There's nothing like sitting down with old friends and catching up over a nice cup of coffee. Or as it would be in Ireland, a wee cup of tea.
So, "grab a cup o' tea from yer man thar and listen because I've got some great craic for youse".
First let me say hello to everyone, and it is absolutely great to be back here at 90&9 blogging and engaging in the dialogue. The move to Northern Ireland was the experience of a lifetime, and we are so honored to have had the chance to serve the Kingdom in a foreign field
Ireland is as picturesque, as provincial, as divided, and as Irish as you've heard. There's a million little things I'd like to share over the coming weeks, but for now let me just hit on a couple of big things.
- God poured out His Spirit in a great way, and we were able to see many lives changed by the Gospel message. Besides the thriving work in Northern Ireland, God has just opened a huge door in Dublin (literally in the center of the city).
- Just because both cultures speak English does not guarantee good communication. The first time someone told me that the "craic" (spoken "crack") was good here I started looking around to see if anyone was stoned.
- Sixty degrees during the day and forty at night are my idea of the perfect summer.
- The Irish love Americans. For the most part that is. I guess every culture has the occasional numb skull.
- Place names like Dromore, Inniskillen, Sligo, Ballemena, and Scarva are cool.
- Never, repeat never, ask an Irishman for directions. More on this later...
- Pray for Ireland. Just since we've been home there has been an increase in violence with the threat of more. Regardless of how political this looks in the headlines, it is spiritual. Trust me. More on this later....
So we are now home in the US trying to re-integrate into our society again. Lots of the stereotypes that other nations place on Americans are there because....we deserve them! Yeah. In Ireland you have to go looking for McDonalds and Starbucks. They don't just come to you. So we've had to get our bodies used to 6,000 calories and a milkshake all over again, among a million other subtle differences that you never notice until they are not there.
A couple of things I've found interesting lately:
- My wife has blogged throughout the journey here.
- Here is a great article in the Belfast Telegraph about the slang used in Northern Ireland. Scroll down below the picture to the message board. This may be totally lost on anyone who hasn't been there, but I thought it was good craic.
- Last Sunday our High School class discussed the article Kent blogged regarding the collapse of Evangelical Christianity. My thoughts: it makes a lot of sense. People are more educated now and "because the church says so" won't do it. We've got to re-think a lot of things. And why would the church ever think "political"...see, I told you...
- Darius Rucker has a song called "It Won't Be Like This For Long" that I heard on the nice entertainment console provided for me by Continental whilst soaring thousands of feet over the Atlantic. I cried all the way through. What little girls do to their daddies' hearts....
Okay, I guess I'm rambling now, but I assure you that I have not kissed the Blarney Stone.
Oh, and thanks for the tea...it sure was brill.