Hitting the Fast Track

Everything has been moving so fast, it is already October! With two of our module classes ending, Julia and I are busy working to finish papers and readings. One paper down and another to go before the week is up. However, though we are disciplined in our studies we still can enjoy our new friends and environment, in Scotland.

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Memorial at the Battle of Bannockburn

Our weekly trips with Jimmy and Helen have recently taken place, allowing for Julia and myself to see more of Scotland. Last week, Jimmy and Helen took us to Bannockburn. Here, Julia and I got to go through a 3D tour involving the historical facts of the battle. It did not stop there, however, at the end of the tour, they divided us into two groups as they lead us into the battle room. Inside the battle room, I was honored to be crowned King of Scotland, for this virtual battle. My opponent was none other than the Queen of England, who just so happened to be Julia. My defeat, to Queen Julia in the Bannockburn battle simulation just proved the strategic mastery of Robert the Bruce.

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Remains of Antonine Wall

After visiting the battlefield, Jimmy and Helen took us to a section of the Antonine Wall, the furthest North point of the Roman Empire. Unexpectedly, the ruins of this wall is not really anything to resemble what was a wall, however, it resembles a large ditch. There is believed to be a wooden fence at the top of the ditch.

With traveling and homework our schedules seem to be packed, however, we manage to always fit time into fellowship with our new friends in the congregation through gathering together, Kids Club, or CY. This past Friday, CY went to the go-kart track! That was a rush! Overall, I placed 7th out of 18, and Julia finished right behind me.

Until next time,
Jordan King

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Kids Club

For the past few weeks, Jordan and I have gotten to help out with Kids Club. With the help of others, Jordan usually does the games and I do the craft. This past week, because Beth was gone in America, Jordan told the story. This week the kids learned about the angel Gabriel and his appearance to Mary, proclaiming that she would have a son. The kids really engaged and answered questions well. Helping with Kids Club has been really good, but it really struck me this weekend how beneficial it has been to me. Going into Kids Club every week, I usually had an attitude of “What can the kids learn?” but I have come to realize that it’s just as important for me to ask “What can I learn from the kids today?” One thing that really stood out to me was the seeds of faith being sown in the lives of these young kids. Many receive these truths with open arms, and clearly grasp some really big concepts. Something I’ve noticed is that kids are a lot better at trusting. They have a seemingly easier time in trusting God, His Word, and those who tell them about the truths of God. It is encouraging to see people accepting the truth of God without always having to ask “why?” While doing the craft with the kids, they asked really good honest questions about angels. It’s always good answering questions of children, because you have to articulate what you believe very simply. I am so thankful that we are able to partake in a vibrant church body, with activities throughout the week!

Julia Lodder

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Intense!

​Wow, this past week was a handful! It all started, on an island far away from home with two people who I do dare call my new friends. The three of us set off on a wonderful adventure! So, we gathered ourselves and away we went, to Loch Lubnaig. On the way, we stopped and observed these majestic creatures. Everything they did was astonishing! That is right, you guessed it… Highland Cows!!

With our journey continuing we stopped at Loch Lubnaig for coffee, food, and to enjoy the nice scenery.

Everything was going so well until Julia took “shotgun” on the way back. At this moment, I ripped my shorts! However, this was child’s play in the realm of bad news compared to what was to come later that week. Yes, the day, unfortunately, came when one of my friends left, gone for two weeks on holiday. Sad, sad times to come upon Julia and me. This, however, was counteracted by the guest appearance of our Life of Paul professor Rev Stephen McCollum. Let me tell you, that this man knows his stuff. Julia and I were engaged in an intense three-day session of long hours with Stephen on the life and works of Paul. I have not been disappointed at all with the classes here on the program! To cap off the week Julia and I took another adventure with Jimmy and Helen today to Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

I have loved my time so far here in Scotland, especially with the people that are surrounding me within the church and the program. Needless to say, this week was INTENSE!

Jordan King

Reformation Tour

This past week flew by! Although I couldn’t possibly give you all a comprehensive review of everything we did on our Reformation Tours, I am going to share some of my favorite moments! We are so thankful to God for good weather and good health, and that we were able to enjoy the week and learn more about Him and His people as we did. Jimmy and Helen are so knowledgeable and passionate about the reformations, so that made the trips even better.

On our first day of the tour, we travelled east from Airdrie to Edinburgh. At the end of the day, Jordan and I went to Edinburgh Castle and explored there for a couple of hours. It was way bigger than I had ever imagined, and from the top we had beautiful views of the city below.

