I’m sad to say that I’m more than half way through my time at Tilsley College. Time continues to fly by, yet it feels like it feels like I’ve known the people and environment here at Tilsley for ages. It’s a comforting and strange thing.
My schedule continues to look the same: Breakfast > group devotions > 4 hours of lectures > lunch > free time (church placement on Monday & Friday), so I’ll just babble on about the exciting parts of my week and share what I’ve been learning.
Monday, 9/21: Ella and I started our placement at Kings Church. We are helping lead a kids group on Monday evenings. This particular Monday, the 15 kids made boats out of cardboard, bottles, string, etc. and raced them down the river at the local park. It was a blast and the kids were so fun & great to connect with.
Wednesday, 9/23: One of the kids group leaders from Kings Church, Zoe, invited Ella & I to help her lead an after school Bible Club she runs at local schools. We went to an elementary school in Rutherglen. Zoe didn’t think many kids would show up since it had just started the previous week and there was just one attender, but 16 kids came (of all different backgrounds and religions)! The were so outgoing, hilarious, and sweet. I can’t wait to do it again.
Thursday, 9/24: In the evening, a big group of us went to the gym across the street to go swimming. There was a steam room and sauna there that we tried. It was so intense, but felt surprisingly refreshing. Before a fun evening, the afternoon was pretty tough. I had some good bonding time with my room mate Lottie, because we shared deeper things about ourselves/our testimony, but it wasn’t easy to talk about, especially since I still have a lot of identity/friendship struggles to still work through and I didn’t realize it until opening up to Lottie about it. After talking, we both went off and had some personal time. I read through Psalm chapters 38-46 and it was just what I needed to hear. I went back and re-read the verses I had underlined during my reading time and it amazingly read as if it went together. It was a refreshing and much needed God time.
Friday, 9/25: The Albanian couple who are first year students brought Dutch Blitz to Tilsley! I’ve been playing almost every night since I discovered this and have made quite a few people join us and learn how to play. So much fun.
Saturday, 9/26: It was a lovely day exploring Edinburgh with the girls. The city was absolutely beautiful and included the perfect mix of shopping, history, architecture, and nature. Most of the pictures I added to the “photos” page of my blog for this week are from Edinburgh, enjoy!
Monday, 9/28: As already mentioned, it’s crazy how close all the college & FirstServe students are already…close enough to shoot each other (with lasers), ha. It was one of the most fun nights I’ve had since being here. A big group of us went to laser tag and I had no idea it’d be so fun/intense/cool. Afterwards, we watched the first half of the first Lord of The Rings. Lots of firsts that night considering I had never done laser tag or seen Lord of the Rings previously.
I’m gaining lots of head knowledge about God – more than I thought was possible in just 2 weeks time – but due to the busyness I don’t feel much in my heart towards what I’m learning and where I’m at in my relationship with God. Starting last week and this week, we also now have lectures on Personal Evangelism and Luke’s Gospel so it’s quite overwhelming. It’s so hard to say no to hanging out with people and doing the fun activities, especially after having 4 hours of lectures & just wanting to have fun/relax, but I have to start disciplining myself to do that so I can have some God/personal/rest time.
Coming into my gap year, I had gone a few weeks without any time with God. I wanted (& needed) time with Him, but kept justifying my putting it off by telling myself that I’d be learning about Him and feel close to Him once my gap year started and had too much other logistic stuff to do and people to see. Well now that I’m here, I make other excuses (assignments, errands, hanging out with others, sleeping, etc.). The “not having time” justification became a habit and now I have to break it. Due to this bad habit, I have hardly felt the Lord’s presence since being here. Of course I’ve been through ups and downs during my walk with God, but this “down” was an especially difficult conviction since I know it’s all due to the dangerous bad habit I slipped into. Prayer for my dedication & commitment to spend time with God and feel His presence again would be much appreciated.
I think the honeymoon phase of my time at Tilsley is over. I am still loving it here and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, but I’m not constantly smiling like I was the first week I arrived. I’m still working through issues I began to realize and face this summer. This summer, after graduating high school, I felt a loss of identity. I was no longer my high school self (and did not want to be), but that meant not feeling like the self I had been for (four? ha.) years. If someone were to ask me something as simple as “describe yourself in 3 words,” I would probably answer with the 3 words “I don’t know.” After realizing that I didn’t feel myself and didn’t even really know myself, I’ve been trying to focus on what it means for my identity to be in Christ. I feel that part of the reason the Lord led me to do a gap year, although I didn’t realize it when I first decided to do one, is to build my identity (& confidence & trust) in Him and not on my own accomplishments/traits/desires and other’s opinions. These identity struggles also result in struggling with the concept of friendship since my “high school identity” was based more on what other people thought of me than I’d like to admit. I just feel very distant during conversations, even when they go deep, and am always analyzing if I’m being myself (or the person I want to be, I should say, since I don’t feel “myself” ever) which distances myself from others on the inside even if it doesn’t show from the outside. Please pray for God to reveal Himself to me in new, impacting ways so I can understand who He created me to be/is calling me to be as I learn more about Him and draw closer to Him.
As far as my classes go, we just finished Intro to Theology – “God, Creation, Humanity, and The Fall” this week. I loved it. It’s definitely my favorite class that I’ll take during my time here. I can’t wait to continue my education on this during both my personal reading (hopefully, as long as I make time for it) and in the future when I’m at Lancaster Bible College. The Old Testament studies class is challenging since it reveals to me about how much I don’t know of the OT. I plan on reading through the Bible before next summer and hope to read it for understanding, not just to do it. The OT studies class has already helped how I approach reading & understanding the Bible. The Personal Evangelism class is beneficial for my life as a Christian in general, but will help incredibly for my opportunities to evangelize during the rest of my gap year in the UK and in Peru when I’ll be working with people and putting all I learn here into practice.
I should probably start writing 2 blogs a week so they aren’t so lengthy! As I continue to get more settled, I’ll probably try to do that. Hope you enjoyed reading, despite the length.
Don’t forget to look at the photos tab of my blog!
So long, farewell,