Ancarrow..the blog

Welcome to "Ancarrow...the blog," a place for us to share some random thoughts as we help start new churches in MD.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Northern Ireland Update - Day 9

I'm having some technical difficulties today. To read today's article on Day 9 - please report directly to facebook. Apologies to those who read on here...I will go ahead and put some pics up here though:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Northern Ireland Updates - Day 8

Hello everyone! Today was a very good day. First we started off with the usual by going to the VBS sites. The first site we always go to is the Murlough cottages. It is a nice little caravan park that Irish families go for vacation. The kids here are very kind and are nice to be around. We always have a pick-up game of soccer. Like yesterday we got our behinds kicked by the Irish team which had an average age of maybe twelve. I have come to know a little girl named Laura, and she has been a blessing. The second day I played with her she told me I was her best friend and my heart just swelled up with joy. Everyone else has been blessed by little children with big big hearts. Children are so important. I remember now when the disciples saw children following Jesus and they tried to stop them but Jesus said let them come.
Today had many blessings within itself. A few of our girls came in encounters with some boys and girls of which decided they wanted to follow Jesus. The transformations of these kids hearts were phenomonal. These encounters happened outside of the VBS, at a place called the drop-in, for kids so they can have a safe place to hang out. As you read this message please pray that our last day is even better. Love and miss you all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Northern Ireland Update - Day 7

posted by Scott Ancarrow

Wednesday was another totally full day of programming. In the mornings, we are definately seeing the fruit of continuity and consistency. This morning, the kids were completely attentive and with Craig as he taught much so that when I could see storms clouds coming (in fact, Richie, our leader, said to be prepared have them run inside), I prayed for 3 more minutes of time before it hit. With the rain literally approaching us, I got 35 minutes. Pretty epic. While I have prayed such prayers in my life, this sums up the entirety of the day - a spiritual battle.

I see it even in myself...after seenig such prayers, a slam of the door or a rejection turns one of us back into that spiritual pansy that wants to just be a tourist. It's a constant that challenges our students (and leaders) to say, "maybe I should just go back to mediocrity," or back to empty relationships back home that placate my ego, despite what my wise counsel says....

But when we step out on the edge, beyond safety, where only God can work, he does. That's what I've seen most today. The double rainbow, a reminder of God's faithfulness, was our reminder on the way to the drop-in tonight. It was beautiful chaos...a night filled with laughter, loudness, prayer, and the fine line between annoyance and love that often fills you when you're worknig with people who are hurting. God's faithfulness...
I see students stretching beyond where' they're comfortable...and its, to quote my irish friends, "quite brilliant." I'm proud of my students, I'm proud of Murlough House, and I'm proud to see how God is using and working on hearts around me. .

I'll end with some commentary:
1. the kids were playing a karaoke game tonight - if you happen to see videos of "Survivor" by Destiney's child or "Never Gonna Give you Up" by Rick Astley sung by a certain red head- save yourself the pain of hearing it - and just know that it's funnier if you were there.

2. Worcestire Sauce flavored potato chips taste just as they're named...there you go.

3. The only material possession I miss is coffee...instant just isn't cutting it. Everything else here is epic. Good night, friends.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Northern Ireland Updates - Days 6

Posted by Brandon Doub...

WOW! Whoa! Where does one begin? It has been an amazing trip thus far, but we still have much more ground to make up in this journey of ours toward reaching the kids and their families with our message. This experience has moved so many of us in such a short time. It has been really neat to see everyone come together as a team (as one) in what seems to be an everlasting fight against the evil presence that has consumed so many of the young minds here. When I say that, I mean it in so many ways... this is something that has kids as young as four cursing at other children and throwing a punch like it is nothing... Mind-boggling! I have better news to report, news that made me stop and praise our AWESOME God today... This afternoon at our roughest test of each day, Burrendale Park, the kids started to respect and take in the experience as a all costs. Let me explain. These four, five, six, seven, and eight year olds participated with us and worshiped with us even though they were being persecuted by a bunch of older kids in the back... They were getting jeered at and laughed at, and balls were even kicked at them. How awesome is it to see those young kids take a stand against that evil that so many would have turned and ran from! Praise the Lord... kids know about what we are doing and they have began to tell their friends about it and our attendance was up today... simply amazing. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we have quickly learned that there is no other way of truly speaking with the Lord!

