Alive and Well in Ireland

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I arrived safely in Ireland yesterday morning (June 1st) and excitement quickly gave way to a myriad of emotions as I walked through Dublin airport!

1.) I am here because God wants me here. There is no other explanation. He knows I only have $13.54 in my bank account back home, he knows I’ve left behind a lot and he even knows more than I do when it comes to how exactly I’ll be used and minister grace here. I am excited to see what the next few weeks hold… As I reflected on last summer on the way over here, I was awed at remembrances of where I was and how I was thinking and feeling just a year ago. God has been good to transform me and will continue…

2.) This place is home. Weeping in the streets of Dublin isn’t exhaustion (though there was definitely some to be sure), it’s returning to a place that truly feels like home. I laughed as I walked into Starbucks and they were playing Adele’s “Live from Royal Albert Hall.” Home. 12/13 year olds walking the streets for lunch in their tartan shirts & wool skirts. Home. The enjoyment of the culture, the pace of life, the friendliness… It makes my heart leap inside my chest! And that’s just the outset… The real “home” here is the people. Last night I got to stay with one of the girls whom I went through the internship last summer with! What a grace… We were able to reminisce about last summer and be excited about seeing others we know go through the program this summer. The Lord has journeyed us for sure.

3.) I am humbled. Many of you know at this stage that I feel like the Lord is calling me here to Ireland for mission work–I’m assuming using my counseling degree that I will be acquiring but who knows, maybe there’s a shortage of birthday clowns in Ireland! Anyway, the support needed to return and explore this possibility further has been graciously given by each and every one of you who are praying, believing, giving, letting me go–and I’m grateful and humbled. We do not live this life for ourselves, we live it knit together and it has taken movement and flexibility to allow me to be free to come here, so, thank you!

Pictures to come tonight hopefully!

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Love means doing all we can, at whatever cost to ourselves, to help people be enthralled with the glory of God. When they are, they are satisfied and God is glorified. Therefore loving people and glorifying God are one.

– John Piper

From left to right: Kathryne (19), Claire (19), Abby (19), Rachael (24) and me (24)!

The picture above is me and the other 4 American interns with WHM Ireland this summer! We’re at Oscar Wilde’s memorial in Dublin.

SO! It is finally here! The internship has finally started, and I am so excited about what God is going to do this summer through us! We spent the day today keeping the other 4 interns awake (trying to ward off the effects of jet-lag), walking around the area we’re staying, and getting to know our expectations and hopes for the summer.

For the next 5 days we are in Dublin continuing to assimilate to Irish culture, taking in the city and getting to know each other better. When those 5 days are over, we’re heading to a super intense 11 days of Sonship training at Greystones, outside of Dublin… Here is where our mentorship and equipping will primarily take place. After our time at Greystones (where we’ll add the Irish interns too), we’ll be heading out into outreach teams all around the Dublin area. We’ll know more about what that looks like the closer it gets. 🙂 We also found out today that our “spiritual direction retreat” will take place in a monastery…somewhat of a silence retreat with an emphasis on prayer! That will be awesome…

Anyway, I am ready to GO! Tomorrow things will start picking up and everything will be pretty packed out and meaty until the 18th, so I will be unplugging my computer tonight and I won’t be on it again until after the 18th. I may be able to update my Twitter here and there but mainly I’ll just be storing up great stories to share soon!

I hope that you’ll pray for us… Pray that we would know how to love and encourage each other, pray that we would get the absolute MOST from all we’re being taught, and pray that we would continue in the spirit of unity and relationship that we have come here with.

Thank you so much for all of your love and support! Feel free to keep commenting on the blog, I will check up if I have a spare moment!

Love,

-E

LONGEST POST EVER [NEW PICS]

First off, let me just say I couldn’t possibly write everything that I’m thinking/feeling/learning about right now and still make sense, so I’m going to take things one at a time…

I feel like the past 2-3 months the Holy Spirit has done such a major work in my heart in regards to unity and understanding the importance of unity in the local church… I’ve seen my supporters (both financial and prayer) get behind me and lift me up as if I were their own child, I’ve felt an outpouring of hospitality and love since arriving in Ireland, and I’m sure the next 2 months have a lot to teach me about unity as well! I know that neither my coming nor staying here would be possible without unity in the local body–a common goal towards reaching the world for the Gospel.

That said, when I arrived in Ireland last Friday, I landed at the home of Eric and Karen Brauer… Their daughter [Karis] and I were friends and high school and since then have kept in pretty good touch. When we moved to Ireland in 2003, I often visited their home in Dublin–even when Karis wasn’t around. 🙂 One of the things I loved the most about their home was their family devotion time just after dinner every night and this time was no different. Eric is going to be preaching on Ephesians 4 in the coming weeks so he decided to share what he felt like the Spirit was revealing to him in his study of Scripture…and it was POWERFUL.

