A lot has happened since we were together in Texas and I am sure the same is true for each of you too. I hope that this report gives you a flavour of all that has been going on in my life.
Shortly after returning from Texas, my sister Heidi and I gave a report about our time at the World Assembly to our home congregation in Ardfallen Methodist Church, Cork. We were blown away by the positive response that the congregation gave us and it was lovely to be able to thank them for their support and prayers while we were away.
Since arriving home, I have continued to be involved in the youth and children’s activities on my district. Soul Mates Kids House Party is an annual event that we hold on my district for 9-13year olds. The theme for the weekend was ‘You’ll never believe it…’ and we explored some of the miracles of Jesus. The verse for the weekend came from Hebrews 11:1 ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see. ‘ My friend, Anita, and I did the catering. I ran a workshop and did the speaking for one of the sessions too.
I am enjoying being involved in my local MWI (Methodist Women in Ireland) here in Dublin. I was asked by the ladies if I would share at their November meeting a little bit about the World Assembly. I prepared a PowerPoint presentation with photographs and spoke and answered questions about the Helen Kim Scholars and our leadership training as well as what it was like to be part of the assembly itself.
In December, I worked with the children in Sunday School to put on a Nativity Play with a bit of a difference. A ‘DIY’ Nativity that had the whole church up and participating. Throughout the Nativity we asked for volunteers from the audience to come up and play various roles which the children thought was brilliant and the congregation were very good about. The whole message of the Nativity was that it isn’t just up to the children to tell the story of Jesus once a year at Christmas time but that we all have a part to play in proclaiming His message and showing others His love every day.
In February, I was interviewed for an article to go into the Methodist Newsletter. This was something that I was quite nervous about. However, it was very good to be able to speak about the Scholarship programme and to make more people aware of the WFMUCW and the work that is being done.
In March, I was involved in the planning and preparation for the Mothering Sunday service which the ladies of the MWI were in charge of. I was asked to preach at the two services taking place in my church on Mothering Sunday. I spoke on the theme “A Chosen People Called to Proclaim”. This was a big undertaking and something that I had never done before. The services both went well.
Also in March, I took part in the National Youth and Children’s Forum. This was the first time a gathering of this kind had taken place in Ireland. It was a good opportunity to meet with representatives from other districts and to hear about and be encouraged by all that was going on in their youth and children’s ministries as well as to pray for and be prayed for the challenges that are currently being faced.
April saw me back at home in Cork for the Easter period. It was really special to be able to celebrate Easter with my family. I enjoyed being involved in all of the Holy week activities that my church are a part of from a Palm Sunday Ecumenical walk between all of the churches of different denominations to the Easter Sunday Sunrise service followed by a cooked breakfast which my church hosted this year.
May was Mental Health awareness month. As part of this, the staff in the girls boarding house where I live and work all decided that we would support the Mental Health Awareness Campaign by wearing green ribbons to encourage those we met to talk about their mental health and to let them know that all of our lives are filled with both good and bad days.
As well as the Green Ribbon campaign, I joined the ladies of the Midlands and Southern district at their fifty-eighth annual MWI weekend conference in the Castlerosse Hotel on the tranquil shores of Killarney’s Lakes. The weekend began with the induction service of the district MIW president. Through fellowship, Bible study and worship, the ladies explored the theme ‘Living in Freedom’ led by Shirley Alexander. Each session contained a mix of Biblical teaching, group discussions and personal reflection. Many of the ladies from the Ireland Unit of the WFMUCW were at the weekend too, including Louise Wilson our Area President. Louise and I both spoke about the World Assembly in Texas and promoted the upcoming 10th Joint European Area Seminar which is taking place in Belfast next June. As well as the actual weekend of teaching, I really enjoyed spending time with my mum as I hadn’t been home since Easter. It was good for the two of us to catch up.
June, July and August 2017
The summer months found me preaching at two different churches. One, a very small country church in Co. Limerick and the other in a much larger church building but with a much smaller congregation in West Cork. Both places were very kind and welcoming. I enjoyed meeting with the members of the congregations before and after the services.
I also had the opportunity to travel to Belfast for a weekend to meet with Louise Wilson (our Area President), Lidia Ribet and Lilla Lakatos, (both from Europe Continental) and with Phyllis Watters and Janice Walker (seminar secretary and treasurer) as we began planning for the 10th Joint European Area Seminar which takes place in Belfast in June 2018. It was good to be able to go in and see the Hotel where the seminar will be held and to sit around a table with the ladies and discuss ideas for the seminar in person rather than in an e-mail sent back and forth!
