Wednesday, June 24, 2009

well hey, hay fever.


this morning, we headed out yet again for some more magazine distribution. i'm rather amazed one of us hasn't had our fingers destroyed by frequent the attack dogs (also known as "poodles," "cocker spaniels," and various other dogs who shouldn't be capable of barking and jumping with the ferocity they somehow possess) who run to the door and grab the magazine before we've finished putting it through the letter box. its ridiculous. other than that though, we're really enjoying it - the occasional conversation, the frequent walking, the lovely sun - its been a great way for us to be involved in the community and let us "feel involved" in a very specific way.

unfortunately, jared's allergies flared up in fine form today. he has his medicine, but he didn't for a few days there so we're waiting for it to get back in his system. he's doing okay but the amount he can sneeze in a minute is pretty incredible. maybe i should contact the guinness book of world records. think it would help that his hay fever starts doing a jig in the country where guinness was invented? probably not.

after we finished our magazine route for the day, mervyn brought us home and ashley and i returned to pinata world, which, thank goodness, will no longer be a part of our lives after the next few days pass. they are looking...decent...and we've only had one collapse when we popped the balloon inside - not bad.

this afternoon, we also started studying our notes for the quiet time groups we'll be leading next week at camp. we'll be studying prophecies about Jesus in the OT that came true in the NT, who Jesus really is/said He was, etc. we're really excited about it - please pray for God to speak clearly through mervyn as he teaches and through us as we lead our small groups.

tonight, ashley and i started filling the pinatas with candy and sewing them up...hooray! they aren't the prettiest pinatas i've ever seen, but i can't say i feel strongly about something that is smashed to bits and only used for its insides needing to be attractive. call me hard hearted.

the agenda for tomorrow is more pinata construction (which is also known as "sneaking the occasional mini-snickers bar while wondering if this dye/discoloration on my hands from crepe paper will ever fade"), an hour or so of finishing up magazines (please pray that people will read them and think about what they say, they are all over the much potential!), ashley and i going to lunch in town (hooray!), and the 3 of us heading to camp to see our lovely little friends and help them put on texas night! please pray for a smooth, fun evening and energy for our pals who have been at camp all week. pray that we will be a great encouragement and energizer to them.

well, i'm off to say hey to mr. hey i have hay fever and see how he's doing. love you all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

good thing freckles are irish.

today, we headed back out to town and passed out magazines from about 9-1. it was a very warm day for ireland and i got quite a toasty sunburn on my shoulders and arms - oops! i didn't think it was possible to get sunburned here, learn something new everyday.

this afternoon we were pretty wiped out and are doing our best to not be exhausted by the time camp comes around, so we've taken it easy for a good bit of the rest of the day. tomorrow, we're back to magazines, finally finishing the pinatas, perfecting our line dancing playlist, and decorating our cowgirl hats from the euro store! ha.

ernie called and said camp has been delightful so far! thanks for all the prayers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

the sunny side of life.

i'm going to consider it quite an accomplishment if i am able to keep up with a day by day log of our trip as long as the team is here, but i've done it so far so why not keep trying, right?

now, where were we?

friday, i do believe. this was quite a fun day. in the morning, mervyn scott, who is an irish missionary here in youghal, brought over his 13 year old daughter, bethany, and some of her friends to help us put stickers on magazines and stuff them with letters so that people know they are coming from the youghal baptist community. the girls also helped us make pinatas! we had a wonderful time working together, learning about their school system (which is incredibly different and much more difficult than ours all things considered), trying to mimic one another's accents, and singing together as haley oftentimes serenaded us at our request. it was a lovely morning and afternoon, and as the teens left we all headed out to a pre-camp barbecue. it was technically a night for the officers (counselors) of the senior camp (15-18) which is going on this week, but since our summer team had just arrived, john o'sullivan (everyone calls him "johno" - he's the senior camp leader/host of the bbq) let us all come and enjoy. it was an especially enjoyable night for me as i got to see old friends from my first summer here, including precious emma sly who was in my small group at camp and has just finished her first year of university at trinity in dublin. such a joy. late friday night was lovely as well as we all arrived home and the team decided they were going to gather up blankets, give me a beanie, make some tea, and coax jared and i into sitting outside, playing guitar, chatting, and looking for stars. it didn't take much coaxing and we had a splendid time. they bring so much life to our experience here....they become our "joy and crown" more and more each day.

on saturday, we headed out to the farm where camp is hosted to finish cleaning and setting up for camp. the guys engaged in "manual labour" (spelled the european way quite intentionally) as they hammered tent stakes into the ground, while us ladies washed down chairs and headed out to the "toilets" and scrubbed...and scrubbed...and scrubbed. lovely. around lunch time, the boys headed out to see transformers with two of mervyn's sons and one of the teens, ilyas, who stayed with us over the weekend because he lives rather far from camp, while ashley, haley, ernie, nancy and i headed back to the house where we warmed up hamburgers and settled in for a lovely afternoon of watching bride wars which was much cuter and funnier than i expected! we also watched walk the line, did some laundry, and listened to the guys gush away about the movie when they returned home. johno and ilyas stayed the night and the senior camp folks got packed up and ready for camp while jared and i skyped with his family!

