Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Naomi's Ireland Update

 Matthew 9:37-38 'Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'"

On Friday, June 24th, I boarded a plan from KY to Chicago, with the ultimate destination of Ireland. While waiting for my flight to Dublin, I received a text from American Airlines informing me that my flight had been delayed from 10pm to 5am. While I was on the phone with my mom trying to find a solution, I received an updated text informing me that my flight was delayed until 10am. Thankfully, the gate attendant helped me find another flight on a different airline that was leaving Saturday at 8pm. That left the question, where was I going to stay? My best friend's mom quickly drove to O'hare to rescue me from sleeping at the airport. Although a flight delay was not what I had planned, God opened the door for me to enjoy a night with my best friend! In addition, this was a taste of reality of what missionaries face when they travel internationally. 

After waiting at the airport for 8 hours, I finally boarded my flight for Dublin. When I arrived at the Dublin airport, I only had 15 minutes to get through customs and catch my bus to Cork. After the 3 hour bus ride, I met up with John (our friend in Ireland) and William. We toured Cork to help me stay awake. It was a beautiful city and I was able to enjoy sausage, potatoes, and gelato. When we finally arrived at John's house, he prepared tea and biscuits for me. We discussed life, ministry, and what to expect during my stay in Ireland.

On Monday, I woke up and John and I took his dog, whose name was Ryder, on a walk around Mallow. We visited the Mallow Estate and Castle. While we were touring the estate, I saw a field full of albino deer. There is a unique story behind these deer. In the 16th Century, the Norrey family named their daughter after Queen Elizabeth. In return, Queen Elizabeth gifted the family a male and female albino deer. Centuries later, there is a whole field of protected albino deer. From there, we drove around and visited a monastery. At this location, the building had an open ceiling, which allowed pigeons to enter. They would provide the pigeons food and in return, they had easy access to pigeons for dinner. 

Tuesday we drove around Mallow and visited John's church to pickup supplies for camp. The interns from Mallow joined us and we talked about ministry and camp. 

Wednesday we traveled to Cork to pick up the three interns from the US. We once again walked around Cork to help the new interns adjust to the local time. From there we visited the Elizabeth Fort. We then traveled back to John's house and did more preparation.

Thursday we woke up early and traveled to Dublin to pick up the group from Texas. We spent the day exploring Dublin, visiting churches and cathedrals. We went to a pub for lunch. After the long, eventful day, we went home to get sleep for the next busy day.

Friday we woke up early again and visited another castle, which I forget the name. After exploring the castle and the grounds around the castle, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher. This was my favorite destination that we visited while I was in Ireland. I spent over an hour walking the cliffs and enjoying God's beautiful creation. Everyone met up at the bus and we traveled back to Mallow where we attended a youth event at John's church. This was a great opportunity for us to meet the teens from Mallow whom we would be hanging out with and ministering to at camp. We played lots of games and had some great conversations. 

Saturday we traveled to the Blarney Castle. I chose not to kiss the Blarney Stone, but I did buy a small piece of the stone. After exploring the gardens and grounds around the castle, we headed to Cork where we visited a different variety of stores. 

Sunday we attended John's church and then helped register teens for camp. From there, we boarded the bus for a 3 hour ride to camp. After arriving and settling in, we had our first camp service. 

Monday-Thursday was filled with many amazing and eye-opening services. We also spent time in our small groups getting to know our family group better. During this time I developed life-long friendships. We enjoyed kayaking, playing outdoor games (like steal the donut, waterslide, and dodgeball), camp fires, and amazing food!

Friday we said our good-byes to the teens from Ireland and we headed to Trin where we visited the Trin Castle. This is the location where they filmed Braveheart's death, which is one of my favorite movies (the tv version). The teens from Texas and I stayed up all night until we had to leave at 5am on our bus to the Dublin airport. We ended up sleeping 4 hours at an airport cafe while we waited to check our luggage. We had to proceed through two customs and two security checks (one for Ireland and one for the US). When we arrived at our gates, we said our good-byes. I then boarded one of my three connecting flights to get home. Thankfully, I arrived safely in KY around midnight.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and for those who helped sponsor my trip. God used it to not only help my relationship with Him grow, but also for the many conversations that God opened with the teens. This trip has helped fuel my desire for serving Jesus in missions. Thank you again for all of your prayers!