Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One Month In!

 Photo: It's a beautiful day in bonnie Catterline!

Time has absolutely flown by and we have been here for over a month now! I can hardly believe it! 

We have been living in a beautiful little fishing village called Catterline which is where Alisdair grew up. The photo above was taken just a few days after we arrived on a gorgeous sunny day (which we have had heaps of...miraculously)! It truly is a little dream world here but can be kind of tough for someone like myself who is much more accustomed to city life. More on this later! :)

So, we've been here for over a month now and there has not been a dull moment. When we first arrived we had a few days in Catterline with Alisdair's family and then headed off to Glasgow (about 2 1/2 hours away) to visit the church we have been following. Glasgow is an eclectic city in Scotland with rough ends and nicer ends. The area that we were visiting is in the West End of Glasgow and is right next to one of the main universities, so has much happening for the buzzing student life. It reminds me a lot of west campus in Austin, TX (for all you Austinites reading this). Here is the church below.

While there, we met up with this lovely Scottish/American couple that worked for Re: Hope and had a great time with them as we learned more about the church. We then paid the church a visit on the Sunday morning and it was lovely. We met up with Brian and Ruth (the pastor and girl who heads the prayer ministry) for lunch and had a great chat. However, after our time in Glasgow we didn't feel a strong indication that this is where we should be, but continued praying that God would give us more direction. 

We headed back to Catterline, resolved to make another trip to Glasgow in the very near future and continued praying. After about two weeks, we made another trip to Glasgow, this time staying with Scott and Monica (the Scottish/American couple). They were incredible hosts and we just spent a lot of time chatting with them, processing through where we feel God leading us. We visited the church again, going to prayer in the morning before the service (so fun) and met a lot of new people. During this stint in Glasgow we walked away with the following:
  • We highly value being a part of a church that is biblically sound, is making disciples, is missional in their approach and is making room for the movement of the Holy Spirit.
  • We found that Re: Hope is doing all of these things.
  • We feel like God has wired us for church planting and we believe we will be a part of planting a church here in Scotland in the future.
  • In the mean time, we will jump in and serve, make disciples and get even more equipped for ministry at Re: Hope.
So this means...we are moving to Glasgow!!! Whew, this took a long time to process and pray through, but we feel assurred that this is the direction we are being led in. Now we are spending our days applying for jobs, which is a lot of work!

Now, your part in this. :) We need prayer! We truly believe and have experienced that only by prayer does anything happen, so please join us in our efforts to pray and petition God for our next steps. Your prayer is invaluable! We would like to ask you to pray for the following:
  • Provisions: Jobs and a home. Right now we are looking for jobs, not having had any experience working in the UK and the market in Glasgow is not great. Please pray that our CV's (resumes) get into the hands of the right people and we get a job! Also, we are really looking to live in a specific area of the West End of Glasgow that is very close to the church. Living in close proximity to our church has been something that God has put on our hearts for some time now so please pray that the right flat will become available at the right time in the right area! :) More than all of this, we really believe that our whole lives are meant to be on mission with God, so please pray that God would put us around the right co-workers and neighbors to minister to. It is our desire to reach people with the gospel in our ordinary lives, so please pray that He would strategically place us and prepare hearts in advance. This is very exciting! :)
  • Marriage: Protection and unity. As you can imagine, moving to another country can be quite tense at times. We have recently felt that we are newly married all over again! Fun times! :) We are learning how to communicate lovingly when stress levels are high, how to care for Alisdair's family, and how to rely on Jesus in the midst of changing circumstances. It's been hard, but SO good. We are realizing that we have developed some poor communication habits in our marriage and are working to change. We believe that through the amazing grace and redemption that Jesus provides, we can change (and will!) and our marriage can be a picture of Jesus' relationship with the church. There is great hope in the gospel! So please pray for protection from lies and unity in the gospel.
  • Relationships: Family and new friends. We have never lived in close proximity to Alisdair's family before, so we could certainly use prayer in learning to do this well! Also, my family is not well at the moment, my mother is having a lot of health issues and has been in and out of the hospital in the last month. It has been very difficult to be away from my family during this trying time. Please pray for healing for my mom and that God would provide them with heaps of people to love and support them during this difficult season. I have already been amazed and so grateful for our dear friends who have been ministering to my family in our absence during this time. On another note, we are in need of new friends! We miss everyone from the states SO much, and are looking forward to moving to Glasgow and making new friends at Re: Hope in the very near future. Please pray that God will provide us with a few couples that we can do life with and run hard after Jesus with.
Now last, but certainly not least, here are a few things that I have found to  be interesting and different about living in this country. Please know that I know these are ALL first world problems. :)
  • Laundry. Doing laundry here actually takes at least two days minimum whereas I could knock this out in a few hours in the states! I have to wash clothes, hang them out to dry (yes...outside) which takes at least a day (that's if it doesn't rain), and then iron everything! Whew! This is going to take some getting used to!
  • Coffee. I really love a good cup of coffee. In this country, not many folks buy coffee beans and grind them so it's been difficult to find a good selection of coffee beans and even more difficult to buy a good, inexpensive coffee grinder. We have actually already gone through TWO coffee grinders which both broke! :(
  • Lettuce. I didn't realize how spoiled I was to have Whole Foods, Sprouts, Central Market and HEB within a 20 mile radius as the selection of food shops here are limited. I have found it really hard to find fresh, organic heads of lettuce in this country. They certainly don't have the many varied options that I had become accustomed to! So, for now, bagged lettuce will have to do.
  • Driving. We have been so blessed by our cousin who has lended us her car for 3 months! Otherwise, I would be stuck in the countryside all the time and would go totally mental! ;) I have driven once so far and found myself veering to the left. Also, because the roads are SO narrow, I find myself flinching, making it hard to keep my eyes OPEN when another car crosses me from the opposite direction (dangerous!). So, I have given up driving at the moment and Alisdair takes us everywhere. :) He's a pro and has found it relatively easy to adjust to the opposite side of the road.
I am really beginning to miss everyone and everything stateside now and I anticipate that this will grow even stronger. This morning I am reminded through scripture that I am a foreigner and stranger on this earth and the home that I long for can only be found in heaven. I hope this word blesses and challenges you in the same way:
"By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. But they now desire a better place--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them."                        Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16
Oh, may He give us grace to see Him the way we ought! To God be the glory and blessings to you all!

The McKibbens