Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
2). Blog Entry:
Welcome back! I hope you've had a great summer. We're ready to begin our regular schedule of blogs. Here's the entry for today's Bible Trivia:
3). Link of the day: 40 Days for Life
A great anti abortion campaign to be involved in this fall.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Yesterday was an exhausting day of ministry!
It began with morning devotions where we were challenged with the question of whether Jesus is your Master or your Lord. When Jesus is your Master, you do what He says. When He's your Lord, you do what He does! He's not looking for slaves, he's looking for sons! Such a powerful thought!
The morning was pretty much the same as Wednesday and Thursday. It was followed by our final "Kids Week" program. After the kids program, our entire team was invited to meet the Mayor, Colum Eastwood, in the City Council chambers at The Guildhall. At that meeting, he officially welcomed us to the City on behalf of the Council and thanked us for all of the work we've done throughout the week. On behalf of Nebraska Governor David Heineman, we thanked the City for having us and presented Mayor Eastwood a Nebraska State Flag which had been flown over the capital building during our training week. What a momentous occasion!
Following our meeting with the Mayor, we distributed 500 additional bags of food in conjunction with Convoy of Hope Europe, to one of the areas we worked in this week.
Last evening, our entire team hit the streets of Derry to participate in a "Street Pastors" outreach where we reached out to the bar crowd until about 2:45am. There were hundreds of people we were able to offer a cup of coffee or tea and a cup of soup, share Jesus with and pray for as they came and went from the local bars in Derry. This really stretched many of our students, but also became a highlight of our trip.
Because of the late night, today's activities didn't start until about noon. After lunch, we did some more "Street Pastor" ministry outside of the Mall and in Guildhall Square. This evening, the team had a BBQ at Barrontop Fun Farm in Donemana.
We're winding down! Less than two days to go!
Pray for us on our final day tomorrow and prepare to depart in the wee hours of the morning on Monday!
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
First, new pictures may be foud HERE!
Tuesday wasn't much different from Monday. Team A, the portion of our team that is primarily focusing on "Kids Week" this week did flyering in the morning and rehearsal for the kids program in the afternoon. The whole of our ministry this week is called "I Heart Derry." Within that umbrella, we are doing a Vacation Bible School kind of outreach, called "Kids Week" in one of the local community centers. The "Kids Week" portion of the outreach is being done Wednesday through Friday.
Teams B and C continued to do clean up in two other neighborhoods, partnering with local community centers. Clean up has consisted of of revitalizing a local daycare playground, picking up trash, mowing, weed-eating, painting, etc.
The prayer team on Tuesday were able to pray with six people, I believe, that accepted Christ! Praise the Lord!
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, our entire team met an at at a local restaurant where we were able to enjoy some amazing food, including ham and eggs, fish and chips, lasagna, spaghetti and bolognese sauce, sweet chili noodles, and five bean chili. The food was amazing!
Tuesday evening, our team was able to sponsor a worship concert in the heart of Derry with a band from Northern Ireland called Bluetree! You may be familiar with a song they wrote called, "God of This City." If you aren't familiar with the story behind the song, you can check it out HERE! The message of that song alone defines why we're here and what we're doing. This is the first time we've ever been able to do such a thing on an AIM Trip and the response was brilliant.
Wednesday, the schedule was the same, with the exception of launching "Kids Week" in the afternoon. We had 140 kids show up! Praise the Lord! Wednesday morning, Pastor Bruce spoke to our team, as well as the local team, during our morning devotions. Pastor Tim spoke in our mid-week service Wednesday evening.
This morning, Pastor Cory Demmel spoke for our morning devos inspiring us to be GREAT! He really was spot on when he referenced the quote, "I will never know how to be a servant until I am treated like one." That further defines why we are here this week. Many of our team have been doing nothing but serving local community centers by doing clean up all week; something we really didn't expect. However, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." We're into areas that no one wants to go into and doing things that no one wants to do, and that communicates the love of Christ like no other! In fact, 8-10 years ago, the police wouldn't even come into some of the areas we're working in! In one of our community centers, some of our leaders were able to pray with about 25 older ladies because of the door that was opened as a result of the work we are doing. In addition, we've seen guys stand and talk with each other that were fighting against each other just a few years ago. It's hilarious the God moments we've had this week! God has a great sense of humor!
Today was day two for "Kids Week". We only had about 120 kids, but we are not discouraged! We're not dwelling on the past, we're looking forward to what God has in store for our future. Along those lines, a large shipping container behind one of the community centers we're been working in all week was destroyed by arson last night. It was nearly full of toys, clothes, diapers, vitamins, baby wipes, candy, and various other supplies that were being collected for an orphanage in Romania. While a bit angry, again, we were not discouraged. Instead, it gave us an opportunity to continue to show Christ's love to that community by cleaning up the mess. In addition, the incident was covered by the local radio station, local TV news station and the BBC, providing great local coverage our team and it's mission! (Coverage begins around the 12:15 mark.)