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Edinburgh Castle

On the second day of our tours, we travelled to the southwest of Scotland. We did not have to travel far for our first stop, which is pictured below. The statue depicted here is of James Douglas, Earl of Angus. He was the first colonel of the Cameronian Regiment, which was raised up as part of the British Army in 1689. The Cameronians were followers of Richard Cameron, who was known as ‘the Lion of the Covenant.’ They, too, were Covenanters, and fought for their right to follow their faith. This regiment actually looked more like a Presbyterian congregation than a military unit, and was active until 1881.

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Statue of James Douglas, Earl of Angus

One of the most impactful sites for me that we visited was the site of the Battle of Drumclog. Drumclog is in the countryside, as depicted in the picture below. The Covenanters worshipped in fields, known as conventicles, because they couldn’t worship in churches, for they had refused to acknowledge the king as the head of the church. On June 1, 1679, the Covenanters were listening to a sermon on suffering for Christ’s sake, when they were alerted of approaching troops. These troops were led by John Graham of Claverhouse and his Dragoons, known to be fierce warriors. Although outnumbered and out-armored, the Covenanters actually won the battle, because the Dragoons’ horses got stuck in the boggy ground. I cannot imagine undergoing such persecution, and humbled at the witness of these people, who at the time did not think they were doing anything extraordinary, but simply worshipping God.

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The site of the Battlefield at Drumclog. To the right is the hill to which the women and children fled prior to the battle.

The next day we headed out to the Highlands of Scotland. One cannot help but stand in awe at the majesty of God’s creation when entering such a beautiful place! We spent some time at Glencoe, a place full of history and scenic views.

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Glencoe, termed “the weeping glen” because of the large amount of waterfalls.

We were blessed with such beautiful weather throughout the week, which made our trips even more enjoyable! Here is a picture of Jordan overlooking part of Loch Lomond.

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Jordan at Loch Lomond

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Loch Lomond

Our last day was spent in Glasgow, a 25-minute train ride from Airdrie. We learned a lot about Glasgow, which got its name from a Gaelic word meaning “green valley.” The city was founded by Mungo, a missionary to the area in the 500s. He followed the river, landed in the center of what we now know to be Glasgow, and started his ministry there for several years. He is now venerated as a saint. The picture below is of the Necropolis, a well-known cemetery in Glasgow. Prior to the building of the cemetery, a statue of John Knox was erected there, as pictured in the center.

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The statue in the center is of John Knox, at the Necropolis overlooking Glasgow.

On Saturday, Beth took Jordan and I on a little adventure, which landed us at Loch Lubnaig. We are so thankful for Beth and everything she has done for us already! Our experience in Scotland would be so different without her.

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A highland cow near Loch Lubnaig

Julia Lodder

Let the Tours Begin

The Semester in Scotland program has so far been a fantastic growing experience! This week we are half way through our Reformation of Scotland tours, site seeing all around Scotland where there are famous Covenanting spots. Jimmy and Helen, who are our tour guides are the best people for the job! They take you to hidden treasures throughout Scotland. We just finished our brief classroom lessons with Jimmy on the Covenanters, so being able to visit these historic places are extremely humbling and emotional.

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Jimmy Fisher explaining the significance of a monument.

On Wednesday, the group could fit taking a small stop to my own ancestor’s farm that he lived at. This was a great experience to be able to stand where my ancestor stood centuries ago. Jimmy and Helen are so flexible and considerate when giving these tours. If they think it can work with the schedule they will try their best to make it happen.

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My ancestor’s farm

Along with taking a personal stop for me, the group has also visited martyr sites, memorials, and tombstones throughout central and southern Scotland. One story that is very touching is that of the “Two Margret’s”. These accounts of faith in Christ, that was the backbone in the reformation in Scotland, are such beautiful things to come and learn about – a country not allowing their religion to be suppressed. The powerful leadership that was in place to do God’s work in the Reformation is amazing. Reading about this and talking about it in a classroom is one thing, however, when you go out and see where these events took place, standing where men and women stood their ground for their belief and for God is astonishing!

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Where the two Margarets were martyred.

We are only two days into our tour, and I have learned and seen so much! I am excited to keep moving and growing through this program and cannot wait to tell you guys more, next time.

Jordan King

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First Week

Wow! What a first week and a half! Though I have so much to write about, this blog post is going to be about our Young Adults Weekend in Northern Ireland.

On Friday morning, Jordan and I departed Glasgow Central train station to begin our journey to Northern Ireland. We arrived in Ayr, where we then took a bus to Cairnryan. At Cairnryan, we boarded the ferry to Belfast. Now, I’ve ridden a lot of ferries in my lifetime – but this was unlike any one I’d ever been on. It consisted of 10 floors: including a spa, a cinema, several restaurants, and a vast array of seating options. The ride to Belfast was beautiful: the sun was out, the sea was calm, and the views were spectacular. Upon our arrival in Belfast, Jordan and I had a few hours to explore the city, and that we did! We got to walk through the many shops and buskers in the city center, and visited the Titanic museum.

