Trip to London (Part Two)

Prior to our week in London, I had a very romanticized view of what the city would be like. I often have done this before I visit cities: I read about them, watch movies or TV shows about them, and see Instagram posts about them. These pictures never live up to reality. Much to my delight, so much of what I had pictured and imagined London to be was real. It is a city rich with history and it really is a bookworm’s delight!

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The history of London as an established city goes back to the Roman occupation of their client-kingdom, Brittania. Small tribes dwelt on the Thames for millennia before this period, but London wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the Romans. Around 43 AD, London became a central port for the Romans. It was strategically located on the River Thames (pictured above) and at the center of several Roman roads. London has grown into a city of 8.8 million people and its significance has only grown over the last two thousand years.

Although Jordan’s blog post was about our first two days in London and our day of Oxford, I thought I’d include a few of my favorite pictures from these days.

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Westminster Abbey

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One of the Horse Guards

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The British Museum

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The West End at night

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The Radcliffe Camera at Oxford

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Oxford

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The dining hall at Christ Church College, Oxford

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Christ Church College, Oxford

On Thursday, we braved the Underground and made our way to the Tower of London. It was a brisk and sunny day. We began the day with a Yeoman Warder (Royal Bodyguards) tour, which proved to be highly entertaining.

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In 1066 William the Conqueror, a Norman, became King William I of England. He built a royal palace and fortress in the east of the city, now known as the White Tower, on top of an old Roman fortress. For the subsequent 500 years, this building was expanded upon and dwelt in by the kings and queens.

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The White Tower

In 1220, 13 towers with inner defensive walls were built around the white tower. Then, in 1280 an outer defensive wall was built with 6 more towers. A 120-foot-wide moat was built all the way around, using the tidal flow of the Thames, by an expert from Holland.

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The Tower of London is fascinating because it’s been a royal mint, a royal armory, and a royal zoo, among other things.

This palace complex became a well-known prison complex, and between the 12th and 18th centuries there were a lot of executions.

Thomas More was held in the strongest tower because he didn’t acknowledge the king as the head of the church. He was subsequently executed, in 1535.

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The Yeoman Warders and their families live in the tower complex and are locked in at 10pm daily. The Crown Jewels of England are held in the Tower to this day.

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Tower Bridge

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Caitlin and I exploring the Tower

After a wonderful time at the Tower of London, we made our way to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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Taxis are realllyyyyyy long in England

Pictures were not allowed inside, so this is the only picture you’ll see from me of St. Paul’s. Pictures wouldn’t even begin to display the majesty of this structure, so I was okay with not taking any.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is Christopher Wren’s masterpiece of church architecture, built after the Great Fire. It was designed as an Anglican cathedral in the shape of a cross. The dome, as you can see above, is the natural heart of the building and the center of worship today. This is actually the only dome on an English cathedral. The quire, where the clergy and choir are seated, is where worship through music is centered and is positioned in front of the high altar, which faces the rising sun. The mosaics on the ceiling above the quire portray God’s creation and the fall and redemption of humankind. They were done in the Byzantine style, and have a glorious shimmering effect when hit by light. We got to sit in the quire when we went to an Evensong service, and it was a really incredible experience and something I’ll cherish for a long time.

One of the things I found interesting about the cathedral was a video illustration called “Martyrs.” This is the first video illustration in any cathedral, done by contemporary American artist Bill Viola. Fascinating, as it uses art as a shared language and slows down video to deepen our perception of who we’ve become. Here’s a link to the video if you’re interested in seeing what I’m writing about: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/video/2014/may/21/bill-viola-martyrs-video-st-pauls-cathedral

On Friday, we began our day at the National Gallery.

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Here, we saw the art of medieval, renaissance, and baroque masters. The collection was extensive. We were there for two hours, and I felt like we barely scratched the surface! My favorite pieces I got to see were by Klimt, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Monet.

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We then made our way in the cold to Covent Garden, which was all decorated for Christmas.

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We made it back to Scotland safely on Friday night, and the next morning it seemed as though winter suddenly appeared!

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We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with friends on Saturday, and indeed have so much to be thankful for!

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Julia Lodder

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Trip to London (Part One)

Hey everyone!  Sorry that I have not posted lately, but I am still trying to grasp our amazing week in London that was part of our Humanities class. This was a great week all around, but I just want to talk about the busy first three days. Day one, we took off from the gate, and as soon as we got off the plane and got into London we went to the British Library and the Museum of London. It was so fantastic to see many original manuscripts such as: The Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, and Shakespeare First Folio to just name a few. The Museum of London was amazing! They had an exceptional Roman section that you can just get lost in. This was a great way to spend the first day, allowing us to dive into the rich history of London. Day two was no different. Up early, we hit the streets of London as we adventured into the Underground. Peak time plus the Underground equals mass confusion as well as mass people! We eventually all were able to pack onto the train as we headed to Westminster. We were able to take a tour of the Houses of Parliament. This tour was great in allowing us insight into the political status of London. The building…no words could describe, much like numerous buildings we were in this week. After we had our tour and witnessed the entrance of the guest speaker for the House of Commons we ventured across the street to Westminster Abbey. What a magnificent architectural structure! It blows you away to think that this building was built in 1097!!! We took an audio tour seeing the burial sites while learning of the history of the Abbey.

