Northern Ireland Spring Break Trip
As part of the One80 High School Ministry, we will be taking two mission trips over Spring Break this year: one to Honduras (which you can find out more about here) and one to Northern Ireland.
High School Ministry has been working in Northern Ireland for over seven years, and we have built strong relationships with local churches and youth in various schools in and around County Down (about 25 miles south of Belfast on the Irish Sea).
Why Northern Ireland
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(Ephesians 2:10 )
Many people do not know that Northern Ireland is actually part of England. It's the land of “the Troubles” where, for decades, Protestants have fought Catholics over the destiny and future of their land. The tensions often erupt into violence...The song "Bloody Sunday" by U2 actually remembers a time in Londonderry when a riot between protestors and the police led to bloodshed. The fighting between these two groups has become so bad that even a major cemetery in Belfast had to be divided down the middle; one side for Protestants, one side for Catholics.
Today, many of the youth of Northern Ireland are in Freefall where a significant part of the population is young (under 30) and often sees no future in Northern Ireland. It has the highest unemployment in the United Kingdom, and for many, it’s a land the Irish don’t want and the British would like to forget.
Not all students get to go to college and drinking and drug use are a rapidly growing problem for teenagers. Northern Ireland, sadly, is also a place where teen suicides are all too common. Most students struggle to find meaningful relationships and the historical Protestant and Catholic friction - which is more political than religious - turns students away from any idea of church or a relationship with God. Many students, especially girls, feel like they have no value and many would prefer to leave their country because they have no hope. In this beautiful country with troubled and at risk students, we get the unique chance to tell them about the hope they can have in a relationship with Christ and the value they will have as sons and daughters of the King. Americans can do this because we aren’t seen as Protestants or Catholics, and there is no language barrier.
What We Will Do
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14 12 I)
God has opened doors unlike any other for us in Northern Ireland. We will work in public schools and will conduct religious education classes and assemblies in high schools where we’ll teach about our faith and what we see in Christ. We can’t even do that in America. We’ll also perform dramas where we will have opportunities to share more of what we believe. We’ll meet with Christian students in something called "Scripture Unions" (these are school clubs) and help lead worship and teach. You’ll make many new friends and get to meet many Irish students who are excited to hear stories from American teenagers.
We’ll work with unchurched students in evening drop in centers where we’ll help with music, food, games and devotionals. You’ll worship in different churches, encourage the local youth who are trying to follow Jesus and the local missionaries and pastors. We’ll also do service projects and even share meals in the homes of Irish families. We’ll explore the history of Christianity in Ireland with visits to places like Downpatrick where St. Patrick is supposedly buried.
Why We Do It
This trip will present you with a unique opportunity to share your faith and tell people your age, in your own words, what a relationship with Jesus is all about. God will knit this team together during this trip and, in a very real way, you will do life together for ten days. You will be the Acts 2 church. And believe it or not, you will experience the real world in Northern Ireland; the way God wants us to do life. We will live with Him daily, through big and little encounters with your Father, and do life with like-minded people who you love and who love you back. That’s a team; that’s the church.
Just by being exposed to another culture and group of people outside of the U.S., you'll have the opportunity and be challenged to rethink serving, rethink discipline, and even rethink church. This trip will challenge you to grow in your walk with Jesus and in the way you make your life centered on Him.
So why not be on mission and in community this Spring Break? Both the Honduras trip and Northern Ireland are a terrific way to spend your Spring Break making a difference. The Northern Ireland trip will be March 31 to April 11, 2011. If you are interested, have questions, or just need an application, contact Mallory or call 859-977-2755.