- Airplanes smell.
- The European girls dress like sluts but wear pretty jewelry, or they wear tights with shorts over them.
- It's hard to find someone who speaks English at JFK.
- All the people that work at JFK restaurants sound Jamaican.
- Ireland has really big trees and smells good.
- Shrubs and livestock grow EVERYWHERE.
- Everybody has a wall around their properties.
- Left is not right, and right is not wrong.
- If a mail slot does not open after one hard push, just leave it alone.
- No Irish household has a personal mirror or TP dispenser.
- Irish kitchen sinks have ridiculous water pressure.
- Irish two-way roads are as wide as one lane.
- Irish people say "you're welcome" instead of "nice to meet you".
- AA was founded in America by two chaps; there are now over 8,000 in Ireland alone.
- "Thanks a Million", "lovely", "Brilliant"
- "We love roundabouts so much, we actually named them!"-Ken
- NEVER give Chris coke or Fanta.
- It is totally possible to own Mt. Crough Patrick.
- HOT HOT HOT HOT WATER.
- Miracles happen every day.
- Wally Hostetter
- Linda Hostetter
- Katie Beth Hostetter
- Beckie Thompson
- Chris Reid
- Pat Wiley
- Leslie Montello (queen of Jewelry and "Leslies", or Irish chocolate bars)
- Becca Robinson
I left on Saturday and got to the Detroit Airport. I had three hours to wander by myself, so I just explored. The flight to JFK was on the tiniest plane of my life, and I was crammed in the back next to the bathrooms with an engine breathing down my neck, but it was fine. :) When I got to JFK, I had even more time to wander and so I ate at Chili's Too, which is the airport version of Chili's. The flight to Shannon was overbooked, so there were throngs of angry people and they were offering hotel accomodations and asking for volunteers to give up seats. I did not get bumped from the flight and was able to go.
Sunday morning/Saturday night was spent on the plane, and since Ireland is five hours to our advantage, the sun came up at what would be 2. The plane never got dark, so I didn't sleep even with the eye-patch. Our in-flight movie was Premonition, but my headphones wouldn't work so I just watched their lips and tried to figure out what was happening. :) The food wasn't too bad, but I didn't realize that they would feed me on the plane so I really didn't even need to eat at Chili's Too. Also, they gave me breakfast at an untimely time, but it was technically around 7 or 8 in Ireland.
I arrived around 9:30 and went through customs. I was blessed with an adorable passport guy. He asked me what I was here for, and I said a mission trip. He didn't hear me correctly, and asked again. I said: "A mission trip" and he said "Oh, a mission trip! I thought you said a fishin' trip!" Then, he really blew me away. He said "Those are very different, but the same general idea. You're fishin' for people and not for fish!" I'll remember that forever.
I met Katie Beth and Ken Kelly at the airport and we drove through County Clare to the church in County Galway. Katie Beth and I went straight into the service which had already started, and I heard the testimonies of two who were to be baptised. Then, Wally preached and after I was introduced to several church families.
The baptism was held in Galway Bay, in the Atlantic Ocean. Fran and Lydia got baptised by Paul and Wally. After that, we all went to Fran's house for lunch and met her children: Siobhan (pronounced Shavonn), Neamh (pronounced Neev), Clara, and Lola. I was quite tired, and snoozed all the way from Fran's to Galway to stuff mail-slots with flyers for Kid's Camp.
Neamh and I
While stuffing mail-slots, I came across one that was particularly nasty. I attempted to shove the flyer through, but it was rusted shut. I pushed harder and harder until the entire thing fell through the door! I wasn't even in Ireland 12 hours and I already broke somebody's door....nice. :) I stood there looking like an idiot while the owner of the house walked up, picked up the flyer, locked the door, and walked away. HAH!
That night, the team and the Kelly family (Ken, Fiona, LeAnn, Kevin, and Jill) went to Supermac's, which is like a mega version of McDonald's. Exciting stuff...
After arriving home for the first time, I was taken aback by the beauty of the country. It is so green, and the home's backyard was just rolling countryside with stone walls checker-boarding it. Absolutely lovely.
