“To live would be an awfully big adventure!”
So, do you love the idea of traveling? Do you seek adventure in your life? Need a gap year after school to explore? Are you hoping to find happiness in roaming around the world? Well, that was me.
Quick background; I was homeschooled from grade 6 till grade 12, and don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it! But there was one quirk to being homeschooled. I’ve been at home for the last seven years. I needed change. I wanted to travel. There sometimes comes a time in a young adult’s life when you just need to spread your own wings, get on a plane and fly! I wanted, I longed and yearned to see the world, discover new things and experience different cultures.
I am eighteen years old now, just graduated from high school, I had plans on going to university to take a major in music and become a piano teacher. But some doors closed, and others opened. And I realized something that I wanted even more, and that was to follow God’s plan for my life. And that plan for the next year was to share with young people the love that I had experienced from Jesus when I was younger.
NET was the perfect opportunity to do both the traveling AND sharing the Good News, and I had the option of doing it in one of my favourite places! The Emerald Island☘! So, I left my beautiful home country of Canada, boarded a plane for the first time, flew over the Atlantic ocean and into Ireland to begin my year of mission with NET.
Once on NET, you have the opportunity to be on a traveling team, where you obviously get to travel, or a local team, where you would be stationed in one parish or town for the year. Of course, I wanted to be on a traveling team! I mean, I didn't want to be stuck in just one place all year and not get to see any of the sights! If you are like me, you might be asking the same questions I asked myself when I got into Ireland;
“What if I’m not placed on the road team? Would I even get to travel on a local team?”
Well first and foremost, God has a plan for you. One of my favourite bible verses is from Jeremiah 29, verse 11: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”
So you just have to know that wherever you are placed, it is in your best interest. It is where God knows you will grow the most. So trust Him.
But, like I said, I very quickly had set my heart on being on a traveling team. I forgot about my favourite bible verse and focused on the thrill of wanting to travel so bad! And lo and behold I was put on a local team… Was I devastated? At first, yes. But after a lot of prayer, I decide to trust that this was God’s plan for my life.
I have been in the Dunshaughlin community, in Co. Meath for the last three weeks, and I didn't realize the once in a lifetime opportunity it was to be part of such a beautiful parish life, in a quaint, small Irish town, surrounded by such kind, generous and hospitable people. And getting to know these people longer than for just one day! I have already met so many wonderfully inspiring people, and getting to know their stories is such a privilege! I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
What I had been looking for in the adventure of traveling, through only seeing and observing (the tourist life), I found in the adventure of immersing myself into the culture and community of Irish life itself, living with and among the Irish people (the missionary life). That is the true joy of traveling as a missionary.
God had a plan for me all along. He still does. So if you are like what I was before NET, excited for the adventure but skeptical of missing out on traveling, just keep it in mind that wherever God places you, He will surprise you. Not with the adventure of a lifetime YOU were looking for, but the one He had planned for you all along. And trust me, it will be even better than what you had planned for yourself.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Old Irish Blessing)
Hey! You might still be asking;
Wait! Do you still get to travel?
Yes!!! Don't worry! All of our teams have the opportunity to travel and see the beautiful country of Ireland. Check out these amazing adventures I've had already!:
• Knock; My First Pilgrimage.
•The Oldest Bridge in Ireland. How old is it again?
•10k Walk along the West Coast. Barefoot.
•The Tara Hills; King of the Hill.
•Getting lost in Dublin, three times. (Or was it four times?)