Recently, I got to spend nearly 2 weeks in Dublin, Ireland for two different reasons: the first part of my trip was to a training time with the authors of Tangible Kingdom as we talked about living “incarnationally” and “missionally” in the European context. I had read the book a few weeks before coming and having this time with other people (both Americans & Europeans) discussing things was really mind-blowing. We really started to talk about what this looks like in several of the different cultures we work in and how we can encourage and promote Christians living in these ways.
The second part of the trip was working with a family that lives it. I blogged a little bit about The Anchorage Project yesterday but living around Joe, the director, was really expanding what I had discussed the week before. This was taking things beyond book knowledge and I have to say, I loved it!! Now it wasn’t anything about the conditions – I’ve been in a lot worse places but we had a lot of cold, wet walks by the river, it was 12-15 hour days working on the computers, equipment was late arriving, and they had recently painted our B&B room which freaked my sinuses so I was having nose bleeds. (However, we did get the Irish Breakfast every day that we worked there – not heart-healthy though – see the right side photo). It was working at The Anchorage Project putting in an Internet Cafe and Wifi Hotspot that I got to see many of the principles we had talked about living.
One night Joe was running a time for some of the kids in the neighborhood but an older gentlemen stopped by and I spoke with him. He spoke with such a thick Irish accent I wondered if we were speaking the same language (in case you’re wondering – we weren’t. I think we might have better been off if we had been speaking German). In the end, I caught that he wanted me to tell Joe that he had stopped by. He said his name (which I had to ask him a couple of times to repeat because of the accent) and he finally said, “Just tell Joe – He knows me!” He said it in such a way as if he felt that he and Joe were best of friends. When I talked to Joe about him later, I found out their relationship wasn’t that close but Joe makes everyone he meets and interacts with feel like he really knows them. I think that’s the thing. He takes the time so that people feel connected with him. It’s not that Joe doesn’t have things to do; he’s actually extremely busy with The Anchorage Project and his family (small Irish family with 5 kids) but he still takes the time so that people know they are important. I want this to be a part of my life.