BC Juniors Global

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Safe Home

Well, our time in Ireland is officially over.  It is amazing to think that we have already spent our three weeks in the beautiful country of Ireland. First, let me tell you about what we have been up to these last few days. On Friday, we spent our last day in England by visiting Lancaster Castle, which was also the prison that many famous Quakers spent time (George Fox and Margaret Fell included). Our tour guide did an absolutely amazing job in showing us the different functions the prison was used for. He told us many stories that brought the history to life. A lot of the stories really struck me with how melancholy they were. It made me think about how much faith so many people must have had to be willing to suffer in order to do what God wanted them to do. I am amazed at how much God shows up in every place we visit, as well as showing me the fact that He has always been there.

The next couple days were our last days in Ireland to say our goodbyes and do the last minute stuff we wanted to make sure we did before we left. I cannot stop thinking about the people in Ireland that I would see walking down the street that I will never see again. I would have never even known they existed, and yet, God is in them! This trip has just really opened my eyes to how huge God really is. He is so big and powerful, but still cares about the little things. I am overwhelmed when I think about how God loves me so much when He has so many more people to love and care for. God is so so good!!

Our team has been immensely impacted throughout this trip as well. We have completely fallen in love with the culture in Ireland, the people, God’s beautiful creation, and each other. I think that we will all miss living life together. We had way more hot tea than we could have imagined, ice cream basically every day, sandwich after sandwich, played more Skip-Bo than you could even fathom, went on so many long and steep hikes, and just laughed and laughed all the time. Each member of our team brought something different and special to our experience. To let you in on our fun a little bit, I will give you a little insight about how our team worked together. We had Bethany, who was not only a comedic relief throughout the whole trip, but she was also the one who asked questions that helped us all grow and learn together. We had Marcus, who was the easiest one to pick on because of how good of a sport he was, but also was the one who brought an excitement in everything that we did. Amber, who cracked us all up with her particular ways she did things, but also was so willing to share her heart and make a safe environment to share our hearts as well. We had Chris, who cracks his own jokes at the most random but perfect moments, and also drew us all in when he would talk about his own experiences to bring substance to our conversations.

And then there were our fearless leaders: Kathi and Josh. Kathi was so sweet and caring. She made all of the plans and all of the connections for us during our trip. Kathi was the reason I got some insight in the Irish culture. Hearing her joys and her struggles as a missionary brought a reality to my view of ministry. Kathi truly invests in the lives God places in her path. I feel incredibly blessed that I got to be one of those lucky people! I don’t think we will ever be able to thank her enough for her time and effort she spent in order for our experience to be the best that it could be.

Josh Bunce. Poor guy does not get enough credit for all that he has done on this trip! Again, we were so so blessed to have him be the one who brought us to Ireland. Josh was so intentional in getting to know each one of us on a deeper level. He made every experience we had a spiritual one. Whenever we were having bad days, he was there to lift us up. When we were rejoicing, he gladly rejoiced with us. There is something about Josh that makes you automatically know that he genuinely cares for you and loves you so deeply. I believe that is a total gift from God. It is amazing to see how faithful Josh is and how much he has impacted each one of us on this trip.

Well, here I go again rambling away. Overall, we have learned so much in Ireland, and this experience will leave a lasting imprint on our hearts. We are overjoyed that this trip was so grand and are all excited to return to our families. Thank you all so much for your support and your prayers as we journeyed together. As the Irish say, “Safe home.” (Goodbye.)

 

Sharese Smedley

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Isn’t it Grand?

I cannot even begin to explain to you how blessed I have been throughout this trip! Today was so special in so many ways. It has been obvious to us all that God has really been moving here in the last few days. It has just been such a joy to see God’s glory throughout the beautiful creation we have seen and the beautiful people he has placed in our path.

Yesterday we came up to Northern Ireland, which is totally different from where we have been staying. This morning we got to go to a food bank called Storehouse that was just mind blowing. We met one of Kathi’s friends, Aiden, who does a lot of the directing and planning in the organization. It was so fun to volunteer this morning packing food boxes. Even more, it was wonderful to hear Aiden’s heart for people and for doing what the Lord wants him to do. Not only do the Storehouse volunteers want to give people food and essentials that we can take for granted, but one of their goals is to also give the people their dignity back. People can be so ashamed about asking for help sometimes, but Aiden and his crew want them to know that anyone who needs the help is precious to God. They are not any less than God created them to be. We all have pitfalls in our lives, they just look differently for us all. Hearing him speak so sweetly of all people was so humbling and touching.

After the Storehouse, we got to meet another one of Kathi’s friends. (I am realizing that Kathi has a ton of friends who are just wonderful!) We went to Carolyn’s house where she treated us with some wonderful lunch. Then, we went up to the Mourne Mountains and hiked up to see a little bit more of Ireland. Man, I wish I had the words to describe this experience. Being on top of that hill was breathtaking. It was a whole new perspective and another way to see the glory of God. No picture and no words can describe the experience we all had today. Something about the sunshine and the warmth (which can be rare in Ireland) just really made today special. Carolyn also shared her heart with us. It was lovely to hear her passion for people and for what the Lord has for her. She wants to love people and serve people in any way God calls her. As the Irish say, we had a “grand” day!

I can feel our team growing together and building our relationships to last forever. We have all fallen in love with Kathi, which does not take long to do. Her beauty is getting more and more prominent every day. Getting to be a part of her life has shown me what it looks like to have God’s hand in your life! I could literally go on all day about how much I have learned and how blessed I have been in our time here so far, but it might be a little overwhelming. Therefore, I should really stop here. All in all, today was beautiful, and God is working in our lives like crazy. God is good.

Blessings,

Sharese Smedley