Home Again

Sorry this post is slightly late, but yesterday I flew back to the U.S.!

I woke up early in the morning – about 5:00 AM, in order to get ready to go. The day before I had packed my bags, and so I was prepared, but I had a couple things to do first as well as breakfast to eat (cereal, toast, and coffee).

 

The Hillen’s house

 
After that, I had to say goodbye to the Hillens :(. Mr. Hillen drove me to the church at 6:15 and stayed there while the team arrived. Only 9 of the original 13 came because Katy went home that Thirsday and the rest of the Beddingfields were staying a third week. 

While there I did manage to take a few photos of the inside of the hall:

 

Part of the hall

  

The main hall

  

The hall again

 

After that, the team began to drove down to the Dublin airport. It took about one and a half to two hours to get down there. After bein dropped off, we had to check out bags and then go through customs. 

Customs took about and hour. After that, we then went to out gate and prepared to board the plane from Ireland 😦

Boarding was hard – it made me sad. Eventually, the plane took off. After a little bit I had to take my mind off of everyone we left. So I pulled my earphones out.

 

And the challenge begins…

 
That took a bit to get sorted out. I spent some of the trip trying to get some sleep, some watching Interstellar, and some doing other things.

We arrived in the Atlanta Airport about 3:00 EST. We then went to our gate and waited until about 5:00 EST to take off. This time I managed to get a window seat πŸ™‚

   
    
    
   
After landing we went to the baggage claim and I met my family back there :). It was a great time, especially after 17 days in Ireland.

And that’s it! I’m home. I do miss Northern Ireland though… It was a great time! This year was the team’s fourth year in Ballygawley, which means that we may move churches next year. But it was amazing – God is wonderful! He really helped us this trip and allowed us to be salt and light for Him. It was wonderful to fellowship with other believers and building each other up. The Bible Club went well – even though there were numerous things that could have gone wrong, God was there to strengthen us. He is the reason we could even have this trip in the first place!

Thank you again to everyone who supported me, and thank you to everyone who has been keeping up with me and their words of encouragement!

To Him be the Glory! Amen!

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Last Day…

Well, today is an extremely sad day – it is my last for this year in Northern Ireland :(. But, I know God is always with me, even thought a sad day like today πŸ™‚

This morning I woke up around 9:30 and had the usual – cereal, toast, and coffee (and I actually got a photo this time!)

 

The “Usual”


After breakfast, we went to the Ballygawley/Ballyreagh joint service held at Ballygawley. Today was the final day of the drama, and we concluded our Polar Explorer’s theme today. I got to hold a cake that Prince Larry (Jarred) dived headfirst into. It was a good day πŸ™‚

 

Balleygawley Presbyterian Church


After the service, we had a soup lunch – vegetable soup and hotdogs. Both were really good too! During that we just talked with some of the people there and enjoyed the fellowship.

When we returned home, Kieran and me played Minecraft, trying to get a mod for MC to work before I leave tomorrow. And luckily, we succeeded! After a couple hours, we managed to get it working!

After that, we had the evening service at 7:00 PM in the hall right beside the church. It was a good service – we had a silver band (wind instruments) play for us and someone talk about ministering in Brazil. It was awesome! However, there was a hint of sadness to it…

After the service, I went outside and began to learn how to play cricket. It is an interesting game – it had some baseball features but is different.

 
The game is pretty fun. There are two cones opposite each other, like bases. The only this in that the batter cannot touch any part of both cones, otherwise he/she is out (for the moment). To hit the ball, it has to bounce at least once, and then there are people who are trying to catch the ball, and if they do, and you are running, they can touch the ball to the wicket (cone) and you are out. The objective is to get as many runs as possible, and teams switch after a certain number of throws. 

 

Rain in Ballygawley


After that, we returned home. Tonight was a bittersweet night – I got to talk with the Hillen’s for a while πŸ™‚ but I know it is my last night :(.

But, this trip has been wonderful! God has done some amazing things, and I truly cannot wait to look forwards to next year! It will be awesome if God re-opens the door to allow me to come back!

Please pray that me and the team will have safe travels back as well!

To Him be the Glory!

Scenery and Ice Cream

Today is Saturday. That is both good and bad. And let me explain: it is great because I had a wonderful free day with the Hillen’s after the end of the Bible Club. It also means I will see my family soon! However, contrasted to that it is bad because I really don’t wanna leave – I have loved it here so much!

This morning was actually different! I was able to sleep in later until about 9:30, and then I got up to a new breakfast! Today I had eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee! Reminiscent of home :).

 

Just like the ‘Ole South!


After breakfast me and Kieran played some Minecraft for a few minutes until it was time for us to go.