25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

If you’re like me, you would usually read that passage as a list of do-betters, wouldn’t you? But Eric made the point [and I completely agree] that the Gospel is a whole lot more transformative than just, “stop that, do this.” In fact verse 28 itself asks a thief to not only “no longer steal” but “have something to share with anyone in need.” How does a thief go from one not stealing any longer to one who labors for those in need? The Gospel. There isn’t just a discontinuation of old self but a complete replacement with new self–a self enabled with the Holy Spirit’s power to do more than we’re capable of as natural-born sinners. But to what end? Are we just to be good? Is it enough that we’re redeemed and going to Heaven?

Eric’s simple question was, “why would the Holy Spirit be grieved?” True, like a Father he hurts when his children do bad things but even more than that, as believers, there is a Spirit within us all. When unity is attacked, the very unity that Christ died for, the CHURCH, his Spirit is grieved within each one of us. Community is important to Christ, so important that he would re-order history to set up a new way of doing life together through his son, Jesus Christ.

So the question to myself, just to challenge and stretch my brain a bit lately is, “Is it possible that the way we live out life together in adoption as sons is even more important than the individual works taking place in each of our lives?” I believe that working towards the former would take our attention off the latter and we would live in OTHER-centeredness as a natural by-product.

There’s something as far-Westerners that we don’t understand about collectivism but I think if we take a look at what Christ’s real goal for the church was, we’ll find out quickly, it’s a lot like a family. It’s a lot like people committing to each other, bearing with one another, helping each other up and calling each other on to higher heights. What a family that could be!

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Kids Club goes to Loughrea for final club of the year...
love the clouds, love the lamb, staying with a shepherd... there's no shortage of sheep!
Great rainbow... Wasn't able to chase the pot 'o' gold though. 😦
Brings a whole new understanding to the sheep analogy in Scriptures. We're sooo soo dirty but for grace!

PS In regards to fundraising, I was told today that I am at $2235! That’s exactly where I need to be… My halfway goal is May 31st so we’re right on track, and I am so thankful to each of you who have given! If you received a support letter, you should also know that my goal changed [as of today] to $4670 as opposed to the old $4300. This was due to housing costs that were too low when our budgets were calculated… I’m still in super high spirits about the progress that’s been made up until now though. Some of you have only had support letters for 2 weeks and have already given! I have $2435 left to raise and I’m confident we’ll be able to reach the goal together by July 1st! Thank you so much again!

With love,

Eliza

O’Bama

As soon as I get finished writing this blog, I’ll be getting ready to head to College Green to see Obama speak this evening. Crazy that I get more of an opportunity to see my President overseas than at home. It’s a small world after all. 🙂 Ok but really really… I’m going because Westlife will be performing. Haha.

Anyway, yesterday… I got to Ireland in time to go to my friend Karis’ Irish wedding reception which was held at Finnstown House. It was a beautiful little setting with many old friends! I also had the opportunity to meet some of the staff from World Harvest that I’ll be working with for the summer and I can already tell it’s going to be a great summer. Keep praying for the safe arrival of the other 4 American interns next Thursday as well as quick acclimation into Irish culture, weather and society! (It was a blustery but bright 50 degrees yesterday!)

I am going to try to get the auld camera to work tonight… It’s giving me trouble today!

Airports, Delays and BabyRuths

Delayed flights, running with a 40lb backpack, getting frisked by the TSA (thanks again, lady), spending exorbitant amounts of energy to figure out how to entertain myself for 3-5 hours (4 of those now)… That’s what I’ve been doing for the past almost 24 hours. I wish I could say I flew across the country and made insane connections but I can’t. Just straight up missed my flight last night (thank you, US Airways)! The airports I’m missing connections in are a laughable distance from each other… Fail.

So last night I stayed in the airport in a phone booth. Imagine it: bags all pulled up around me, wrapped up in an emergency blanket with the laptop I’m using zeroed in on Minute-to-Win-It…mostly because it kept my heart rate up enough so I wouldn’t fall asleep.

At 4AM my day started… Making phone calls, talking to “special services” (which, as you can imagine, aren’t that special), trying to figure out where my bags are and attempting to get booked on a flight sometime before Sunday. Pffft.

Flight settled from PHL back to LGA. 6AM. More running. Imagine Keanu’s run in The Lake House. [Mental picture win.]

LGA to JFK via Crazy Man’s Cab. Wish I could’ve run that… The series of mini heart attacks I experienced as a result of his “expert” driving will count for today and tomorrow’s cardio. 🙂

JFK direct to Dublin. Praise the Lord for arm-twisting and upper management at US Airways (and that’s it). Special shout out here to Marlene in PHL who knew what she was doing AND got me on my flight (something all other US Airways reps lacked).

Just chillin’ now in JFK. Hopefully to begin the trip that will change life as I currently know it. So excited. And loopy. And eating my last bit of American junk food (BabyRuth)!!

Miss you guys already!

Stop right now and pray for supernatural carriage of my baggage…and that it’ll be in the DUB when I arrive. Thank you all again for partnering with me in prayer and financial support, the Lord has big plans for me this summer! (Thanks Bruce!)

-E