Serving in Ireland

Esther (14), Aoife (13), Colm (on Shawn’s shoulders), Cliona (12) and Deanna

Hello my name is Deanna Tebbe.  I am a lover of Jesus Christ and my life is about serving Him. I first became a Christian as a young child around five years old.  As a teenager I had the opportunity to go on a couple of mission trips.   It was during these times that a seed for serving God anywhere in the world was planted in my heart.

While I grew up going to church I never really understood how to make God the Lord of my life.  At eighteen circumstances in my life caused me to become angry at the Lord.  I decided to leave church and not follow after Him.  Those were empty years spent searching.  The Lord, with His still and gentle voice, called me back to Him. At twenty-four I knew that I needed the Lord back in my life and made Him Lord of my life.

It was at this time that I began going to Calvary Chapel Placentia, now Calvary Chapel East Anaheim. I was amazed at hearing the word of God taught verse by verse. My focus became the Lord and growing in my walk with Him.

When I started going to Calvary Chapel I was a bilingual (English/Spanish) Kindergarten teacher.  In 1997, a team that Shawn Tebbe had just led to Ireland returned from their mission trip.  Shawn was a part of the Mexico ministry and wanted puppet scripts they had used in Ireland to be translated into Spanish.  He was introduced to me as one who could translate the scripts.  I smile when I think about our first meeting, God must have had a big smile on His face, knowing the plans He had, for this meeting was far beyond puppet scripts being translated.

Shawn and I also served together at the Harvest Crusade that year. A friendship formed and Shawn recognized feelings were starting to grow. He shared with me that he was called to serve the Lord full-time in Ireland, he could not afford a distraction in his life and that we needed to pray. I appreciated his honesty.  Shawn knew that following a call the Lord placed in his life to serve in a foreign field would mean that I would give up my career, family, and friends.  We prayed and the Lord gave me these verses in Ruth 1:16-17:

But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.  Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also. if anything but death parts you and me.”

The Lord told me I would follow Shawn anywhere He called him to serve. That is what I have been doing for over seventeen years now!

Shawn and I were married six months after we met on Dec. 6, 1997.  We led a short-term team to Ireland in the summer of 1998, and by August 1999 we were moving to Ireland.

We came alongside the first Calvary Chapel church plant in Ireland and served within the Children’s ministry.  Shawn also led worship and assisted the pastor during this time. It was a time of transition for me, transition from being a full-time employee as a teacher to being a full-time wife and serving as a helpmeet to my husband.  We served in Ireland for 3 ½ years and the Lord grew our family of two into five. Our three beautiful girls (Esther, Aiefe and Cliona) were born in Ireland.  Shawn really felt the Lord put church planting in his heart during this time and we prepared to return back to the States for Shawn to go through School of Ministry at CC Costa Mesa.

During our time back in California the Lord added our son, Colm, to the family.  The Lord had our family return back to Ireland to serve Him full-time in December 2009.  God used those years we were in the States to teach us to wait upon Him for His perfect timing and plan!  Our family has the privilege to serve the Lord as a Pastor and his family in Dublin, Ireland.

We have been living in Ireland for over 5 years now.  There are many challenges to living in another culture, but there is also a deep joy in serving the Lord!  The weather is cold, people are skeptical, Christian influence is scarce, Christian fellowship is minimum, yet, God has given us a heart and love for the people who live in Ireland.  Our prayer is that one day when the throne of God appears, there would be many Irish standing among the saints!

by Deanna Tebbe, CCEA Missionary to Dublin. Ireland