Sunday 7 May
On a stunningly beautiful Sunday morning, I was up early and took it easy for the drive up to Galway city from Lahinch (taking it easy also meant taking a few wrong turns here and there but I was in no hurry and, well caffeinated, I was happy to listen to some worship music and simply ENJOY!)
I arrived in time for the church service at Galway Christian Fellowship. I visited here four years ago on the very first Finding Faith Tour and it was so encouraging to see the building bursting at the seems with new people! I'm joined for the day by Will, Seb and Jason from Agape, so it is lovely to have some company.
After the service, I chat to Pastor Peter Burrows and his wife Sandy. They tell me about the weekly lunch club that the church has established for elderly people in the local community. Up to 30 people come each Tuesday. It is a way for the church to show care and respect for older folks, who might otherwise be isolated.
I've been invited for lunch by Chris McCune and his wife Helen. Chris wrote his first article for the last issue of VOX and we're hoping to see more of his work in the future! I'm treated to a wonderful lunch of soup and bread (perfect) along with so much fun, laughter and fellowship with a group of Chris and Helen's friends that it is really hard to drag myself away so soon, especially when I discover that Roscommon Town has moved...
Okay, okay... so it hasn't really moved, I just totally underestimated the time it would take to drive from Galway to Roscommon which means I have to leave earlier than planned.
Remarkably, and with a few prayers for clear roads along the way, I made it to Roscommon (almost) on time and then took the short drive along the main Roscommon - Athlone Road (N61) to Grace Community Church. Pastor Michael Walsh had invited us to visit the newly-renovated pub that is now their church coffee shop, Christian bookshop and worship centre.
Will, Seb, Jason and I are all bowled over by the beautiful space and by the stories Michael shares about the miracles of God's provision. In just two years, this small local church has been able to purchase and refurbish the pub. We hear that the project was officially completed TODAY - what a privilege to visit on that very day and rejoice with Michael!
Like several other church leaders I've met, Michael emphasises that ministry is not, first and foremost, about a building but it is about relationship.
My last stop of the day is in the wilds of north County Mayo (Ballycastle) where I am staying with my good friends Val and Bert. Despite my late arrival, Val has prepared me a delicious salad and then I enjoy of feast of conversation with two amazing people... I'll happily blog at 1am for the chance to spend time with these two...