My second year in a row with mission discovery. Michael Neff has been with us both times. To Jamaica and to Northern Ireland.
Welcome to Northern Ireland!
Join us for a truly unique cross-cultural experience that will connect you with followers of Christ living in Northern Ireland.
Your efforts will focus on sharing the Gospel and improving relations between Protestant and Catholics in Northern Ireland.
Starting in the 1960’s and lasting up through 1998, Northern Ireland experienced severe and often violent conflicts between its citizens. This time period was known as The Northern Ireland Conflict or simply referred to as “The Troubles.” The main issue was a disagreement between those who desired to remain part of the United Kingdom (unionists) and those who wanted to unite with the rest of Ireland (nationalists). Causing further social division, the unionists were predominantly Protestant while the nationalists were mostly of a Catholic background. The lines of division became an either/or situation. No matter your background or belief system you were either a unionist or a nationalist, either a Catholic or a Protestant. No one was exempt from this black and white train of thinking. During this thirty year period, tensions were high and often broke into open warfare. All told, 3500 people lost their lives as the two sides traded violence for violence.
In 1998, an agreement was reached between the two sides that brought about a ceasefire and established order in the region. Currently, relations between the two sides have somewhat normalized, but it is still hard to look past thirty years of turmoil. The people of Northern Ireland tend to stay in their own groups and don’t interact with those who share different beliefs from their own.
The staff at the Murlough House have been receiving teams from the U.S. for over twenty years. Their goal is to break this cycle of mistrust and animosity that divides Protestants and Catholics. They want to be part of a new narrative where the Irish people are united by the love of Christ.
You will offer a different vision of what life can be like in Northern Ireland. Teams will be used in strategic community outreach initiatives to share the Good News of Jesus. You will serve as a reminder that Protestants and Catholics are equally loved and accepted and both are worthy of respect.
This is a role that people living outside of Northern Ireland are uniquely qualified to step into. As outsiders to the area, visitors bring no baggage. They arrive with no labels. They are not Catholics or Protestants, unionists or loyalists. They simply show love and offer a message of Good News. Both Catholics and Protestants come away with a richer understanding of what it is like to live as one Body of Christ.
At the start of your trip, you will be paired with a specific church in the area. Together with members of the church congregation, you will go out into the community. Your primary mission will be to engage with people. Whether it is sharing your story in a local school, playing soccer in a park, or visiting one on one with residents, connection and conversation will be the primary focus of your time.
You will stay at the historic Murlough House. This old home is nestled in the middle of a National Nature Preserve. The house boasts an impressive of notable guests including C.S. Lewis, who would write in the gardens on the property. Located on the edge of a nature preserve, you will also have plenty of opportunity to connect with the beautiful surroundings that Northern Ireland has to offer. On your day off you will visit local landmarks and have an opportunity to shop for souvenirs.
Lodging will be bunk style. Meals will be prepared on site. Meals off site are the responsibility of each individual. It is possible there will be a few meals that are off site. Participants are encouraged to bring extra spending money for off site meals, tourist activities, and any souvenirs.
Individuals and groups of all sizes are welcome but the maximum number of people for this trip is set at 30. Larger teams might be split into two groups who will work with separate churches throughout the week.
Schedule for the week
You will arrive on a Friday. Once all team members have arrived we will head to the Murlough House. Saturday will be a day of orientation and getting to know the area. If there is enough time you will visit one of the many local tourist attractions. Sunday morning will start by attending a church service with the congregation you will be working alongside during the week. On Monday, you will be out in the community engaging in a variety of social activities. Based on what your church partners have arranged, you could be visiting local schools, attending religious classes, or participating in park ministry or a kids club. You will receive a detailed schedule once you arrive. Your week will wrap up on Friday as you visit local sights and explore the city of Belfast. On Saturday, you will head back to the airport in time to return home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is lodging like?
A: There are multiple bunk rooms as well as a few private rooms. Bunk rooms have standard bunkbeds. Private rooms have double beds. You will sleep in bunk rooms unless special arrangements are made to reserve a private room.
Q: Are linens and towels provided?
A: Towels and a comforter are provided. Individuals are encouraged to bring any extra sheets.
Q: What is the closest airport?
A: Belfast International Airport and Dublin Airport are both good options.
Q: Do I need anything special to travel to Ireland or Northern Ireland?
A: Keeping in mind that the Republic of Ireland is a separate country from Northern Ireland, the only requirement (for either country) is a valid passport.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: Ireland is famous for cold and rainy weather almost all year round. No matter when you travel to Ireland you can assume that it will rain at some point and you will most likely need warm clothes.
Q: Is Northern Ireland safe?
A: Our friends at the Murlough House assure us that traveling to Northern Ireland is about as safe as traveling to any other part of the world. There are no current security threats.
Q: What if I want to stay extra time?
A: We have a specific arrangement with the Murlough House. If you would like to stay extra days, please make your own arrangements to stay somewhere else.
Q: What day off activities are available?
A: Depending on length of stay:
A half day might include a visit to one of the following locations in Belfast...
CS Lewis History
A full day might also include visiting one or more of the following...
Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge
Glens of Antrim
Travel info for Northern Ireland
Travel info for the Republic of Ireland
Video of the Murlough House