Sunday, April 20, 2008

dublin, ireland: day 8 & 9

day 8 - sunday, march 23rd

today's objectives: abbey easter service at the dublin spire (city centre). spend the day with the boal family.

we started this morning out like all the others. walking. today we are meeting at the spire (which is in the middle of the city) for a "sunrise" easter service. each of the three churches that we have been with throughout the week were all there. when we got there all the streets were empty of traffic. they had blocked off o'connell street for the easter parade that was happening later that day. we found out that the person who was in charge of doing music for the service fell, david to the rescue. he picked up a guitar and did the worship for us. it was neat to be with everyone at the spire, singing songs, praying, and just being a community.

dublin, ireland: day 8
empty o'connell street

dublin, ireland: day 8
worship @ the spire

after the morning service, all the churches meet up at the methodist church for a traditional irish breakfast. oddly, baked beans are a part of breakfast...but tasty all the same. it was SO cold outside and it was nice to be inside drinking tea and munching on brown bread.

then we head back to abbey church for the normal service. alan delivered a lovely sermon. kevin stepped up to the plate to do some reading. by this time, the congregation feels like family. we arrived the previous sunday, knowing no one, shaking hands and getting to know people. by easter service we are sitting with new friends, laughing about the week, and hugging everyone like we've known each other for years.

the boal family invited us over for sunday lunch after church. this was one of my favorite things about the trip! we arrived to find a HUGE spread of food, all made by ruth boal. when she had the time to prepare such an amazing feast is beyond me! chicken pasta, salad, brown bread, and the best hot tea in the world! to top off lunch, there was homemade apple pie and custard! heaven! this woman can cook! while munching on these delights and sipping tea, we just relaxed and exchanged stories. it was like being home.

dublin, ireland: day 8
kevin and sam (alan & ruth's son) probably discussing judge judy

dublin, ireland: day 8
our group. it was hard to say goodbye. :(

we took the bus back to harvey's guest house where we packed our bags and prepared for the early morning trip to the airport.

day 9 - monday, march 24th

today's objective: pack up and head back to the states.

it was an early morning. we were all packed and downstairs waiting for the bus to take us back to the airport. we were leaving. very sad.

as we were about to leave, robert, the gentleman running the guest house, pulls up in his car. he actually came to take some of us to the airport! he didn't even have to be there that day, but wanted to see us off. that was one of the sweetest gestures and it made me smile. amy, shelby and i rode with robert. mikkee stayed back with the boys and took the bus...someone had to keep them in order! :)

dublin, ireland: day 9
mikkee, thrilled to be waiting on the bus with greg

once at the airport, i was frisked many many times. they also took my knitting needles! at first, the lady pointed to a screen and asked if i was carrying darts. i was like, "no." then i said, "oh, those are my knitting needles." "NEEDLES" she exclaimed! i think maybe i should have called them sticks. oops. coincidentally, they didn't take my pens or pencils. hmmm. looks like i'll be reading for the next 7 hours.

dublin, ireland: day 9
heading home

leaving ireland with this (a favorite of mine): isaiah 55: 12-13

click here for pictures from day 8 & 9

dublin, ireland: day 7

day 7 - saturday, march 22nd

today's objectives: break out into 3 groups (arts, internationals, youth) and focus on meeting and building relationships with people in the city.

the arts group was made up of david and amy. they went to grafton street. this is one of the major shopping areas. it is also where many artists / performers go to display his/her/their specific talent. david took his guitar and "busked" (or performed on the street). they ended up meeting some fellow buskers and exchanging stories & information. amy is so spunky and fun, i'm sure they were all rolling with laughter the entire time!

dublin, ireland: day 7
david busking with dubliners

the international group was made up of greg and shelby. i'm not really sure what came of this one, other than it was probably the most difficult. meeting an international and starting a conversation can be hard when you have language and culture barriers.

the youth group was made up of me, mikkee and kevin. all of us had a special interest in the younger generation. it took about 2 minutes to find what we were looking for. loud music playing out of a van by the liffey river. crowds of people...YOUNG people! we had stumbled into a rowing race between two of the biggest colleges in dublin, trinity college and university college dublin (ucd). i found out later this was the "Gannon Cup" race. so, it was pretty easy to find people to talk to. mikkee and i made several attempts a making friends with the girls, but were not hugely successful. kevin, on the other hand, met some guys that we all ended up spending a lot of time with that day.

dublin, ireland: day 7
gannon cup 2008 - trinity college v ucd

i'm going to include a bit from his (kevin) blog now:

"I bump into the lad from Trinity, Colm. He's there hanging out with some of his college buddies, all who once rowed at Trinity. Peter and Kevin are the two guys I take up talking to and they are a riot. Peter is nuts and reminds me of Paul Alberstadt at a Vandy Football tailgate...he's talking trash to UCD and screaming at the top of his lungs. Of course, I like him immediately. Kevin is a quieter fellow, still in school but who has just accepted a position with Accenture in IT consulting when he finishes. Nice fellow, we chat a bit about jobs and watch the novice race.

