Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Engaging the Community

While we are in Ireland, we are being strongly encouraged to find different ways to interact with the community and experience Ireland in a new way. Last night we were brainstorming different ways we could do this. Our ideas varied from stopping at every DART stop from here to Dublin to volunteering at a local coffee shop, nursing home, etc to finding an Irish boyfriend. Which, as someone pointed out, would really be "engaging" the community!
One of the things I really wanted to do is to get involved in a local church. I must confess, I was never very involved in my church at home. Other than attending Sunday School and the Sunday morning service, I did not do a lot with my church on the other days of the week. Since I have always attended Christian schools, I did not feel this need to be strongly connected with the other people in the church. But as I get older, I really regret this. I missed out on getting to know a lot of great people. Unfortunately, it took leaving the country to help me realize this.
So I want to start amending my ways now, by getting involved in a church here. Tonight, I and three other girls attended a Bible study that is hosted by a man from the church I am going to. His name is Simon and the Bible study is held at his house every Tuesday night. There were 10 other people there tonight ranging in ages from probably 35-? The oldest lady told us that she was 119... but that's doubtful.  I'm going to guess she's probably in her mid-70s.
The Bible study was fantastic! The lesson was good, but it was more than that. It was the sense of community that I felt among these believers. And even though we had never met before, there was this instant connection between all of us. They were so welcoming and genuinely interested in our lives. I've been told that the church in Europe is dying... but tonight, in this small group, it was very much alive. I look forward to getting to knowing these people better. I know I will learn a lot from them!

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