Hello, my name is Jason Buchholz. I’m a pre-seminary student at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. I found out about the Semester in Scotland program through my friend Rosie. In October, Dr. Watt asked my friend Joseph if he’d like to take part in the program. Later that day, Joseph came back to our room and asked if I would want to go Scotland and take part in the program, too. I immediately said yes because traveling to Europe has always been a dream of mine, and I really liked the classes that are offered through the program. At the time, we both thought it was a crazy idea and neither of us thought we would actually get to come to Scotland. During the next month until November, I had a huge fear of the unknown inside me. Finally after Thanksgiving, we found out that we would definitely be able to come to Scotland. We both got accepted and bought our plane tickets. When we clicked the “complete order” button on Expedia.com, the fear quickly turned to pure joy and excitement. Although I was full of joy and excitement, I had no idea what to expect. Joseph and I wrote out this huge list of things we wanted to do in Scotland and looked at countless pictures of Scotland with hope that when we finally arrived in Scotland on January 15th, the trip would match up to the bucket list and all the countless pictures. Fast forward to January 22nd. Now that I’ve been here for an entire week, and I’ve had time to explore a few places while embracing the culture, I can honestly saw that Scotland has blown my expectations away and wiped any fears that I may have had out of my head. Scotland is one of the friendliest places that I’ve ever visited, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Airdrie really focuses on making you feel welcome. Thank you to everyone so far that has welcomed Joseph and I into Scotland.
Joseph and Jason will be arriving in Scotland, Lord willing, in one week to start Semester in Scotland on the 19th January. They are both students at Geneva College. Here is a little bit about them.
Hi. My name is Jason Buchholz. I’m 21. I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I attend Three Rivers Grace Church which is a Southern Baptist church. I’m in my third year at university, and I’m studying Pre-seminary.
Hi. My name is Joseph Dunlap. I’m from Grampian, Pennsylvania (named after the Grampian Hills), and I attend a Presbyterian Church in America church while at home, though I am, by conviction, Reformed Presbyterian. At school I attend Grace Gibsonia RPC, (Patrick McNeely is the intern there). I am in my second year at university, and I am studying Pre-Seminary.
And all the while, a significant concern for our teachers was this: they knew God’s truth needed to make its way through our heads and deep into our hearts.
Take, for example, the concept of prayer.
Anyone can parrot back Puritan definitions. It’s easy to say “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.” We can recite good theology and never actually kneel before the throne of grace. The rubber needs to meet the road, Christian!
If we do not love God and people enough to pray both privately and with others – if the truth does not stir our hearts to prayer – then all the teaching and learning and reading in the world will have been a waste of time.
But, praise God, our months in Scotland were not wasted time! Hours of reading, praying, and serving made us more faithful to pray, more passionate to follow Christ. God blessed us through this church!
(And some of us might be more passionate about reading now, too.)
As far as out-of-class experiences, one that was especially dear to me was the faithfulness I saw lived out in a weekly prayer meeting. Every Saturday night, a small group of saints gathered around a table in the church office. They praised the Lord and thanked Him for his mercies, and came to him with one request: that He would bring friends & family to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
These saints are faithful because THEIR GOD is faithful. He always hears. There are even names from the list of loved ones that have been scratched out, because God has saved sinners from Hell. He has indeed remembered mercy.
And now, my friend, I’ll let you in on a secret… This semester studying abroad? I kinda think it’s a missions trip. Check it out: We went to a foreign country and were discipled by faithful lovers of God. We spent time with the church’s young people during the week, we worshiped with believers from another culture, we pleaded with God to save souls, and we told folks around town about Jesus. Sounds like missions to me.
And SPEAKING of worship with those believers, we students all grew a lot under Pastor Andrew’s preaching. Here are two of my favorite sermons from the semester:
“What Are You Dreaming Of?”
“Why The World Is Not To Be Loved!”
I pray I can go back to Airdrie, Scotland someday. (Hah! Maybe I’ll go on a missions trip?) But whatever God has for us, I know I will see every one of these dear saints again. I mean, just check out the twenty-third psalm!
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. –Psalm 23
I will see every one of these saints again because we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, worshipping that Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world: Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Prophet, our Priest, our King.
–Soli Deo Gloria.