“Teaching others to discover Truth for themselves has been one of the greatest adventures of my life!”
—VALERIE MURPHY, NORTHERN IRELAND
Have you ever doubted God? When the storms of life come, where do you turn? God used an unexpected tragedy to help Valerie grow deeper and stronger in her amazing walk with the Lord. Valerie writes:
“I’ll never forget the day when my dear friend Sarah called and told me that her precious child, who was just 4 months old, had died due to cot death syndrome. She was devastated. I was heartbroken. I knew at that moment, I had reached a crisis with my faith. For quite a long time I had been questioning all that I had ever believed about God.
I was raised in a Christian home with godly parents. I committed my life to the Lord at age 10, and I was very active in church as a teenager. God continued to bless and He brought me a godly husband. At that point in my life, I had three lovely children all less than 5 years of age. With the constant demands of being a wife and mother, I had slipped further and further away from God. On the outside I was still going through the motions like everything was fine, but my relationship with God was suffering greatly and I stood at a crossroads.
I was at a crisis of belief. Could God really be in this horrific trial? This one event, the death of Sarah’s baby, brought me to a point of making a choice: would I turn away from God or walk again by faith and cling to His Word? As I watched my friend encounter God in her pain, I hungered to know Him again. I knew that knowing God’s Word was exactly what I needed and I committed my life again to knowing Him through His Word. Wherever God was leading, I would follow.
My hunger to know His Word was strong. God answered my prayer. Through an organization called Evangelical Ministries, I was introduced to a group of ladies who were keen to study God’s Word. I had developed a strong interest in learning to study the Bible, but no studies that I had taken seemed to work. They didn’t teach you how to engage with the Bible for yourself. Together we started to produce and write our own Bible studies, and as part of this process we decided to attend a Precept Training Workshop held in England. I was hooked. The Word of God came alive to me and I realized with some commitment, anyone could learn to study the Bible Inductively.
God’s timing was perfect! The next summer Kay Arthur was the keynote speaker for our Northern Ireland Women’s Conference. Through God-ordained delays on her travel arrangements, I was able to spend time with Diane Vereen. At that time, Bob and Diane Vereen served as the Ambassadors At Large, international liaisons for Precept Ministries. She encouraged me along with two others friends to attend a Precept Summer Training at Precept Ministries headquarters.
It was exactly what we all needed. We studied every Training Workshop that was offered. It was fantastic! God was birthing in me a strong desire to help teach others what He was teaching me. I prayed and God moved. In 2002 a link was forged between Evangelical Ministries and Precept. Precept was the “Bible Study arm” of EM.
In time there grew such a strong hunger for others to learn to study the Bible that we believed that God was directing us to start Precept Ministries Northern Ireland. The strategy God gave us was to begin by focusing on Leaders. Raise them up; support them; and establish them before moving on. We set up a class, identified potential Precept Leaders, trained them and then gradually handed over the class to them.
Valerie has since retired from being the National Director for Precept i Ireland but Garth Bell has stepped in and is taking the ministry to a new level.It’s remarkable to see what God has done from starting one class and praying for new Leaders. Today there are approximately 80 Precept Inductive Bible Study classes with 1,000 students in these classes. We stand amazed at the growth we have seen. The ministry began in Northern Ireland but it now encompasses both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Here a few comments from some of our Students and Leaders who have been impacted by Precept Northern Ireland:
“God has used this ministry to help me, to change me, to cause my heart to desire God more than anything else. I’m so thankful for Him leading me to Precept.” Mary—Precept Student, Newtownabbey
“As a Leader it’s very positive and encouraging to see something new happening. To see men discussing issues and God’s Word openly, speaking out and being honest in real terms. As a Leader this is so good to see.” Campbell—Precept Leader, Carrickfergus
“It’s very encouraging to see girls of different backgrounds coming together with dedication to study God’s Word. It’s thrilling to see their new Bible Study Inductive skills and a desire to grow.” Rona—Precept Leader, Londonderry
We desire for others to stand strong. Crisis will come. Storms will hit our lives. But praise God He never changes. I’m glad I stepped out in faith and determined to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.Teaching others to discover Truth for themselves has been one of the greatest adventures of my life!”