sunday, we headed to church where ernie preached on philippians 3 and 4. the team was introduced to the church and it was lovely to show them another part of what we've been involved in so far and who they are parterning with in ministry while they're here for these 4 weeks. we said good-bye to our senior camp half and then ashley, jared and i headed to the scotts for lunch with their family and the lewis'. we chatted away there for the afternoon and then headed to the radio station (mervyn has a weekly show) where jared and i sang live on the radio. holy cow. we were going to play a recording of "in Christ alone" and then someone suggested we sing it so we played through it twice and on we went. i don't think anyone will be contacting us for a record deal anytime soon but it was very fun, spur of the moment, and a blessing to talk about and sing a song that was dear enough to us to be played at our wedding. ashley then recorded a show to be played this sunday while mervyn is speaking at our intermediate camp (12-15) and did such a wonderful job, so many will be blessed by her joy and sincerity. last night, we came home (which felt incredibly empty with only the three of us) and made breakfast for dinner :). jared and i then got to skype with my dad and sister, hooray!

and, finally, today! mervyn picked the three of us up this morning and we headed into youghal where we "put magazines through the doors" (they have slits in their doors here, not mailboxes). i've told a few people in recent days that its been interesting for me to see how different strategies of ministry are beneficial in different places. in america, i wouldn't be very optimistic about putting literature in people's mailboxes because we are so inundated with "christian" information, especially in texas. however, here, folks are rarely encouraged to read the word of God on their own because of the corruption of the Roman Catholic church in ireland. the magazine encourages them to do just that - seek out the word of God on their own, not relying on a priest or middle man to tell them God's plan for their life but to understand who He is by reading His Word! please pray that the magazines will be effective and that we will be joyful as we walk up, down, and all over town to hand them out. we headed home in the afternoon to continue making pinatas and stuffing the magazines with letters. ashley and i have permanently dyed red hands thanks to the pinata crepe paper which is a bit unfortunate, but other than that it was a delightful afternoon and all the magazines are ready to go!

well, my goodness, i've finished. congratulations if you have read this all the way through. my hope is to write these logs as such, but to also write posts as commentary on things i'm feeling, thinking, experiencing, etc. i want to keep track of our trip but i also love to focus on writing, language, thought, etc, and it can be a tad hard to do that when attempting to recount our day to day experiences. we'll just have to see what happens :).

enjoy a few pictures!

haley and little aaron bateman who fell in love with her at camp clean up on thursday night!

ashley and i working on the infamous pinatas for western/texan/we're practically mexican night.

the guys holed up in their magazine, red shirted, star wars filled world.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

beloved brethren.

where to even begin...

the last few days have been full of people, food, tea, coffee, magazines, pictures, driving, and ever so much more. ever since the team got here, our energy level has multiplied a hundred times over and it seems our activities have too, which is the perfect combination! they are an indescribable joy to have with us. daily, i think of verses such as Philippians 4:1 in which Paul refers to his fellow brethren as "longed for," "beloved," "his joy," and "crown" as our team members encourage, serve, bless, and strengthen us, the community in Youghal, teens in the area, and our hosts. they seek to engage with others without dominating the moment and truly listen and respond to what is said to them. we adore them.

as far as this week, as i mentioned in my last post the team arrived on tuesday (after 3/4 of them went to the wrong houston airport and barely made it to their flight - go ahead and give me a heart attack why don't you?) full of exhaustion (sort of...), hunger, smiles, and that undying energy. they ate some dinner, moved into their rooms, and decided their next move would be to talk us into going on a five mile walk into town and back. talk about fun! we had the greatest time enjoying one another, the scenery, and almost being demolished by more than one vehicle and/or dog.

on wednesday, patrick and chris worked on getting the 4You magazines ( we'll be distributing throughout the community ready, Haley hung out with some teenage girls we've gotten to know, and Jared, Ashley, Ernie, Nancy and I headed into Cork to do some last minute shopping for camp. we found cowboy hats for both the guys and girls for the western night we'll be putting on at camp, as well as rope for a lasso, and silly string shooting guns for the shoot out. yeehaw. then, ash, jared and i hopped on a bus and rode to a town called bandon where we had dinner at a family named the jeffers' house and met with fellow officers for our camp and planned about 4230 games.

thursday, we had a day at home that we kicked off with a morning devotional led by Ernie, and some beautiful tunes led by Haley and Jared. then, we worked through all our fun games and such for camp and tried to figure out how to lasso with extremely thin rope. really, we were trying to figure out how to lasso at all. apparently we are not very texan (don't tell). that afternoon, the guys worked on more magazines while ashley and i started making pinatas, which has been especially fun for me as i also made them the first summer i came here for mexican night at camp. we told nancy that texas is close enough to mexico for us to do pinatas at our western/texan night again this year - ha. afterwards, nancy and i headed to the grocery store so that we could get stocked up for this week - she, ernie, pat, chris, and haley have all headed off to the first week of camp so ash, jared, and i are fending for ourselves. we're quite sad that we'll be apart for 2 weeks from the other half of our team (we'll leave sunday the 28th for our week), but we absolutely can't wait to see what God does in these two weeks. on thursday night, we headed out to the farm where camp is held and started cleaning up and getting everything ready. it was so fun for me to watch everyone experience the initial "are you seriously trying to tell me we have camp here?!" thought and then see it slowly transform into "oh, wow, this really could work." while at the clean-up, aaron and emma bateman, two little kids whose grandparents own the farm where we have camp, fell absolutely in love with haley and ashley! so precious. after we cleaned up for a while, we were invited over to the bateman's house for tea, coffee, and biscuits (cookies) and to walk around in their beautiful gardens. it was absolutely lovely. they have three peacocks, by the way.

well, its midnight here and we're off to distribute magazines in the morning so i think i'll call it a night. hopefully tomorrow i'll have a few minutes to at least get caught up as far as what we've been doing each day. cheers!