Wednesday 7 August - Glanmire to Avoca via Kilkenny and Carlow
This summer, VOX magazine editor Ruth Garvey-Williams is travelling around Ireland to hunt down stories of faith, life and reality. Each day, she will share the story of her journey and some of the stories she encounters along the way.
Day Five began with a beautifully relaxed coffee and scone at Blarney Woollen Mills with my good friend Linda and her daughter. It was a chance to relax but we also had a great chat about faith. Linda is passionate about raising awareness about human trafficking and she shares her heart to see more work done to prevent this awful trade in human misery.
Eventually, I get on the road again and head north up the M8 (officially the best stretch of road on my travels so far - straight and fast... lovely). I arrive in Kilkenny to discover my appointment has been cancelled. It is the first real disappoitment of the trip and so I wander around the city rather forlornly, grab some lunch and then head north again towards Carlow. Once again, the (new-to-me) motorway is a pleasant surprise.
Eric is waiting with a cool drink of water and we sit over the kitchen table to chat about what is happening at his church and in his own faith journey. Now in his 20s, Eric arrived in Ireland just shy of his 11th birthday. His family moved here from South Africa. The transition seems to have been remarkably painless. Around this time Eric's parents had become Christians and the family soon got involved with Carlow Bible Church where they have been ever since.
"My faith story was definitely a gradual process," Eric shares. "There was no road to Damascus experience. I remember it was at the age of 14, during a maths class in school - I can't have been paying much attention - that I decided to ask Christ into my life, very uneventfully. By my late teens I knew that this was it for me. I can’t imagine life without God. If you take God out of life, it would seem very hollow, devoid of purpose. What God brings to me is worth, meaning and purpose. It makes life a lot sweeter when you know God is behind it all, whether it is the beauty of nature or just the things that happen in life!"
With no other appoitnments on Wednesday, I decided to head over to a Bed & Breakfast near Avoca where I was spending the night. It should have been a one-hour drive and I thought I'd get in some intensive work on editing all the fantastic stories I've been gathering over these days. Sadly, my best-laid plan was not to be... one wrong turn and I ended up going a long and winding 20km in entirely the wrong direction resulting in an even longer (well it felt like that anyway) 20km retracing my steps before I could finally find the right road... another late night ensued.. sigh!
I'll leave you with one of my favourite photos of the day... Thursday's blog post will more than compensate for the short entry for day five!