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GC Northern Ireland Trip (blog #7)

Posted Friday, March 15th, 2013

Another exciting day, here in Northern Ireland! This morning we rose extra early to go to Kilcooley Primary School to lead their morning assembly. We taught the children a memory verse, led them in a spectacular rendition of Father Abraham, and listened to them sing one of their own favorite songs. We were only at Kilcooley for a short amount of time.

We spent the afternoon in Bangor near the seashore looking at shops and the mall.

After that, we went to the Kilcooley Presbyterian Church Youth Club to hang out with the kids there. We played games such as hockey, tree tag, pool, and snooker. Some of us simply talked to the kids and spent time getting to know them. Then, Rebecca Frazier shared a part of her testimony, involving her struggle as a child with cancer and her miraculous recovery.  After that, we played some more games and concluded for the evening. Many of the youth stayed for awhile to continue talking with us.

Watch this video to see the highlights from today:

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Our time in Northern Ireland is quickly coming to an end. Tomorrow, we venture up to Giants Causeway and the north coast. And then all we have left to do is fly home! Come back here one last time to read about the conclusion of our trip. Until then, cheers!


GC Northern Ireland Trip (blog #6)

Posted Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Hello! And welcome back to the Northern Ireland blog! Yesterday, I decided to take a break from blogging…(you know, and try sleeping for once…), so allow me to recap yesterday and then I’ll get to today.

Yesterday morning, we were visited by a film crew making a documentary on the Northern Ireland foster child program. Desi and Pamela Fisher, the leaders of Adventure Leadership Training, are participants in the program and were being interviewed for an informational video. While this didn’t exactly appeal to everyone, I was blessed to be able to sit in on the interview and observe the professional film crew at work.

After the crew had left, we went to Scrabo Tower in Newtownards. This tower sits on the top of a very tall hill on the edge of the city. From the hill, you can see as far as Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Mourne Mountains, and more. It was a breath-taking view like none you can see in Illinois.

Eventually we ran out of time, admiring God’s amazing creation and we went to Regent House Grammar School. We were able to lead their Scripture Union (an after school time of worship/Bible study) for the younger students. We had some games, worship, a short message, and a Q&A (with a lot of questions about food!).

Later that night we went to the archery outreach (one of Adventure Leadership Training’s programs). Most of us were able to try our hands at some basic archery. We spent a couple of hours trying out archery. I have to say many of us were getting pretty good before we had to call it quits for the night!

Now for today!

After breakfast this morning, we spent some time in prayer and meditation as a group. Then we prepared for returning to Regent House to lead the older students’ Scripture Union.

This Scripture Union was very different from the first one. We led the group in worship and then Kathie Filby shared. Regent House is the school Kathie attended when she was a student in Northern Ireland. So she was able to tell some stories that were very relatable and interesting to the students and tie them back to their theme, “Light in the Darkness.” Then, a few of us shared short testimonies.

The students seemed very interested in what we had to say and many stayed afterwards to hang out and talk with us. (We gave them the address for this blog, so if any of you are reading, hello!)

Watch this video of the last two days to see some of the things we experienced:

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Two more days lay ahead of us still before we return to the States, and I have found myself awake way into the wee hours of the morning! Check back here for more updates soon. Goodnight!


GC Northern Ireland Trip (blog #5)

Posted Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Today was a brilliant day. Castles, cathedrals, and coastlines!

Today we took a trip to the Downpatrick Centre (the burial place of St. Patrick). Along the way, we stopped to visit a castle (I forgot the name…but you can see it in the video!). We weren’t allowed to go inside (it still had people living in it), but we were able to walk around outside the gates and take pictures and video. Next we continued south to Downpatrick. Our first stop, there, was the grave of St. Patrick and the cathedral next to where he is buried. The Down Cathedral is open to visitors to see inside what a Cathedral was like back in St. Patrick’s days. Down the hill from there was the Downpatrick Centre, which is a museum dedicated to him. We took the tour through the interactive museum and learned a great deal about the true story behind this Saint (it’s a lot more than clovers and snakes!).

When we had finished at Down Cathedral, we moved on to another castle. This one, called Dundrum Castle, was in ruins, and we were able to go right up to it and look around inside. This proved to be very enjoyable for everyone and we played around the castle for quite some time.