Over the summer holidays, I had the privilege of spending time each week with a small group of teens and young adults as we explored a Bible Study series called ‘We Saved You a Seat’ by Lisa-Jo Baker. The aim of the study was to ‘explore our relationship with Jesus as the ultimate model for authentic friendship. Nothing shapes us like the impact of a friend – it’s how Jesus radically and intimately connects with us. So instead of chasing perfection, overcome your fear of being known and find the courage to connect.’ I have run this Bible study with the same group of girls for four years now and it was encouraging to see how the friendships within the group have grown over the years. It meant that the sharing was more real, more open, honest and authentic as we all bared our hearts.
The month of September is usually a little bit crazy for me as it is the start of another new academic year. It means that I move back up to Dublin again for school and work. Life in the boarding school can be tough these first few months as my new girls struggle with homesickness and getting used to the routines and rules that come with living in community. It is always good to be able to listen to their stories of summer and to assure them about the year that is ahead of them. I also enjoy catching up with the staff members that I live with. There are eleven of us in total so it was good to be back together again for another year of fun and games!
School-wise this year, I am continuing on in my role as an Additional Educational Needs Teacher although I have been moved from the junior end of the school (4-8year olds) up to the senior end of the school (9-12year olds). So I have had to put away my puppets, puzzles and blocks and come up with new teaching methodologies and techniques to help my students enjoy their time with me and to make learning fun.
Soul Mates Kids House Party this year was based on the theme of Prayer. Once more, my friend Anita and I were in charge of the catering. We put together a ‘Bake-off’ cooking competition as one of the workshops this year. I was asked to speak at an evening seminar based on Psalm 23 with the title ‘God is with us no matter what’ which I feel is an important message and a good reminder even for the leaders.
I spoke at a MWI meeting in a church near Dublin city centre at the beginning of October. The ladies from a nearby Korean church were also invited to attend the evening seeing as Helen Kim has her roots in Korea.
Once again, I was involved in putting together the Nativity in my local church here in Dublin. Much fun was had by all as we presented a play based on the book ‘An Unexpected Christmas’ by Simone Graham.
I was invited to speak at the University College Cork’s Christian Union during Valentine’s week. I chose the theme ‘Following the Fingerprints of God: Lessons on seeking God out in the midst of everyday life. On tracing His fingerprints in our lives and finding He is faithful, even during our darkest days.’ It was a blessing to visit the university campus and to get to know some of the committee over dinner before I spoke.
March and April 2018
I was home in Cork with my family for Easter again this year and enjoyed taking part in the ecumenical Holy Week activities that my church are a part of. The sunrise service on Easter Sunday was particularly special for me as my family and two friends woke up early and headed down to the church in the dim morning light to prepare breakfast for everyone. The scripture garden where the service was held seemed to come alive with the sunrise as birds perched in nearby branches and hailed the Risen King along with us.
My mum and I attended the Midlands and Southern district Methodist Women in Ireland’s 59th annual weekend away in Killarney where Carolyn Lawrence (Britain and Ireland Unit Vice President) reminded us of being a Chosen People Called to proclaim. It was also good to be with many of the ladies from the seminar planning committee and to have a bit of an informal planning meeting over the weekend.
I have really enjoyed being a part of the Area Seminar Planning committee and working alongside the amazing ladies behind it all. As seminar registrar, I am looking forward to putting faces to all of the names that I have spent the last few months recording and assigning to rooms. The other HKMS and I are currently putting together a prayer room for the seminar based on the SDG’s and preparing for the workshops which we will be involved in during the seminar.
I love keeping up to date with the other HKMS through e-mails, letters and WhatsApp messages and finding out what they are doing in their part of the world both in their personal lives and in their ongoing work with the WFMUCW. Their friendship over the last two years has been a blessing.
In August I will be travelling to my home country, Zimbabwe, for a family wedding. While there, I have been asked to speak to the Women’s Association at the Hillside Methodist Church in Bulawayo (my old church) and a few other small women’s groups as well.
In October I have been invited by the Methodist Women in Britain to be a part of their Federation Day where I will be conducting a workshop based on Education.
I am also currently exploring options to put together a team who will join me in sewing reusable feminine hygiene products in partnership with the international organisation ‘Days for Girls’. Days for Girls International is a non-profit organisation with volunteers from around the globe who are committed to providing hope, health, and opportunity to women and girls. Their aim is to reach “Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.”
As well as this, I am enjoying being part of the WFMUCW here in Ireland and joining in with the initiatives and work that they are doing.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers for me and the other HKMS all over the world. You have no idea how much we appreciate all of you, our sisters in Christ.