Our week in Mountrath finished off wonderfully. The children made lions out of paper plates and bowls and had a great time learning about Daniel and the lion’s den. The club was well received by parents in the area and the local rector has mentioned starting a more permanent club.
We took a day off and went on a tour of Bunratty Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and Galway City. Amanda was sick right at the start of our tour, but after lunch she was ready to see some of the most beautiful sights in Ireland. The coach took us all around and we enjoyed the Cliffs of Moher most of all. We were all truly in awe of how beautiful they were and even more in awe of God, who made them.
Mervyn and Rachel took us to a Church of Ireland service last Sunday which was a change for most of us. It was great to see the type of service people are used to in Ireland. We then went to the home of a wonderful woman from Mountrath who invited us to dinner. She showed us her amazing quilts and knitting projects, her watercolour paintings and her handmade garden walls. She fed us more than we could ever eat, and told us about her life. We had an amazing time and we didn’t want to leave. Reluctantly we were picked up to head to Durrow for a leaders meeting for camp the next day. I was reunited with some old friends from last year and we got a chance to pray for the week ahead and sort out duties and chores.
Camp started at 9 am Monday morning. We got the children settled in their rooms and had a meeting first thing. Hannah, Jerush, Erica, and myself all had a dorm full of girls. Amanda was off this week but was helping Erica with her overly hyper group of girls. On Monday Mervyn brought in a bouncy castle for the children to play on and they had an amazing time. On Tuesday we took the kids to Lullymore Park in Kildare. They went on a tour of the park and took a train ride through the bog. They were heritage houses on the grounds, horses, ducks, rabbits, and donkeys that the children got to see. The tour guide told them about monastic settlements that were in the area and showed them a replica of a neolithic home. They were then let loose to play in this massive indoor park and after an hour or two of fun, we went back to camp.
On Wednesday we took them to Port Laoise to go swimming. Hannah and I went in with them and the others supervised those that didn’t feel like swimming. The whole week they worked on crafts and video workshops for their electives. The project for the week was to make a scarecrow version of David and Goliath for the scarecrow festival in the village. On Thursday we took them shopping in Port Laoise and let them spend their tuck money. Most of them bought toys and sweets, of course. By Friday the scarecrows were finished and we took them down to the square and sent the children on a scavenger hunt. Parents arrived around 6pm and after a meeting they went home.
The teaching this week was from Esther and Acts. In the mornings our speaker taught the story of Esther and Mordecai and taught the children that God knows everything and has great plans for our lives. From Acts we saw how Paul was changed by God and became a new person after choosing to follow Jesus. The children were attentive in the meetings and enjoyed the teaching.
Yesterday we went out for lunch to a small cafe in the village with our lovely friend Emily. We walked around and saw some of the scarecrows and came back for dinner with the Tomb’s. All of us girls curled up in the living room and watched a movie and went to sleep shortly after. This morning we’re going to church in Kilkenny (the neighbouring county) and then gearing up for another leaders meeting and a week of camp. Next week we have the 11-13 year olds.
- Pray for the children that may have made a descion for Christ last week. Pray that they will be guarded from doubt and encouraged.
- Pray for the leaders from last week and this week. Pray that they will feel refreshed and energetic. Pray that they will continue to grow spiritually.
- Pray for the children coming this week. Pray that God will be working in their hearts even now, and that they will be receptive to what is taught next week.
- Pray for our speaker, Naomi. She is coming to teach the 11-13 year olds. Pray that God will use her and her words in the lives of children this week.
- Pray for some of us that are feeling overwhelmed by camp life and are a tad bit homesick.
- Pray for me, as I’ve come down with a nasty cold. Pray that I get better soon, because I’ll need all my energy for camp this week. The same thing happened last year and lasted over a week.
- Pray for Mervyn and Rachel who are always busy with the ins and outs of camp. Pray that they are given patience and strength to deal with the weeks ahead.
- Pray for team unity and for greater dependence on the Lord. We long for Him to be first in our hearts and in our lives, and in all that we do.
We miss our families and loved ones, and can’t wait to see you all again.
Until next week,
Lena and the Ireland Team