After leaving the Abbey we walked from Trafalgar Square down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. This was a great walk seeing many buildings and sights London has to offer. The palace itself was a fascinating building. Afterwards, we made our way to the British Museum. This place was massive and filled with countless major historical artifacts. To sum up hours spent there observing all it had to offer, some major highlights were: the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, Lewis Chessmen, countless sets of armor and weapons throughout the ages, mummies, Oxus Treasure, Hoa Hakananai’a, and many Greco-Roman artifacts. Needless to say, if you get a chance to go to London, even if you are not a huge fan of museums, you need to make sure you put this on your list of places to go. Just to do a brief recap of the past two days in London, they were jam-packed filled with exciting cultural immersion in its history and architecture. On our third day, Wednesday, we took a day trip to the one and only, Oxford. There was so much to see in Oxford you could practically spend at least another full day there, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan. Once in Oxford, we took a bus tour to get a great overview of the history and scenery. We were able to explore: the Oxford Museum, the Bodleian Library, and Christ Church College. The Bodleian Library and Christ Church College were my highlights of Oxford. The Bodleian Library was so enriching to learn about and explore! Then going to Christ Church College was spectacular, seeing the history and buildings. Without a doubt these first three days were exhausting, with recording walking nearly thirty miles! I was so happy and excited to see everything that I would have walked another 30 miles if needed! I think everyone enjoyed their time in London just as much as I did.

Until next time,

Jordan King

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Day 1: British Library

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Day 1: Museum of London

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Day 1: St. Paul’s Cathedral at night

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Day 1: Globe Theater

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Day 2: Fixing up Big Ben

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Day 2: House of Parliament

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Day 2: a section of Westminster Abbey

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Day 2: London Eye (got you taking a selfiem Julia)

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Day 2

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Day 2: Buckingham Palace

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Day 2: British Museum

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Day 2: Rosetta Stone

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Day 2: Hoa Hakananai’a

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Day 3: Oxford

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Day 3: Entrance for the Bodleian Library tour

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Ceiling at Bodleian Library entrance

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Day 3: Oxford Museum

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Day 3: (left to right) Diskobolos of Myron c. 460-440 BC., Syon Aphrodite, first c. AD.

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Day 3: part of Christ Church College

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Day 3: Dinning Hall, Christ Church College (model for the dinning hall used for Harry Potter)

 

 

Saturday Sightseeing

Although there have been so many things to write home about this semester (it’s true, ask my mother), some of the biggest blessings have been the most unexpected ones. I know Jordan will agree when I say that God has blessed us so richly with the gift of friendship with people here in Scotland! Everybody has been so welcoming and inclusive, and we really feel like we are part of the church family here in Airdrie. One of the ways we get to enjoy this gift of friendship is on Saturday trips with Beth. We get to enjoy God’s beautiful creation, good food, and scintillating conversations. We went to Crieff, Killin, Ben Lawers, Aberfeldy, Loch Tay (and some other places along the way).

Julia Lodder

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Our first stop, Loch Earn. It was the perfect day to be outside!

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We spent some time at the Falls of Dochart.

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We drove up the mountain (Ben Lawers) and enjoyed lunch with some beautiful views

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Jordan at Ben Lawers, with snow in the distance!

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Jordan with his friends at Loch Tay

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Loch Tay

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Coffee time after a cold day!

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Falls of Dochart

Moments to be Cherished Forever

About a week or two ago, Julia and I just finished our Humanities modular class with Professor Tim Donachie. This course was as intense as they come. However, I was able to gain much insight and knowledge on Scotland and England throughout their extensive history. During this week with Dr. Donachie, we all went on a trip to the Robert Burns’ birthplace museum. This was a fascinating museum! There were a lot of objects displayed and interactive areas within the museum. We were also able to explore the gardens, his cottage, his monument, and the Brig O’ Doon. Overall, this week with Dr. Donachie was exhausting but impactful.  The following week we were back to an almost normal routine of classes. With Beth and Ian being away for the week, Julia and I stepped up to run Kids Club and CY. Both went well, and it seemed that the kids loved it. Playing a role within this congregation like we have been –  for me has been great. Not only does it allow us to impact the lives of the youth and adults in the congregation, it really opens you up to be equally impacted by every individual. So much so that you have a marathon of movies, deep discussions, or even the silly ones where people cannot stop laughing. These past few weeks have been filled with an abundance of knowledge, sightseeing, and moments that will stay with me forever.

Until next time,
Jordan

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Robert Burns’ Memorial

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Brig O’ Doon featuring Julia walking away

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Robert Burns’ Birthplace Museum. Front to back: Jimmy, Helen, Dr. Tim Donachie, Mrs Donachie, myself, and Julia

Julia’s Autumn Break

Over the fall break, my friend April visited. We had a very busy week, seeing and experiencing many things in Scotland. Although we spent lots of time in cities, one of the highlights for me was our mid-week trip to Dumbarton Castle. The train ride to get there was pleasant and the rain held off for our outdoor adventures. It was so refreshing to be outside and experience a sliver of Scotland’s history.

The castle is situated on a large volcanic rock and overlooks the River Clyde. When we were there, we learned that recorded history of occupation on the rock (as a fortress) goes back 1,500 years, to occupation by the Britons beginning in 540AD. The castle was used as a military fortress up until World War II. Although it was quite cloudy, the view from the top of the rock was magnificent! Climbing 500 steps was definitely worth it. It is one thing to read about medieval fortresses in history books, but quite another to experience them for yourself.

Julia Lodder

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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

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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