Editor's Note: We've got word here about our Zimbabwe team from Northview that is traveling at the same time as us. They have seen over 850 kids at their VBS - Praise God. However, we have heard that several on the team are not feeling well - and seem to have the flu. Please pray for their recovery.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Northern Ireland Updates - Days 5

Written by Lauren Callahan

Today was our fifth day in Northern Ireland. Today was our first day of vacation bible school and our team got a real feel for the youth of this area. We ran two vacation bible schools in two different locations. At the first location, VBS ran very smooth-even better than expected. The kids participated in all of the activities and was incredibly successful. The second location, however, was almost the complete polar opposite, as far as the response and attitude from the children. Our heart strings were pulled as reality hit us while working there; our team realized how the presence of God, in the lives' of the children, was something that these youth needed desperately. The shock of the behavior of the children was something that would surprise almost anyone. With tough lives, and without any positive role models, the pain in the childrens' lives was evident. Their craving for attention and their use of appalling cuss words proved this even further. Because of their tough outer shell, trying to connect with the children was difficult, but we did make incredible progress. We could clearly see God working, as the children began to respect us- something that some would consider to be impossible. Rebelling against adults seemed to be the only thing they knew. The kids were compelled, for some odd reason, to respect us and listen to us- though the progress was slow. Most of this progress was not seen, though, until our "coffee house" later in the day. Many of the children at the second VBS attended our "coffee house." During that time, we basically hung out with pre-teenagers and got to know them a little bit. This was the time when we saw God working the most. Two of our team members shared their testimonies, and one of the rowdier boys asked one of our team members even more about Christ. There were also two other girls who had a fantastic conversation with some of our team members about why God must exist. They received the information well and even said that they were eager to go home and read their Bible. God was clearly moving through our team and through the youth today. We hope that as we establish a greater relationship with the youth that each of the following days will be at least as successful as today was.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Northern Ireland Updates - Days 4

Posted by Dan Huffman
Sunday in Northern Ireland found us once again preparing for the mission to begin. There were giveaway bags to be packed, skits to rehearse and planning to be done. We also had the rare opportunity to attend some local churches for Sunday worship. We began the day by attending two churches in the Dundon/Newcastle area. They were very old, rustic churches in the countryside. The Church of Ireland has been around for centuries, and the service was very traditional in style. Hymnals were used as an organ played, and the locals (around a dozen folks) sang songs of praise. It was a far cry from the style our team is used to. Two of our youths spoke to the congregation and answered questions from the pastor, and gave a brief testimony. The next church visited was the same, as the pastor covered both churches. As I sat there, in this old building I imagined all of the souls that have worshipped there. But as I looked around, I saw very few left, and those that were there were mostly over the age of 60. Frankly, it seemed to be dying out. The last church visited was a Methodist Church in downtown Newcastle. It was an evening worship of modern songs, some of the same ones we sing at Northview. But again, the crowd was less than 30 people, not counting our team. This is Northern Ireland in the 21st century. People are not finding the Church relevant. But God is here, and he is working through those who still call on his name to reach out to these people. For all who wondered, "why Northern Ireland"? I see such a need. The people on the street are hardened by the years of fighting, by the hoplessness that living in a war zone breeds. I've read about it, but I saw it today in the eyes of the man who runs this place we have come to serve. As he spoke of the troubles, the mission became clearer. God loves his creation, on all parts of the planet. We are here to convey that. The team is ready. May we remain as eager to serve tomorow as we are today.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Northern Ireland Updates - Day 3

written by Alli Brown...

Today was amazing!!! We went into town and put flyeres in peoples mailboxes to let the parents know about our upcoming event. We went to some beautiful places; Tollymore Forest Park and Dundrum Castle. There was some hefty bridges that dated back to 1729 and the tower at the castle dates back to the twelth century. Ireland is like the US in many ways, for instance the first day I couldn't really believe we were in Ireland, but the things we saw today you cannot find anywhere in America. For me personally, earlier today I was super nervous about leading worship and how the kids were going to react to the songs I picked out to sing. The thought that it would go badly was in my mind all day, but with prayer and the knowledge that they will be skeptical at first because they would not know the songs calmed me down. Later Jess Grove, Kailan Chidester, and I went through all of the songs and a couple of times and worked on the motions and I relaxed even more. Now I am sitting here feeling relaxed and ready for the challenge ahead of me. I feel that as the week goes on that they will interact with the songs a little more each day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Northern Ireland Updates - Days 1 & 2

So, the Game plan here is to have students update the blog as the week goes on. For the first entry, I thought I'd get it started.

