As the semester winds down I am looking back and wondering where the time went.  On one hand, it seems like we have been in Scotland forever.  On the other hand, it seems like we just got here, and now we’re getting ready to leave.  Whichever it is, I am so thankful that God has allowed me to have this experience!

For a long time I said that I wanted to go to England.  What I didn’t know was that I actually wanted to go to Scotland.  I didn’t even know I wanted to go to Scotland until about a week before the deadline to apply for the Semester in Scotland program!  I had been trying to make plans to do a different study program, but every way I turned I found a closed door.  I was advised to take a different route, and decided that the SIS program sounded great (plus it fit with my major)!  I sent in my application and the doors opened easily.  So I bought my plane ticket and came over, not sure what to expect, but expecting something good.  And it has been good.

I don’t know whether it has been the subject matter, the teachers, the class structure, or a combination of all three, but looking back, this has been one of my best semesters for growth, both in the classroom and out of the classroom.  I have learned practical lessons about ministry by working with people of different ages and abilities and applying things that I had read for classes on ministry.  I have also learned much from the Bible as I was encouraged to read my Bible, memorize verses, study the works of the Apostle Paul, and attend the Sunday services.  This has also been a time for growth as I built new relationships and learned to live by myself.  It wasn’t always easy – at some points it was very hard – but I can look back and see that God has been working through it all to strengthen my trust in Him, and that is one of the best things about this semester.

Some of the highlights have been Kids Club, the Reformation Tour, fall break, and our Wednesday trips with different people from the church.  I loved Friday nights when I had the privilege of playing, singing, and listening to stories with the children, and helping out with the crafts and snacks.  I am definitely going to miss the crazy yet wonderful children who came every week.  Going on the Reformation Tour was also amazing, as it brought alive the history lessons we had been taught (plus we got to see some neat places) and helped me to realize how important it is to stand up for the truth, no matter what people say or do to you.  Fall Break was really great because I got to go to London (with my aunt and uncle who came over to visit me!) for a few days, as well as spend some extra time in Glasgow and Edinburgh.  I enjoyed London because of all the places we went to that I remembered reading about in history books for school many years ago.  Stories once again came alive for me as I visited places such as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.  Having different people take time each week to take us to some new place has been wonderful.  It was great to get to know some of the people from the congregation better, to hear their stories of faith, and to get to know what life has been like in Scotland for as long as they’ve been here.

I have been told that our group has seen more of Scotland than many other groups before us (and actually that we have seen more of Scotland than some of the folks who have lived here all their lives!).  There is still more that I would like to see, so hopefully I will be able to come back sometime.  But until then, I will remember and love Scotland and the people who made it better than I could ever have imagined.