Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
- Psalm 2:7-8
I'm thrilled to finally be able to give you an update on what is going on with me here in Dublin. First, let me state what you all expected, I'M LOVING IT HERE! Dublin is a large city with over 500,000 people in population, yet it doesn't have the busy, aggressive city feel. It's quite charming, welcoming, surprisingly calming, and the people are just lovely [accents = amazingness]. I have so much to tell, but I'll keep this first update only on the ministry I've been a part of this past week.
Dublin Christian Mission makes meals for the homeless on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in a building called The Lighthouse. Even though I've worked in the food industry before, I did not realize how much work goes into preparing these meals. We start at 10:00AM and work non-stop until lunch, then pick up again immediately afterwards. I have NEVER chopped so many vegetables in my life! I've chopped carrots, tomatoes, celery, garlic, peppers, a European vegetable called a leek, onions, and SO MANY POTATOES. The Irish LOVE their potatoes (or spuds as they call them here!). On Tuesdays and Thursdays the mission's doors are open from 1:00PM to 5:00PM. During this time, they have anywhere from 50 to 100+ local homeless people come in for a meal. The volunteers provide food and drink, as well as, some food for the people to take with them. The difference between DCM and any other soup kitchen is the fact that the volunteers take time to sit down and talk to the people. They spend time getting to know them, encourage them, even pray for and with them. On Thursday, they had one of the volunteers share his testimony while people ate. He shared powerful memories of how he struggled with drug addiction, loneliness, and hurt before finding freedom in Jesus. I've found this to be the testimony of quite a number of the Irish volunteers at DCM. Many of them came from broken or difficult homes, struggled with drug abuse, and avoided God for much of their lives. However, now that they have found the hope and joy Jesus brings, they give back by serving the hurt and homeless in Dublin. It's truly inspiring. All the homeless individuals have different stories. Some struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, others have physical or mental ailments that have inhibited them from opportunities, even more are out of work, while some have just chosen to live without what others would call 'necessities'.
They are such beautiful people. Beautiful, and broken. I found myself getting very emotional on Saturday, when so many people continued to speak to me, "Welcome!", "Yes, please", "Thank you", and "God bless you" after I had served them. I couldn't explain why I began getting so choked up. It was humbling to remember how much I have been given, yet how I still find things to complain and be disappointed about. It was also very emotional to realize God had chosen me to come serve these people. These people who have known more pain and loss then I ever have, yet they still have a smile on their face and the politeness to say "thank you".
On Sunday, I attended a church that meets in DCM's second building with Kelly Dowling (DCM's year-long intern from Arizona). City Church is a small church, but the singing was lovely and the message was brilliant. Pastor Kieron Lynch preached on Psalm 2, the message focusing on how it's futile to deny or reject God's authority. No matter what happens in life, in government, in our choices or experiences, God is always sovereign. I wrote this in my notes from Kieron's message, "Society believes freedom is found apart from authority. Society demands that independence is sought away from one who governs... Yet, to live under God's authority is to know freedom and goodness." Christians must remember that God's rule is not undone by the world rejecting him. He is not threatened. We, as Christians, are blessed to have the opportunity to surrender all and trust that in EVERYTHING that happens in life... God remains in control. That was so encouraging to me. (He also mentioned a fantastic Narnia quote in his message-- featured at the bottom of this blog--so I was pretty much SOLD. Haha.) What a blessing to know that we are never without hope or without a strong leader!
There is lots more to tell, but I'll stop here. The ministry is challenging, I'm always wondering how to relate to and bless the people who come into The Lighthouse. I am still in need of prayer, thank you all for your support on this trip. I hope I'm making you all, but more importantly God, proud. Till next time, cheers!
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe?
‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.
He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe