News and prayer update from Marcus & Tamara Throup in Belfast and Brazil.

Just an update on Throup life! Please continue to pray for Tamara and me, as it is quite hard being apart. You’ll recall that I’m on a post-graduate diploma course in Theological Education in Belfast, whereas Tamara is at her Mum’s in Recife, finishing her post-grad course in Psychology. Studies are going well for both of us, and one good piece of news for me is that the University of Nottingham accepted my PhD proposal in New Testament studies, so I am now officially a (part-time) PhD student!

The pregnancy is going well and via Skype I am able to have some idea of our daughter (Rebekah’s) progress. Tamara is now 22 weeks and so far so good; this Thursday Tamara is due in for another important scan so please pray for her and Rebekah.

Here in Belfast, I’m having a productive time.  As well as studying around 10 hours a day on the Theological Education and on the doctorate, I have done a small amount of Greek teaching and may yet do some further teaching in other areas. I’m also learning a little Swahili with Dr Paul Mwangi, my Kenyan roommate! We’re quite an international group, with college lecturers and principals from all over the world. A lot of us (me included!) are feeling the cold now! Term is coming to an end though, and on January 1st, after Christmas with my folks, I’ll be getting on a plane to Brazil!

Both Tamara and I sense that this is a very special and formative time in our lives. The arrival of Rebekah and the start of the PhD bring new challenges and serious commitment, but both of us are sure that the Lord is with us, guiding us through. As of next year, alongside the PhD hours, I’ll be doing various teaching jobs that the bishop has lined up for me. Please pray that both of us will be refreshed and rested over the coming Christmas break, so that we can be at our best for the things God has for us next year.


With every blessing in Christ


Marcus and Tamara

South America comes to Armagh!

Please pray for Rev Malcolm Kingston, and the local parishes of Kilmore and St. Saviours as they host a special South American Long Weekend taking place from February 6th to 11th. The planned programme is extensive, fun and focussed on mission matters here at home and overseas.

Fri, 6th Feb (7.30pm) : SAMS Friday Night Live in Craigavon Civic    Centre.  This annual celebration event never disappoints!  Peter and Cecilia will take part, as will the Shankill Parish Worship Group, Bishop Ken Clarke and Rev. Dr Maurice Elliott.

Sat, 7th Feb (7.30pm) : Salsa Night with Cecilia in Kilmore Parish Centre. Have you been inspired by the Latin Dances on Strictly Come Dancing, then ladies and gentlemen, come along for a lot of fun!

Sunday, 8th Feb : Morning Worship in both churches with Peter & Sally Bartlett, followed by BBQ in St Saviour’s Hall.

Sunday, 8th Feb, 7pm : Evening Worship with Cecilia in St Saviour’s.

Mon, 9th Feb, 7.30 – 8pm  : A meeting of Refresh (youth group for those of Secondary School age plus) with a South American theme,  in Kilmore Parish Centre.

Tues, 10th Feb : Church Girl’s Brigade South America Night in St Saviour’s Hall. All girls are most welcome! 

Teaching Opportunities

Teachers needed in Paraguay

Head Teacher Gwen Carlisle writes from St Andrew’s School in Asunción, Paraguay:“We are going to be desperate for teachers by February [the start of the 2009 academic year], especially secondary English teachers and a secondary maths teacher wouldn’t come amiss either!”
Is God calling you or someone you know to serve in this Anglican school with its firm Christian ethos? Please make a special effort to share this request. SAMS Ireland can send you a DVD of the school which gives a good overview. Why not chat to one of several teachers from Ireland who have worked in the school over this past decade. 

New head of SAMS GB

SAMS GB, our sister mission agency has recently appointed a new Director, he is Bishop Henry Scriven. As you may know SAMS GB is in discussion with CMS about a merger. Henry will become Director of South America in a new SAMS/CMS mission agency. This will not affect SAMS Ireland as we are autonomous from SAMS GB.

For more on Henry see:

Please join us in praying for Henry and Catherine as they plan their transition into this new role.

SAMS prayer line

The prayer line from SAMS GB has just arrived. SAMS GB is in merger talks with CMS, as SAMS Ireland is autonomous this will not affect us directly, but please pray for our sister organisation.

