It has been so kindly pointed out to me that most of my recent posts haven't really had anything to do with what I'm doing here in Belfast - just photos and videos that entertain me. Of course, since I'm the one living the daily life, nothing really exciting seems to be happening... but I know that's not the case for you, the faithful readers of my blog.
The weeks here pass so quickly, it's like I've completely lost track of time. In fact, I just realized my last "week in the life" post was almost 6 months ago - whoops! So here's an updated glimpse at a week in the life of this Belfast YAV:
Most Mondays begin with YAV Meetings. We still meet as a group roughly 2-3 times per month for devotional time, to discuss local issues and share a meal together. On our "off" weeks, we have one-on-one meetings to check in on a more personal level with Doug. Of course, this month will be a little different - Doug is currently in the States to interview the next batch of YAVs (I can't believe it's that time already!), so we're meeting without our fearless leader for a few weeks.
Since our meetings are in the City Centre, I take advantage of the bus fare and do most of my errands in the afternoon while I'm downtown, before heading up to the church to prepare our weekly Bible Study. Our group is small, but I've loved the opportunity to get acquainted with these ladies. We just completed a study on prayer, and are currently doing a short Lenten series.
I meet with Lesley (the minister at Fortwilliam and Macrory) in the morning to check-in and discuss what's on my plate for the coming week. I usually spend the rest of the day in the office working on my larger-scale projects like the monthly magazine or upcoming Artisan Market (the one in December went so well we're planning another for June).
(You're not incorrect if you remember that Tuesday was my day off. But after a few months of my former schedule, I found that it was difficult and a bit lonely to have a different day off than everyone else... so I asked if it would be alright to rework my schedule a bit.)
I start off Wednesdays at the Vine for Mums and Tots. I love playing with the kids and sharing a cuppa and some toast with the carers (sometimes mum, sometimes granny). We just put out the toys and let the kids have their fun, so it is a fairly relaxed atmosphere compared to some of the other mother/toddler groups I've heard about.
|My little buddy - we're usually attached at the hip!|
I have a few hours between Mums and Tots and JAFFA, the Bible club, which I usually spend writing lesson plans or doing office work. During JAFFA I rotate with David and Elizabeth on teaching the lesson, serving snacks, playing games or assisting with crafts. The kids can be a bit "mustard" - which in this context is an affectionate term to say they're sort of stubborn or rebellious - but overall they're really great.
|...apparently I sit on the floor in this room a lot...|
I head back to the Vine on Thursdays for the pensioners' lunch club, which I enjoy. I like hearing about their younger lives, since it offers another perspective on growing up in Belfast and raising families during the Troubles. It is difficult to hear some of the things these ladies (and a few gentlemen) have experienced - losing children or facing paramilitaries in their communities - but I think it is important to get a wider picture of the community.
After lunch we have some sort of activity with the group, which ranges from trivia to bocce or trips to local museums and bowling alleys. I then head upstairs for homework club, hopping from child to child practicing spellings or working out maths problems as needed.
I head home for a bit after the Vine, to eat and change into uniform before I'm lifted (picked up) for Boys' Brigade. We're currently practicing for our display night in April, so much of what we're doing involves learning the words to our songs or taking turns doing physical drills like forward rolls, trampoline jumps or climbing the horse. Keeping the wiggly Anchor Boys still as they wait for their turn is always a challenge!
|(case in point: notice how few of the boys are facing forward?)|
Fridays begin with our FMPCI staff meetings, a time to discuss our programs and community issues that have arisen in the past week. In the afternoon we have RESTORE, a small prayer meeting (which will move to Tuesdays after Easter). In the afternoons, I prepare the worship slides and announcement sheets for Sunday morning.
I'm not on football club in the evenings any more, but I do tag along occasionally to lend a hand or spend time with the boys - since I don't really have the opportunity on Saturday nights. They've begun playing matches with other local clubs, and while I haven't made it to a game yet, I am quite proud of their undefeated record!
Now that I have the mornings free, I generally spend time with other YAVs or wander aimlessly for hours around St. George's market. It's essentially a covered farmers / craft market, and my idea of heaven on a Saturday morning. Falafel for lunch! Yum!
In the evenings, we still do Youth Club. Currently, it's like a drop-in centre in the Macrory Halls each week. We typically have a game (like football or dodgeball) going on in the main hall, billiards and table tennis in the back hall, and a craft or kitchen activity that the kids can wander between as the night progresses. Others sit up on the stage to chat, listen to music and watch the boys playing football. This will soon be changing a bit.
I go to church in the morning, then usually have the afternoons to myself. We've just begun watching the Nooma videos in Bible class, which I think the kids will really enjoy. I think it's easier to grasp the concepts in story form, and it has already facilitated better discussion so I don't completely feel like I'm talking to myself! Once a month, the young adults go to lunch after the service. I always appreciate the opportunity to spend time with this group!
So there you go, a week in the life, part 2. I promise I'll try to be more mindful about updating you all on projects and exciting events in the future! Much love.