The following is an update from the team leader, Brittany Shoemake:
Excitement continues to build as we anticipate what God has is store each day. The team is doing fantastic!!
We arrived on Saturday and did our best to keep moving throughout the day to help fight some jet lag. We met our mission partners, Aaron and Tana Molesky, and got a brief introduction to the week ahead as we settled into our lodging in Newcastle. Fish and chips made for a great first meal in Northern Ireland!
We went to a service at Cornerstone Church on Sunday morning. The setting was intimate and the time of worship with fellow believers was encouraging. After the service was over, most everyone stayed around to chat over tea or coffee. We got to meet some new, local friends and ask them questions to learn more about their church and life here in the area. We came away from that loving the time to connect with people rather than rushing out of church to quickly get to lunch. Speaking of lunch, once we did leave the church, we went to a restaurant for a traditional Sunday roast. LOADS of food! We’re definitely eating well. By the time we got done eating it was late afternoon so we loaded up suitcases and drove just about 20 minutes to Castlewellan Castle, where we’ll be staying until Friday.
The setting is beautiful. After a quick tea (dinner) we headed back into town for an evening youth service. Little did we know that the service started 30 minutes earlier than it typically does, so we walked in only to catch the end of the service. But like the morning, people stayed after to chat and this was another incredible time to connect with people and learn more about the people here. We heard the pastor’s testimony and were encouraged to see how God is working through him and the church.
On Tuesday morning – after breakfast and devos – we got to hear the incredible story of how the Molesky’s received the call from the Lord to be missionaries in Northern Ireland. Their story is rooted in prayer and listening to God speak, which is what we’ll be doing a lot of this week and as we pray (prayer is Kingdom work) and seek after what the Lord is doing in this country. We’re praying for revival and unity as we join with local believers who are calling to the Lord for these same things. What was once such a strong Christian nation has fallen to division and a lack of true relationship with Jesus.
We also learned about the life and faith of Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. He was the first to bring the Christian faith to this island, and the history of the church is embedded deep in history here. We visited the town of Downpatrick and went to a few historical sites (the place where Patrick started the first Christian church in Ireland, and also a site that claims to be where Patrick may have been buried). There is so much we can learn from his life and faith and boldness. God used him to bring all of Ireland into a place of faith in Jesus. We’re praying for that to happen again here in this place. We ended the day by processing and sharing about our experiences of the day. We had some great discussion and opened up about things God is teaching us and how we’re seeing Him at work here and in our lives. Following this, we went into a time of prayer and worship. We all took different postures as we sang and prayed, but it was beautiful to give praise and glory to Jesus for what He is doing. His goodness is evident. We want to see more!
Continue to pray for the Engage mission teams in Northern Ireland and see more updates from the trips here.