Sisterhood Ireland Team 2014 – The Face of Change

The Bible says that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind can conceive what God has planned for those who love him.

I can also say that there are no words that could ever begin to convey the powerful impact that was our yesterday.

Please forgive my feeble attempt to do so.

A mission trip is not easy.  Nor should it be.  We are here with a purpose, and for a purpose.  Our days begin early and end late.  Every minute is scheduled.  Each day is titled: Prayer Walk Day;  Volunteer Appreciation Day; Sisterhood Event Day.

Yesterday was Our Day.

I thought the day was called that so that we could be given a chance to relax and decompress. I found out that instead, it refers to the fact that all the other days are spent with God pouring into others through us; yesterday was our day to be poured into.

Even Our Day begins early.  We arose and had some personal devotion time.  We then gathered as a group as we do each morning and one team member leads the group devo.  Yesterday the topic was faith, and it was so very timely.   On the agenda for the day was a visit to the Northern Coast, and there we planned to finally see for ourselves The Rope Bridge.

We have heard the legend of The Rope Bridge from sisters who have come before us.  In that part of Ireland, where land and sea mingle, there are high rocky cliffs.  In one particular spot, there is an island unto itself just beyond the coastline.  It is not far out, just a short distance, but to get to the island, you have to cross The Rope Bridge.  Living up to its name, it is a series of ropes  strung together and stretching the gap between the two land masses.  It is situated a hundred feet above the water, it shakes violently as the coastal winds whip around, and one slip will land you among the myriad of craggily rocks below.   An obstacle of fear; a test of faith.  The devo was perfect.

We gathered into the van, and began our trek northward.  After a good two hours, we found ourselves on the narrow winding road leading to the higher elevation.  We were already “oohing” and “aahing” as we looked at the vast green pastures and rolling hills.  But then we rounded  the highest bend and were met with the most incredible vista I have ever seen.  An endless ocean with the most beautiful shade of blue water and a shoreline that ran for miles.  The hillside was luscious green on one side, and jagged rock on the other.

It was literally breathtaking.  After parking the van we all climbed out and started our hike along the rocky path.  It was a long climb, harder for some than for others.  The path rose and dipped, and at some places, the terrain was so steep that rock steps had to be built.  After walking for quite a while, we found ourselves at the entry point to the bridge.  There is a set of metal steps, perched on the side of the cliff. The descent incredibly steep,and once at the bottom, you are standing at the foot of the bridge.

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Some crossed with no problems.  Some were trepidatious.  One was in complete fear.

She is afraid of heights, and has not been looking forward to this challenge.  Several sisters had pulled her aside throughout the week and prayed with her.  I had planned before I left the states  to walk hand In hand with my sister across her fear.  As it happened, she ended up,walking across all by herself.  She was surrounded by her sisters, but it was God who carried her over.  As she stepped foot on the other side, cheers went up as the tears came down.  We all celebrated in our sister’s victory.

We are sisterhood.

And it only gets better from there.  Walking out onto the crest of that cliff and feeling the sun and the wind on my face, surrounded by indescribable beauty, only one thought came to my mind:  God does good work.  I found a little spot near the edge, and I sat down and just began to thank God for this incomparable opportunity.  I cried and I prayed and I had a moment with God.  No interruptions, no distractions.

When I looked up, I saw many of the team members in similar positions.

Long before I was ready, our friend Tim who was chauffeuring us ,informed us that it was time to go. So one by one, and two by two, we walked back across that rope bridge.  My friend who had been so fearful, walked a little more quickly and confidently the second time.  As Lea would so profoundly state later,  when God calls us to step out into something that we fear, and we do it afraid, the next time we won’t have to.  We will no longer be afraid because we have seen how he will carry us.

The trek back was hard for me.  I have learned that you cannot climb while crying.  But that’s  another blog.

We made a couple more stops on the way home.  We had tea and scones at the site of a centuries-old castle that sits along the shoreline, and we visited Giants’ Causeway where the most amazing rock formations are scattered along the coast.  At each stop, I noticed one or two sisters sitting quietly by themselves, in an obvious state of reflection.

And along the way, I had a chance to get with each one alone, and ask her if she had experienced a God moment.  The answer was a tearful “yes” from every single one.  Each and every one of us had encountered God up on that mountain.

Late in the evening when we had gathered for our nightly devotion,  we were all brought to tears as we each shared our God story of the day.  It was without a doubt, the most beautiful and heartfelt connection I have ever had the honor of being a part.  Each woman has a story, and it is her story to tell, so you won’t learn here what God put in each of their hearts.  But know that it was profound.

This morning I got up and showered, and as I stood in front of the mirror to brush my teeth, I noticed I was sunburned.  Like really sunburned on my face.  I hadn’t even known.  But it reminded me of something I had read in the Bible, and so I went to Exodus 34, the 29th verse:

“When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant, because he had spoken with The Lord.”

Yesterday was Our Day.

We went up the mountain, and we spoke with God.

Our faces are now changed.

Our lives are now changed.

We are Sonburned.

–Sherri

 

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~ by Celebration Missions on June 21, 2014.

One Response to “Sisterhood Ireland Team 2014 – The Face of Change”

  1. I love it!! Thanks for sharing.. love you, Sherri

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