Pat Blanchard in Lima, Peru, has requested prayer for an important meeting over the next couple of days. The local council are meeting with Pat to discuss the possibility of their donating land to her church of Jesús el Nazareno for their Shalom ministry to disabled people. This is a progressive ministry but does need a ‘good home’, so let’s join with Pat in prayer.

Please remember the Indian peoples of Northern Argentina, as Andrew Leake reports that some members of the provincial government of Salta have just presented a motion that could rescind the recently passed law limiting deforestation in the Chaco.

The Argentine Bible Society, meanwhile, hosts a long-awaited conference from Monday (23rd) on the provision of Scriptures in audio form. This involves the translations into Wichi, Toba, Chorote (Argentina) and Enxet (Paraguay).

Jonathan & Hilary Rowe thank us for prayers for the Gospel Choir evening in the main square of El Escorial in Spain on 7 June. Over 1,500 people attended, including the mayor. Let’s support follow-up work with our prayers. Meantime, Jonathan, Hilary and their children come to the UK on Monday (23rd) for a short period of home ministry, so please uphold them at this time.

Arriving this Friday from Chile is Bishop Tito Zavala. He and Assistant Bishop Abelino Apeleo are attending the SAMS General Council meeting this weekend before proceeding to the GAFCON gathering of bishops in Jerusalem. Pray for them … and pray too for the SAMS General Council who meet over 24 hours in London from Friday (20th) to discuss further whether the Society should merge with CMS or remain independent. Following this, the GB staff take a 24-hour retreat starting on Monday.

Friday Night Live 2008

Friday Night LiveFour hundred and forty people squeezed into the main hall in the Jethro Centre for Friday Night Live; it was standing room only by 7:30pm. Highlights of the evening included a reunion between Edmeia Williams from Brazil and Archbishop Robin Eames. In 1998 Lord Eames visited Edmeia in the Dona Marta favela of Rio de Janerio.

Retired Bishop of Paraguay, John Ellison and his wife Judy, shared about their 30 years of work in South America. Dr Dickie Barr reported on a successful Love for Life trip, and the Trews emotionally shared how the family moved from Paraguay back to Northern Ireland.

Friday Night LiveThe dynamic evangelist and church leader from Chile, Alf Cooper, gave the keynote address on the need to share the gospel, and training all members of the church to be a witness for Christ. He also introduced Samuel Lago who is spending a year in All Saints Parish in Belfast.

Titch and Cecilia reported on the excellent work carried out by SAMS volunteers in Salta and welcomed Pamela who is spending a year in Annaghmore Parish.

Bishop Ken Clarke finished the evening by praying for all those who will be going on mission over the next year, including the nationals from South America working in Northern Ireland.

It was another exciting night, encouraging to see so much interest in the work of mission in South America, Spain and Portugal. Thank you to all who helped out, and for everyone who came on such a wintry night.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment at the form at the bottom of this page.

Prayer items

Friday Night Live Pray for all those travelling to Friday Night Live on the 1st February. It’s one of the biggest nights and most overseas visitors we have ever had. There will be a lot of preparations over the next week.

Health Please remember in prayer Bishop Bill & Judith Godfrey of Peru who came to the UK just before Christmas for Bill to convalesce after a series of operations. Bill is far from well and was expecting to go back into hospital here for an extended period. Judith is very tired, so please hold them and their family up to the Lord.

Camps In Peru itself the first of three diocesan youth camps begins tomorrow (Thursday) in Lima, finishing on Monday. Paul Tester has been helping organise these camps. Pray that God would reach out to many young people through them. The others are held next month.

Chaplaincy Also tomorrow interviews are held in Warwick for a chaplain to replace Peter Jordan in Barcelona after he retires on 31 March. Pray for a person of vision and team leadership qualities to be found for the post.

Threats to churches In the same part of the world Sue Woodcock has been shocked to learn that ”several Protestant churches in Catalunya are under threat of closure by local authorities for what would seem to be trumped-up reasons.  This is a very worrying trend”, writes Sue, “and it’s astonishing that it should happen under democracy!” She asks us to pray for this situation and for our brothers and sisters there.

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