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By Don Thatcher
After commuting for six months from Dublin to Waterford, Ireland, our family
relocated to the city of Waterford. Our church was meeting in a local hotel for our
Sunday church services. The mid-week service was held primarily in our home
and at other times in the home of a church family. The hotel meeting rooms were
affordable and had served us well for over 12 years. The Lord had given us many
opportunities of outreach while meeting in the hotel as well as kind favor with the
hotel management.

Church ministry in rented facilities that are used or occupied by others requires a
lot of extra work that comes with having to set everything up before services, tear
it down at the end of the service, and haul it all away. I am thankful for a family
that has been willing to get up earlier to help haul in the needed items for
the service, such as hymnbooks and the keyboard.

As a church, we had been praying for a very long time to be able
to find a suitable meeting place for our church that we could
have 24/7. There was nothing available in the right place for
the right price. In 2016, the Lord seemed to be closing the
door at the hotel. Due to various circumstances, it became
necessary for us to diligently seek out a new place to
meet. Proverbs 3:5–6 say, Trust in the Lord with all thine
heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all
thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

These verses have been a guide to us, especially during
the search for a new meeting place. As we moved
through the weeks of 2017, the Lord began opening a
new door of opportunity. A unit in a retail park had
become available for rent. The location was great and
since it was in a retail park, there was also plenty of
parking that can often be a great difficulty to find in
Ireland. Who would have thought an abandoned hair salon
could become our church meeting place? Well, stranger
things have happened. As we investigated the building,
it was in rough shape. The ceiling tiles were stained and
several were cracked and broken. Several light fixtures
had been taken down. Though it had two bathrooms,
one was unfinished. On top of that, the building was
vacated and all the salon equipment left behind. That
Number 1, 2019

included the rotten food in the little refrigerator and the moldy sandwich in the
microwave, along with all the cut hair on the floor! The floor was an oak laminate
that was in decent shape except for the fact that it was buckled up about five or six
inches high in one section across the whole width of the main room. Needless to
say, there was plenty of work to be done to transform a mess into a church.

The monthly rent would be a stretch, but as a church, we believed that by
God’s grace we could handle it. The funds for setting the building up
were another story. Since we had been meeting in the hotel, we had
no need to purchase our own tables or chairs. What a blessing it
was when some of our supporting churches wrote, saying that
they were giving special offerings to help meet our needs to
get up and going! We praise the Lord for funds that made it
possible to purchase 40 chairs, ten tables, new ceiling tiles,
programmable heating units, wallpaper, paint, pulpit
building materials, and other incidental needs! The
church family came together on a Saturday and cleaned
the place out. We hauled out 35 large trash can bags of
rubbish and all the old ceiling tiles. We were able to sell
the inherited salon chairs and use the money to pay for
the dumpster.

A place that was once used to cut and style hair in the
midst of all the latest talk of the town had now been
transformed into a church building where people could
come and hear the preaching of the Word of God and
the life-changing message of the Gospel. We praise the
Lord for a new meeting place, a church family willing
to work on the transforming cleanup operation, and
supporting friends and churches who have prayed and
given for this purpose! W
Don & Lisa
Thatcher Number 1, 2019