Upon first arriving in Scotland, our group immediately faced difficulties in the form of detainment. While the border police officers were sorting things out with Beth and Pastor Quigley, the four of us were handed sheets of paper informing us that we were being detained for such and such a reason according to articles of a law that I was not familiar with. It was very easy for me to imagine the worst: what if I got sent home? what if I had to figure out on the spot how to get back home? what if I had to go back to Geneva and register for classes? would I ever get to participate in the Semester in Scotland program?
But then, I stopped. I had to practice trust and faith. Trust that Beth and Pastor Quigley knew the law well enough to explain to the officers that it was legal for us to be there and study. Trust that even if I had to be sent home, I would be able to navigate airports and get home safely. Most importantly, I had to trust that God would work “for the good of those who love him” (Rom 8:28 NIV). So I silently prayed for protection and provision, and quieted my anxieties.
Thankfully everything was worked out and after 45 minutes we were allowed to pick up our bags and exit the airport. (Editor’s note – the situation to which Bethany refers to here arose because the particular immigration officer who detained the girls was unfamiliar with Geneva College and their Semester in Scotland programme and how that fit into the laws governing short term students. When it was pointed out to them the category that the programme fell under in UK immigration law, they readily admitted that everything was in good order, and the girls were immediately allowed in with assurances that this situation would not arise again.)
We girls were exhausted after being awake so long and could hardly wait to eat and sleep. Unfortunately for us we had arrived in the morning, so we had all day to wait for our long rest. We pulled through and settled in our flats.
This past weekend has been a whirlwind of getting various things we need to be prepared for the rest of our time in Airdrie. We needed groceries, toiletries, train passes, and various other things that would make our stay in Scotland more comfortable (and practical). But one thing that I truly missed was the comfort of family and friends back home. There have been various times in my life where I have felt isolated, and in each of those times God has granted me grace in the form of prayer and His people. Sunday was definitely a time of grace that God gave me to feel refreshed. I was reminded that my heavenly Father is easily accessible in prayer and meditation upon His Word. Not only that, but God’s people wherever they may be found are truly a blessing. God’s people in Airdrie are proof of that, and I have made several acquaintances that have encouraged me.
This time in Scotland is going to be difficult for me because of my love for home and the people that are there. But God is good, and He has already allowed me to see the ways in which I can be at home wherever His people are gathered in His name. For my true citizenship is in heaven, and I can always experience a sense of “home” with God’s people here on earth no matter where I am placed.