Ireland Team Update 7.17.23

Cloudy with a Chance of Rain

We’ve now been in Northern Ireland for 2 weeks, and this team of students and staff have been doing a great job. I know that we are in the Emerald Isle, and everything is very green for a reason, but this summer, we have had a lot more rain then usual. The weather has been cooler, and the forecast
has been cloudy with a high chance of rain just about every day, but our students have done a great job putting on their rain gear and jumping into ministry anyway. They are determined to not let a little weather stop them from doing what they came here to do.

This past week, we have been doing a good amount of street ministry in Belfast. We take the 30-minute ride on the “Glider” bus that drops us off in the heart of Belfast. One unique attribute about our team this summer is that our students have done a great job initiating conversations with people. They are starting off their conversations by putting themselves in a place of need. This might involve asking where a good coffee shop is or where they can buy the best fish and chips. After the ice is broken, they begin to ask more questions and then try to steer the conversation towards the spiritual - about who Jesus is and what He has done for them.

On a funny side note, one of our groups started a conversation with some teens just a couple days ago by asking where they should go to find the best shop to buy smoothies. After a great conversation with them, it ended with the teens offering to walk them to a good smoothie shop around the corner. Our students felt obligated to buy something since they had started the conversation asking for directions/advice as to where to go, so they followed the teenagers to the shop where they bought a few unplanned drinks.

We have had some amazing divine appointments in Belfast. On our first visit into this capital city, one of our groups went into a store to buy a snack. As they entered, they saw a man sitting outside looking like he was having a bad day, so they turned around and struck up a conversation. The man shared how he was in fact having a tough day. He opened up to them and shared about his desire to want to follow Jesus, but he was wrestling with some drug addiction. Our students were able to encourage him, pray for him, and invite him to church. Then, they entered the shop to order their drinks. One of the students felt like she should buy him a smoothie, so she did. When she brought it outside to the man they had just talked to, he said that she picked the exact flavor he wanted which further encouraged them both.

Today, we were back in Belfast, and one of our students was in a coffee shop to get a drink. She felt prompted by God to tell the barista that she was beautiful. She obeyed this prompting, and it opened the door to a wonderful conversation. Our student learned that this barista had moved to the city from Portugal because of a relationship. It ended horribly, and her boyfriend would often tell her that she was ugly and unattractive. This student’s compliment encouraged the woman to the point of tears and also allowed our student to share a “Join the Story” gospel booklet with her.

It has been amazing to watch our students follow the promptings of God, step out of their comfort zones, take the initiative to start conversations with people, and share the love of Jesus. They are doing a great job rain or shine.

Scott Anderson - Ireland Team Trip Leader