Teach and help one another along the right road with psalms and hymns and Christian songs, singing God’s praises with joyful hearts. – Colossians 3:16 J.B. Phillips Translation

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Home to Ireland

Early in 1995 Larry received a letter from Northern Ireland. The gentleman who wrote the letter was a member of what was then, the Royal Ulster Constabulary. He was a law enforcement officer. More important, he was a believer in Jesus Christ.

Stephen Lynas had watched as many of the Gaither Homecoming videos as were available at the time. He loved Jesus and gospel music and the Gaither Homecoming videos. Stephen wrote and asked Larry about coming to Northern Ireland for some concerts. He was not a pastor or music minister, just a believer who loved his church family and wanted us to come and share our lives with them.

You have to understand, there were no contracts, there was no budget, no hard and fast plans. He just asked us to come. In December 1995, we flew into Belfast.

Larry is a Ford – very Irish – on his father’s side of the family, and a Kennedy – very Irish – on his mother’s side of the family. As we circled the Belfast Airport, I looked out and, in the middle of December, the countryside really was emerald green. It was so beautiful. It occurred to me, Larry was returning to the country from which his people had come. I leaned over and asked, “Does it feel kind of like you’re coming home?” He turned his face from the plane window back to me. There were tears running down his cheeks. Clearly, he was coming home.

We spent about ten days in Northern Ireland. Tea, to us sounds like a cup of tea and some cookies. That is not what tea is in Northern Ireland. We had about five or six services in different churches in the area. At every single church, there was “tea”. Tea is actually a meal, with sandwiches, fruit, cheese and almost always, Pavlova. Oh, my goodness! Look it up. We sang and ate our way all over Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is not a big place. The entire island of Ireland is about the size of the State of Indiana.
But imagine our shock to be walking the streets of Belfast and have someone call out, “Larry! Larry Ford!”
Because of the Gaither Homecoming videos, Larry was recognized by people on the streets of Belfast and some of the small surrounding towns. He was welcomed like a son returning home.

We met people and made friends who have become dear to us over the years. Stephen Lynas is at home with the Lord. His precious wife Marie, is now a longtime friend. His children, Ronda, Sharon, Gary, and Paul are friends with our children. Helen and Jim Gilliland and their daughter, Victoria, are like extended family. Nearly twenty-five years ago our very first website was designed and hosted by Alex McWilliams. We can’t name all the people we’ve met and become friends with on our many trips to Northern Ireland.

This cd, From the Heartland of Ireland, was recorded live in Belfast at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle. From traditional Irish and Welsh hymns like O, For a Closer Walk with God and Here is Love to Stuart Townend’s contemporary hymn, How Deep the Father’s Love For Us, this recording is rich with Irish instruments and melodies.

Belfast Airport

We spent about ten days in Northern Ireland. Tea, to us sounds like a cup of tea and some cookies. That is not what tea is in Northern Ireland. We had about five or six services in different churches in the area. At every single church, there was “tea”. Tea is actually a meal, with sandwiches, fruit, cheese and almost always, Pavlova. Oh, my goodness! Look it up. We sang and ate our way all over Northern Ireland.

Pavlova

Northern Ireland is not a big place. The entire island of Ireland is about the size of the State of Indiana.
But imagine our shock to be walking the streets of Belfast and have someone call out, “Larry! Larry Ford!”
Because of the Gaither Homecoming videos, Larry was recognized by people on the streets of Belfast and some of the small surrounding towns. He was welcomed like a son returning home.

We met people and made friends who have become dear to us over the years. Stephen Lynas is at home with the Lord. His precious wife Marie, is now a longtime friend. His children, Ronda, Sharon, Gary, and Paul are friends with our children. Helen and Jim Gilliland and their daughter, Victoria, are like extended family. Nearly twenty-five years ago our very first website was designed and hosted by Alex McWilliams. We can’t name all the people we’ve met and become friends with on our many trips to Northern Ireland.

This cd, From the Heartland of Ireland, was recorded live in Belfast at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle. From traditional Irish and Welsh hymns like O, For a Closer Walk with God and Here is Love to Stuart Townend’s contemporary hymn, How Deep the Father’s Love For Us, this recording is rich with Irish instruments and melodies.

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