Today we were traveling up to Enniskillen, which is north of us. There we could view Lough (pronounced just like the Scottish “Loch”) Erne. It was an amazing time, but first we travelled to a shopping center to do a few things.

 

Enniskillen Shopping Center

  

Costa’s Coffee


At this center, Mrs. Joy looked around for a few things while me, Mr. Rodney, and sometimes Kieran sat down for a little while. In fact, I started getting drowsy, and so I decided to get a latte from the nearby Costa coffee shop in the mall.

After shopping, me and Kieran went into a nearby toy store and looked around for a little while. It was a pretty neat place!

We then went to a place north of the shopping center called “Tickety Moo”. Basically, it is an ice cream shop, but they have their own cows that they milk and then they make their ice cream out of that milk.

 

Tickety Moo’s


In fact, you can even see the cows getting milked!

Jersey Cows getting milked

It was quite neat! after that we stayed for a few more minutes and then went to look out over the Lough. The views were amazing as we went to two seperate spots – the Lough is huge!  

Lough Erne

Boat

Water

  

Another view of Lough Erne

 

After exploring a little around these small areas that we stopped at, we then decided to travel to that Scottish restaurant McDonalds (which I still say is better than the U.S. ones as I will actually eat it here). While there, by coincidence and because Northen Ireland is small anyways, we met a lot of the team, save for the Beddingfields who were picking up Libby’s sisters who were flying in today.

After eating there, we then went home to rest for a few minutes. After resting for a little while, we then prepared to travel to the Hall’s house to fellowship with the team one last night. It was great fun!

 

View from the Hall’s house

  

Cows!

  

Path

  

Another view

  

House


The house was on top of a hill, and the view was amazing! It was a great time – we had pizza and played dominoes. What fun! It was a great way to spend one last night with the full team!

This trip has been wonderful. It has been amazing! There were so many times things could go wrong – the drama, the number of children, the activities themselves – and yet God didn’t let that happen! He has been in control of these two weeks and they have been wonderful! And luckily, I still have one more day with everyone before leaving on Monday. 😭

It has been great. Wonderful. Amazing! God has worked through us in powerful ways to advance His kingdom.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'” Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭18-20‬ ESV.

These words are so true – they ring in my head tonight! Even when things are down, when things don’t go the ways we want them to, when Satan pins us down and forces his deceit and lies upon us, it is amazing to see how much Christ’s body grows in the midst of that.

Unique to Christianity is the fact that we know that we have brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the ocean! People we have never met before share a common purpose: to know nothing except “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV. Even oceans cannot seperate the body of Christ! That can even take your breath away – the largest part of the earth is not even a small barrier to the Love of Christ!

God is wonderful. We are His children, and we must stand up for Him and spread His Word no matter what! He is our all, our everything, our life! I am indebted to Him for eternity for giving me what I do not deserved and for standing in my place and suffering my own eternal punishment for me so that I might love! That is True Love! That Christ would die for us while we were still sinners!! It is our call to stand up for Him and to teach others about Him! Let us now stand up for the body of Christ and proclaim His Word to the world!!

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'” Romans‬ ‭10‬:‭14-15‬ ESV

To Him be the Glory Forever and Ever! Amen!

Holiday Club – Day 5

Well, today was our last day with the Holiday Bible Club, and I believe it was probably the best we’ve had yet! The kids were great, talks on point, drama was awesome… The list goes on πŸ™‚

So, this morning started (once again) quite normal: cereal, toast, and coffee (boring again πŸ˜› – nah, it was great!). After breakfast and when I arrived at the church, I practiced my speech lines for a little while.

After everyone arrived, we then all began to work on our individual lines and practiced acting out the final drama. That went well!

After that, part of the team decided to walk over to the local chippy (or take out food shop) and grab a bite to eat.

 

Austin’s

  

Food!


I got some chicken tenders and some chips (fries). Then we went down to a park nearby and ate there. It was a wonderful day!

 After that, we returned to the church and rested for a little while. I actually fell asleep – unknowingly :P. I remember listening to some Brian Crane piano music and shutting my eyes, and then returning to consciousness about an hour later. But it was nice πŸ™‚

 

Sun and Clouds


After that, we had a devotional time with the group. We talked over Romans 12, which is a wonderful chapter in Romans! 

After our devotional, we had some tea: chicken pie, potatoes, and bread! It was great! After eating that… I actually forget what we had for dessert. I didn’t get any as I was full.

 

Sun and Trees


After that, people began to arrive for the Bible Club. It was a wonderful night! We had a great deal of kids! The songs were great, everything went smooth, and everyone was great! Libby led the story tonight on Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch and then we split into groups and did all kinds of things!

Note: I still don’t have a lot of photos of the Bible Club tonight due to the fact that it would get the children’s faces in.

