Kitty Williams, Director of Music Ministries

My husband Wally and I have three adult children who love to travel.

Perhaps they developed that love from all the many choir tours of their youth.

Our oldest daughter, in particular, has a knack for finding great deals.

She will often call and say, “Mom, I found a great deal on tickets to … Do you and Daddy want to come!?!?”

These destinations included places like Panama, Iceland, Belize, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Jordan, St. Petersburg and more. 

Most of the time, we would have to decline the invitation because of our church commitments. 

This year, however, the invitation came at an opportune time, so we accompanied them.

Our first port-of call was Ireland.

Because we traveled on Portuguese Airlines, we spent time in Portugal, too!

Both are beautiful countries with beautiful and kind people.

Both countries are rich in complex history.
Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle because of the lush green vegetation.

Dividing the fields are stacked stone walls. Some of these walls are fairly new. But many are prehistoric.

My mind could barely fathom the generations of people who lived on this land.

We visited many very old historic sites.

The Franciscan friary known as Muckross Abbey is vivid in my memory.

There is a yew tree believed to be from the 15th century.

The tree survived the massacre and torching of the abbey led by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century.

As I wondered how the tree survived, I wondered why an army would want to kill and burn down the home of peaceful monks.
Visiting Ireland made my vague historic understanding come alive.

I am amazed at all the hardships of the Irish, and how they survive and thrive just like that yew tree in the abbey.
Our journey continued to Sintra, Portugal.

The history and architecture of this town is remarkable. The details baffling. The history opulent.

There were so many fortresses and palaces.

Plaques and brochures informed us of who built what during their dynasty.
As I wandered the halls and beautiful gardens of each place, a phrase from a song, repeated itself in my mind:

Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there’s something about that name. 
Sometimes watching the news can be unsettling.

I find hope when I read the verses in the scripture stating: 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. 
Take time to read Psalm 145. Verses 13-14 state: 

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. 

The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.

The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down. 

I’m thankful that the one everlasting kingdom is God’s Kingdom of mercy and love! 

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