The Last Report From N. Ireland

Ireland 8:1-2See it, touch it, feel it…yesterday we explored the shipyard, traveled to the depths of the ocean and uncovered the true legend of the Titanic. Built at Titanic’s birthplace, Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. The Titanic sailed for New York on April 10, 1912 with 2,223 passengers and crew. On the night of April 14, disaster struck as she hit an iceberg on her right side at full speed. Five of her 16 compartments were flooded, but the ship was not designed to stay afloat with more than four damaged compartments. In barely three hours, the Titanic  had disappeared into the ocean causing the death of 1,517 people. She was carrying lifeboats for only 1,178 people. These small boats were not even full when they left. The Titanic  broke in two as she sank with hundreds of people on board. Among the travelers who fell or jumped into the water, many died from hypothermia. The museum is an exceptional edifice that stands proudly on Belfast’s waterfront. It is a wonderful tribute to the city where it all began and to the thousands of people who’s lives the Titanic changed forever.

Yesterday, we also stepped back in time and uncovered a way of life from 100 years ago. We discovered a town and countryside with cottages, farms, schools and shops as we explored through the beautiful parkland of the Folk Museum.  Costumed visitor guides chatted with us as they demonstrated traditional crafts and talked about days gone by.

Since this will be the last report we will write, we wanted to give you a foretaste of what to expect from your sons and daughters when you first see them and all the grand adventures they are just dying to tell you about.  So, we asked our team mates what their final thoughts were about being finished and leaving Ireland and Northern Ireland and these were their responses:

Benet Landon-How do I feel about leaving Ireland? About the trip? Ireland has been amazing! I have never experienced something so incredible, so impactful on my life. The people are so hospitable and so kind that I have realized how much I am lacking when it comes to serving others. The kids are hungry for God’s Word and many people on the street are searching for Truth and are willing to listen. I have seen God’s hand in my life and how He shows Himself in little ways and big ways. I know that I will be in tears as we leave for  the USA. There is almost nothing I dislike about Ireland and N. Ireland and their people.  I have been through so much and I can’t think of a better way that I could have spent my summer. Thanks so much mom, dad, Brianna and Becca for your support! I only wish you guys (my family) could have been here too. I know I’ve been through some trials (Boot Camp, doctor appointment, etc.) but I think my biggest trial is yet to come. Leaving my team will be so hard. I love them all dearly and wish I could take them home. Mike, Michelle, Karen, Kenya, Isabelle and Lily: I love you guys so much too!  Thanks for all your encouragement and care! God has just blessed me so much this summer. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for me! (I can’t wait to see you guys when I get home!)

Talia Kavanah-I am sad that this missions trip is ending. I have had so much fun in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, just getting to know the people and the lingo and, well, just everything else. I have also loved getting to know my team. I will miss all of my “second family”. That is what everyone here is like to me. I have gained 12 sisters and 3 brothers through this experience. My leaders have been amazing and supportive. I do not want this time together to end.

Claire Speer-We are all sad to leave the field and even more sad to be leaving each other in a week. Our time here has been an amazing experience. The team has become a second family. We have had lots of fun and have many inside jokes. “Don’t cry because it is over…Smile because it happened.”

Tiffany Dyck- One more day…where has the last month gone? Time has gone by so fast. Walls have come down. Strangers have become my family. I’ve fallen in love over and over again, with places and with people. I have never done well with strangers…I hate making the first move. Only a few days ago, I finally was able to overcome that. I got to start conversations with people I had never even seen before. I got to tell them about their Savior…As I shared with them the hope and joy that is becoming more and more real to me. With every conversation, I fell deeper in love with these people and deeper in love with my Lord.  As sad as I am for my time here to end, I can’t wait to take home what I have learned here. I feel torn between two families. These people have really shown me what it means to be part of the family of Christ. I have never felt so loved.

Eliza Merritt- This summer felt really long in the moment, but now that it is almost over, I can actually see how fast it went! Wow, so many experiences. I didn’t know I’d feel like such a veteran at Boot Camp or that my team would be this crazy awesome. I wasn’t told we’d be doing construction work for two weeks and then running Vacation Bible Schools for another two weeks.  God has grown me so much and answered a gazillion prayers. I’m so blessed and also thankful for my leaders. Family, I’ll see you back in the States!

Meredith McGowen- This has been such an amazing summer! The ending is bitter sweet. Saying goodbye to Ireland and the team will be hard. But I am also looking forward to getting home and applying the things that I have learned.

Nathan Dalrymple- This summer has been such a blessing. I am s glad God put me on this team of amazingly king and caring people. With leaders who are bold and strong. But now the summer is almost over. But friends will last forever. I am so glad to almost head home to my family. But leaving the family I have made…I love my team!

Izzy Workman- I am so gonna miss N. Ireland and my awesome team! Part of me wants to stay and the other part wants to leave. I love my team and the people here but I know I will stay in contact with them. I will miss my team so much! I love them with all my heart!

Taylor Bailey- This trip has been awesome! I’m really sad about leaving new friends. I am excited I’ve made friends who I have grown very close to. There is one person on the team I did not think I would grow to, but my heart has changed. I will be very happy to see my family, though it will only last about 12 days till I move away to college. Overall, my emotions are mixed about the end of this trip.  143

Yoonho Cha- Our days here in Ireland and N. Ireland are unfortunately coming to a close. Honestly, I am happy, disappointed and thankful all at once. I am so happy and thankful to God for choosing me to meet my amazing team. We got to grow together and interact with people of all ages serving in a soup kitchen, mixing concrete and spreading God’s love through volunteer work and street evangelism. Within the time of a little over a month, I had a blessed time, but I am so disappointed that all we did as a team happened in the blink of an eye. Now, I just have to put a mindset on that time is going to move on and that I have to make the best out of this life-changing summer.

Sarah Weaver- I feel really sad that our mission trip is almost over. I have come to love everyone on this team so much, and it will be hard for me to say goodbye. At the same time, I am also really happy. I am happy to have had this experience and to have met all of my amazing teammates and leaders. I am also happy to finally get to see my family again.

Evan Dean- I am happy about how this summer went and I will miss my awesome team. But it will be great to see my family and nephew again and to have easily available showers, washing machines and my bed.

Kaitlyn Penner- I really enjoyed the evangelism, it was my favorite part of the trip. I found it amazing how people would share their beliefs and listen as we witnessed with interest at what we were saying. I also enjoyed doing the street presentations and dramas and watching the expressions on people’s faces as they passed. I enjoyed working with children in the Bible Clubs but I was disappointed that we didn’t get to go door-to-door.

With all this said, the best way for me to end it all is with these simple words, “Missions Accomplished.”



  1. We miss you too John! Also I misplaced you contact info. I’ll email you if you send me it or comment back.

  2. miss you already guys.. your friend in Jesus.. john

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