Last week in class we were discussing time management, and how we use the time that God has given us. Everyday we have roughly 3-6 hours of “free time” that is not taken up by work, sleeping, eating, traveling, and daily life stuff. How we use that time is very important, once it is gone we can never get it back again. We can use that time to glorify God, or we can waste it. The use of social media was brought up, and how we can choose to use it to glorify God, or we can waste our time by simply scrolling endlessly through post after post. This started me thinking about social media and how I use it.
In reflecting on my use of social media I realized that I work very hard at projecting a certain image, one of excitement and adventure. Since I am currently in Scotland, with the opportunity to travel, this has been a very easy thing to do. If you know me only through my social media you would assume that my past three months in Scotland have been filled with non-stop traveling! I have posted so many photos of castles, mountains, seasides, manor houses, cities, and gardens. While I am getting the chance to travel much more than I normally do, it is not the entirety of my life here in Scotland. So I thought I would share what my life here in Scotland is actually like, it is not all traveling and adventure, we are actually studying.
Here is a general idea of what a week in my life in Scotland normally looks like-
Monday – We go to the church for study time from 9:15am to 1pm. Normally Mondays are generally quite productive because we are rested from the Sabbath. After studying Lauren and I generally go to ALDI to get our groceries for the week. Groceries for us are normally apples, potatoes, spinach, chicken breasts, bratwursts, eggs, butter, milk, lunch meat, chips, salsa, and whatever other things we are in need of; it varies week to week depending on if we have made a menu plan in advance. We go home, unload the groceries, study for awhile, and make dinner when one of us gets hungry. Lauren and I live together and share evenly in the cooking. Generally I handle raw meats, and Lauren cooks the starch and veggies. If I do say so myself we have become pretty good at cooking, so far we have yet to mess up a meal! We listen to music, discuss what we’ve been learning or what is going on back home, and generally we end up sitting and talking for an hour or so.
Tuesday – We have study time from 9:15am to 1pm, then we go home and eat lunch. We go back to the church at 2pm and we have our women’s ministry class. We talk about topics that are relevant for helping counsel women though difficult situations and how to point them back to God. That class is taught by Beth, who is the church administrator and is involved with basically everything in the church! Then we have our church ministry class, which is taught by Rev. Andrew Quigley who is the pastor at the Airdrie church. In that class we discuss spiritual disciplines, every week we talk about a different one and how we can incorporate it into our lives. We also talk about youth ministry and how to build a good relationship with the youth in our churches and communities. When we are done with classes we go back home and work on stuff until dinner. Lauren leaves for MET (a Bible study, it stands for Mutual Encouragement Time), and while she’s gone I generally do a load of laundry, clean up from dinner, and do other house things.
Wednesday – Study time from 9:15am to 10:30am. At 10:30am we have our systematic theology class. It is taught by Rev. Kenneth Stewart who is the pastor of the RP church in Glasgow. Systematic theology is one of our favorite classes; Kenneth is a wonderful teacher, and we learn a lot about theology, he is very good at explaining and Biblically backing up concepts that can be very difficult to understand. After that class we eat a quick lunch at the church. Then Jimmy and Helen pick us up, and we go off on an adventure somewhere in Scotland! It varies week to week, generally we don’t know ahead of time where we are going! This is when I get to gallivant all over Scotland and generally when the majority of my pictures are taken. After a few hours of adventuring we come back, Lauren and I make dinner before I go to my MET. In MET we just finished working through the book of Ecclesiastes. I really love MET because it’s a chance to discuss the Bible in depth with people from church.
Thursday – Study time from 9:15am to 1pm. Normally on Thursday afternoons Lauren and I run errands like going to the post office to send letters, or Tesco to buy more specific things like gluten-free food. It kinda depends on the week, and what we are in need of. We make a quick dinner, and then at 7pm we have night class. Our night class is Life of Paul, which is taught by Stephen McCollum. Life of Paul is probably my favorite class; we go in depth on Paul’s life and what made him one of the most important people in the Bible. In that class we go through and read the portions of the Bible where it talks about what is happening, so it really gets in depth about Paul, and the social and historical context of the chapters we are reading. A common phrase used in that class is “Well, what does that word actually mean in Greek?”
Friday – We have study time from 9:15am to 1pm. Before we leave Beth hands out the information about Kids Club for that evening. Then she and I look at craft options to go with the story. Once we’ve picked something, I get to make the example craft! That’s one of my favorite parts of Friday afternoons because I get to do something fun and artsy! We go home, eat a quick dinner, and then at 6pm we go back to the church for Kids Club. Kids Club is kinda like a VBS that is once a week: we play a game, have snack, sing a psalm, work on the memory verse, read a Bible story, and do a craft. I enjoy it a lot because I get to help lead little kids in learning about God while also having a lot of fun! After Kids Club we clean up and depending on the night we have an activity with the youth, which is called Covenanter Youth or “CY”. The activity for CY depends on the week, they try to do something different and fun each week.
Saturday – What we do on Saturdays really depends; generally Lauren and I like to take the morning slow so that we can catch up on sleep, then we go somewhere for the midmorning and afternoon; with the ease of the trains it is very simple to get into Glasgow in about half an hour. Our Saturday adventures have ranged from going to Glasgow, Edinburgh, York for the weekend, and seeing the lesser traveled areas of Scotland when someone offers us a ride. The ease of travel here is really wonderful, this is where a lot of my photos also come from.
Sunday – We go to the church at 10am. The first half hour is Bible class, we talk about different topics in the Bible. Recently we’ve been talking about Heaven. The second half of that hour is congregational prayer, they have a list of prayer points, and they open the floor for anyone to pray. It’s really neat because everyone has the chance to join, so you have elders, adults, young adults, and children all praying together for the church and church family. Then we go into worship together. We sing psalms, read the Word, have a children’s message, and the sermon. After that people chit chat for a wee while before they leave for lunch. Every week they have someone on hospitality, and that person invites us and any other people who are in need of a place for lunch over to their house. I love Sunday afternoons because it’s a lovely homemade meal with wonderful fellowship time. We stick around people’s houses and chat for a while before going home to rest. In the afternoons I sometimes watch my home church’s service on live stream because it starts at 4pm here, I like to hear what’s going on back home and listen to my pastors preach, so I can talk about it with my family. Then at 6pm we have evening service, it’s very similar to morning worship but normally a little bit shorter. After the service they have tea, coffee, and cookies, and everyone talks for a while. Then Beth invites the young adults over to her house for fellowship. We chat and laugh and sometimes sing psalms together! It’s really fun, and I really enjoy the fellowship with young adults. I generally spend Sunday night catching up on the phone with people back home. Then I get ready to start another week!
The social media mystery has been lifted! You now know what a week in my life looks like here in Scotland! Yes, I am actually doing school work, cooking, and keeping up with housework, but I do also get to explore this amazing country while learning about God with some spectacular people! I would not trade this semester for anything. Even when it is hard to be away from home, and the people I love, it is definitely worth it! I love Scotland and I would strongly recommend this program, or simply a missions team trip to anyone who asks me about my time here!