Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Our 4th trip to Ireland...

Well, another trip to Ireland this last weekend.  We first went in August, then October, and in January...and now in March.  What a great blessing for us to be able to travel the entire mission which includes all of Scotland and Ireland.  Saturday we were in Dublin for a training meeting.  We had suggested to our supervisor that it would be a “brilliant” idea to have a training meeting for all the Employment Specialist in Ireland and then hold one in Scotland.  He agreed to the idea and confirmed that the idea was in fact “brilliant”.  (I should explain that the use of the word brilliant here is much different than at home.  At home one may say, “that is a great idea”.  Here one would say “that’s brilliant”.  Anyway, I digress…)

We drove to Cairnryan, Scotland (about 2 1/2 hour drive) on Friday to catch the ferry to Belfast.  The weather was not ideal, but on the way to Dublin (a 2 hour drive) we took a wee side trip to see some of the Irish countryside.  The weather was a wee bit overcast, but as you can see, the scenery is beautiful.
On Saturday in Dublin we met with the new Stake Employment Specialists (Donovan and Eva Bowen) from the Belfast Stake and the new Employment Specialist from the Limerick District (Joseph Peters).  We met in the Stake offices next to the Church Building.  The Dublin Stake Employment Specialists (Catherine and Terence Lamb) and our “boss” and his wife (Martin and Karen Gardner) from Birmingham also met with us.  We oriented the new specialists to their assignment and covered the purpose of what we do in the Employment Centres and how we teach individuals to be “economically self-reliant through employment, education, and self-employment”.   Catherine’s daughter, Rose catered in a delicious lunch for us.  All the participants left the meeting excited about their assignments and having a renewed effort to reach out to those in need.  That is the essence of our religion and the gospel of Jesus Christ – to reach out to the poor and those in need.  A man or woman who is able to work and is out of work, or needs better employment, is a person in need.

On the way to the ferry to go back to Scotland we drove through downtown Belfast. 

The downtown part of Belfast has been turned into a mostly pedestrian zone.  This was about 9:30 a.m. so the whole area was a no parking area - loading/unloading only.

This is looking down the street to the Belfast City Hall. 
I spoke with our boss this morning (he had to leave the meeting early on Saturday) and he encouraged us to work “one-on-one” with the new specialists so it looks like we will be going back to Ireland in June.  (What a tough assignment we have --  we must go back to Ireland in June)   ;)
On Monday we caught the ferry back to Carinryan and instead of driving back on the motorway we decided to take a "scenic route".  It turned out to be a lot longer drive than anticipated as we took some detours to see some small villages and then we were also diverted because of the road being closed for repaving.  The trip took about 4 hours to return back to Edinburgh.
We drove from Cairnryan towards Dumfries but took a side road to Newton Stewart...a small village in southern Scotland.  At this point we are only about 20 miles from the Scotland/England border. 

The area is a big area for raising sheep.  The farmers have brought their sheep closer to the farms (down from the higher hills) for two reasons - getting ready for shearing and for lambing.  Most of the fields were filled with new lambs.  In one small pasture we saw at least 25-30 lambs.  As you can see...it is beautiful country!!

Next week's post will be about our upcoming trip this weekend to Oban...on the West coast of Scotland.  Now that we are in April all the castles have re-opened up for the tourists and we will start doing more traveling to historical sites.

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