After the castle, we moved on to the Mourne Mountains, near Annalong, where Adventure Leadership Training owns a plot of land (about 5 acres). They call it Eagle Creak. The land was donated to them a short time ago and they plan to build a center on it one day. The center will potentially be used for traveling groups like us, camping, activities, and possible programs for hurting people. I encourage you to click on the link and take a look around the landscape and see the mountains to the north and the sea and Scotland to the south. It was very beautiful!

At the property, we dispersed across it to pray. We prayed, individually, with small groups, and as one large group over the future of the land, the organization, and Pamela and Desi (the couple in charge of ALT). For those of you who are supporting us with your prayers, I ask that you pray specifically over Eagle Creak and it’s future.

Today was an easy day, but a very rewarding one, as we got to see many beautiful parts of God’s creation that is known as Northern Ireland. Check out this video to see some of these awe-inspiring places in action!

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Check back here tomorrow for our next great adventure!


GC Northern Ireland Trip (blog #4)

Posted Monday, March 11th, 2013

Northern Ireland is proving to be full of interesting places and amazing people.

Today was considerably different than yesterday. We were privileged to spend the morning walking around downtown Newtownards, looking at shops and cafés. Many of us were able to buy souvenirs for ourselves and gifts for our friends and families. I, personally, chose to spend my money this morning on a authentic Irish haircut! (Which looks suspiciously the same as a normal trim that I would get in the States…) And Rebecca Frazier decide to go a little crazy and had her ears pierced for the first time!

After our morning of tourism, we headed back to Reach Far (the place where we are staying) to prepare a program for two different age groups of Girls Brigade at Kilcooley Presbyterian Church. Half of us focused on the younger age group, primarily elementary kids, and the other half focused on the older kids, junior high/high school age.

When the preparation was done, we ate dinner and rushed off to the church. The girls we were working with were a little shy at first (especially the younger ones) but they all warmed up to us considerably as we led them in songs, crafts, and games. I think it’s safe to say we all had a pretty enjoyable time with the Girls Brigade.

Here is a video with some of today’s highlights:

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Thank you all for your prayer support. We greatly appreciate it! Check back for more updates soon!

Peace out.


GC Northern Ireland Trip (blog #3)

Posted Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Today was our first full day in Northern Ireland. And quite a day it was!

We spent the early part of the day preparing, as a group, for the church service that we would be leading later in the day. This included going over some rules, praying, practicing worship, and praying some more. After all the praying and a couple of different meals (with some bacon that would blow American bacon away!)

We then headed into Belfast to join the ministry called, The Dock Church. The Dock Church is located directly next to the shipyard where the Titanic was built! This ministry is an entirely donations-dependent cafe that shares the love of Christ with the people of Belfast through conversation, free (or by donation) coffee, tea, and other goodies, and a Sunday afternoon event called The Dock Walk.

The Dock Walk is an gathering, where instead of worship the conventional way, they take a walk around the Titanic Quarter. Their website describes it as this:

The Dock Walks are a new way of doing church, on foot, in the midst of the rich heritage and the exciting new development of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.  We walk, talk, drink coffee, and as we walk through the TQ we stop to pray or listen to scripture, meditations or music.  The route, the people, the weather and the conversation are never exactly the same!

No-one is put on the spot, made to speak or pray out loud.  And we don’t sing, or preach, or walk around with sandwich boards.

Pictured is our group, along with a few regulars of The Dock Walk, huddling into the outline of an actual Titanic lifeboat.

We were lucky enough to join them at this very intriguing 3:33 PM service!

After the prayer walk down the very spot where the Titanic was built and launched, we were invited back to the Cafe to join them for coffee and tea and discussion. It was a very amazing experience. If you ever find yourself in Belfast on a Sunday afternoon, I highly recommend you join them at 3:33 PM!

Our next stop for the day was The River of Life Free Methodist Church. We were given the reigns for tonight’s service. The team led the congregation in worship, ran media, passed the offering plates, and gave testimonies. Kathie Filby shared a short message, involving some of her personal testimony and the church’s current topic of “Out of Maintenance, into Mission.”

At the end of the service, we spent time meeting and talking to church members of all ages about why were there, what we had planned for the week, and an awful lot of questions about the US. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, many of us made new friends, and some even attempted to recruit future Greenville students!

The following is a short video with some of the days highlights:

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Another exciting day ahead of us tomorrow! For now it’s time to hit the hay (I’ve stayed far too late, once again, tonight)!

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