If you have ever seen a horse race, you’ll know where I am going with the phrase “hitting the ground running.” A horse has months of training to prepare for their race. Then, after their training, race day arrives. They are all walked into the starting blocks. As they wait for the gates to open, the excitement and tension builds for them. They have trained for that race, and they are ready to go. Then, the gates burst open, and the horses spring forward and fly around the track. Their goal - to do the best they can to win. When the race is over, they are spent, but it’s a good tired. They have given their all.
Now, while I am not calling our students horses, I am finding the past two weeks for them very similar. The students all arrived at training camp not knowing exactly what to expect but ready to “train” for their summer of ministry. After that week at training camp, “race” day finally arrived. We loaded into the “gates” (our busses and plane) ready for the mission we prepared for. Once those gates opened when we arrived in Northern Ireland, our students hit the ground running.This past week of ministry has been full and great. We arrived in Dundonald on Tuesday evening, got settled in, and then started a busy schedule of ministry. Each day was a full afternoon of leading games and sharing Bible stories through skits with young children at the local football pitch (soccer field). We would then hurry back for a quick dinner and jump into a night of ministry with the local teens. Each night, different students would share their testimonies about how God has saved them and what He is doing in their lives.
One amazing friendship that came about out of the teen ministry was with a young girl named Emily. Emily shared that she really had no close friends. She was invited to come to the teen night, and it was there that she began to feel loved and cared for. She found students who were different because of Jesus. There were students that cared about her and shared the love of Jesus Christ with her. This time with our students was so impactful that Emily even got up early and biked 30 minutes to the church the morning we left to say goodbye with tears in her eyes. It is encouraging to see the impact that God has had working through our students.
We have now arrived in Coleraine. Since we have been going so hard as a team, the first couple of days we rested a little, had some teachings and worship time, and got showers and laundry done. Today, the team enjoyed some culture and heritage time at Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. Yesterday and tomorrow, we ministered/will minister in Portrush with our puppets, music, and drama and share(d) the Gospel with anyone who would/will listen. Just like with the horses, ours will be a tiring race/summer ofministry, but it will be a fulfilling and good kind of tired.
Ireland trip leader