Upon our arrival at the Young Adults Weekend, which is put on by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland, we heard our first lecture from Pastor Philip Dunwoody. The weekend’s messages were based on Haggai. The center of Haggai’s message, as we learned in the first lecture, was this: “in a day of small things, don’t neglect one crucial thing: the kingdom of God.” Haggai’s message to the Israelites from God was that they had to rebuild the temple, as they had returned from the exile 18 years earlier – they had plenty of time to do so. They were to witness to those around them by building in Jerusalem – and we also are to witness, as the living church, with a faith that is evident and energetic, and in every part of our lives. All of Philip’s talks were thought-provoking, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to YAW at the beginning of my semester here in Scotland. Some main points from another of Philip’s talks were also drawn from Haggai: don’t be intimidated by your past; be strengthened for your challenging present; and be assured of your glorious future. I can’t think of a better message for the beginning of a new adventure abroad! We also had two great seminars: one on Christian friendship, and one on transgenderism. I am so thankful for the opportunity to interact with believers of my age from across the world, and for the new friendships. The Psalm singing was really powerful, seeing the beauty of Northern Ireland was wonderful, and the faithful witness of so many believers was evident.

Julia Lodder

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The ferry from Cairynryan to Belfast.

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Belfast City Hall

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Annalong, NI – Saturday walk during free time with new friends

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Northern Ireland

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The RP church we worshipped at in Newry on Sunday.

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Everyone who was at the weekend.

Settling In

Jordan and Julia games

Welcome home, Jordan. Airdrie and the RP Church of Airdrie have made it their mission in making my new home for the semester nothing short of my home away from home. Immediately you feel part of the community whether it is from game night, being invited to people’s houses for tea, Sunday services, or the kids club, you are guaranteed to receive a warm welcome from everyone.

Within my first week here I have had the opportunity to visit homes of the members in the congregation. Enjoying conversation, games, and tea this was a fast track way to feel embraced from the RP community. Going to a new church may be uneasy at times, but I was welcomed with open arms and had wonderful conversations with everyone. It feels that I have been a member of this community for months rather than just one week!

It was a blessing to be introduced to the youth of Airdrie and the RP Church while studying God’s Word together. It was wonderful to see the interaction shared between the youth. I was surprised with the interaction I had with the kids considering I was a completely new person to them. Learning about the story of Esau and Jacob, the kids were interactive and attentive throughout the lesson. Watching them make similar arms to that of what Esau had was both entertaining and exciting.

I am looking forward to the exciting adventures that are ahead of us in such a beautiful country. With this being my first experience away from the states, I feel that this has been a great cause of spiritual and character growth in a short time. I am excited for I know that there is more to come!

Jordan King

Meet the Autumn 2017 Students

The Autumn Semester in Scotland students arrive this week!  Jordan is a student at Geneva College, and Julia is a student at Providence Christian College in California who has enrolled in Geneva’s Semester in Scotland programme.  Please keep them in your prayers for safe travels, and that they would settle in well.  Here is some more about them:

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Jordan with niece.

Jordan King
I’m from a smaller town south of Pittsburgh called Washington. I have been privileged to travel some throughout the United States, never over seas. I attend church at Covenant Life Fellowship, a non-denominational church. I am in my second year, enrolled in Geneva College’s secondary education social studies program. I’m thankful to have the time and opportunity to play men’s tennis for the school.

 

 

 

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Julia in Israel

Julia Lodder
I am from a small town in Washington state, a few minutes away from the Pacific Ocean and a few minutes away from the Canadian border. I attend Providence Christian College, which is in Southern California. I am studying History and Humanities, and, Lord willing, I will graduate this coming May! In my spare time at school I work at a coffee shop, make short films with friends, and play trumpet and guitar. Last October, I became a member of the Los Angeles RP Church.

Final Reflections – Ethan

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As the Spring Semester in Scotland comes to a close, there are plenty of things to do. Finishing up papers, reviewing our flight information, and packing are just a few. There have already been many goodbyes and final adventures with the friends we have made here. Kara and I are both sad to go but excited to be home and see our friends and family who have been praying for us during our time away. This final blog contains some of my personal reflections on the Semester in Scotland programme, what I have learned, the adventures I have had during my semester here, and my thought on returning home.

Upon arriving in Scotland in January I had this surreal feeling, almost as if I was in a dream. I mean, I was in Scotland and just a few months before I had no idea if I would even have the option of coming here. That surreal feeling is now how I feel towards going home. I keep thinking to myself “Really? I’m going to be home in two days?” Part of me is anxious about going home. I keep thinking about how different things might be. My little sisters are growing up so fast and many of my friends at school have graduated. I have no clue when I will next see some of them. This semester has really made me consider how time marches on; there is no way of slowing its pace or prolonging its inevitable effects. Initially this was a thought that stressed me out midway through the semester. Fortunately, through my classes and the sermons at Airdrie RP, the Lord has given me peace by reminding me that He is coming soon: as time marches on the day of His return is ever closer.

