I haven’t included any photos with this post, but Emily (daughter) put together a photoblog with a few of her best shots from each day. She’s a fantastic photographer, so if you’re interested, click on the link above.
We returned to Chicago yesterday, exhausted and, in the case of several of us, sick with colds or sinus infections.
But it was more than worth it. The opportunities our students had in this second week to really get to know the local teenagers and share their lives and faith with them were amazing. We told them to give all they had from morning to late night—they could sleep on the plane.
After Wednesday’s morning assembly, we went straight to another RMPS class. The students were studying the biblical account of creation, and we split into small groups and discussed with them. We were able to focus on the character of God/his love and care for his creation/his relationship with his creation rather than getting stuck on exact views of creation or who Cain married, etc. Conversations about the love of God for his creation—for us—naturally led to our students’ personal stories, and a few were able to share their own testimonies with their groups.
Side note: I’ve been praying that our students would sense the reality and power of the Holy Spirit on this trip, and several have said things like this to me: “I was asked a question that I had no answer to, but then, suddenly, I had an answer, and it was good!” I believe that this is more than good “thinking on your feet.” It’s God’s Spirit doing good work in and through us!
After our morning in the school we took the train into Edinburgh and had afternoon tea at historic Jenners on Princes Street (I called it “high tea” when talking to a Scotsman, and he corrected me; high tea involves a cooked/hot meal while afternoon tea involves the three-tiered tray with crustless sandwiches, scones with clotted cream [the students thought it was butter] and jam, and mini cakes and tarts.) After tea we visited Faith Mission College and learned about the program at this college that seeks to train its students for living out the Gospel. It would be a great gap-year possibility. If you’re interested, check out its website. Next we headed to St. John’s Church in Linlithgow to eat a meal cooked by the church’s youth worker, Lorna, and a small group of her youth and interns. Afterward we joined them at the project they visit every Wednesday night. The girls stayed at the Linlithgow Young People’s Project and played games with the youth who showed up while the guys went with the Project coordinators to a town three miles up the road to play football (soccer) with the youth from a scheme there (the equivalent of a housing project in the States). Following the youth time, we debriefed with Pamela and Graeme, the leaders of the project, and their insight was fantastic. It was good to see the perspective of people who work every day with kids who are in desperate need of love and care.
Thursday’s morning assembly was particularly special because we shared with the same students whose classes we’d been in, and because Megan, who already had a cold, persevered and sang through it. We had a little gap, so we went out for a Scottish breakfast and last-minute shopping, and then returned to the school for the lunch Bible study Rob and Jerry, another missionary, have been holding with the kids at the high school. During that study, one of the high school students asked one of our students, Sarah, how she could know Christ, and Sarah prayed with her. (Sarah had the opportunity, later that night, to pray with another student as well!) We went to another RMPS class and had small-group discussion about the students’ dissertation topics. Rob and Jerry also hold an after-school discussion group, so we attended that, then listened to a quick concert by the high school band, and headed to the church to help set up for the evening’s activities.
The first event was a traditional Scottish dinner of haggis, neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) shared with all the host families. Then it was time for the ceilidh (pronounced cay-lee). We’d been inviting students and youth group members to this all week, and we had no idea how many students would come. We didn’t do an official count, but we’re sure it was more than 50 and might have been as high as 75. We danced, led by caller Graeme (the same Graeme who works at the Linlithgow Young People’s Project), took a break to hear testimony from one of our students, and then danced more. The kids hung out till late before we got them back to host homes so they could pack and get at least a couple hours sleep before heading to the airport in the morning.
We’re grateful for an amazing trip and safe travels. Please continue to pray that the friendships started on this trip will continue, and that the seeds that were planted will bear fruit. Pray for Scotland.