Well I was chosen by default to write the blog post tonight, so... sorry, but you'll have to hear from me again.
Last night we all went to our host homes and got settled in. Those of us who have wifi also spent some time arguing via facebook messaging who has the better host home (it's me) and discussing the perils in comparison to the benefits of alone time, since half of us are introverted and the other half are extroverted. And even though I'm an extreme introvert, I still miss everyone. It's weird to go from being all together in the same hotel to being miles apart in different houses. But the host home experience is so lovely (some Irish vocabulary there) that it makes it worth it.
This morning we all ate breakfast at our host homes and then met at the café (Higher Ground) for morning devotionals. Micah talked to us about relying on God and having faith, which was exactly what we all needed to hear this morning, and then Brandon closed us in prayer. Afterward we compared host home experiences, and the general census showed that we all pretty much had cereal and toast for breakfast, and all of our host families offered us tea and/or coffee at least twice in the few hours we've been in their homes. I think I've had more coffee in the past few days than I've had in the past few years combined!
After hanging out at the coffee shop for a while, we went to the Parliament Buildings (which is actually only one building) in Lisburn and had a tour of the big board room things... I was really tired and kept falling asleep, so I didn't retain much information except that the building was pretty. And I took pictures. The tour guide did call me out on falling asleep, though, and I felt really bad. I guess I should start going to bed earlier instead of writing blog posts. (:
After the visit to Parliament we went back to the coffee shop and had sandwiches and crisps for lunch, which was great. We hung out for a while again and then headed out to the city center to play some music and hopefully start some conversations with people. We had one guy come and try to give us coins, so Pastor Nick got to explain to him why we were out there playing. We also had this really fun guy stop and play his tin whistle in "harmony" to Emily's violin... except his whistle was in the key of D and Emily was playing more in C (which, for those of you who are musically illiterate - like my mother - means they didn't sound good together). So then they played in the key of D and he explained that he taught himself to play when he came out of a coma and "had nothing better to do." Over all we had a lot of fun.
Then we went to the church hall for some wonderful home-cooked pizza and chocolate cake. The cooks here are seriously the best. They deserve a medal or a trophy or something, for real.
After dinner we went to another Free Methodist church in Bangor and led worship for their evening service. It was really great to meet more followers of Jesus and just worship together. God has really laid on our hearts this week the concept of unity within the church and being the family of God, and that is so evident in the way we all just get to love on each other and be a family, even after just meeting. People keep telling us we are anointed for this ministry, and while I'm not entirely sure what that means, I know it's a good thing, and I'm excited to see how our being rooted in Jesus will bear fruit. At the church in Bangor we played a few songs to start us off in worship, which seemed to go really well. Then Lucy and I shared a little bit of our testimonies. After that we played Manifesto - probably my favorite of the songs we brought with us on this trip. Then Jon talked about Jesus healing the blind man, and we closed with 10,000 Reasons. The congregation then prayed for us and for our ministry this week, and then they sang us a very lovely song with harmony and everything, essentially saying "go in peace." It was so great to be with them in their church and to see more church culture.
We stopped at McDonald's, which is actually quite proper here compared to American fast food standards, and then got dropped off at our host homes for the night. Tomorrow we'll meet at the coffee shop again for devotionals led by Dave (Emily Ledford's new name, thanks to Kenny) to start off another great day!
Love and blessings,