I woke up this morning in Ireland. (No, this wasn’t some international kidnapping thing – Dorine and I are here for a few days to do some preparation for our time here. But I digress.) We flew in Saturday morning and met up with two key people from our sending organization. The four of us have a few days here to make some connections, formulate some plans, and pray through the City of Dublin.
(All that stands between us and being here full-time is the small matter of raising funds! So you can see the importance of this trip!!)
Anyhow, we woke up with a plan in mind for the day. It looked something like this:
- Go to church service
- Meet with pastor from that church
- Pray in city
- Rest/admin work in hotel room
- Go to a different church service
This is not a complicated plan by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s not one that would have been any difficulty to complete. There was plenty of time. Everything is close enough to walk. Should have been an easy plan. So why do I say (and happily so) that we only completed the first two items?
We visited the church this morning. That was about three quarters of a mile to walk to a service lasting maybe 75 minutes. The music was good, the teaching was solid, and the people were friendly. Check that one off the list. But when we got to the second line – meeting with one of the pastors from that church – our plan went out the window. Rather than spending an hour or so talking about ministry ideas, we probably had three and a half hours in a restaurant off Grafton Street talking and getting acquainted with the pastor, his wife, and two of his kids. We talked about Dublin. We talked about ministry. We talked about the respective goals and vision of our two organizations. It seems like we’ll overlap, creating opportunities to partner. Great news!
Then, as if we hadn’t taken enough of their time, they invited us to visit their home. This was of course a chance to talk more, but it also allowed us to see a “typical” Dublin home and neighborhood as well as ride the lightrail (don’t you just love a good lightrail?). It was around 9pm when we made it back to our hotel. As I alluded, we didn’t make the latter three items on our list. But I definitely appreciated the time we had today, which went far beyond – far deeper – than I had imagined. If and when we do make it here full-time, we’ll have new friends waiting for us. And what we learned from their experiences here was very valuable. God is at work, people!
I’m reminded of this Proverbs 16:9, quoted here from the NASB:
The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
This is a good reminder to me that He is in charge of the timing, the direction, and the details of this mission. It is also a good illustration perhaps for the time we start working here. If a single day bore little to no resemblance to our original plan, what can we expect in long-term ministry?
I know what I will expect: God’s continued faithfulness. To Him be the glory!