Looking back and trying to recall everything that happened, even with the help of some journaling, is overwhelming. It feels something like a dream the way Ireland and Northern Ireland swept us up and greeted us.
(This photo was from the Solar eclipse that took place on our first full day in Greystones. I kept watching then prayed for a part in the clouds so I could see it. Just before it opened up to this view the clouds parted in a heart shape. I felt so loved that morning!)
We started in the Republic of Ireland in Greystones/ Dublin area where we got settled and had a free day to explore the city as well as have an evening service. We did a lot of walking to get our bearings in Dublin and ate lots of good food, of course. Ben and I only were there for about two days before the break away team set out for the small town of Athenry; The 7 of us traveled by train for about three and a half hours west to get to the other side of the country. I was very happy to be part of this team to get out of the big city of Dublin. The countryside is more of what speaks to my soul and the train ride gave lots of opportunity to drink in what I had imagined Ireland to be
(Out the window of the train)
Upon our arrival we met the pastors (although they don’t like titles and insist you don’t call them pastor) Sean and Julia of Athenry Gospel Center. They are some of the world’s sweetest people! They took such good care of us as Ben and I stayed in their home for the two days and others were spread out in other host homes. We held two services at that church and they were one of my main highlights. The two services I got to do background vocals for the worship team which is always fun. I haven’t lead worship with Ben since last summer so of course that is a highlight! The congregation is a beautiful mixture of Irish people as well as Brazilians and Africans that are hungry for God to move in their area. Ben preached during the Saturday night service and I preached (as did Garret) Sunday morning. I spoke on hope which I will probably turn in to blog form because it is something so important in everyone’s lives, no matter what chapter they are in. It fit perfectly with where they were at and even back in the states while I prepared it God told me some things that would happen during it and they did, which confirmed that it was the right place to release it.
(Enter a random photo of me preaching)
We prayed for everyone that wanted pray each service (which was mostly everyone) and testimonies are still coming in, but Ben saw some physical healings instantly which is something he has wanted to see. After the Sunday morning service they held a potluck lunch and we had a great time of fellowship with these beautiful hearts. I don’t believe I have any pictures of the services because I was so involved in most aspects and wasn’t left sitting for much. But I have memories tucked away. God is moving and doing amazing things in Athenry and it is an important location. We are believing that the testimony of Jesus would continue to go forth over and over again to break off depression, restore broken relationships, heal bodies and heal souls. He is a good good Father!
(Medieval castle and Abbey in the middle of town)
(A bit of the castle walls that still remains)
The following Monday night we traveled from Dublin up to Northern Ireland (which is still part of the UK if you find yourself being confused as to why I keep being specific with the fact that we went to two different unions.) In Northern Ireland (NI) there seemed to be a lot more resistance happening with the churches as they spread word about the coming meetings and locations. There were “heretic hunters” and parishioners outraged that a team from Bethel would be allowed to come in to their churches.
(Ben and I at the Dublin Spire)
(The same architect that designed the Redding Sundial bridge designed this one as well, right in Dublin! This one in the form of the nations symbol of the harp.)
Our first meeting took place in a quaint old church that was probably older than the USA, as most places were that we went. God moved really gently but powerfully in that place. Words of knowledge and prophecy flowed forth encouraging the people and strengthening. It was a sweet time of worship as the pews were filled and our team led worship from underneath the pipes of the organ, a mixture of hungry hearts, skeptics and those who are cautious. There were no outbursts publicly but I know that the pastor, Alan, has been attacked a lot for his beliefs of who God is and is the church is still transitioning with him taking the church on over a year ago. I continue to stand with him and his family; the breakthrough will soon flow forth as bits of the rock crumble away.
(Preparing for service)
For the following 4 days we did street outreach in 4 different locations partnering up with different churches/ ministries. Each day was so different due to the different atmospheres but they were all so good. Some days we had a lot of “no’s” but we still call that winning because we took risk and a see still got planted in their hearts at the very idea of someone wanting to stop them to tell them God loves them. Actually a lot of people are fine with you saying things about God but when you tell them about Jesus and that He has something wonderful to say about them, they are shocked. Between the people Ben and I paired up with we encountered at least 30 people, and then just think about the fact that we were on a team of 25 of us! So many people were encountered on the streets, their day interrupted by God and people received prayer, were healed on the spot and received Christ in to their hearts. The locals were all very much surprised that people would be so accepting and it just makes me think about how the Holy Spirit goes before us preparing hearts, and He is the one who does everything. That takes the pressure off us of trying to push an agenda. Sometimes we just sow a seed, or water it or harvest it. And don’t worry, each person that received Jesus as their savoir was matched up with a local church to continue the walk of discipleship with them.
(Canal Park in Dublin)
One of my own favorite encounters was when me and our local friends were waiting for Ben as he checked in to a store for something and the locals mentioned that we were standing outside of a crystal, pentagram type store in the mall. So I just started praying and releasing heaven and I told them this is what we call sneaky Jesus. We laughed a bit but I was drawn to look closer at some of the photos he had on display, mostly of animals. Some were pretty obvious what kind of spirit they were carrying but there was one of a family of snow owls that I looked at through the glass. He motioned that I could come in although he was in the middle of trying to put some new shelving up and the security door was about ¾ the way up. We got to talking and he had a lot to share, he talked about his granddaughters and showed me his favorite pictures, there were a few times that he would wipe his eyes just as he shared about his life. Ben joined me after about 15 minutes and I asked if I could release the energy that I carry on him which he was very willing to allow and offered me his shoulder. So I quietly released the love of Jesus on him, then we talked for a bit longer and said good bye. Now you may wonder why I would say energy but to him it makes sense, we don’t go in to places and demand that they understand our language. We go in low and humble and serve in whatever way God tells us to for each person. Jesus loves that man so much and the devil was ticked off at the fact that he was touched by God in that moment but Jesus is going to finish the work and receive the full reward!
(A church we passed while doing street outreach in Portadown. Lots of “troubles” have been fueled just on the other side of this Church of Ireland.)
I’m going to stop here for now although there is of course so much more, but I’ll spread it out a bit with another blog later. It was such a great trip in every aspect, the team was great, the nation was ready and we felt very covered in prayer and grace to do it. Thank you to everyone who was packed in our suitcases and that continued to pray for us. We love you and the testimony of Jesus continues to roll over those green Irish hills.