The next great Internet adventure: Will you be ready?

Being in and around the Internet opened a wonderful international opportunity for me. Here’s some background: When I started working with OurChurch.Com in April 2003, my main role was assisting with the Help Desk fielding questions from webmasters, many of whom were using our BEACON Web Builder. It was a wonderful job because it meant working with Christians from all over the world. There were challenges, too, especially when a customer was feeling frustrated over an issue that I was trying my best to solve. Sounds typical of most jobs, right?

I found the most fulfillment at work not only when I could help someone with a problem, but also when I could establish a dialog with them and get to know them as people. For example, one of our customers from Ireland would report a technical difficulty, I’d write back, and in the course of our brief discussions we wound up talking about all the exciting things the Lord was doing in our lives. The joy of being a Christian would just spill over into my workday in marvelous and unexpected ways, leaving my spirit uplifted no matter how the rest of my day had gone.

Internet connects two countries.
One day our Irish customer and brother in Christ, Harry Toye of Five Fold Ministry Ireland, told me about an outreach he and his team would be hosting in America. “That’s great,” I told him almost absently. When I learned they were coming to New Hampshire, I immediately dismissed the idea of meeting the team. Airfare from my home in Florida to New England was beyond my budget. I wished him well and put the thought out of my mind.

Up to this point I hadn’t spent more than a few moments on Harry’s website, not because I didn’t care, but because with more than 7,000 OurChurch.Com sites there isn’t time to fully visit each one while responding efficiently to support issues. I didn’t know much about his team.

But God had other plans for me. Probably about a month after my talk with Harry, this strange thought came into my head: “You need to go to New Hampshire to meet the Five Fold Ministry Ireland team.” What? That’s crazy. I set the thought aside. Next day, the thought came again: “You need to go to New Hampshire to meet the Five Fold Ministry Ireland team.” But this is a customer! I don’t need to go to New Hampshire to meet a customer! Yet the thought persisted every day for two weeks until finally I couldn’t stand it any more. I had to tell my husband about it. His response was direct: “Then go!”

With that, I took the time to read the beautiful testimonies on Harry’s website and was absolutely amazed. I read this entire page and was filled with tears by the end of it, now fully convinced that I wanted to meet this team! I took my 22-year-old son Jason with me and we flew to New Hampshire the following Saturday.

Now you’d expect that a ministry from Ireland wouldn’t go to the trouble of traveling all the way across the Atlantic unless there were huge, expectant crowds waiting for them. But this was not the case at all. So sensitive to the Holy Spirit is this dedicated group that when I saw their trademark sign announcing “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever” posted on the front of a tiny clapboard church in the Middle-Of-Nowhere, New Hampshire, my heart swelled with love at their simple humility. No evangelist’s name was up in lights, no gigantic photo of a smiling man in an expensive suit, no limousines or fanfare, just Jesus’ name above all. The outreach was beautiful and the decision to travel to New Hampshire changed my life (and my son’s life) forever. Why? Because we experienced Jesus in a fresh new way.

Finding new ways to connect.
I have lots of Christian friends, but there is something extra special about friends who not only share your faith, but who “get it” when you talk about your own unique relationship with God. They are on your wavelength. You click. Plus they keep you accountable and strengthen your faith. That’s how it was with my new Irish friends. I wanted to do more than just send email, but who can afford international calling rates?

The Internet once more became a bridge. Harry told me about Skype, a fantastic Internet phone service that allows you to talk to anyone, practically anywhere in the world, absolutely free. The only requirements are that both parties have an Internet connection, a free Skype account, and earphones. Soon the miles melted away. You can learn more about Skype and stay connected with your friends, too!

OurChurch.Com goes to Ireland.
Since New Hampshire, my friendship with the Five Fold team has flourished. Now I wanted to actually visit them in Ireland and get to know each of them better, and to experience the Wednesday night meetings of which Harry speaks in reverent tones. Two years passed and finally, on May 2 of this year, I boarded a plane bound for Dublin.

I met Harry’s beautiful wife Maureen and reconnected with the team I had met in New Hampshire: Paul the evangelist and his amazing wife Mary, Nick with the gift of music, Mariead with her spirit of quiet helpfulness, and Maire (pronounced “Maura”) who at 83 is one of the wisest women I have ever met. I was also able to meet Nick’s talented sisters Martina and Joan. I was completely welcomed into this circle of dedicated Christians. And although she wasn’t present, I had previously met their faithful prayer warrior, Melissa, who lives in New York.

I witnessed physical healings, deliverance, and commitments to Christ in an Irish town with a name too long to pronounce. I felt radiant heat course through my own body as Jesus healed me of multiple sclerosis and began gradually clearing away my symptoms. As I grow stronger every day I am believing that God’s complete and total healing, which I know to be true in my heart, will soon become outwardly evident to all. I can’t thank Him enough! Even more important, God dealt with the most intimate details of my past along with issues at the core of my heart. I am still processing this amazing experience. Not only that, but this team that is head-over-heals in love with Jesus also knows how to have fun, and we often exploded with laughter.