Partnering with Convoy of Hope and Michael McNamee, founder of Convoy of Hope Europe in 2003, we handed out 500 bags of groceries today! We'll do another 500 bags tomorrow!
Tonight, following dinner at the we ended a bit early with a "Sports Night" back at our residence! Tomorrow's a day! We go from 9am to 3am! Please pray for us!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
This morning, we began the day with a wee bit of worship and devotions with our local team. Afterwards, we split into five smaller groups and were taken to various areas of Derry for ministry.
Team A went to an area where we plan to do some children's ministry in later in the week and did some "flyering" (i.e. handing out fliers) and some clean up (picking up litter and other rubbish, pulling weeds, etc.)
Team B and Team C went into other areas of Derry and did some clean up all day!
About 15 of our team went into the town square and set up a portable football field (i.e. soccer) and played football and various other carnival games - face painting, balloon animals, football kick, a clown, skipping ropes (i.e. jump ropes), hula-hoops, and a giant parachute - with kids and passersby. It was a lot of hard work, but the response and turnout was amazing as today was the first full day for children's summer break. Let me also say that the kids here are BRILLIANT football players!
Another portion of our team did some "street pastoring" and targeted prayer walks within the city. They did an amazing job taking advantage of some God-ordained opportunities to share Christ and His love for the people of Derry. One of our girls, who prayed to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit the other night, said she had an opportunity to speak to a number of individuals today about Christ in a way she never experienced before. For the first time, she felt empowered! She plugged into the source and something happened!
Tonight, after dinner, the entire team went back into the are where Team A had been working all day and just hung out and played and loved on some local kids. There were probably 50 or so that showed up. These kids are hungry for some attention as many of them don't get it at home, and they love Americans and our accents, which means we have a real opportunity there! Our team was able to perform their dance there tonight, and had the kids join them in dance afterwards! It was a craic! (i.e. "crack" - fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation, etc.)
PS - Yous may 'av noticed dat oi used sum Oirish lingo in me post the-day...don't be gobsmacked if yisser kids cum 'um blatherin' loike dis too!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
As promised, HERE are some pictures from the last couple of days! More to come!
Our long flight over was pretty unpleasant for most of our team, as they sat in the very back of the plane where bumps and even minor turbulence seem to be magnified. We exited North America off the coast of Newfoundland, continued north towards Greenland, then back south, flying across Ireland, looping around over the Irish Sea, before landing in Dublin.
Once on the ground, we made our way through the Garda National Immigration Bureau, where we had our passports stamped. We retrieved our luggage and were on our way without any issues or problems.
After collecting our luggage, we met Steph and Andy, Ministry Associates for the church we’re partnering with. They did a wonderful job of making us feel welcome, and provided our first taste of one of the coolest accents in the entire world!
We boarded a tour bus for the three hour ride to Derry (pronounced Dairy). The trip began on what we may identify as a four-lane divided highway, before switching to a two-lane country road. The Irish countryside consists of many grass-covered, rolling hills, and lush vegetation, much like you might find in the pacific northwest. The climate here is quite similar to the Oregon/Washington area, with lots of clouds and a nearly steady drizzle much of the time. We saw lots of farmhouses, a few that even looked like small castles, and a number of cattle and sheep ranches. We passed through a number of small towns, all with narrow streets and round-a-bouts.
Upon arrival, we were met by a number of church leaders as we unpacked the bus and moved into the Halls of Residence (dorm) at the University of Ulster. Our living conditions could not be more perfect! There are four flats (apartments) situated on three floors. Each flat has five individual bedrooms with a twin bed, desk, wardrobe, and sink. Each flat also includes a communal bathroom, living room and kitchen. It really is wonderful for each team member to be able to have their own space!
After unloading our stuff, we took off for a tour of the walled portion of the city. The Walls vary in width, between 12 and 35 feet, and serve as the only remaining completely intact city walls in all of Ireland, and one of the finest examples of a walled city in all of Europe. Chris, a fellow American who moved to Ireland 23 years ago and an adult volunteer from the church, served as our tour guide. This tour really helped solidify with the team how divided this city remains to this day.
Today, modern Derry extends considerably north and west of the city walls and east of the river. The half of the city the west of the Foyle is known as the Cityside and the area east is called the Waterside. On the Waterside, the population of Derry is fairly evenly split between Catholics and Protestants. However, on the Cityside, the population of Derry is nearly 100% Catholic. Some neighborhoods fly the Union Jack flag, associating themselves with England and the United Kingdom (and the term Londonderry), others fly the Republic of Ireland flag, wanting to disassociate themselves with England and the United Kingdom and proclaim their independence. A very divided city indeed.
