It probably won’t surprise you to hear this, but I can honestly say that I can’t believe that the semester is already ending. It seems so recent that we were just arriving here….although at the same time, January seems like ages ago! It’s when I think back to those first couple weeks here in Airdrie that I can really see how we’ve changed during our time here. I suppose that’s the way it often is in the Christian’s life—you don’t always see what God is doing in your life at the time, but when you look back you can see worlds of difference. One thing that has remained true though is something that I wrote during my first week here, and which I’d forgotten about until I was scrolling back through blog posts just now:
The beauty in the landscapes and buildings around us are nothing compared to the magnificence of our Creator, and I am reminded of that each time I look at a loch or a field or a castle. An artist is always present in his artwork and if one is aware of that, glimpses of God are everywhere. No more is God revealed though than in the hospitality and friendship of the people whom we have met in the church and many whom we have met in town or on our travels. It really is true that the body of Christ transcends distance, age, gender, culture…and whatever else marks differences by earthly measurements. Even upon meeting people for the first time I was aware of the relationship that I already have with them as brothers and sisters in Christ, and the fellowship is that much sweeter.
A couple of the people that I was talking to after our last evening worship service last night touched on this point as well. We were discussing how, as a Christian, you always hear about and pray for “the wider church” as a vague term, knowing that you have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ out there in the world, but they aren’t quite real people in your mind until you go and visit them. When you do, you’re amazed by how easily you can partake in fellowship with them. But you don’t have to go to Scotland to realize this, or even any other country outside of your own; this can be realized in your own town, county, or state when you become intentional about joining with other Christians in fellowship.
God has done so many things in my life over the past four months. Among others, He’s brought me into a better state of self-discipline, He’s given me confidence in my identity and personality, He’s brought me closer to Ethan and shown us areas we need to work on in our relationship, He’s allowed me so many opportunities to travel, and He’s provided me with a wealth of new friends. Not only am I extremely sad to say goodbye to these friends, but when I think forward to returning to America—settling into Beaver Falls for the summer and schoolyear, starting up work and classes, resuming my extracurricular schedule—I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that all this work that God is doing here in my life will come to an end. It’s true that the atmosphere of our studies here has been designed to give us the time and space to deepen our relationship with God and cultivate good habits in our spiritual lives, and I’ll be robbed of some of that time and space when I start up school at Geneva again, but I’m comforted by the knowledge that the same God who is with me here will be with me wherever I go. If you’d like to pray for me, I’d love prayer that I will recognize this when I’m back in Beaver Falls and will continue to train myself to be godly, seek opportunities to serve God, travel, and invest in friendships.
Thank you so much to the people of the Airdrie RP Church: you are amazing at welcoming people and being hospitable; I so admire your willingness to do it semester after semester, summer after summer, and year after year! Like Pastor Andrew spoke on last night in evening worship, the little things really do matter, and you’ve shown me that in so many ways. The same goes for the other friends we’ve made in Scotland from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stornoway, and elsewhere; hope to see you all again soon!
Thanks so much to my friends and family back home: your prayers and contact over the semester were so appreciated. See you all soon!!
“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6