Wednesday, August 2, 2017

John & Robin

On the 19th of July John and Robin arrived for a visit with us! The next day we celebrated Elisha's birthday by going to an indoor playground and getting pizza.

On the first Saturday they were here, we went for a hike and John and the boys tried fishing in the lake.

On Sunday Robin helped lead the music. It was nice to hear her play. This was the first time we had a full band play at our church. We also had lunch at the church. 

We had wonderful weather on Monday and decided to go to the beach in the morning. The water was nice and clear, it was shallow for the boys, and we were able to see so many sea creatures! Starfish, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish, cuttlefish, and tons of hermit crabs. It was so nice. That evening, John and Robin watched the boys so Stephen and I could go on a date. It was a super-nice day.

On Tuesday we got our pictures taken by our intern Ben McGue. They turned out fantastic. 

Wednesday Stephen and his Dad went to a sermon meeting at the church because John was going to preach on Sunday. 

Thursday John and Robin took us to the Atlantaquarium for the first time. We all enjoyed it. It was so interesting to learn more about sea creatures and more specifically about the bay we live nearby. In the evening Stephen lead Bible study and John and Robin were able to go along as well. 

On Friday we traveled down to Limerick. We ran an errand for the church and afterwards went to  King John's castle in Limerick. We all really enjoyed it. Afterwards we ate out at a barbecue place. 

Saturday we flew a kite and stacked rocks in Spiddal.

On Sunday John preached while Stephen and I lead the music together. 

We are very thankful for our family and glad John and Robin came all this way to visit us. So glad we were able to make the most of their time here. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cave Quest (Holiday Bible Club 2017)

On the 10th through the 14th of July, we held our second Holiday Bible Club (VBS). This year it was cave themed, so we transformed our church space into the best cave we could. It was a lot of work, but we felt it turned out pretty well.

We all worked hard at inviting children who were in the correct age group. A lot of parents said that they had already signed their kids up for different camps. There are a lot of camps going on at the same time. We had decided to have our camp fall between the two GAA (Irish sports) camps, but we knew that we still couldn't avoid them all. There are so many opportunities for children in that age group. Also, some parents did not like it that we were a church and that our advertisement included "Bible lessons". Yet at the same time, we did have a few families that seemed a bit interested, one who even approached me about the club (unfortunately they were unable to make it). We really had no idea of who would come. We texted everyone who had come to our Kids Club or Holiday Bible Club last year. 

The first day, we only had two kids (besides our own). This was disappointing to us, yet I was encouraged by the two children who came. We have known them for four years and were so glad that they came to Holiday Bible Club for the first time. 

Every day we gained one more child at our club! No random drop-ins though; all of the children came because someone was friends with their family. 

All of the children really enjoyed it and I think all of the leaders did as well. We had great music, games, snacks, crafts, and lessons. Even though we were tired, we were all a little sad when it ended.  We had two parents contact us later telling us how glad they sent their children and how their children really enjoyed it. We hope that they are able to tell others about this so that we can get more numbers next year.

Here are a few pictures. Sorry, it is just my kid's and their friend's faces in the photo. We were not sure if any other parent would be ok with their children's picture on the internet. Hopefully, this will give you an idea about what we did.  

We had themed "cave-ish" snacks every day. This was dirt pudding with gummy snakes.
Silas making a head-lamp craft
All of the kids loved the games. For most of them, it was their favourite part. 
We had "cave" crafts every day. We made bats, salamanders, spiders, a geode, and headlamps. 
The kids answered questions every day after the lesson and if their team one, they could challenge a leader to a forfeit. Michael was about to shove popcorn in his mouth and try to say the daily memory verse.  
We filled a kiddie pool with cornstarch and water. If you walked on it fast enough you didn't sink. We learned about Jesus walking on the water that day. 
We all had lots of fun. 
It was a good week. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

SeaFest 2017

There seems to always be festivals going on in Galway. Honestly, we miss most of them! Some are just not very kid-friendly or cost too much (for us). One that we try not to miss is SeaFest. It is so much fun and Elisha loves it. You get to explore different ships and learn a lot about our very own Galway Bay. It is very interesting. This year it was even bigger than last year. You could easily spend all day here. There was a food tent (with cooking demonstrations), 4 ships you could explore, power boarders, different free sailings or kayaking you could book in for (we missed it!), kids crafts, face painting, and much more. It was fun last year and great again this year. We even saw the Taoiseach (the Prime Minister of Ireland) and a captain of one of the exploring ships (I was more awe-struck by the captain of the ship...  just imagining how much work he had to do to get to that position!). Here's a few pics of our day out.

Stephen's Visa

Attempting to get a visa is always a stressful thing, even if it is guaranteed (as it was in this case). You never know what the immigration officer may say to you, or want more information about. You are at their mercy, no matter what. There is a certain immigration officer in Galway that has no mercy whenever you meet with them, so we are always hoping that someone else would be there when we go in. We have our visas, but Stephen's passport was expiring, so his visa could only go as long as his passport was valid. Now that he has his new passport, we had to go back in to get it re-stamped for the current visa he is on. We were told last time that we would have to pay all over again for the same visa, and were prepared to do so. Stephen went in one morning this week and said it was really easy. Also, the immigration officer was very kind and said that he didn't think it was fair to have to pay again for the same visa! Hooray! We were very thankful for his kindness. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Meeting Meghann

We had a really cool opportunity at the end of this month. One of our long-time supporters came to visit Ireland and we were able to meet her for the first time. Meghann had found our blog online just about before we moved to Ireland, felt connected to us and has been a faithful supporter of our ministry ever since. It was so cool to finally meet her after all of these years. She and her friend Abby were able to come to our house and we had lunch together and talked for quite awhile. We had such a nice time meeting the both of them. We also were able to show Meghann and Abby the church. They were very encouraging and we look forward to hanging out with them again.
Abby, Meghann, Stephen and I