For a few months I attended Bible studies in Dave’s house, now on the Rock Rd., in Blackrock near Dundalk. Then one evening he started to talk about some verses in the Bible which referred to those who worked in the gospel earning their living from preaching it. My scepticism kicked in very quickly, along with an alarm bell or two! I had seen and read about many of the American T.V. evangelists who were deceiving and robbing poor foolish people of their earnings and savings. Suddenly it seemed that Dave was just like them, albeit on a much smaller scale. Well here was one guy who wasn’t going to be suckered! Without an explanation or farewell I simply never turned up for any more of the Bible studies. In fact I even avoided Dave whenever I spotted him about town. (To be fair to him, Dave was only telling me what the Bible does say about those in full-time ministry making their living out of it)
I mentioned that I had attended these meetings with two others. Siobhan, Anthony and I were involved in youth work in Knockbridge, our home village. Each of us declared around this time that we had been saved and with the enthusiasm of youth we immediately started a Bible study, inviting our friends from the Youth Club. We wanted to tell everyone about this wonderful message of salvation! The local parish priest heard about it and invited himself along. Michael Hardy was a very straight man, what you saw was what you got. After a few weeks he gently but firmly put an end to our study. We didn’t put up too much of a fight. I tried to tell Michael about the need of salvation many years later, but he seemed very closed to the truth. He died a few years ago and my hope is that at that time, despite our youth and ignorance, we did share the gospel of Christ with him. Siobhan, Anthony and I went our own ways shortly after this. Looking back, I believe that only Siobhan was truly saved at that time and she continues to serve the Lord with her husband and family in Northern California.
These times were not without their humour. One local wit, hearing the term ‘born-again’ being used about the three of us asked if we each now had two bellybuttons! It was one of several jokes that went around Knockbridge about us for a while afterwards.