I imagine not too many people see this blog site being that this program is not Geneva’s biggest study abroad program. That being said let me start with this. Hey Mema and Opa, how are you doing today? I just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive and having a wonderful time in Scotland studying and exploring the country.
It has been three weeks to the day that we left our homes stepping out of the proverbial boat and enter these uncertain waters we call Scotland. This is the first time that I have left the country before or even been away from home for more than a months’ time for that matter. If I might say, I was a little nervous about it, though I knew that it was God’s will for me to be here and his people have confirmed that for me. One of the three things (I’ll get to the other two later, don’t worry) that have really stuck out to me is the love of His church here in Airdrie. From the first Sunday till today we have been smothered with love by the people of the church. Every Sunday people would almost line up to introduce themselves to us to let us know that they have been praying for us to arrive safely and that they’d be praying for us in our studies while we’re here. Someone new makes us a meal on Sunday afternoon and on Wednesday someone new will take us out to see the beauty of Scotland, sometimes bringing us home after for dinner.
This past weekend we went to a retreat in Northern Ireland that Andrew was speaking at for the young adults of the RP Church. Considering the fact that we didn’t know anyone when we came to this country, it was safe to say that we wouldn’t know anyone going to this new one. Most of the young adults there knew each other from other events that the church holds so they knew that we weren’t from the area. In America you might get a leader of the event come introduce themself but many more people than just the leaders came and introduced themselves. We made a lot of new friends this past weekend and at least I can say that I felt very welcomed there. It is just a beautiful picture to me of what I think Christ wants His church to look like. When Jesus was traveling around during His ministerial years He didn’t shy away from those that didn’t belong, He welcomed them in and spent time with them and ate with them (Luke 19:1-10). I look forward to continuing to grow in this community God has placed me in.
The second thing that has stuck out to me here is the desire for our growth in knowledge, particularly from Rev. Andrew Quigley. Andrew is the lead professor here and has set the tone of our studies. Our studies (and yes it may be hard to believe that we study with all these pictures of our adventures but we do I promise) are much different than our classes in America. As Nate and Kelly previously stated, the way it works is we have time to read for seminars in the morning then after lunch we have discussion about what we read. The program is very focused on our personal growth in knowledge and not just so that we can answer questions later in life but so that our lives might be changed to be more like what Christ calls us to be and that we might better serve Him. It is very evident to me that this is the reason this program exists, to glorify God.
The third thing that stuck out to me when I got here was the beauty. Something that I began to notice more over the summer was God’s creativity. I worked at a summer camp in the middle of the woods and I was surrounded by God’s creation, so I made it my goal to be more observant of it and more appreciative. Little did I know what I was going to see when I got here. Simply driving to the different castles we’ve visited would have been enough for me. Everywhere you look there are beautiful rolling hills covered in a mixture of farms and woods. A comment one of my classmates made to another, I think is a great testament to God’s creativity and power. He said, “I will never understand how one just speaks and makes that,” in reference to the mountains we saw off in the distance.
This time we’ve had here already has been a great testament to God. To his loving church that welcomed us in like family to the passion for us to grow He has put in Andrew and all those that make this program happen, to His beautiful creation He has surrounded us with. I look forward to the next thirteen weeks God has blessed us with here.
Mema and Opa, I hope you enjoyed my update, I’ll see you guys at Christmas.
Love, Your Grandson