Update from British Isles: Galway, Ireland

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My name is Allie and I’m studying “undecided” at The University of Alabama. I’m on the team in the British Isles and we are currently in Galway, Ireland. The Lord is teaching me so much through the people we are meeting.

tumblr_m4u8cnygb71rpcq5u.jpegWe went door-to-door to do surveys about a community center opening up in the city and afterwards we all got together to talk about what we’d experienced. We found that many of us had encountered people that were in really rough situations: Loss of jobs or family members, evictions from their homes, or just loneliness. These people live just next door and down the street from SHCC church members. These could be people living down the street from me, a Christian who claims to have found the answer to life’s troubles in Jesus Christ. I felt this sickening inside of me that someone who eats, sleeps, and LIVES feet from where I do would go through something and think they have no one around to help them. And there I am. The Christian down the hall that did nothing. It just doesn’t seem right. And there aren’t any excuses. I’m called to love my neighbor, and it’s about time I do that.

But, as I always do when I feel convicted, I start trying to defend myself to God: “Lord, I’m just not “called” to my neighbors. I’m just in college, and I don’t have to figure out my “calling” until at least after I graduate.” To which the Lord responds with the obvious, that I’m “called” to follow Him where I am, and that means loving the people I’m around right now. Even if that is Kansas for two months (that’s where I’m spending my summer). I don’t know what the Lord wants to do while I’m there, but I do know that I’m not going to see it by moping around because I’m not around my friends anymore. So, there you go, God. You can have my pride, it’s all in shambles anyways.

I started to wonder why I don’t love my neighbor, and I think it’s because I don’t pray for them. If I spent time, even the smallest moments of just talking to the Lord as I pass by their door, maybe I’d start to love them like I should. Maybe I wouldn’t worry about being “called” to them, but I’d just love them like Christ loves me because I already know that every moment of my life is called to that.

We got to Ireland on Friday, and since then we’ve continued prayer walking in villages near Galway where there are no Christians. It’s been really humbling. It reminds me that I don’t have to see the results of my actions to know they are spiritually lasting, and it teaches me what faith looks like: obedience in blind places.

Sunday we went to the University in Galway to pray and see the campus. Brittany, Kim, and I met two students (Peter and Janie) from Switzerland studying English at the University. We talked about the weather, our interests, our studies, and about religion within politics in each of our countries. After 45 minutes we finally were able to talk about religion in our daily lives. They told us their religious backgrounds: Janie was raised without religion, and Peter grew up catholic. And then he said, “but now I’m an atheist, I am without religion, because I never found a relationship with God.”

“A relationship with God.” And I’m thinking, “well, God, I don’t know if you could have been any clearer if you’d written, ‘TELL HIM ABOUT CHRIST’ across his forehead.” So, I did. I told him how I did have a relationship with God. And he listened… I was able to share with him what a relationship with God looked like in my life and when we left the conversation I knew that our conversation would be used by God to hopefully one day bring Peter and Janie to a real relationship with Him. There continues to be many opportunities like this to share with people we encounter. Pray for Peter and Janie and others we will engage with the gospel.

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Just a side-note. It is BEAUTIFUL here, and there are A LOT of COWS! Cows are my favorite animal. Seriously. Just ask my teammates. 🙂

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