The Concorde Travel Fund

22.8.2017 | 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.

2017 Mission Trip to Torcy, France – Craig Burton, Ballycrochan Presbyterian Church

I used my Concorde Travel Bursary Fund towards going on a mission trip to France this summer. These are my experiences and thoughts of my time in Torcy.

We underwent training at the church with the rest of the Operation Mobilisation team on the first weekend. We then took part in a number of activities throughout the week. This included the distribution of leaflets which contained the gospel and an invitation to a barbecue and talent show at "Une Nouvelle Eglise" on the Saturday night.

We also did questionnaires on the streets in Torcy about how secure people feel in this time of high alert due to terrorism (we then linked this to how we get our security in Christ). This was pretty tough and really challenged our French but we prayed that God would help us understand the people and he definitely answered our prayer. We had some really interesting conversations with people about God!

We also got involved in a Kids Club in the afternoons. On the first day there wasn't much of a response and not many children came, we even got firecrackers thrown at us. But one child in particular came along almost every day and we got to show him how to read the Bible! He is from a Muslim background but we are really praying that he will remember what he has learnt. We sent him away with a book about Jesus and made contact with his family too.

A small group of kids turned up for the rest of the week but we were encouraged by their enthusiasm and some of them had never heard the story of Jesus so clearly explained before (see photo above). Some parents watched on too.

Overall we had a challenging week which has reminded me of how spiritually dry France is; it is only 1% evangelical Christian. Sixteen new people came to the barbecue (see photo below), which was actually really encouraging for the church. We really need to pray for France and I hope to go back again! Thanks for your support, both prayerfully and financially.

2017 Mission Trip to Vijayawada, India – Rachel Davis, Trinity Boardmills Presbyterian Church

On the 24th July, myself and a team of seven travelled to Vijayawada India with Salt Factory Sports. A mission organisation from Northern Ireland that uses sports as a means to create opportunities for evangelism and discipleship. As a team we were going over to support Good News Ministries (GNM), an established Christian organisation in India ran by Chanti and his family.

Through the support of sponsors, GNM are in the process of building two orphanages (one for girls and one for boys). Each orphanage will have the capacity to provide a home for 100 children. GNM also supports widows, with some working at the orphanage making food for the children. These orphanages and other centres are being developed on a plot of land outside Vijayawada, which has been named Zion City – Zion meaning city of God. Through kind support from churches, friends and families, each orphan, widow and staff member were given two towels, two facecloths, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and talcum powder. Over 100 bed sheets and over 200 pillow cases for the orphans and widow’s homes were also supplied. Although these are everyday items for us, the smiles and heartfelt words demonstrated just how thankful they were to receive these items.

For four days we provided a camp all day for the children with songs, team competitions, Bible teachings, craft, sport in the evening and my favourite part, dancing! Following the camp each day we had team devotions and team bonding. One of the major struggles we had was the language barrier. When leading the camp there was a translator who assisted us during Bible teachings and other activities; however, on a few occasions when I had wanted to find out more about the children and widows a translator wasn’t available, which was difficult. In spite of this, God was continually working through us, within Bible lessons and in conversations. At the end of the week a young girl called Monica give her life to the Lord, which was a special moment for the whole team.

Throughout the 10 days, witnessing and listening to stories of the Indian culture was a big challenge, from arranged marriages to abandoned children. As God has shown love to us, we and GNM showed love to the children and widows, emphasising how special they are in the eyes of the Lord.

Despite setting out with a team I didn’t know and to a country I had never imagined travelling too, I spent 10 days with a constant smile on my face and constantly laughing. I could write page after page of the memories from this trip. From the onset everything fell into place, even though it didn’t feel like it was. This is the first time a group has gone out to support GNM and provide a camp for the children, which has opened the door for a return visit … which I would not say no to in the future.

At the centre of Salt Factory Sports is a Bible verse found in Matthew 5:13, “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be the salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of the earth”. I want to say a massive thank you to the Presbyterian Church and the Concorde Travel Fund, this was a memorable trip which would not have been possible without your support.