I again helped with the worksheets, which were compasses with prayer ideas or a coloring page for younger children.

After that, the team performed the drama, which went excellent! It flowed smoothly and well – in fact, it might have been the best yet!

Now after the drama, we had a BBQ (hot dogs and hamburgers) to celebrate the end of the Bible Club. Right before that, we had the parents sing the theme song with the children (that theme won’t be leaving my head for a while) and Libby performed 2 dances as well. After that, everyone ate some food. I got to talking with aan named Eric and his wife who own a local business. It was interesting to talk with them about Ireland what it’s like.

After that, the Club was over :(.  People went outside to play while everyone was leaving. I, on the other hand, stayed indoors with chocolate cake, which was delicious! 

Cricket

After that, I returned home and rested for a moment (ironic, right, because I was about to go to bed). What woke me up, however, was some extremely bad news for America: we’ve legalized some really terrible things. This blog isn’t the place to go into that right now, but that just kept me up for a little while longer. But I am praying for our country! Maybe we should just move to Northern Ireland anyways…

But, besides that, tonight was amazing! Everything went well, smooth, and great! God truly was working this past week, and I am thankful that He has been so wonderful!

To Him be the Glory!

Holiday Club – Day 4

Well, today was a bit of a more relaxed day – I guess. Unless you don’t count the Eternal Youth Club as relaxing – playing bowls with the seniors. Anyways, it was more relaxing in my opinion. πŸ™‚

Well, this morning I had cereal, toast, and tea instead of coffee (I am quite boring for breakfast – I don’t have much variation :P). When I arrived at the church later, I prepared myself a cup of coffee to stimulate me for the day.

 

My daily coffee


While drinking my coffee, I practiced my lines for the script tonight. It was nice – shorter lines and less to do other than to act as though I am hurting.  

After practicing the script for a while, the Eternal Youth Club, which consist of the seniors at Ballygawley church, met in the hall (called Smyth Hall) and played bowls with us.

 

Bowls

 
Now bowls is a pretty fun game. There is a yellow ball on the other side of a long mat. The object of the game is to get your ball as close as you can to the yellow ball. But, to make things more complicated, they a added a little “airplane” in the center that you cannot hit. It your ball rolls across he last line on the other side, off the mat, or into the “airplane”, it is out. You also have two balls, so two opportunities to try. 

 

“The face of defeat”


We played bowls with the Eternal Youth Club for a couple hours, and then we had lunch (or dinner) with them. 

 

Bowls again

  

After playing and eating, the rest of the afternoon was free. We got some sleep and I practiced for the drama and the story. I was telling the Bible story tonight and so I had to practice it.

 
After this, I tried to close my eyes for a little while. Later, about 5:30 or so Nick brought pizza – Hawaiian, Pepperoni, and Barbecue Chicken. It was good pizza.

After tea, the Bible Club began. It was a good night – not as many people came tonight, but we still had over 70. I helped lead the Bible story as well, so I feel the kids liked that too. 

After the Bible Club, we came home and talked for a little while at the Hillen’s, and then I went to bed.

All in all, it was a good day today. The Bible Club is still going strong, and I feel Christ is still using us in powerful ways!

To Him be the Glory!

Holiday Club – Day 3

Well, today is our third day of the Ballygawley Holiday Bible Club! And we keep getting bigger! God is really working through us to share the Gospel with these children! In addition, this morning we got to experience a look at Irish-American history at the Ulster-American Folk Park, similar to American Village and Williamsburg combined.

This morning was a normal morning – cereal, toast, and coffee. After breakfast, when I arrived at the church, I happened to be there by myself for a little bit. Which was quite nice as I worked on my drama lines for about 15-20 minutes in peace. Later Gregg came about 9:30 and the rest of the team arrived at about 10:00.

This morning we travelled to the Ulster-American Folk Park. It is a park that shows the lifestyle in the Irish province of Ulster and the lifestyle of the Irish as they arrived in the New World.

 

Ulster-American Folk Park


On a side note, some may wonder what “Ulster” is. Ulster is not a city, county, or country. Ireland is divided into two countries, but four provinces. The two countries are The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The four provinces are not based on country. 

  
Three of the four, however, are located in the south, and are Leinster, Munster, and Connacht. The fourth holds all of Northern Ireland and a bit of south and is known as Ulster. These four provinces make up the entire landmass of Ireland.

Sorry for the brief geography lesson, but I found it quite interesting! Today was quite a historical day though. But before I get underway with the post, I will refrain at the moment from teaching a lengthy history lesson as I am writing this at 1:00 AM in Northern Ireland. I’d love to possibly later update it with the history, but I don’t know if I can or when I would be able to. So let’s get started!

