Not sure how many more weeks I’ll be able to think of punny blog titles, enjoy it while it laughs. I must admit, I really don’t know where blogs 5 and 6 went. Blog 4 was really for weeks 4 and 5 and this one includes weeks 6 and 7. Anyway, this week is currently week 8 which means I’ve been in Scotland for almost two months, but definitely not too many months.
Wednesday, 10/21: Another morning working the church café and it was great fun! The customers that come in are just the loveliest people and always provide wonderful chats. In the evening, Erika and I went to TriBeCa – an NYC style restaurant where we feasted on proper American pancakes with raspberries and cream (pancakes in the UK are usually thin like a crepe and plain). Our discussion about my discipleship course and other remarkable, profound topics such as the attributes of God, Heaven, and power of the gospel impacted me significantly. As I sat there in awe of God, I couldn’t help but joyfully laugh while tears flowed from my eyes. The more I learn about Him, the more my desire to learn about Him grows. The same is true about spending time with Him.
Thursday, 10/22: A friend from church, Vickie, became my Glasgow tour guide for the day to show me around the city. Our day trip included picture taking at George Square, a tour of City Chambers, a walk through The Glasgow Necropolis, pretty sights in Glasgow Cathedral, and exploring Glasgow’s history at People’s Palace. It was a wonderfully adventurous day and my appreciation for Glasgow increased much.
Saturday, 10/24: A few friends from Tilsley and I journeyed to my (so far) favorite place in Scotland, Loch Lomond. Our initial disappointment about the gray, rainy day soon disappeared when we discovered a rainbow stretching over the water. The most vivid rainbow I’ve ever seen soon doubled. What made the sight even more magnificent was two swans that gladly kept us company. Well, maybe they just wanted our food, but it was very amusing and memorable to feed the usually feisty creatures. After some time on the loch, we ended our day warming up with coffee at a café. While my friends and I discussed some theological topics, a couple people approached us to ask if we were talking about Jesus. Not sure what reaction we would get, we answered their question with a yes and the couple introduced themselves, sharing that they are disciples for Jesus. Such a cool God moment! Before then, I had never been in a situation where I randomly met other Christians just by overhearing a conversation in public like that. We chatted for some time and they graciously prayed for us. Furthermore, they felt led to share that God is going to open doors to take us places to be disciples for Him. I blinked away joyful tears when they pointed at me (without knowing that I’m from America and going to Peru) and said “especially you.” That moment came at just the right time as I had been getting nervous about going to Peru, especially because I don’t know Spanish. Hearing those words pushed me to trust God about my future time in Peru because it’s about how He, the almighty God, will work in and through me according to His plan, not about what I feel I can or can’t do. What an unforgettable day.
Sunday, 10/25: After having dinner at a church fam’s house, we split into two teams to play Articulate (a game similar to Catch Phrase/Taboo). I have to share some very funny moments, mostly with cards having to do with America. Manhattan was described as “the state Boston is in,” Robert Redford is “that one U.S. president with the same letter for the first and last name” (she had Ronald Reagan in mind), and rather than being actual currency, “dime” is an American slang word for money.
Thursday, 10/29: Jacqui and I had our third CAP meeting with the woman we’ve been making progress with. The budget this woman has to stick to in order to be free from debt was presented to her. We will continue praying for her and checking up on her as she begins following this budget which requires some lifestyle changes. Just by sitting there and listening without judgment while providing some comforting words, this woman expressed so much gratitude. I’m thankful God can use me even when I feel like I’m not doing much.
Sunday, 11/1: Happy November! Since the youth group at Greenview was off for this evening, I spoke at the youth group for my host family’s church that was being held at my host home. Through a Q&A from Martin, I shared my testimony and spoke about the importance of having Christian friends and keeping them close. It was touching to relate to some of the youth there and give some hopefully helpful advice. Having opportunities to speak in front of a group are valuable because it allows me to learn about myself through understanding my speaking/teaching style more and discovering ways to improve. Taking the Public Speaking class at school this past year improved my speaking skills significantly and it is something I quite enjoy doing now.
Far from God?
I have no doubt that all Christians have felt far from God. Throughout high school, I would say the days I felt far from God greatly outnumbered the days I felt close to God, was on fire for Him, experienced the Holy Spirit etc. How come His presence is so constant and I always feel so enthusiastic and in awe of Him now? Surely He must have changed or been in & out of my life between high school and now, right? Wrong.
When I would open up to Christian friends about God feeling distant, they encouraged prayer and time with God. This advice was always needed and made sense, but didn’t always work. In fact most of the time, it didn’t. I would just accept that once in awhile God feels close, but most of the time feels far because that’s just how faith works. Sometimes God does truly feel distant for a number of legitimate reasons; perhaps He’s trying to teach us something or our faith is strengthening etc., but looking back onto my own desert times, more often than not the distance was due to illegitimate reasons.
During those dry times, I don’t think we’re seeing God for who He truly & fully is or reading the Bible for what it really is. God – the sovereign Creator of the universe (Nehemiah 9:6), the Giver of life (Psalm 36:9), the eternal One (Revelation 1:8), the perfect Savior (1 John 2:2), our Father who adopted us as His children in Christ (Galatians 3:26), and on and on – is on our side (Psalms 118:6), in a relationship with us (Galatians 4:6), near to us (Psalm 119:151). When we focus on who God is rather than our feelings/emotions, the distance between us and God will shrink. When meditating on His attributes, I believe your prayer life will change due to the revelation of who you’re communicating with. How do we know God? The Holy Bible, of course! God has spoken to us. We have access to the Word of God!! When you are reading the Bible with realization of who inspired each and every word in it, I hope and trust that you will read it in a transformed way. Reading your Bible will surely, definitely, without a doubt draw you closer to God if you approach it for what it completely is. We have to stop using the Bible as a band aid. We can’t open the pages expecting to “feel better” or magically turn to the verse we need for comfort. Those anticipations only lead to disappointment. Living on a different planet would feel closer to someone than hearing them say the gut-wrenching words, “I’m disappointed in you.” It’s appalling; we slyly beg for pity as we ramble on about how distant God feels while we simultaneously convey to God that we are disappointed in Him. I hope this serves as an eye-opening and challenging message rather than a disheartening one because thankfully, “the Lord is near to all who call upon Him” (Psalm 145:18). That is, as long as we call Him not for who we want Him to be according to our desires or with the assumption we know Him fully, but for who God is as revealed through His Word.
Watch this for a slap in the face from John Piper about the Bible:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy2okgNXhEk
Adios! (That’s my Spanish practice for the day)
P.S. I couldn’t resist the 76% discount on a premium websitebuilder account so now the URL for my blog is http://aprilsadventures.net rather than the cumbersome and slightly embarrassing http://aprilsadventures.my-free.website. Both links still work, but use the new & improved one to make me feel better about the $3.77 I spent.