Yesterday was our last Sunday in Northern Ireland! It’s truly amazing how quickly our time here has gone here. The team is doing pretty well, though some are struggling with colds. We are asking the team to avoid close contact, pushing fluids, and hand washing a lot. Our goal is to have them all healthy for the flight home Saturday, Debrief, and their return to family!
We continued to work in the Mission in Rathcoole Thursday and Friday and some days we saw as many as 70 kids during the afternoon Bible School. We also enjoyed evenings with the teenagers in the surrounding area. There were about 20 each night and the team did a great job interacting with them. Usually the group started out with an icebreaker game and then went on to other fun games, food, a time of worship and a challenge. We let the team lead the worship time and a new friend, Adam, also helped us on the guitar. Rathcoole Mission let Josh and Kristina play their Jembe and the Cahon, so that added a fun element. David did a great devotional on Thursday night and Meg shared Friday night. The NI kids got a chance to hear the Gospel through both of them. Our Adam was a favorite; being an avid storyteller, we had some fun times of laughter as he shared just lighthearted stories about the ‘antics’ of he and his friend, Clayton. It seemed to break down the barrier a little between all the teens. Sunday night we closed out our week there with a service again showing what the children did all week. They were an incredible Mission and John, Jim, Lynda, Steven and Da…. were great! We couldn’t have asked for better missionaries! Steven and Jim did a great job shuttling us around all week! Sunday morning we did a presentation at Mersey Street Mission, where we will be working each evening this next week.
Jim arranged our Saturday sightseeing. We were able to drive just over 30 minutes to the Carrickfergus Castle. He arranged for a tour so we definitely enjoyed viewing this 800 year old castle and learning some very interesting history! We were able to climb up the walkways and had a fabulous view of Belfast Lough. Out in the distance we could see the Irish Sea and some islands off the coast of Scotland. It was quite clear and sunny in the morning. We spent about 1 ½ hours at the castle exploring a bit (some of the team tried on medieval gear!) and then we went to the Andrew Jackson cottage and the US Rangers Centre, where Jackson’s father came from and US Rangers had trained during WWII. It was quite interesting how the US and NI have had ties to one another! Jim took us over to St Nicholas Church, an 800 year old Episcopalian Church in the heart of Carrick built by John de Courcy in 1182 when the castle had been built. It had lost its roof (burned in the bombings) a few times during WW1, and it’s amazing it’s still standing! The church is actually shaped like a cross and named for the man, Nicholas, who became known as Santa Claus. (One of the stained glass windows actually portrayed the story, including a reindeer.) We also made a quick trip to Knockagh, a war memorial that sat at the top of a big hill. It was a great view overlooking Belfast, but it was a wee bit windy and chilly! We closed our day out by spending the evening having supper with Noel, Fiona, and James Cochrane. We got to know Noel (and friend, Wallace) during Boot Camp because he brought his daughter Naomi to TMI to go on the Haiti team this summer and he volunteered for two weeks. It was a great meal of Irish stew, bread, pasta salad, and key lime and apple pie for dessert. We shared testimonies and sang together after supper. Noel shared that we were blessings to him because he always wanted Teen Missions to send a team to his country (we are the 3rd team). In reality, it’s really us who have been blessed!
Pray for a strong finish for the team. We are praying for a great time of ministry, good health, and personal spiritual growth for ourselves this week. We have both afternoon and evening ministries so we will be busy once again. Here’s a few words from your kids!
Abigail- The past week has been incredible! It was so much fun, and God truly blessed me working with those kids! Sightseeing Saturday was breathtaking! Definitely some of the most fun I’ve ever had! I can’t wait to get home and show my family all the pictures I took.
Hannah S – This week on the field and working with the kids was really fun! The kids were SO cute and I will miss them all. I can’t wait to start working with the new kids for this next week. We have also gone sightseeing which was a once in a lifetime experience! It was so beautiful! You could definitely see God’s work. The week has been awesome, I can’t wait for the next! Love you Mom and D!!
Brianna- Hi, Everybody! This week so far has been SOOOO much fun! I loved helping with the kids and the Summer Schemes. I also loved walking around the city of Belfast. Yesterday, 7/26, was a blast! We all went on the Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway, and the beach. So far this trip has been the best trip of my life. I love you, Mom, Dad, Jud, Leila, Nana, Papa, and Rocky.
Jodi- Hey, Everyone! This past week we had a Summer Scheme that we did with a bunch of kids and I really enjoyed teaching the kids the Bible verse. I just noticed how smart the children are and it’s amazing! Saturday as we went sightseeing first we went to Carrick-a-Rede- Rope Bridge and crossing that bridge was scary…but once we all crossed it we got to sit on the grass and watch the beautiful hills and ocean. Crossing the bridge was definitely worth it! Going to Giant’s Causeway was great! It was so pretty that it didn’t feel like I was actually there, it felt like I was looking at a picture that I’d never think I’d ever see in real life, but there I was! God has such an amazing creation!