 

Our tour begins


So the first thing we did was walk to the first few houses, each one slightly larger than the first. The above house was the smallest, and was only one room with a bed and a fireplace. Residents were not allowed to hunt by the landlord, and this they relied on potatoes they grew to survive. This is why Ireland’s potatoes famine in 1845 killed so many – it deprived them of their only food supply!

 

First house bed

  

Fireplace

  

Blacksmith side

  

Blacksmith

  

Another house

These houses were quite interesting. I loved looking and reading about them – they are quite interesting!!  

Apart from the fact that I was almost attacked by geese, the Irish side was quite neat! The history is amazing!

 

Ulster Town


After this, we went on a “ship” bound for America. 

Bound for America

After getting of the ship, we found ourselves in America, or the New World. 

In America the company sort of split up, some going through quicker (not too quickly) or some (like me) staying behind. I continued to walk around with the Beddingfields for the remainder of the park. The remainder was quite nice – we walked through an American town and then a few American houses.

Cabin

   

Small Field

  

Smokehouse


After these houses, we met back up with the group and returned to the start, where we had a cup of coffee and then left.

Note: this post leaves out quite a bit as it is late at night and I have no other time to write this one. Please feel free to ask me about it when I return or, if I can, I will try to update it someday. There’s a lot more about the park, but it was a four hour long tour, and it filled four hours, so I have condensed it to a shorter amount of time for you.

When we returned it was almost 4:00 PM, and so we practiced our sketch for about and hour. After the sketch, we had tea, prayer, and then the Bible Club began!

Tonight we had about 90 or so kids show up, and 99 kids registered total! Praise Christ! It was a great night – even with technical difficulties I feel people did well with the sketch. πŸ™‚

After that, I returned home to the Hillan’s house, we talked for a little while, and then I went to bed.

God is working mightily through us to grow His kingdom. Please continue to pray for us on this trip πŸ™‚

To Him be the Glory!

Holiday Club – Day 2

Well, following yesterday’s success with the Bible Club, it may be hard to see how it can get any better. But God works in amazing ways! Tonight we had some more children join us, and I feel that everyone was much more prepared, relaxed, and amazing! It definitely made last night seem like a pale comparison to tonight.

Today started (again) like any other day: cereal, toast, and coffee (I love this breakfast πŸ™‚ ). After this, we met up at the church, and spent the morning with the Busy Bees Club (the moms and toddlers). It was a good, but tiring morning.

 

Balloons!!

  

Nick teaching storytime


After this, we are some lunch and then Gregg, Elise, and Megan went out to meet with someone from another church. While they were gone, the rest of the team decided to take a walk around Ballygawley (it’s pretty small). 

 

Ballygawley


While we were walking around, we decided to walk to a really neat craft shop on the outskirts of Ballygawley. It was probably one of the coolest shops I’ve been in here!

 

Hand-made things inside

  
The shop features a lot of handmade craft items ranging from wooden things to handmade pottery to fine leather journals. It’s the type of shop you could spend a while in…

 

First look

  

China

  

Cutting boards

  

Quilts and Pillows

  

Leather journals

  

Hand-made pottery


It was a really neat shop. In fact, I managed to grab myself a coffee/tea mug while I was there :). I don’t have a photo of the mug itself as I am keeping it in the packaging, but I definitely will show it to everyone when I return!

What’s inside?

After that, we returned to the church and rested for a little while. We then began to continue to practice our drama for tonight. We practiced for about 45 minutes or so, and then it was time for tea: chicken wraps with onions and peppers, sweet and sour chicken, and potatoes.

After tea we had dessert (cheesecake) and then prepared for tonight’s Bible Club.

The Bible Club began around 7:00 PM and people began to come it. It was a great time tonight!! We now have about 93 or so children in the club (compared to last night’s 75). Although only 83-86 showed up tonight, keep praying for the others and that many more will come!

 Man… The icy jokes bag… My favorite part of the trip! I’m still trying to think of a funny joke to out in…

I was helping with crafts again, and this time it went even better. In addition, the sketch was amazing! Everyone did well remembering their lines or improving if they forgot! Congrats!

After the Bible Club, Nick gathered us for a small meeting and then we dispersed. In addition, after the Club the team and a few others went over to the Donaldson’s house to have a campfire and s’mores. It was a small group that we had, but still quite fun!

 

Bonfire and S’mores


After that, we went inside, and because Katy’s birthday is on the 28th of June and she will be leaving before then, the Donaldson’s decided to celebrate it anyways.

 

Chocolate Cake

  

Unfortunately due to the fact that Kieran has school in the morning we needed to leave after eating so we had to go. But all in all it has been a wonderful day!!

Thank everyone for their prayers for us, and please continue to pray for the team as we continue with out Bible Club!

To Him be the Glory!