The girls soon are upon us. Apparently they have moved on from the girl they were speaking with earlier. She apparently was a little bored. But, the lads are excited to have such beautiful ladies in their presence. Peter is chatting them up and when he sees them without sunglasses, he is enamored by their blue eyes. They soon part for coffee and I tell them I will wait for their return. Immediately, the lads start in on me - "are either of the girls your sister? Are you dating one of them? They are certainly lovely!" I tell them I just don't travel with ugly girls, its how I roll. We all share a laugh over this.

The guys are going to catch a double decker bus to head over to the finish and invite me along. I pass and wait for the girls. Little do I know that the bus will make several trips back and forth. The girls arrive at the same time the lads return, ready for the start of the main event. We all hop on and follow the action along the river. Trinity starts out with a burst, but alas, like in the 3 previous races, can't hold pace and they lose out to UCD by half a length over the 4 kilometer course. Peter is bummed as are the rest of the lads. But in true Irish form, begin singing pub songs which are a bit on the raunchy side. Even the girls laugh at the lyrics as we head back to where we all began. We say goodbye to Peter, take a few pics, get Facebook and MySpace addresses and agree to catch them at a pub later.

dublin, ireland: day 7
peter & friends

Then we head over to Graften where we converse with a couple of lads raising money for local charity. These guys are both genuinely enthusiastic about helping out their fellow man. I will point this out as a perfect outreach later when I see Chuck that evening. Again, we get information and Facebook addresses, grab a bite and then meet with the other members of the team and Chuck for a debriefing. Needless to say, our group has had the most craic (Gaelic for fun) and success in friendship building. Chuck really is encouraged about what he hears and we talk a bit more about future possibilities for outreach."

kevin summed it up well. like he pointed out at the end, after our day of meeting people, we get back together as a group and go over our day and what it means for short term mission teams. there were some great ideas that came out of the meeting. chuck has an amazing vision for this country, and i hope we get to continue helping him in his vision.after our re-cap meeting with chuck, we split up before heading to dinner. a few of our team went back to the b&b to change and freshen up. i went to the supermarket (TESCO!) to pick up some things i wanted to bring back to the states for people. it was cool to just walk the streets and see different people moving about and living. it was around dusk so the sky was really pretty and the air was a little crisp. awesome! there were a lot of outside vendors. flowers, food, and that sort of thing.

we were meeting a couple of amy's ireland friends for dinner @ the auld dubliner pub. when mikkee and i first got there it was so crowded we could barely move. one nice gentleman offered us a his lap. uh. awkward. we eventually prevailed and found a place to sit once everyone showed up. katherine and christy (abbey interns) also joined our group. it was nice to just sit down and hang out and get to know everyone better for a bit.

dublin, ireland: day 7
amy & her ireland friends

finally back to harvey's for some sleep!

click here for pictures from day 7

dublin, ireland: day 6

day 6 - friday, march 21st

today's objectives: meet missionary from morocco, english speaking corner at immanuel church, give good friday service.

we started this day off with a walk to Saint Stephen's Green for our quiet time. it was a lovely park right in the middle of the city. i found a place to sit in the sun so it wasn't quite so cold.

dublin, ireland: day 6
saint stephen's green

after quiet time, we meet up with chuck at trinity college again. we were going to meet with him and another missionary (from moracco) but she ended up being sick and unable to join us.

next stop, immanuel church for english speaking corner. we were able to take our time getting there since our previous engagement was cancelled. we saw dublin castle...complete with a gift shop and cafe (ha!). the back of the castle was an array of colored buildings. beautiful against the blue sky. we also passed a statue that was dedicated to someone named "moore" which happens to be my mother's maiden i had to get a picture of that.

