Justice
Department to be receptive to letters of application asking for permission to
stay.

Please don’t take this prayer request lightly – this
has the potential to be a very serious issue for Bible preaching churches all
over the nation.

 

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