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Impact Ireland 2016

For those of you who already know us, you  probably know that our life in Ireland started with this name: Impact Ireland.

For those who don’t I’ll explain. Impact Ireland is a short term mission trip organized by OM Ireland (Operation Mobilisation.) OM is a Christian Missionary Organization that sends and manages missionaries in over 111 countries all over the world. So every year OM Ireland receives a bunch of people from many different countries to help local churches reach out to their communities, serving them and preaching the gospel.

So those “temporary missionaries” get in touch with OM Ireland, sign up for this 3 week programme, book their flights and arrive to be greeted and welcomed by OM Staff at Dublin Airport. From there, they all go to OM Ireland’s headquarters, right in the center of Ireland, and take part in workshops about Irish culture and about evangelism (including creative arts stuff, like face painting, balloon modelling, story-telling and maybe basic puppeteer.)

That’s how Esdras and I met Ireland for the first time in 2008. First international trip ever was to serve God in Ireland.

We came with a team of 7 Brazilians, but we served with people from different nationalities once the OM teams were divided. It was a great experience and it was then that we had peace in our hearts that God wanted us in Ireland for long term.

This year was the 5th year that I am participating in Impact Ireland as a church member, hosting an OM team. Which means that OM Ireland sends a bunch of people from different countries and backgrounds to serve with our church in the very heart of Ireland. We usually do kids clubs in two or three housing estates and street evangelism. As I have years of experience in kids ministry I love to be involved in the kids club. Face painting is also my cup of tea, so I jump into every opportunity for that while other people chat with the parents that are queuing, telling them about the loving Savior that we have. It’s very tiring, but always SO worth it!

It is also the fifth year that I am participating in Impact Ireland as a mother, which is a completely different experience than before I had kids. I felt a bit useless this year, I have to confess. People who know me know that I’m not the type of person that will stop ministry because of my kids. I do Bible study with the teenagers twice a week during the day in my own house, in the midst of the CHAOS that my kids cause. They were never an obstacle (although they disturb and interrupt a lot!) But this time I felt like I didn’t help much practically:

  • I haven’t being to the planning meetings, since they were always in the evenings along with the church’s prayer meeting/Bible study and someone has to put the kids in bed (because they had school next day);
  • When on site, I was either trying to convince my older kids to stay in the club (not in the playground) to dance, play and listen to the story, or keeping the toddler from distracting the other kids and leaders (bringing her to the playground, of course);
  • Or I had to detach someone from their designated job to mind my kids at the playground while I did face painting (because I obviously can’t mind three little climbing monkeys while painting someone else’s child’s face.)

There’s nothing glorious about being a mother and trying to do ministry outside your own walls. I always felt like I (or one of my kids) was disturbing more than helping. Especially when your child, the “churched” kid, is the one who refuses to dance the songs… Especially when your child, the “Christian” kid, is the one who makes sure she says out loud that the games are BORING… Especially when you have to leave the kids club (that you’re supposed to help LEADING) early because your child has wet herself at the playground, after insisting many times that she didn’t need to go potty… Or when you see that your church has got the perfect spot in town to play music and engage in conversations but there are too many cars moving around for your children to be safe.

I forgot to mention that because we’ve been out so much, I’ve also been too tired to be a nice and patient mom. So my “mommy ministry” (you know, being loving and kind, so that your children can see Jesus in you?!) was also a bit of a failure this week.

It was frustrating in many ways. And I had a decision to make.

I could decide to think that I wasted four full days when I could be doing something else, like my house work that has been piling up once again, or my sewing/knitting projects, or even just letting the children chill at home. We’re on school holidays, why not being on our pjs the whole day?

Or I could decide to let God use my family and I for His glory, even in my frustration.

I decided to see the beauty of what God was doing. I couldn’t be there to help telling the story in the kids club, but I’ve seen people doing it AMAZINGLY well. I haven’t been there all afternoon doing face painting (because a mom has to understand when a battle is lost and simply retreat), but I’ve seen the works of art that others did on each other’s faces and how that developed in God conversations.

And more than just seeing the beauty, I’ve used my observations to encourage the ones who were doing the actual work. I took it as my role this week.

In between washing poopy accidents and juice spills, I’ve tried to encourage and strengthen those who did the work that I wish I could do. (Who wouldn’t take doing face painting over watching poopy knickers?)

And I’ve seen God move much more than if my own hands were doing it.

Praise be to the One who gives gifts to people. Praise be to our God who brought all this amazingly gifted team together. Praise be to our Lord who just reminded me that I’ve asked Him to send more workers. Another answer to prayer ;)

It’s His field. They’re His workers. Let the harvest begin!

‘He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’ Luke 10:2

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