So here is Team Ireland 's two week update. We were going to hold off since we have actually only completed one kid's club, but in response to team Turkey 's overly confident 'I think we have the best country ever statement,' we thought it was it was time to let everyone know what's going on over in Ireland .
So we have all managed to stay in the country without being deported, as we were all held up in immigration at UK airports. We spent our first four days living in student dorms near the largest university in Belfast and had a few drop in meetings with leaders whose camps we would be working in throughout the summer. So the rest of the time we spent touring the city, shopping, hanging out in the dorms with some fun Irish and Scottish people, and taking full advantage of the free internet!
Belfast was very interesting and for those of you that don't remember our highly intellectual presentation on Ireland, we went over the historic division between the Catholic and Protestant communities and the ongoing civil war. Belfast was the city where all the bombings were taking place and only within the past 5 years have things begun to improve. There is literally a wall 85ft high dividing the Protestant neighbourhood from the Catholic neighbourhood. We learned that the civil dispute isn't as much about religion as it is about territory and land. The Republic of Ireland, which is 98% Catholic, would like a united Ireland and Northern Ireland, would be offended if you called any of them Irish, as they are British, and are loyal to the Queen and the UK. It was interesting to learn this and the tensions (although some of them just friendly) are very evident in conversation.
We took a train down to Dublin , after spending 3 nights in Belfast, to meet our first team leader Kevin with Maynooth Community Church, located in Maynooth, a village about 35 mins outside of Dublin. We immediately hit it off with Kevin, who is passionate about theology and apologetics, and Camille has proceeded to ask him about every awkward and controversial biblically related question possible! Kevin liked us so much that he gave us some weekend time to tour Dublin.
Now in the past, team Ireland has been known to have slept in multiple different places but for the past two weeks we have been staying in the home of the pastor of MCC who is on holiday, with the 20 year old intern, Colin, who has become a great friend and honorary member (Team America + 1). Camille and Kelly have been spending the night in one of the most amazingly comfortable beds ever while Calvin and Trevor each have their own rooms, Trevor's being the living room with a great piano. We even have a black lab mutt named Molly! We have been cooking team dinners every night and have had a few occasional nights out to Dublin, once to meet past depute Tyler for dinner, and the other to celebrate the 4th of July. We went to the local country club where Colin works, all dressed up, to take some posh pictures, like we were important! Ha!
We feel that so far we have been pretty spoiled and definitely very blessed by the Lord. I think we were all a little nervous about how things were going to be and so far we have been fully taken care of!
So work…Last week Mon, Tues, and Wed we ran a Bible Club in three different local towns. This was led by some members of MCC. We went into the neighbourhoods (some in not so nice areas) knocked on doors and asked if any kids would be interested in hanging out with us for an hour to sing some songs, play some games, and listen to a Bible story. It was a lot of fun, and we did this for an hour in each estate. Sadly, Ireland is a country of much rain, very similar to Seattle, and we had some issues since these clubs were just outside in a field. The weather has been the biggest discouragement in our ministry here thus far and has actually made us have to cancel a lot of things. We have been praying a lot about this situation and would love your guys' prayers as well! The kids were great though and were just really excited that people were actually taking the time to pay some attention to them and hang out. We got to help out both Sundays we have been here at MCC which was also fun. It is a new church that has been recently planted (50-70 people).
Now we get to the funny story…
We were given this last weekend off and we decided to take a road trip up to the North Coast. Now we have all been a little freaked out about the whole driving on the opposite side of the road deal with steering wheel and all on the opposite side so Colin said he would be happy to accompany us and drive! We were leaving at about 9:30pm on Thursday night after Colin got off work and expecting to arrive at his parent's house around midnight, unfortunately we all got a little too excited and Colin accidentally filled his car up with diesel fuel! The wind was quickly taken out of our sails as we had to be picked up and driven back home.
We decided to take a bus over to the west coast, city of Galway, in the morning instead of going north since the travel distance is shorter (suppose to be 31/2 hours). The bus ride was great until we got stuck in terrible traffic!! About half way through the journey which ended up taking 6 hours, we stopped at a transfer station for a ten minute break. The guys got off the bus to buy some snacks. Camille and I were just sitting there waiting. Camille decided that she had to go to the bathroom so she asked me if I thought it would cost her money to use the one in the station, I said yes (it usually costs about 20-50 cents to use public restrooms in Europe). So she was like, 'okay I will just use the bathroom on the bus' (these are big charter buses). So I proceeded to put my ipod in and close my eyes. The guys get back on the bus about a minute later, and ask me where Camille is. I casually say that she is in the bathroom right here on the bus. We take off and about ten minutes later, Camille still hasn't come out of the bathroom. The guys are like 'Kelly, you should really go check on her, are you sure she is in there?' I say, 'Of course she is, you guys, I don't want to embarrass her let's give her a few more minutes.' Finally, it has gotten to the point that we were starting to freak out so I go down to check on her, I open the bathroom door and Camille is not there!!! I come back up and the guys said that my face was priceless! We all start bust out laughing because we left Camille at the transfer station. She has nothing- no money, not jacket, everything she had was on the bus with us! We were given a team cell phone so we ended up calling Colin who called the station and got Camille on another bus that was about 15 mins behind us. So everything worked out but Camille had to ride for about 2 hours by herself! She still loves us though!
So we spent that night in Galway , Colin drove over and met us in the morning and we drove down to see the Cliffs of Moher (if you are reading this pause and google that now)! Our lives are now complete! We have all agreed that we can't understand how some people do not believe in God when there are places that exist that are as beautiful and amazing as this! These cliffs are 700ft tall and stretch for 5 miles! We spent a good two hours there, left to eat dinner, then came back and watched the sunset! AMAZING!! We were the only people there and it was so serene, one of the coolest experiences ever!
So now we are starting a new week which we will be spending preparing for Summerfest with is hosted by MCC's mother church about 15 mins away in the village called Lucan. Somehow we managed to get out of doing too much work these past two days and scored taking a trip to the zoo with the Irish YMCA helping out watching the kids!
Anyways this camp starts on Saturday and we are praying for good weather and endurance because this will probably be pretty intense! We are looking forward to the challenge!! So I hope that if you hung in there long enough to read our update you see that the Lord is beginning to use us here in Ireland and has really blessed our team!
Kelly, Camille, Calvin, and Trevor