So I wanted to update you all on the goings on here in Belfast! It's been a bit of a whirlwind (still), as I've been getting settled in and acclimated to my new home. I've battled some illness as well, but I've also had some pretty amazing times already! God is so great, and I'm so excited for what the future will hold! Okay, so let's dive in.
Are you Okay...?
So, as I shared in my last post I got a stomach bug shortly after arriving. A few weeks later I was hit with a cold. I tried to rest and take care of myself, but it still took a little while before I could shake it completely. Then, last week, I was hit with yet another stomach bug. I've never had them so close together before. Usually illness hits when you move to a new place, as you acclimate to your new surroundings, but this just felt like one thing after another. I'm so thankful for all the people that love me, and were willing to bring soup, and medicine, and just sit with me while I tried to rest and recuperate. It is a testament to the family that I have joined here in Belfast, because I was treated as such. Encouraging texts, a willingness to brave getting sick themselves to bring me what I needed. I felt so loved, and it made my heart so incredibly happy to know that I have such amazing people surrounding me, loving me, and encouraging me here on the ground. I'm praying, and ask that you would do so as well, that I do not get sick again. So far, so good, but I still think it is important to be covered in prayer against any other illnesses.
One of the ministries that I get to be a part of here in Belfast is the Global Cafe. We welcome new comers (Immigrants and Refugees) to our city by cooking a big meal connected with a country we pick for that month, playing some live music, and providing for needs they may have (clothing, toiletries, homeware, etc.). I've been to two so far, and it has been such a privilege to meet the amazing people that come to these gatherings. The first Global Cafe I participated in I had the privilege of helping to provide music, by singing. The food we had was from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it was just an amazing night to be able to serve with my gifts. The second Global Cafe was Puerto Rican night, and I had the opportunity to share food from my family, my country, and made arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), plantains, and beans. It was so fun, and a little stressful, but mostly fun, to be able to cook food that I love for this diverse group of people. There are people from different countries, with different faiths, that come together in this little space, and enjoy each other. It is so beautiful to see. I met a woman from Somalia, and was able to really connect with her. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of this event. As many of you know, I have a very big heart for the refugee, for immigrants, so this is such an incredible opportunity for me to be a part of, and I look forward to continuing in this ministry.
We also had our first youth night! As you know, my main focus while being here is being a youth minister. So it was pretty exciting to plan our first youth night! There aren't many in our church yet, only three, and only two could make it to our night out, but I loved being able to hang out with them, and get to know them a bit better. We did a movie night. We went to see Black Panther, then grabbed some food at McDonalds afterwards. I am really looking forward to our future youth nights, which we will be doing once a month to start, until we grow a bit larger. I pray that God will open doors for me in this area as well, to be able to reach out a bit more in our community as well. I want to be a safe space for our young adults, to be there for them, and a godly example to them. Also, since we have two young men, and one young woman, please be praying for a man to be able to help with this ministry. We have a policy of needing two adults being present whenever we do something with the youth, but it would be great if we could have a man to help as well, so we have someone for the young men to be able to talk to on a deeper level.
I've also been helping to lead worship. I'm really excited to be getting back into this area of service. It's been a long time since I've led worship, or helped with worship at all. I'm so happy that God is using my gifts to help in this area as well. I love worship, I have such a heart for it, so I'm really enjoying playing piano and singing, and just giving glory to God through my gifts.
I've also been building relationships with some of the young women I've met. Many of them are already Christians, at varying degrees of their walk with the Lord. I just feel so blessed to be a part of their lives, to potentially aid in discipleship, but ultimately being able to spend time with these wonderful women that have different experiences, different ways of looking at the Lord. God has blessed me to be able to be a part of their journey, and to have them be a part of mine.
I also wanted to share quickly, that I had the amazing opportunity to spend a week learning more about God on a deeper level. We had a friend come from the States (Minnesota actually, how funny!), he is a Messianic Jew, and taught us, in a different way than I've ever been taught. He broke down the scriptures in the Torah, and shed new light on old passages. It was an intensive week, but it was also so incredible to learn so much, to see God in a new way. He will be coming back two more times this year to visit, and I look forward to learning more from him.
That's All Folks
So that's a quick, basic recap of everything that's been going on! It's been such an amazing two months (Two months?!? Already?!?) being here, growing accustomed to saying "would that suit" instead of "does that work", "Hiya" instead of "Hi", and "Grand" instead of "Great" (among many other phrases), to different (and sometimes better) food, and buildings that never seem to quite get to warm, just warmer than outside. I am loving every moment of it, trying to soak it all in, and enjoy the newness of it all before it becomes commonplace to me. God is doing some pretty incredible things here, people are being healed, they are learning about Him, who He is, the great love He has for us, and the power He has. I cannot wait to see how He continues to move, and what else He has in store for us all. Until next time!
Blessings and Love,