We concluded our tour of the Walls near Foyleside Mall where we had dinner at the Food Court. One of the local ministry associates recommended we try the “chicken box”, which several of our team members did; our first taste of “Irish cuisine”. The chicken box consisted of chips (french-fries), topped a chili sauce, garlic sauce and cheese sauce, topped with a pile of shredded chicken and a scoop of coleslaw. Even the locals say it sounds gross, but it was AMAZING!
After dinner and some brief shopping at the mall, we met and hung out Claudes, a local coffee shop, with more of our newfound church friends, before heading back the Halls for some much needed sleep and rest.
Today, Sunday, Day 6, we attended Cornerstone City Church, and the Millennium Forum Theater in Derry. The service was great, almost camp or convention like, inspiring us to consider the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18, where against all odds he faced off with the prophets of Baal because he had an altered mind, an altered image and an altered ego. Like Elijah, we must recognize that we can do anything at anytime against any odds when we simply recognize that “the Lord is God.”
After church, it was back to the mall to eat at the Food Court. This afternoon, we had “I Heart Derry” training with local volunteers, where we learned a bit more about things that are different here, culturally and terminology wise. We also got a brief overview of our week.
We ended our day with pizza from Domino’s at the Halls!
- Pray for strength; physically, spiritually and emotionally. The next five days are going to be intense. In our ministry training today, they said not to worry, that we’d only be working “half days”. We found out later that meant 12 hours…half days!
- Continue to pray for team unity. Teamwork makes the dream work.
- Pray that we will recognize the “God moments” in our day. Pray that doors will be open and hearts will be changed. Pray that God’s love will shine through us into this community as we love and serve and serve in love.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Here’s our last 30 hours or so…a three hour bus ride to the airport, our first flight, a layover, which ended up being extended by 90 minutes, our second, very long flight, customs and immigration, baggage, another three hour bus ride, checked into our “flats” – dormitory style housing on a local college campus – a tour of the walled portion of Derry, dinner at the mall, hung out with some church leaders at a local coffee shop, back to our flats for the night!
All are tired, unable to sleep well on the long trip across the pond, and trying to adjust to a six hour time difference…we should feel much better in the morning!
- Pray for this city and the openness of its people this week.
- Pray that our team sleeps well and can get well rested tonight.
- I don’t like to necessarily repeat prayer requests, but this one is important. Continue to pray for team unity, and that we become less of a team of individuals and more of an individual team.
- Please pray that our team will remain guarded about the relationships they form on this trip, especially those of the “romantic variety.”
Friday, July 2, 2010
Travel Day! This is the day we've been looking forward to since last November! In just under 12 hours, we will be arriving in Dublin, Ireland!
In the form of a brief update, we've successfully navigated through airport security and are currently waiting to board our flight for the first leg of our trip. All has gone smoothly so far, please pray that it continues to do so!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Here are a couple of HUGE updates!
- Pastor Bruce is better! After a pretty rough day yesterday, all is well today! The rest of the team, while tired and a bit worn out from all the work they’ve done the last couple of days, is healthy too! All systems are GO!
- The missing passport I requested prayer for yesterday arrived today! This morning we called the consulate in New York who was holding it and they said it was “in the mail.” I called the express carrier to track its whereabouts only to be told they didn’t have it. Late this afternoon, we found it, shipped to the wrong address, halfway across the state! One of our adult leaders took off to meet someone to retrieve it, along with a huge sigh of relief! That we now have it in hand is nothing short of a miracle!
- Late yesterday afternoon, we also realized a need we had for some additional supplies that could only be purchased through a publishing house in Missouri. Their cutoff time for ordering and overnight delivery was 11am. After exploring many other avenues, I finally spoke with someone at the publishing house who personally took it upon themselves to see to it that our order went out last night. I got confirmation that it was received by the express carrier at 11pm. After a wild trip through Louisville, KY during the night, our supplies arrived in Lincoln at eight this morning! AMAZING!
Here are today’s prayer requests:
- Pray for any of our team that are still struggling with questions like, “Am I really supposed to be here? Can I really do this?” Help us to be a “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” team of individuals. Pray that God will confirm it in big ways and in small. Pray that we have a sense of rest in our spirit.
- Pray against the spirit of guilt and condemnation. The possibility exists that some of our team members did some things prior to this trip that they regret. Help them realize God’s forgiveness, removing that foothold the enemy has in their lives.
- Pray that we don’t let our guard down. Tomorrow as we travel, pray that we remain in an attitude of intense spiritual preparation and prayer as the battle for spiritual victory continues.
- Pray for our travels over the next 32 hours or so. Moving this many people by bus and plane over such a great distance presents a whole new level of obstacles/opportunities. Pray that our travels go smoothly and efficiently, with no delays or interruptions.