Wednesday, 2 May
From 1 - 7 May, VOX Editor Ruth Garvey-Williams is travelling around Ireland hunting down stories of faith, life and reality. Follow the blog each day for a "taste" of the stories, meet the people she encounters and experience the highs and lows of the journey! (Of course, the summer issue of VOX will be packed full of these stories and more).
Opening the curtains on Wednesday morning, it was a treat to see this beautiful rainbow especially as I had been up so late. Copious amounts of coffee and a Glenilen Farm yoghurt (I couldn't resist stocking up on these with memories of a previous Finding Faith Tour!!) and I was ready to set out again... this time travelling south from Westport to Galway.
It was one of those luminous mornings. The road and verges glittered and rivers sparkled as I drove through tree-lined lanes and pastures dotted with sheep! There was, of course, a slight blip when my GPS took me to the wrong coffee shop but I eventually found my way to the right place where I connected with Pastor Jason Post from Galway City Baptist Church.
Originally from the US, Jason and his wife Mandy arrived here 15 years ago and are now Irish citizens. While chatting for a long time about the church in Galway, what strikes me most about Jason is his love for God. "Recently these thoughts have filled my head... of being able to bask in the radiance of God’s love for me in Christ," Jason tells me. "It fills me with joy and gives me a perspective to know that in Christ, I get to share in the love the Father has for the Son, in the Spirit."
On the road again and despite a few new rain showers, I'm pretty excited to discover that the M18 is now open, drastically cutting my journey time to Shannon. With a quick stop for lunch and another GPS blip, I eventually connect with Elton Good at Shannon Christian Church. We visited Elton a few years ago and it is exciting to see the progress that the church has made, transforming an old warehouse into a worship centre and community space. Their newest venture is the Hope Cafe where local people can enjoy barrista-style coffee. Elton has dreams of seeing this space used as a hub for community projects.
From Shannon, it's a short hop down to the centre of Limerick city where I meet Pawel and Kevin from Abundant Life Church. They are busy preparing for the official opening of their new church building "The Life Centre" on 19th May - in the old Smyth's Toy Store in Henry Street (right in the heart of Limerick city).
It is exciting to tour the new facility and to hear their vision for this thriving city-centre church. But one of the highlights of my day is chatting with Kevin and hearing the highs and lows of his faith-journey over the last 40+ years!
There is time for a quick wander along the quays before I head south to find my accommodation for the night in Croagh, Co. Limerick. I've been warned about the traffic south from the city but the roads are surprisingly clear.
Arriving at my B&B (to a very warm welcome), I'm stunned to see another beautiful rainbow. Perhaps God's faithfulness is the theme for today?