My classes this semester have helped me attain a better grasp on the finer parts of reformed theology, the foundations of the Presbyterian church, the line of Scottish and English kings and queens, my own family’s history, and much more. I am very thankful for the time that our professors took to answer any questions that Kara and I might have had. The fact that the only two students in the program were Kara and I and that our classes mostly took place in the church made me feel a bit like I was back in homeschool. Of course, it is a quite different as I never had the opportunity to travel Europe while in homeschool!

Traveling around Germany and Austria was particularly fantastic. Remarkably exhausting, but fantastic. Seeing places like Castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, the Reichstag Building, the Von Trapp Villa, Castle Church, Nymphenburg Palace, and many others was amazing and surprisingly inexpensive. The total cost of the trip was less than half of the cost of a plane ticket from Pennsylvania to Germany.

I am still wrapping my head around the fact that in two days time I will be three thousand miles away from castles, lochs, haggis, and all the friends I have made in Scotland. I know that I will miss all these things. So much so that one day, when the Lord allows, I know I will come back. I am sure that when I do, I will be anxious again about how much will have changed and how time will have marched on. I pray the Lord will give me peace again and remind me that no matter how much things change here on Earth, He is eternal and unchangeable and He is coming soon.

So long, Scotland.

Ethan Masters

Final Reflections – Kara

It probably won’t surprise you to hear this, but I can honestly say that I can’t believe that the semester is already ending. It seems so recent that we were just arriving here….although at the same time, January seems like ages ago! It’s when I think back to those first couple weeks here in Airdrie that I can really see how we’ve changed during our time here. I suppose that’s the way it often is in the Christian’s life—you don’t always see what God is doing in your life at the time, but when you look back you can see worlds of difference. One thing that has remained true though is something that I wrote during my first week here, and which I’d forgotten about until I was scrolling back through blog posts just now:

The beauty in the landscapes and buildings around us are nothing compared to the magnificence of our Creator, and I am reminded of that each time I look at a loch or a field or a castle. An artist is always present in his artwork and if one is aware of that, glimpses of God are everywhere. No more is God revealed though than in the hospitality and friendship of the people whom we have met in the church and many whom we have met in town or on our travels. It really is true that the body of Christ transcends distance, age, gender, culture…and whatever else marks differences by earthly measurements. Even upon meeting people for the first time I was aware of the relationship that I already have with them as brothers and sisters in Christ, and the fellowship is that much sweeter.

A couple of the people that I was talking to after our last evening worship service last night touched on this point as well. We were discussing how, as a Christian, you always hear about and pray for “the wider church” as a vague term, knowing that you have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ out there in the world, but they aren’t quite real people in your mind until you go and visit them. When you do, you’re amazed by how easily you can partake in fellowship with them. But you don’t have to go to Scotland to realize this, or even any other country outside of your own; this can be realized in your own town, county, or state when you become intentional about joining with other Christians in fellowship.

God has done so many things in my life over the past four months. Among others, He’s brought me into a better state of self-discipline, He’s given me confidence in my identity and personality, He’s brought me closer to Ethan and shown us areas we need to work on in our relationship, He’s allowed me so many opportunities to travel, and He’s provided me with a wealth of new friends. Not only am I extremely sad to say goodbye to these friends, but when I think forward to returning to America—settling into Beaver Falls for the summer and schoolyear, starting up work and classes, resuming my extracurricular schedule—I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that all this work that God is doing here in my life will come to an end. It’s true that the atmosphere of our studies here has been designed to give us the time and space to deepen our relationship with God and cultivate good habits in our spiritual lives, and I’ll be robbed of some of that time and space when I start up school at Geneva again, but I’m comforted by the knowledge that the same God who is with me here will be with me wherever I go. If you’d like to pray for me, I’d love prayer that I will recognize this when I’m back in Beaver Falls and will continue to train myself to be godly, seek opportunities to serve God, travel, and invest in friendships.

Thank you so much to the people of the Airdrie RP Church: you are amazing at welcoming people and being hospitable; I so admire your willingness to do it semester after semester, summer after summer, and year after year! Like Pastor Andrew spoke on last night in evening worship, the little things really do matter, and you’ve shown me that in so many ways. The same goes for the other friends we’ve made in Scotland from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stornoway, and elsewhere; hope to see you all again soon!

Thanks so much to my friends and family back home: your prayers and contact over the semester were so appreciated. See you all soon!!

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Kara Kauffman

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