dublin, ireland: day 6dublin, ireland: day 6
back of dublin castle / statue of "moore"

then, on to immanuel where we met some international students to help them with english. i was with a young girl from china who was going to school to learn english so she could become a doctor. near the end of our time of learning, they do a brief explanation of jesus and the gospel. we go over what we've just heard back at our table. i noticed that the international students were much more willing to try and understand and learn what they just heard (asking questions, etc) than the people we met that grew up surrounded by christianity.

dublin, ireland: day 6
amy & mikkee direct arrivals

dublin, ireland: day 6
english corner

now we walk back to abbey church to do a run through of the evening. our team is doing the good friday service (called tennebrae) at abbey that night, so we want to make sure we have it down. all of us have a part to read, except david, who does the worship music. i think we did a pretty good job of being prepared, even for a run through. one thing...the church was EXTREMELY cold. most of us kept our coats and gloves on the entire time. one of the major appreciations for america and more modern buildings - central heat/air and warm toilet seats. definitely something i've always taken for granted.

instead of having the service in the sanctuary of abbey, we had the service in a smaller upstairs room (with heat!!!). the smaller room made it more cozy and intimate, and i loved it! the service of tennebrae, or "shadows," is an ancient tradition, used in the last days of Holy Week to impress upon the hearts of believers the awful consequences of sin and the magnitude of the Savior's sacrifice. we each read our verses, which was the account of the betrayal, conviction, persecution, and death of Christ. there were 7 candles in the room. after each reading, one of the candles would be extinguished. by the time we were at the end, the room was completely dark. the last candle to be extinguished was the Christ candle and, of course, represented His death. which is what good friday is about. after the service was over, we all stayed in the room and chatted for a bit with everyone. our new community. :)

christy and katherine invited us all over to their apartment afterwards for some tea and cake. the cake was delicious and the conversation a delight!

dublin, ireland: day 6
katherine & christy's place

we are all pretty worn out by now. so, we head back to harvey's guest house and hit the hay. zzzzz.

click here for pictures from day 6

dublin, ireland: day 5

day 5 - thursday, march 20th

today's agenda: tour international scene in dublin (including a mosque). chuck's "project" details for saturday. communion service.

we started the day off by walking (which we did A LOT) to trinity college to meet chuck. while waiting, we looked around the campus a bit. amy took me to see the dorm that oscar wilde used to live in. very exciting! i'm a big fan!

dublin, ireland: day 5
me in front of oscar wilde's door

once chuck arrived, we headed out. chuck took us to a mosque. it happens to be in an old church, believe it or not. a very interesting sign of where christianity is at in this country. the girls all had to wear our scarves on our heads to be able to get in. everyone took their shoes off. the gentleman that showed us around and told us about their beliefs was very friendly, but in an a somewhat uncomfortable way. it's hard to explain. the women worshiped in a separate area than the men. they pray according to a time schedule. definitely a different worship environment than i'm used to. the gentleman did tell us that the muslim community / church has shown huge growth over the last few years. i wasn't sure if that was due to population increase or conversion. christianity in ireland has not grown.

dublin, ireland: day 5dublin, ireland: day 5
mosque in church building / prayer time schedule

after the mosque, we started back to the city centre of dublin...thank heavens we found a bus! we went to lunch with chuck who explained his project for us. i won't go into huge amounts of detail, but he had some brain-storming to do for sure. it will be more clear in saturday's blog post. :)

when we finished our project with chuck, we had a couple hours to do whatever (shopping, sight seeing, etc.) until heading back to abbey church for holy week service stuff. a few of us opted to go to the guinness factory for the tour during this time, instead of shopping. and if you aren't aware, guinness beer is native to dublin, ireland. another massive walk to the factory, 5 stories, and one glass later, we are finally at the top of the guinness factory looking out the 360 degree windows over the city of dublin. awesome!

dublin, ireland: day 5dublin, ireland: day 5

the guinness towers / reward at the top

we all met back up and headed over to the church for communion service. all the services during this week are shared between three churches. none of which are the same denomination. that is almost unheard of here in the states. a baptist and methodist church would probably never hold a function together here in the U.S. but in ireland, it almost seems necessary due to the small number of members. they have to band together and i love that. i wish we were more blind to our 'so-called' differences here too. it's like the gentiles and the jews...jesus' message was for everyone, not just one religion vs another. that's actually what i love so much about the church i attend now...the message is 'love everyone' not just 'love pca members only.' refreshing.

finally, we had team meeting time. i think we were all pretty worn out at this point. emotions were high, nerves were frayed, but we trucked through it...and we all still love each other. haha!

