Team Ireland Expansion Pack, Entry 5

Team Dungannon is starting to settle into the routine: We wake up, have times of prayer and prep for the day of ministry. This is followed by going into neighborhoods, passing out flyers that announce that the YFC here is having a fun day in the park (see my Facebook for photos of the parks that exist in each “subdivision”) and we go and wait to see who shows up.

We’ve done face-painting for the little ones and frisbee/soccer for the older ones, and all of it is to invite the people we meet to one of two things: First, the “drop-in” center at Youth for Christ which is the town square (which, incidentally, is on a street that has tremendous historical & political consequence–historically, during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, it has become the most bombed street in the world, and politically, it serves as almost a dividing line between the Protestants and Catholics). Secondly, we invite them to a much bigger deal that will take place on Saturday with a bunch of bouncy houses for the kids and a climbing wall for the teens.

This morning highlighted the reality here. Several kids showed up to play soccer and the game went well, adding more players once they saw a real game on. They were in a proudly Protestant community and we told them they were welcome to come to the drop-in center this afternoon from 2-4 and play table tennis or shoot pool or play Wii. They asked where it was. We told them on the square above retail store they all know.

“We won’t be allowed.” The message was clear: You can’t come that close to the line of historical and political significance.

Nonetheless, it was a good morning of ministry, and they might come to the Saturday fun day. The game ended in a 7-7 tie as the international team played against Milltown residents.

Last night, several of us left the senior high “drop-in” time (which is after dinner, and the middle schoolers all “drop-in” in the early afternoon) to attend a prayer meeting at the church with the Methodist church that invited us. I have to admit that I wasn’t really looking forward to it because it was a decidedly older church community that has a few theological differences…

…but it turned out to be one of the high points of my trip to date.

It was a privilege to pray with people that had a true heart for the Lord…which was evident in their eloquent words. They weren’t repetitive phrases they learned by hanging out with other Christians. They were only the kinds of words that people who have studied Scripture for decades and prayed consistently for decades and lived in community with people who took prayer seriously. It was a 45-minute time with other saints who have loved the Lord for a very long time. It was 45-minutes I won’t soon forget.

So, the ministry is going well, and our team here is hearing good reports from all the other teams. I’m really trying to stay in the “now” because I can’t wait to get all our CBC kids back together in one room to hear how God worked in and through them. Thus far, it’s been a great mission trip!

I’ll try to be better about blogging, but keep checking the Facebook page for photos. Just don’t have time to put them all here. I know it’s inconvenient to go back and forth between the two, but I appreciate your taking the time to do that.