The Concorde Travel Fund

9.3.2016 | Global Mission, Mission in Ireland, Congregational Life, Youth and Children,

The Concorde Travel Fund aims to  help young Irish Presbyterians (18-25 years old) finance their travel overseas for short-term service so that they might learn from and contribute to the life of the wider church.

Application criteria

Any young person applying:

a) Must be a member of a Presbyterian congregation;
b) Must be aged 18-25 years old at time of travel;
c) Must be travelling outside of the British Isles;
d) Must not have previously received a grant from the fund; and
e) Will be expected to produce a short report on their trip which should be submitted to the CCLW Office within 6 weeks of their return. This report, or parts thereof, may be used by PCI to promote short-term overseas mission and/or the Concorde Travel Fund.

Full details of the eligibility criteria and forms for both individuals and congregational teams are available below:

  Information for applicants

  Grants Panel Guidelines

  Application Form for individuals

  Application Form for congregational teams

Deadlines for applications in any given year are: 31st March and 30th September.

Internship in Melbourne, Australia – Mark Holmes

I went to City on a Hill, Melbourne not sure what to be expecting during the year. I knew in a sense it would be helping the running of the youth there and being involved in the Sunday services in some form.

The youth events we ran were a Sunday youth were we did a talk on the same sermon series the church was doing and a Saturday night youth program were we also ran youth small groups. We also ran a once a term big social event. Throughout the year I got to know the youth more and more and got chances to be able to encourage and challenge them in their faith. During the year it was exciting when one of the youth for the first time proclaimed to be a Christian as he is usually very quiet and doesn’t open up much at times. This was during a small group time and just went to show the value of having them.

On Sundays me and my other fellow interns where involved with the setup of the cinema for the services and we would be involved in the welcome team also. In the afternoon we had theology sessions with one of the pastors at the church looking at various topics from “Who is God?” to more topics that raise questions in the church like eldership or women and ministry. I found it extremely valuable and helpful. Throughout the week I would support the youth pastor at City on a Hill with anything that needed done for youth. I also helped run our small group which was of youth leaders and potential youth leaders.

Throughout the year I thought a lot about maybe staying longer, so I tried looking for a graduate job in my health science field that I studied at uni. When I was getting nowhere with those jobs, not even getting an interview I was downhearted and upset and thinking that this would only be a year long thing. I was starting to prepare to leave. I had a flight back to the UK just in case nothing else came about.

As the year went on, I found that I was being drawn more and more to consider youth ministry full-time and after a holiday break in September I realised that this is where God wants me to be – doing full-time youth ministry, in Australia. Me and Chris (the youth pastor) looked at options of maybe me staying with them and working for them, as they have youth in another 2 church plants and there is always something we can do in youth ministry. But unfortunately it wasn’t a viable option. Then just before Christmas Chris was asked by another youth pastor in Melbourne if there he had any interns who might be interested in working as an assistant youth minister with him with view to take over from him full-time in 2016 as he wanted to go study full-time. So I went to an interview and after a time away praying and searching my heart I believe God wants me at this church, St Mark’s. And things have been coming together and have come together at the right time when I desperately needed them to. It could only be God’s perfect timing. So I’m home for a month or so and then flying back out to Melbourne and all being well with the visa I will be working at St Mark’s.

Nepal – Jemma Aitcheson

This year I felt God was calling me to take a break from University and serve him abroad, at the time I wasn’t quite sure what that looked like but I ended up volunteering with two great organisations which were Tearfund and Stand by Me.

Stand by Me are an incredible organization who help many children and young people around the world to be able to get an education and have a safe environment where they receive the love and care which every child should experience. I went to their home in Hetuada which is in Nepal for two months and I had the most incredible experience.

In the home there are approximately 110 very beautiful and hilariously funny sponsored children (many who still need loving sponsors). I was working along side the sponsorship coordinator helping with daily tasks as well as trying to help improve methods of working to ensure the job is done as best as possible to benefit the children.

A lot of my work was office based however I always had plenty of hours in the day to fit in lots of play time with all of the children who never seem to run out of energy! I got to know the children really well and they have become like an extension of my family, I even miss their early morning wake up calls to come out and play!

I learn so much from everyone I met during my time in Hetauda and even the youngest of the children at 5 was such an inspiration to me and they have completely changed my outlook on life. I didn’t expect to be so encouraged and motivated by such little children and I guess it just proves that God can use anyone of any age and will use them in incredible ways which most people won’t even realise!

I really wasn’t expecting to fall in love with this place even half as much as ended up happening and despite my mosquito ‘kisses’ as all of the children called them I hope to return to Nepal in the near future so I can see all of the children’s brilliant smiles again and hopefully be able to help Stand by Me in their future plans for the hostel.

The carers of the children are incredible people and from them I learnt so much about looking after the children as well as how they are trying to show God’s love in everything that they do. It is so evident that God is at work in this place and the carers bring such fun to the hostel as well as being incredible witnesses for the children and the wider community.

The work that Stand by Me is doing in Nepal is making such an incredible difference to the children’s lives. All of the children know how important and valuable education is and I have never met children who work so hard and are so grateful for the chance to receive such a good education.

I ask that you continue to pray for the work of Stand by Me all over the world but in particular Nepal where I know your prayers are very much valued.

I will never forget my time in Nepal and God certainly used it to help me to readjust my priorities and to see his precious children in a different light.