Monday, July 3, 2017

The Ireland Chronicles: Entry Five

Just one day late!

As of entry three and four, the June Tour for the Big Red Bus was officially over. The beloved Bus Team has disbanded in favor of forming new teams for Impact Ireland! (Which starts tomorrow!) For this week's entry, I'd like to summarize some of my thoughts from the June Tour and fill everyone in on what I'll be doing for Impact Ireland!

But! Before I get going with that, here's a little trailer I made to give you a taste of what tour was like!

(visit this link if the video isn't working)


Debriefing from the Bus

It seems like a lifetime ago, but really it was just under a week ago that June tour for the Big Red Bus ended. The first half of my time here in Ireland has been thoroughly spent. We visited so many schools! I can't begin to count all the little faces that boarded the bus for puppet shows, crafts, songs, and games. The constant repetition of the program, the continuous ache in my arms, and the ongoing sound of children's chatter all began to blur throughout the days. It became a wonderful white noise where my mind could start to grasp what was actually going on here.

God has a way of changing your expectations. I'll be honest, the idea of children's ministry can be scary. My introverted self loves alone time and quiet, none of which you find when working all day with children. When I began, I was worried about misbehaving children or just plain rude children. And we did encounter those from time to time. But I encountered something surprising too. I asked God to help me see past my worries. I asked to see the children and this ministry through His eyes.

Through God's eyes, these children are precious beyond price. And this ministry gives me gifts that I could give to these children. Through the puppet shows and the dancing and the songs, I could give the gift of time, fun, and the Gospel to these children. I didn't realize this all at once. But, as it came to me in bits and pieces, I enjoyed each day more and more. The Bus pulling into a new school meant new opportunities to plant seeds. Every puppet show that made my arms and knees hurt meant ten or more new children heard truths from the Bible. I was reminded of my little seven-year-old sister, who accepted Christ recently. She had been to VBS and Church functions many times for the sake of fun and being with friends. Each time she was ministered to by someone willing to be uncomfortable and be silly for a few hours a day because they wanted to share Jesus. I may not be able to see the seeds grow, but I trust God was at work in every school we visited here in Ireland.

Being a part of the Big Red Bus was an incredible experience. It taught me new things about myself and about how God views children. Don't tell anyone, but it's made children's ministry less scary for me.

Preparing for Impact

What is Impact Ireland? Well, it happens in two parts.

Stage One: Everyone at OM Ireland is joined by new participants from around the world to train for a week. We get to take classes in everything from Evangelism to Face Painting! During this first stage, everyone is split off into different teams to prepare for individual programs that will happen in Stage Two. My team includes three girls from the Bus Team (yay!) plus two new girls coming from the USA and Germany. We have a week to prepare and get to know each other before stage two!

Stage Two: All the teams are sent out! Each one goes to a specific church somewhere in Ireland to serve and minister! My team will be going to a place called Tullamore to help run a Kid's Holiday Club (VBS) during the day in addition to a Youth Club in the evenings. It's going to be a packed week! Think VBS, but on serious steroids. We'll be doing crafts, songs, Bible lessons, dramas, and more puppet shows! And only 6 women to pull it off!

Honestly, it all sounds even more intimidating than the Big Red Bus. But, that only means there will be even more surprises as we walk through it! I know there aren't a lot of details, but I'll have more by next week.

(our Big Red Bus Team! Minus one who wasn't there for the picture)

Some Prayer Requests

- Pray for all the new team members as they travel in for Impact
- Training week is going to be intense as we prepare. Pray for energy!
- Pray for the kids and families all the teams will meet at they disperse across Ireland.
- Pray for energy and enthusiasm for me and my team. We're going to need it!

And a shout out to everyone who has been keeping up with these updates and my time here in Ireland. Your encouragement means SO much! 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Ireland Chronicles: Entry Four - Photo Edition!

Hey Everyone! First off, this entry marks the halfway point for my time here in Ireland! It's gone by so fast! In celebration, I've decided to fill this entry with some of my favorite pictures of the summer so far. Enjoy! 

Favorite Selfies 

I'm learning a lot about myself here in Ireland. I am enjoying being a part of children's ministry. I'm proud of all the work I'm able to do. I feel more confident and I'm just having fun! 

Churches of Ireland

This is a sampling of some of the Churches I've been able to visit here in Ireland. They span different denominations, but they are all beautiful!

Ruins ~ Monasteries/Abbey

So far I have visited two sites. One was a monastary called Clonmacnoise and the other was Boyle Abby. They were absolutely breathtaking! I hope to see more before I leave! 

Animals of Ireland

I've gotten so used to seeing cows, sheep, and horses everywhere I go. I don't know what I'll do when I go home! 

Views of Ireland

Assorted nature shots/stone walls

The Big Red Bus 

From the long drives to the puppet shows, this was an incredible experience!


That's it for now! I'll make sure to do a second photo edition before the end of my time here. Again, THANK YOU for your continued prayers and support! They mean more than you know! The next big thing for us is Impact Ireland! Till Next Time!