Coming Full Circle

11 Dec

                  On one of the first Sundays in Ireland, a few friends and I set out to find a church home for the duration of our time abroad.  The thing I love most about travelling is really getting involved in the culture that surrounds me and one of the best ways I found to do that is by attending church services.  This is a great way to meet people, learn about the local society, get involved, and experience the different beliefs in a particular country.   I did not get as involved into one church as I had originally hoped, but I did ‘church hop’ quite a bit which gave me the opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience something completely different that I would if I was at home.  With that being said, when Rev. Craig Cooney came and talked to us the other night during class, I felt my whole study abroad experience come full circle.

On our quest to find a church home the first weekend, we came across CORE church.  Immediately, I felt at home due to the welcoming environment, familiar songs, and humble surroundings.  One of the differences I noticed right off the bat was how involved and outspoken the congregation as.  Growing up in church at home, I was not accustomed to many people speaking other than the pastor.  But during the greeting ceremonies at CORE, everyone was encouraged to come up and talk about anything they needed prayer for or even things we could rejoice for.  I felt a bit uncomfortable at first, but that’s what I later realized is the type of things that makes you grow and evolve as a person.  I was excited to hear the sermon to get a grasp on how Irish people worshipped.  However, what we got was a wonderful surprise.  On that particular Sunday, there was special guest from Africa, Steve Lungu, sharing his testimony.  Not only did I have the opportunity to learn about Irish culture, I got to learn about African culture as well.  It was refreshing to hear a testimony that was so real and unedited to fully show what God does.

After that Sunday, I never had a chance to attend CORE again due to travel and attending other services.  However, having Rev. Cooney come speak to us in class last week was just what I needed.  He spoke a lot about identity and how we made his own path.  Hearing what he had to say that night was everything I hope for in my life.  I studied abroad to mature and allow myself to become the person I am meant to be.  He inspired me to be the one that could go back to my home church and ask for prayer or begin rejoicing for someone like I noticed in CORE.  We all need it, but fear or insecurities take over.  It’s sometimes hard to find yourself in this huge world, but I learned that by sticking true to your identity, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks and the path you’re on will be the correct one.

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