How to go online when you’re reaaaaaaaaally in the sticks.
I guess you won’t think too highly of my supposed “expertise” any more because I admit that I was unable to get my own laptop connected to the Internet while in Ireland. I suppose I could have gone to an Internet café since my computer didn’t seem to want to accept the Internet connection at Harry and Maureen’s house.

However, I was fascinated by what I saw in Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. Our new friend Dominick, who with his wife Lillian runs a Christian bed and breakfast in Ballinskelligs where we stayed during the outreach, showed us how he connects to the Internet via satellite. The town is very close to the ocean, and to say that it’s a rural location is an understatement. When I walked outside at night and saw the millions of stars that only come into view when the city lights are far, far away, I marveled at how small our world has become through the power of the Internet.

This particular blog post has been less about Christian Web Trends than about the amazing things God can do with the tools we choose to use for His glory. Still, I hope you are encouraged! Your website can be the catalyst by which someone from a distant land discovers a fresh look at the Savior, renewed hope, and lasting friendships.

Pam has been providing support and website development at OurChurch.Com since 2003. She and her husband Ed have two grown children and one grandchild. Pam is a small group leader in her church and volunteers with the Extension Ministry. She enjoys writing and music. Her children's songs have been published and distributed nationally for use in a vacation Bible school curriculum.

7 Responses to “The next great Internet adventure: Will you be ready?”

  1. Dear Pam,

    I just wanted to say that was one of the most edifying blogs I have seen. It is so true. My brief experience on the internet has shown me that God is using this tool to connect believers. I’ve only been on-line about two years, but have met wonderful believers from countries around the globe. There is no way in the natural course of life, that we would have ever connected, had it not been for the internet. I believe that it is a tool in the arsenal of the last days Body. A few times, being a beginner, I have had to contact tech support, and would like to put in a good word for Kurt, who has been so helpful and walked me through my problems with my site. It was a joy to talk to him and he has done much to enrich my experience with ourchurch.com.
    What you shared goes to demonstrate, we should never underestimate or place limitations on what God can do. I had long wondered, how God would join His Body together??? I now feel that it is already happening, we are just catching on to what He is doing…Amen!
    God Bless,
    Cathy

  2. Dear Pam:
    What a wonderful story, I have been on the net almost five years now, and joined a gospel ministry through the net, which met a few nights a week.
    Now a friend and myself have opened our own gospel ministry, in yahoo and meet two nights a week for fellowship and enjoy gospel music.
    I have just opened our Website and I am working hard on sharing with others, but have had many comments and appreciations from so many that have visited it.
    I also take pray requests in our gospel room, and send them out by email, to many prayer warriors.
    This too makes me feel so wonderful, to be able to help and pray for so many, again the outcome has been amazing with appreciations.
    This internet is a wonderful way of reaching so many with God’s word.
    I thank you for sharing with us.
    May you and yours have God’s Love and Blessings always.

    In His Name,
    Nancylee

  3. Dear Sister Pam Seibert
    I just wanted you to know as I read your Blog about your Ireland trip and your healing, the Holy Ghost was all over me and confirmed in my spirit and soul that He had indeed healed you while you were in Ireland for your visit. I had goose bumps upon goose bumps and what a wonderful refreshing in my spirit and soul from God the Holy Spirit. it lasted for quite some time and your Blog was one of the best I have ever read and been blessed by, thanks for sharing your healing testimony, it will help so many to have hope in the healing power of the “Lord Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8. Sis. Pam I felt God the Holy Spirit also healed me of some problems I have been having in my physical body, thank you Jesus and praise the Lord Jesus Christ for His virtue and healing power which is a glorious gife of grace He showers upon abundantly. God Bless and thanks for sharing you story with all of us in need of His Blessings and Healing power . A man who Jesus Christ died for. Dr. Rudy Caldwell Pastor of Countryview Baptist Church 1145 Amity Road Galloway, Ohio 43119

  4. Thank you so much for this. I really needed an uplift today, and you have touched my heart. I went to the Five Fold Ministry page and was truly blessed. (I have listed my personal email. The church’s email is mhallumc@bellsouth.net) Keep on keeping on for Jesus. I am adding you to my prayer list. Carolyn

  5. blessings in the name of God, keep up the good work.

  6. Sister Pam, I do so love you!!! You are truly my sister in Christ, thank you, thank you for sharing your journey to Ireland, it touched my heart and thank you for reminding us the of the power of God, for he can use any medium to fulfill the great commission.

    You too have a ministry and I praise God you are with ourchurch.com

    Rev. Denise Rogers

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. » Let’s Embarrass Pam! - Jul 20, 2006

    [...] In addition to constantly pointing out my spelling errors, Pam managed to design the new OurChurch.Com website, lead the development of our Custom CMS Express service, and create some amazing custom sites like Cat Hair Media, Hearts Without Borders, and Leadership International.  If you’ve had a site at OurChurch.Com for a couple years, you’ve probably received some helpful technical support from her at one time or another and maybe even some prayer support.  Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read her blog articles that range from geeky web design tips to unusual travel adventures. [...]