Saturday, June 6, 2009


I have so much to say I don't know where to begin. I'll begin by saying: Ireland was fabulous! The people were friendly, the food was good, the places were beautiful, the services were Spirit filled, traveling was everyone else has been saying, "It was a life-changing trip."

Not only did we get to see beautiful countryside and amazing places but we met some amazing people. My most favorite part of the whole trip was establishing relationships with the people. Most of the friendships are with people from Mark and Deanna Mander's church. But I also met many wonderful people in the churches we sang in.

One person in particular to mention would be Andy. Andy was our bus driver every day of the tour. He's originally from Scotland but moved back to Ireland, his wife's home country, about a year ago. Andy quickly became someone I would call family. Having his kind and loving spirit around made our trip all the more wonderful. It was such a pleasure to meet him and get to know him. The night we sang at his church he wore his kilt. It was the neatest thing to see him in his traditional attire. He told me that he usually only wears it for special occasions. It was humbling to think that the GBS choir singing at his church was a "special occasion."

Andy's son was another special person we all got to know and love. His name is Philip, he's 22 and he has down syndrome. He and his mother, Eileen, were fortunate to make it to more than one choir service. Philip loved us just as much as we loved him. Every service they went to he took the same choir program with him. We gave him some CDs and Eileen said that night Philip slept with them under his arms. Sunday evening we gave him a progrom that we all signed. He absolutely loves that program. Eileen told me that since then he carries that thing with him everywhere and shows it off to everyone. Andy has laminated it so that it won't become worn. What an honor it is to be used by God to make an impact in the life of even one person.

Here are the McLellans: Eileen, Andy and Philip

Another precious family we met are the Stewart's. Wesley Stewart was our sound man. He came to every service, set up his sound equipment and managed it for us. He was a joy to have around! He was always so cheerful and encouraging. His wife's name is Lorna, and they have two daughters named Rebekah and Hannah. They were also able to come to more than one service. It was so nice to see them sitting in the audience, smiling and enjoying the presence of God.

The Stewarts (clockwise from left): Lorna, Wesley, Rebekah and Hannah

A dear couple who helped us out a few days of the tour was Rev. Eric and Yvonne Stewart. They are actually Wesley's parents. Rev. Stewart is the former senior pastor of Coleraine Independent Methodist Church, the church where Mark Mander is now the senior pastor. Their love for Jesus shines from their faces. Simply glancing at them during our services would give me an extra boost of energy to continue singing.

The Stewarts: Rev. Eric and Yvonne

Overall, the people were wonderful. These are just a few of whom I was able to establish relationships with. As we passed through each church I was able to meet many more wonderful people. It was so encouraging to sing to people who were hungry for the Lord's presence. Everywhere we went we were greeted with anticipation; almost as if we carried the presence of God with us. It makes me sad to think that many we sang to have never experienced His presence like they did during the services. Our expression of worship was very new to them.

I must say that there is nothing special about the GBS choir. Everything we do, we do for the glory and honor of God. We are simply instruments used by Him. I hope that we were able to effectively carry out the message of the Gospel through our singing. And I also hope that the people know that we aren't the only ones who carry God's presence with us, but that they can too.


Wayfaring Gypsy said...

Great blog -- loved the part about Phillip! It reminds me sooo much of my uncle, Kurt -- he's down syndrome too, and the way you described Phillip cherishing those CD's and the program sounds just like something Kurt would do. The simplicity with which they can love is so endearing! Thoroughly enjoyed your post Meg.

Brittany said...

Sounds like you had fun. I agree with you about towels and socks. When line drying you have to draw the line at towels and socks, but anythign else is fair game. =) How's your summer going?

Anonymous said...

Xcellent blog Megan! I'm so glad you enjoyed your tym over here in Ireland! The tour was def a blessing to many many ppl including myself! Trust that your ministry will be a long lasting impression over here! Trust that your having a gr8 break!

Alanna said...

Meg-Thanks for this...such dear wonderful people. Do you think about Ireland every day like I do - and long to go back??? Wow - what a time! :)

Megobuddy said...

Britt - My summer is going well. I have surgery on the 23rd, so that pretty much takes up my summer plans. Did you stay in Cincy?

Laney - Oh yes! I think about it all the time! I chat with everyone from time to time (that is Pete's comment above). It's interesting, since I was young my number one place to visit in the world was Australia. We had some friends over who went to Australia for three weeks and they shared their pictures and stories with us. After listening to all they had to say I would still have rather gone to Ireland than Australia. I found a shirt online that says, "I left my heart in Northern Ireland." I really wanted the shirt because it is so true! Hope you have a fabulous summer!

Alanna said...

Ooh - let me know where that shirt is - I would love to buy one too! :)

Megobuddy said...

Well, I just Googled "Shirts +Northern Ireland" and only found one seller that actually sold shirts specific for N. Ireland. Most of them weren't very appropriate. They were also only in men's sizes. I opted out of buying it.