Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ireland Recap

How do I even begin to recap our trip?  We went for the second year to Greystones, Ireland.  One day when Murray went to visit a missionary, he passed this sign.  Greystones was voted the most liveable small community to live in in the world!  

Greystones is on the coast about 45 minutes south of Dublin.  We partnered with Greystones Presbyterian Church to put on Vacation Bible School.  The first cultural barrier we encounter was calling it VBS.  We made t-shirts for all of the kids, which they loved, but had no clue why we had VBS on the t-shirt.  Anyone who has seen The Holiday or Bridget Jones Diary should know that Vacation is called Holiday.  And why would they go to school in the summer?  Next year our shirts will say Holiday Kids Club.  

Before we left the states, we knew that God was going to do great things because Satan was very against us getting there!  Because of major weather delays, we did not even get out of Atlanta.  We left Birmingham only to get stuck in Atlanta.  Not only did we arrive in Ireland a day late, part of our group was joining us from Prague and their flight was canceled and they arrived a day late too.  Thank goodness we had planned to arrive a day early and did not miss the first day of VBS.  To say we missed a flight does not do justice to our flight experience.  At one point we were running through the airport while they were calling our names over the intercom, a total Home Alone moment!  As you might be expected, there was definitely some lost luggage.  What would a mission trip be without lost luggage?  Thank goodness all of the VBS made it.  Only two suitcases were lost and both arrived Monday morning(remember we left Friday).  Mine came as I was walking out the door to VBS.  

Lost luggage and travel delays were not Satan's only attempt to slow us down.  Almost everyone on the team got sick (that is why I am so late in posting this, I caught the cold when I got home).  One of the girls on our team was so sick she did not leave her room until Thursday!

But despite all his attempts, the spreading of the gospel could not be stopped!  We had an amazing trip.  We had probably a total of 65 kids that came to the kids club.  We had two separate clubs.  Kids 4-10 came in the morning and kids 10-14 came in the afternoon.  One really cool thing that we were not expecting is that by Wednesday most of the girls who were coming in the afternoon all came in the mornings also to help with the younger kids.  It was really neat to watch them take ownership and be so willing to help.  One of our biggest goals in going is to help build up the children's ministry at Greystones Presbyterian and to help the church gain recognition in the community.  Greystones Presbyterian church is 160 years old.  Sadly, as most evangelical churches in Ireland, the membership has dwindled down as well as the spiritual well being of those members who are left.  3 years ago Monty and his wife Gwen came to Greystones and Monty preaches the word!  No one can leave that church without hearing the gospel presented clearly.  Going back this year was so amazing to see how the Lord has used Monty to bring people to the church.  Just from being in church on Sunday, it seemed like the congregation had almost doubled.  And from the stories, the spiritual health is growing at an amazing rate.  So, one of the most exciting things for the team to watch this week was how excited all the parents were about the club and the interest that they showed in the church.  We got more invitations for lunch and dinner than we had time available (last year we did not get one invitation).   I don't say that to toot our own horn, I tell you that because that was one of the biggest signs to us that we were making a difference in the families of Greystones.  Our prayer is that Monty and Gwen and the members of Greystones Presbyterian will have the opportunity to follow up with all of the families that came and build relationships with the families.  We know many of the kids came from families that are not believers.  Continue to pray for the spread of the gospel throughout the community of Greystones.  And for Monty as he faithfully preaches the gospel.

This is the view out of our bedroom window (ridiculous I know!).  All the construction is the harbor, they are working on a big new harbor.  Sadly there was very little progress from last year.  Their economy has been hit much harder than ours.  This is actually one of the ways that the Irish are starting to see that they have a need for a Savior.  They have had a booming economy and had no need for a Savior, life was good and they had everything they needed.  But this collapse in their economy has begin to show them that they are needy.


Singing with the younger kids
The sweetest family!  Amelie and Viggo were in my small group.  I wanted to pack them up with me and bring them home.
Everyday we walked the kids from the church down to the field at the YWCA.  Once huge miracle of the week is that there was no rain!  We were able to go outside and play everyday.
4 Square was the favorite game of the older kids.  I definitely got all my couped up competitiveness out.  The kids caught on very fast and loved getting us out.
Thursday night we had our second annual Southern Bar-b-que.  everyone loved it.  Last year we were blown away that we had 80 people there.  This year we had at least 130 people!  I would say of the people there only about 20 were members at the church.  Mark and Murray perfected our smoker this year which made for much easier smoking.  You could smell the pork cooking for blocks all day long.  (i love at the bottom of this picture you can see Murray taking a picture of the smoking pit)

All in all, a great trip!  Cannot wait to go back next year.  Thank you for all of your prayers.

2 comments:

  1. What a joy to read this! I was thinking of you and praying for you and your sweet mama during your trip. So good to know you are home safe and sound!

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  2. Sorry we didn't get to catch up about the trip at the picnic yesterday, but glad I got to see all about it on here! Looking forward to starting Bible Study in a few weeks.

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