click here for pictures from day 5

dublin, ireland: day 4

day 4 - wednesday, march 19th
(prayer walk / chuck tarter time)

day four's objective was to do a prayer walk (which i have never done before) and get to know chuck, his family, and their mission better.

we started the day off with quiet time, as usual. but this time mikkee decided to take us to killiney beach for our time with God. it was slightly overcast, slightly sunny, and quite cold. the beach was very interesting. made up of sand and smooth oval rocks. lots of fun happy dogs running around as well. killiney beach is also where the lead singer of U2 (bono) lives, and enya.

dublin, ireland: day 4
fun pups on the beach

dublin, ireland: day 4
killiney beach

chuck met us at the beach and we started on our way...we, of course, stopped to take some pictures of bono's grafiti door. :) now, i have never done a prayer walk, and as many of you know, am not great at praying out loud either. so, i was extremely nervous about this walking and praying thing. it ended up not being so daunting. i did not pray out loud, but i was able to say many silent prayers as we went up the streets. it was really inspiring to hear others praying for each other, friends, strangers on the street, the town, the country, and even their own fears and struggles. i hope to one day be comfortable enough to converse with God out loud...but that is my OWN struggle.

dublin, ireland: day 4
this puppy was our constant leader during the prayer walk!

when we finished the prayer walk, chuck took us back into greystones (where he lives) and showed us the town and places that he works with and helps support. one of the most interesting places to me was the ywca. they host groups and even vacationers in a christian evironment. here is a link to their site:

we then went back to chuck's home to meet his wife and 3 kids. they were a lot of fun! his wife, michelle, is super sweet and down to earth! the girls chatted with her most of the time. what life is like in the mission field and sort of a "get to know you" conversation...which lasted so long, we almost missed the train back. we only had one car to get us back to the dart station, so chuck had to take us in groups. the girls were first. the boys missed the train. oops. ha! but chuck drove them back to town.

wicklow, ireland: day 4
the life of a missionary kid..cute!

us girls had dinner together before going to the church for holy week service. i was able to secure my first free glass to bring back with me to america at the pub we ate at. woohoo! we met up with the guys at the church and had service. then the abbey church interns (chrisy and katherine) took us to a music outreach night held at immanuel church dublin. ireland seems to really embrace the arts as a way to reach people. i thought that was awesome!

then back to harvey's guest house for our team meeting and BED!

click here for pictures from day 4

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

dublin, ireland: day 3

day 3 - tuesday, march 18th

actually, we were mostly in county wicklow (greystones & glendalough). this was our free day. shelby, david and myself opted for the trip to glendalough with missionary chuck. chuck lives in greystones, so he was the perfect tour guide. we were able to spend a lot of time talking with chuck about his mission too, which was awesome!

this is also the day my camera died, so all of the pictures are from either david or shelby's camera. they were sweet enough to even let me take a few pictures with their cameras. yay!
there are no words to effectively describe how beautiful this country is. i really don't think the pictures do it justice either, but it's all i've got. ha! parts of it reminded me of east tennessee, but it was so obviously not east tn at the same time.

our day: we took the train (called the dart) from dublin to greystones. a train ride looking over the water and hills of ireland...phenomenal. once in greystones, shelby and i popped into a coffee shop (YAY!) while we waited for chuck.

co. wicklow, ireland: day 3
view from dart train

co. wicklow, ireland: day 3
shelby & i finally get some coffee!

once chuck picked us up, he took us to a place called powerscourt for some shopping and country side views. he was great at giving us details about history and culture in the area. shelby and i picked up a few items while the guys did their thing. then we headed to AVOCA for lunch. AVOCA is a brand now, but it is mostly handmade items in co. wicklow. that was probably the best meal ever. i ordered a 'tart' which i thought was everything, then they asked me what i wanted for my THREE sides. hungry? i hope so.

then we headed for glendalough with full stomachs. there is a link below with details about what glendalough is if you would like to check it out. it was spectacularly beautiful! and we saw sheep and little lambs!!!

co. wicklow, ireland: day 3
entering glendalough

co. wicklow, ireland: day 3
the upper lake @ glendalough

after glendalough, chuck took us back to 'town' for dinner at a place called "the hungry monk" (they had chanting in the restroom, or 'toilet' as they say).

we catch the last train back into dublin and have just enough time to pop into a bar for our very first irish guinness. mmmmm!

a grand end to a grand day! and chuck was amazing. we were lucky to have him with us!

link to co. wicklow:

click here for pictures from day 3