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N. Ireland 2C: Update 1

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

“When I told my friends and family I wanted to plant a church here they all thought I was crazy.”

Pastor John at Journey Church here in Northern Ireland said this during his sermon Sunday night and it hit me like a wall of bricks. I thought ignorantly to myself, “Why would planting a church be crazy?” In the U.S., churches are not uncommon. In fact, once you see one it is likely there are four more in its wake. And because this has been my norm for the past 18 years I realized I was taking church for granted. I could easily attend a different church every week for a year where I am from; but in Northern Ireland church buildings are scarce to find. However, even after only nine weeks, John and the team at Journey Church have made church a safe place for the people in their community. One of the women attending Journey told us how she had been praying for a church in her community for years and was able to see God fulfill His promises. Ask yourself if you've ever had to pray for a church to attend, or been denied the opportunity of church because there was no place to go?
When I shared my upcoming mission trip to Northern Ireland with my friends they would inevitably ask: “Why?” I could see them thinking, “Why would a place like Northern Ireland be in need of missionaries? Why would a financially stable country need them? Why would a place where most people are able to provide food and shelter for themselves need them? Why would a country not at war need them?” In the U.S., I think it is easy to be ignorant to the religious tensions in other parts of the world because we are so blessed with religious freedom that we assume only Third World countries or corrupt governments require missionaries. However, after only a handful of days in Northern Ireland I know that this place needs discipleship just as much as any other place. Northern Ireland might have a sound government, be financially stable, ability to provide for its citizens, but it is not free from war. Spiritual warfare has consumed this country and will continue to do so if we do not take the good news to all ends of Ireland. I would ask that when you pray for other places you not only take into account not only their material goods but also the spiritual state of their country. Because even being filled with all the food and riches of the world, a place without Christ is empty.