RachelThe day is warm and sunny. Leaves are starting to come out on the trees and it is finally beginning to feel like spring here in Scotland. It is quite a different scene to the snowy landscape we entered four months ago. It seems impossible that the semester is over and that our time here in Scotland is coming to a close. The time has gone so quickly, and it is going to be so hard to say goodbye.  Coming to Scotland and doing the Semester program really has been a dream come true.  But it far exceeded all my expectations, and while it sounds cliché, has been a life-changing experience.  I have learned so much in my time here, grown in my relationship with the Lord, and made life-long friendships.  What I have to say is nothing really new, it is just about the same as what most of the other students have posted in their final blog posts, but perhaps many of us have come to find many of the same wonderful things here.  Being part of this program has been an incredible privilege and blessing that I wish never had to end.

I am so thankful for all the incredible memories that have been made this semester and for the wonderful people who made it possible.  Memories of splendid landscapes and picturesque towns, momentous historic sites, meaningful classes, deep conversations, laughs, memories from Kids Club, CY, and so much more – all are things which I will treasure.  It has been incredible to see so many famous places in a relatively short amount of time. Yet, it has really been the people here who have made Scotland a second home to me.

First, I am so thankful for the Airdrie RP Church family. You have taught me so much about what it means to be the body of Christ and have reflected Christ so clearly in your lives. I am so thankful for all the people who opened their homes to us every week after church. Going to MET each week has also been an immense blessing and encouragement spiritually as a time to study God’s Word during the week with other people in the church. The hospitality extended to us I can only describe as abundant. The love shown to each other has made me more greatly appreciate the living reality of Psalm 133:1: “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” and Psalm 122:1: “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.” The semester program has been an incredible opportunity to live around others whose faith is evident in every area of their lives and who have been a great encouragement in my own walk with the Lord. I am so thankful as well for Pastor Quigley bringing God’s Word to us each week, and his passion for the church and the gospel.

I am so thankful for each of our professors who taught us every week.  I have loved each of the classes and learned so much from them. I think the best part is how practical each class was and how in every class we were pointed to Christ. I have been deeply challenged, convicted, humbled, and encouraged. Each was the type of class where I did not mind if it ran over time, and I wish in many ways every semester could be like this one. I deeply appreciated our professors’ care for real learning – knowing God on a heart level. The kind of knowing that changes our lives, not merely knowledge that has a spot in our brains for a few weeks. More than just lecture, I have loved that our professors have been living examples of what they were teaching us. One thing I have come to see is how much more I need to think on God’s attributes and just how unfathomably beautiful He is. I have also learned how much I need to remind myself of the truths of God’s Word, and how I need to be disciplined in following him. There is so much I could say for each one of my classes but if I had to boil it all down, all our classes have been about growing in conformity to Christ and knowing Him more fully. It has caused me to ask questions not only of my mind but also of my life – how can I grow in holiness?

Each of our Wednesday excursions with Jimmy and Helen has also been so wonderful and memorable. I will greatly miss our weekly “mystery tour,” since we generally did not know where we were going ahead of time due to weather, and after all what’s life without a little suspense! I am so thankful for our Reformation Tour and how clearly and memorably Jimmy was able to tell the stories of the Covenanters. The Martyrs Monument in Greyfriars Kirkyard and the monument to the two Margarets in Wigtown are among the many things which were so moving and which I will always remember. I will also miss the fun stories and the banter in the car rides. Thank you for being our adoptive parents this semester and checking up on us!

I have also loved being able to help out with Kids Club each Friday. It is such a delight to spend time with the kids of the church to have fun and to learn about God’s Word. It is so encouraging to see that so many of them look forward to coming each week and how much energy and joy they bring. It has also been great to spend time with the young people in CY and be built up by other young people in the church. I certainly have enjoyed the times we have spent together.

I don’t know what I would have done without Beth, and I am so thankful for the amazing friend which she has become. From helping us get to and from the airport, teaching our class, giving godly counsel, going on Saturday adventures, and so many laughs, I am so thankful for the immense blessing she has been. I am also so immensely thankful for Nicki and her friendship. From the stress of flights to the great conversations, the laughs, and the hard times she has been there through it all. Thanks for putting up with me! The semester would not have been anywhere near as good without you.

This blog post is probably far too long and I feel I have hardly scratched the surface! This past semester has been so meaningful and such an incredibly opportunity to grow in Christ. I am so much looking forward to seeing my family and friends back home, but I am also inexpressibly sad to have to leave Scotland. I will miss everyone so much. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped and supported me in my time here in Scotland. The saying goes, “all good things must come to an end,” and in this case, I suppose that is true. But I think this fact makes the never-ending love of Christ even more precious. As we learned in our last memory verse in class, “His mercies never come to an end” (Lam. 3:22). In Him we have life that will never end and in eternity we will all be together to praise His glorious grace. Now that is truly beautiful and a wonderful truth!

Rachel Mack