NOTE: my apologies for the lack of pictures–I have some, and I’ll try to post them tomorrow.
Yesterday morning we held our first assembly at the local public secondary school. We showed an introductory video made by our three senior guys; one of the group members shared a brief testimony; and we showed a video of The Father’s Love Letter while Megan and Carson performed “How He Loves.”
That last video/song combination had me in tears (and when they repeated it again in this morning’s assembly, it had the same effect). Sarah shortened the version of The Father’s Love Letter that is available online (just follow the link above) and then Maggie and Emily made videos of the two of them writing out key phrases from the shortened love letter in cool print/script combinations. Then they put all the videos in the correct order and sped them up. Originally they wanted to record voices onto the video reading the Love Letter aloud, but the size of the files prohibited this. They weren’t sure what to do, but then we had the grand idea of asking Megan to sing as Carson played “How He Loves.”
As I listened to Megan sing and read the words of the Father God—written to all of his rebellious creation—I thought, “Oh, if we could fully believe that this is who you are, Father, and then live in awe of this great love—what a difference it would make!”
The audiences during both yesterday’s and today’s assemblies went silent when the video began and Megan’s sang her first note. Please pray for the students’ hearts. Pray that they will remember the exact phrase that will most impact them and speak into their lives. Pray that the testimonies they’ve heard from the students will draw them to hope in God.
After assembly yesterday (Monday), we had our last day trip, riding the bus with Graeme (I think I misspelled his name last post—forgot about the Scottish spelling) to St. Andrews (home of the British Open). Graeme, an avid golfer himself, positioned all the students on the Swilcan Bridge, and told them that pictures on this bridge would make them the envy of any other golfer.
Then we were off to sights that I appreciated far more: a lovely chapel at St. Andrews University (someone was up in the organ loft practicing when we went on—an awesome experience); the ruins of the St. Andrews Cathedral—where we read gravestones and inscriptions and simply enjoyed being outside in the sunshine (first day of sunshine in WEEKS!); and then St. Andrews Castle, also in ruins. Oddly, several of the kids said this was their favorite castle, perhaps in part because they had to use their imaginations and clambering up and down ruins in the fresh air is wonderful. We were also able to descend the cliff to the skinny beach. Several of the kids got wet feet and pants, and Cameron, who’d never before seen the sea or ocean, had sand all in his boots, and I think his feet took hours to warm up, but he said he would do it again in a heartbeat.
On the way back to Livingston we stopped at Anstruther’s, well known for its fish and chips. They ARE really delicious, but we did notice a heart clinic right next door to the shop and when we mentioned this to one of the wait staff, she laughed but didn’t say anything!
We returned to the church and spent some time sharing testimony and praying for the next day (today), when our students would shadow students from the community high school all day.
I’m writing this now at the end of that day, Tuesday, a truly blessed day. After this morning’s assembly, the students went off to classes. At lunch we met in the library for Q Place (a weekly drop-in center Rob and another missionary run–the “Q” stands for “question”). Then we attended a senior level RMPS (Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies) class. The students were working on their senior dissertations on individually chosen ethical/religious questions. Our students separated to tables around the room, and the RMPS students joined them, asking about the Christian perspective on issues like abortion, organ harvesting, women’s rights, etc.
Every single discussion led to genuine conversation—to bonds being formed between the RMPS students and ours. It was beautiful.
I was proud of our students for several reasons:
-they didn’t turn a difference of opinion into a debate. They remembered that the point was not to be “proved right” but was to dialogue and share Christ and a biblical view (and to admit when they simply didn’t know or didn’t feel that there was a clear answer)
-they came to see the students across from them as real people much like themselves
-they wanted to continue to get to know these students. They didn’t simply want to share their views; they wanted to enter into true, respectful dialogue with the RMPS students.
-They were vulnerable and willing to share their own stories when they impacted the conversation or topic (today was a vivid lesson in how God can take our sorrows and difficulties and use them for good).
We had an early dinner in lovely Linlithgow, site of the castle where Mary, Queen of Scots was born. (The restaurant was The Four Marys, named after the Queen of Scots’ four handmaidens—who were all named “Mary.” Very interesting story.) Then we got the kids to their host families so they could get some rest.
Please pray for good rest. We are in the school part of each of the next two days, presenting at morning assembly (the student body is divided into four sections, with one section going to assembly each day) and then attending two RMPS classes. Wednesday night we will spend time with a youth group. Thursday afternoon we will attend another discussion group at the school and then a big party (called a calJO:JIO:JO) that we’ve invited as many local students to as possible. This is all very exciting—but it’s also exhausting, and we’re already tired. It’s a great time, though, for our students to see and know the power of the Holy Spirit. Please pray for us to rely on supernatural strength rather than our own.