The most gorgeous back yard in the world.
Monday was our first day of Kid's Camp, and I was in charge of the music. I wrote out song-boards and such and prepared for the day. The team had been in Athenry the week before where children are angry and deprived of love, but these Hazel Park Galway kids were angels. They worked well together and listened well. The parents were thrilled and we were as well.
Then, we went down to Salt Hill which is the beach at Galway Bay. We did our Turn Around skit there and met a lot of cool people. There was a gentleman there and he sat on a bench and watched it for 3 or 4 rotations. We talked to him and he said that he had been an alcoholic 14 years ago, but now he's changed and he brings people to AA meetings if he sees them and they need it. He was extraordinary. We experienced such favor from God because of him. When a lady came up during the show and started getting lippy, he sat her down and said "You look here, they're doing a good thing. You're judging it before you even watched it. You listen to them and listen to me." He was a blessing. Street performing was amazing and I talked to people and did things I never thought I'd do.
That night we ate at Cathie's house and enjoyed some good fellowship, then went home and anticipated a new day.
Tuesday brought a new day, and it was very similar to Monday. We did Kid's Camp, performed at Salt Hill, and ate at Cathie's. There was, however, a new feeling in the air. A community witch at Hazel Park had complained about us every year we showed up, and this time she called Paul and the Guarda (police) with new complaints and lies about us. "They parked to close to the curb", she said, when in reality we had parked in the Hotel parking lot three blocks away. "They dug holes in the park", she said, when in reality we had done nothing at all. "There are too many men around the children", she said, when in reality, we were there for Jesus and loved those kids. I could feel oppression from demons that night, uneasy, afraid. There is nothing quite like it.
I learned what it felt like to be literally surviving on prayer. We needed a hedge of protection, and we prayed for it, and we got it. Oppression was huge against us, and not only that, but we could see what others could not. There were several demon-posessed people who hated us, stalked us, and tried to oppress us. No matter what happened, though, they never touched us. Hedge of protection, and we survived. We won.
Wednesday came, though, and they shut Kids Camp down. The church lost insurance because of a new policy that came in on Tuesday regarding all people who are to work with children in Ireland. We never saw those kids again.
We went to Salt Hill, and failure still hung thick in the air. It was a particularly windy day, and the balloon animals we tried to give out blew away so fast that I just wanted to go home. However, dinner with the church families still provided a sense of community and I knew that we would not lose or fail.
We performed the rest of the week instead of helping with children. We went to Shoppe Street and Eyre Square to perform, where we were loved, appreciated, laughed at, scorned, screamed at, stared at, and applauded. All the while we handed out flyers, magnets, and balloons advertising for Discovery Church. We were shown everything that town had, all the while feeling so blessed. Whenever something was lost, we found it. Whenever something went wrong, we found joy in it. Kids Camp was over, but we still got to perform. The guarda and the community council were on our side; the only person against us was Satan and we pissed him off real well.
On Saturday, we had a day of fun and went shopping in Westport in County Mayo. Then, we went to Mt. Crough Patrick, the mountain that St. Patrick climbed. It is around 640m high, and Chris, Kevin, and I made it to the top in two hours. :) Coming down took an hour and a half, and I bruised my ankle quite badly, but not enough to make me stop. It was tedious; I had never climbed a real mountain before, but it was so worth it. The view was fantastic, and I could only stand in wonder at this magnificent country we were to leave the next day. So many people we had come in contact with, so many miracles performed, so much favor that we didn't deserve. I am so thankful.
Me by the chapel on the top of Crough Patrick
From the top of Crough Patrick
So I'm home now. Even though our JFK-Detroit flight was cancelled on Sunday night and we had to stay in NYC, I am home 24 hours later nevertheless. Even though my bags are somewhere unknown, I'll get them soon. :) I realize that this incredibly long post has not done my trip or my team justice, but it is all I have to offer. I am different on the inside, tired, blessed, aware. I am changed on the inside, I am aware of demonic prescences, I know how to survive on prayer, I know how to fully rely on the One that will not let me down. I know that Ireland is shaking. I know that we have done well. I know I will be going back.