From Friday, 27th October 2023 until Wednesday, 1st November 2023, the darkness of Halloween was interrupted by a strange and beautiful glow. GLOW (Giving Light to Our World) leaders from around Europe retreated to the small village of Newmarket-on-Fergus (aka Cora Chaitlín) in County Clare, Ireland. Hosted by Discover Truth and the local church, the regional leaders of the literature evangelism ministry converged to pray together, learn together, share testimonies, and reach out to surrounding neighbourhoods in partnership with local and visiting church members.
GLOW Sabbath was a high Sabbath. GLOW Ireland leader, Michael Long, led a Sabbath School of testimonies from around Europe about GLOWS’s impact. Ireland’s own Shane Mulvihill shared an encounter from the monthly Adventist Community Services (ACS) Dublin soup kitchen at the GPO. He noticed a young man in the queue looking particularly down, so, as was his custom, he put his arm around him and began to chat with him. Toward the conversation’s end, Shane pulled out the 2 GLOW tracts he’d brought with him and asked the young man if he could do with any of them. The young man picked Am I Good Enough – a tract on righteousness by faith. Shane embraced the young man who subsequently collected his food and disappeared into the crowded night air. As ACS was packing up, the young man returned. He thanked Shane for the tract, exclaiming that he was planning on committing suicide that night, but changed his mind because of the tract.
After GLOW founder, Nelson Ernst and retired conference president, Jerry Page delivered complimentary, story-filled, sermonettes, exhorting the congregation to be faithful witnesses and to remember the missionary’s essential foundation of spiritual revival and genuine friendship with God, the congregation was inspired to gather firsthand accounts to share. They were divided into two groups: those who wanted to deliver tracts into letterboxes in Newmarket-on-Fergus and nearby Shannon and those who wanted to go with the survey team. The latter would go door-to-door in pairs with a short questionnaire that was designed to make conversation easier and help the Newmarket-on-Fergus church know how they can best serve their local community. Many respondents gratefully received a free book as a token of appreciation for their participation. With Providence ensuring that the forecasted rain was nowhere in sight, youth and adults returned from their united labours bursting with testimonies of their encounters, which they shared in the final afternoon session.
The remaining days of the retreat were filled with wisdom, fellowship, and fun. Even on their fun days, the group was armed to the teeth with GLOW tracts and books, so wherever they went, Dromoland Castle, Cratloe Woods, or the Cliffs of Moher, they left behind a blessing. In one of these instances, Shane had the idea to share a GLOW tract with the security guard at O'Brien's Tower only to find him already reading one!
All attendees left the retreat equipped, united, and invigorated to mobilise the membership in their vicinities for the mission to GLOW.