First and foremost, everyone is well, aside from the fact that, unless you're shorter than 5'6", it's really hard to sleep on an airplane. No travel issues, and no immigration holdups. God is good. A good night's sleep should address any little frustrations.

Before coming North, we took a 4 hour detour in's good that we have pictures, because most of our are too tired to remember it. I remember the double cheeseburger I got at Mcdonalds, and the free refills @ Starbucks.

We arrived at Murlough House this afternoon, and went ahead with our orientation meetings. This place is amazing, nestled on the Irish Sea. Did I mentioend it's mid 60's here? Very nice.

But we learned tonight that this is no vacation. Tonight, after Tea (dinner for us Yanks) we toured some of the areas we'll be working in this week. In one location, our students were taunted as being "Bible Beaters," which came in the middle of a barrage of swearing and disrespect towards anyone who would hear these students. In the midst of the beauty of this country, there is an angst that is still evident amongst people who are trying to let go of grudges and hatred. We even witnessed a fight on the boardwalk promenadet. It's evident to me that a backpack full of youth ministry games and cool giveaways won't be able to do what only Jesus can. Pray that we will show that like we should, and be humble enough not to present the gospel as behavior modification, but as a living hope.

I'll leave you with a shot from our backyard. Check back for more updates tomorrow.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Updates (thank you for your patience, Mrs Matthews).

Tonight was a good night. Seats behind home plate, about 15 rows back @ Great American Ball Park...peanuts, fountain coke zero, and the Wifey along with. The only one who had a better night than me was Albert Pujols, who managed to knock in 6 runs for the Cardinals in two innings. Regardless, the night was a much needed date night in the midst of five consecutive weeks with travel. We're at the midway point right now, but the 10 day trip to N.Ireland awaits. I'm excited, but frankly, these are the kinds of things that I wish Amber could still do with us. I've been doing breakfast for the girls everytime I've left -which may give Emery a complex the next time I bring Dunkin home after all this travel.

Everything has gone well so far, with the summer stuff. The rundown thus far
June 2-3 - Student Leader Retreat
June 15-19 - Know Sweat in Cincy with our Jr. Highers
June 23-27 - CIY MOVE in Holland, MI
July 1 - speaking at MOVE in Holland.

I have to say, honestly, if it wasn't for having to be gone from Amber & the kids, I'd almost prefer it this way. Being on the road definately reminds me to prioritize. I realize that I cannot possibly get everything done, and that all that I can do each day is the absolute essentials.

In lieu of some profound entry, allow me to share some random thoughts:
1. Michael Jackson's death, while overblown by media, is incredibly sad. Yes, I know that soldiers die, and that the world is full of a million atrocities not nearly as trite as the death of a pop star. But three thoughts come to mind. #1. Kids need to be kids. Joe Jackson may have gotten his family out of Gary, IN, but he did it at the expense of his kids, Michael most of all. MJ may have been the king of pop, but he himself was expoited, without a childhood. This was a hurting man. This excuses nothing, but is a thought for those of us who are flocking around TV's waiting to see what becomes of the "Jon and Kate minus affection" debaucle. Thought #2. Where was MJ's accountabilty? I cannot imagine being able to live in a world where NO ONE can tell you No. You want painkillers -Sure! YOu want to build an amusement park in yoru backyard - go ahead! This is a slippery slope, and a great reminder to me that the people who keep me level-headed are more valuable than I'll ever really know. How screwed up would any of us be in that situation? #3. The next 10 years will probably be full of sensationalism, books, and stories about MJ's life and times. A million "My name was Billie Jean" type of people will try to cash in. Sadly, the weirdest stories are probably yet to come.

2. Not being @ C'stone this year is a real bummer. I think I"ll forget about that in Northern Ireland though.

3. Breakfast is still the best meal of the day...especially for dinner. Too bad I'm in the middle of nowhere right now - a late night omelette sounds phenomenal.

4. Some good summer CD's: Emery "In shallow seas" and Maylene's "III" Haven't seen a movie since "Up," but the Johnny Depp as John Dilinger flick looks fairly sweet.

People always told me be careful what you do, don't go around breaking young girl's hearts....

Oh, and be sure to check back for daily updates from Northern Ireland starting next Friday!