Hey hey! Well, I can hardly believe it, but we have been in Scotland for just over four months now! We have spent most of our days looking for jobs and time is flying by. We are grateful for this unique season in our life where we have been able to spend extended time together sleeping in, going for nice walks, making awesome food, reading fun books, and hanging out with new friends. We know it will all come to an end soon, but it has been really fun! Look at some of the awesome food I am making:
Now, this may not look appealing to some of you, but I can assure you, it is tasty, nutritious and satisfying! :) We have also taken a few photos of some of the amazing views in the Scottish countryside. This country is SO beautiful!
So, besides all of that, we are adjusting quite well. We have several updates on this crazy adventure, which I am delighted to report:
1. We have moved to Glasgow! In late November Alisdair and I both had second interviews with different organisations. So, we decided that we should start looking for flats under the assumption that one of us would get a job. I began researching everyday for flats that were available in the area. We viewed a few and were not impressed, not because we are high maintenance, but because they were pretty run down from university student living. Then, one evening that week, a new flat popped up on the list and it looked amazing! This flat is located in the perfect area, just a five minute walk from our church, a five minute walk from our good friends, Scott and Monica, and walking distance to all shops and public transport. It is located in an old tenement building in Glasgow which are characterised by tall ceilings (with beautiful crown molding and embroidery), big spacious rooms and large bay windows. They are SO lovely and not at all what you would normally picture for a flat in the UK. This flat has two bedrooms (which was a non-negotiable for us as we love hosting), one bathroom and a nice spacious kitchen (for all my cooking endeavors). Alisdair went to view the flat the next morning without me, as I had my interview, but I gave him clear instructions: "If it looks anything like the pictures, reserve it!" It did, so he did. :)
However, after that week ended, we both didn't get the jobs! We were pretty disappointed, considering the flat seemed so perfect. We also learned that because we didn't have any income, we would have to pay six months rent, plus deposit, up front in order to rent the flat. We definitely did not have this kind of cash lying around so assumed we were not going to be able to get it. Then, we received word from a friend stateside (who is managing our mail there), that she deposited a large check into our bank account (from retirement money I had put away). We did not know when this check would come in nor did we know how much money it would be. When we got the amount and ran the conversion rate, it came out to be just short of what we needed for the full six months! We couldn't believe it, but took it as a provision from God and decided to move in faith that He would provide us with jobs in His good time. Here are a few pictures of our lovely (furnished) flat.
2. Alisdair got a job! So, literally two days after we moved into our flat, Alisdair got offered a job with Bank of Scotland as a Customer Adviser. The location he originally interviewed with was in a town just outside of Glasgow, but he didn't get offered that position. Instead, he got offered a position at a bank that is just a seven minute WALK from our flat! We couldn't believe it, but were so grateful to God for the provision of this job.
3. We have a roommate! Less than a week after we moved in we had dinner with Alisdair's friend, Libby, who had just moved to Glasgow with her new job. She was looking for a room to rent and we were delighted to have somebody live with us, so we offered her the room! She is great, and we are super grateful to share a flat with her and get to know her more.
4. Some sad news. We went back to the states for the holidays to visit family and friends and to be in a wedding in Houston. When we arrived, I realized that something was going on with my body as I was exceptionally tired and moody. So, we took a pregnancy test just after Christmas only to find out the super exciting news that we ARE pregnant! If you know us well, you know that the fact that we were able to conceive, given all of my health conditions, was rather miraculous, so we were in major disbelief. We decided to go to the doctor in the states, even though we don't have insurance, just to make sure everything was okay and progressing as it should. During our appointment, we were made aware that the pregnancy was not progressing as it should and they believed (but were not certain) I was having an ectopic pregnancy (which is when the developing tissue gets stuck in the fallopian tube). They basically said that the pregnancy was not viable and was potentially life threatening for me, so we had to terminate the pregnancy. As you can imagine, this was very sad. Nothing in us wanted to terminate this pregnancy.
So, we had to extend our stay in the states for a few weeks and received the medical treatment to terminate the pregnancy. However, the medicine did not work as effectively as it should, so they brought me back in for another ultrasound. At that appointment, they were no longer thinking it was an ectopic pregnancy but believed it could be a molar pregnancy (which is when the meeting of the fetus and sperm is chromosomally abnormal and a "tumor" pregnancy is developing as rapidly growing cells that will never form into a normal baby). This type of pregnancy is also not viable, so they suggested minor surgery to remove the pregnancy. We complied and went through with the surgery.
Afterwards, we found out that based on the diagnostics of the surgery, they did not believe it was a molar pregnancy and their best guess was that it was an ectopic, as they had originally stated. At that point we were emotionally spent, as you can imagine. They had to give me a second dose of the medicine to terminate the pregnancy and wait for my numbers to drop. And they finally did!
All throughout this time, we have been SO taken care of and blessed by our dear friends and family and by our incredibly gracious God. We had several friends who took us in and let us stay with them for weeks. We had heaps of people praying for us in both continents. We were supported emotionally, prayed with, and cared for. We also had tons of people meeting all of our practical needs, such as making us dinner, taking us out and just giving us money. All of the medical staff were unusually caring, kind, and generous. We were given so many free services, such quality care and just over-the-top kindness. My doctor even gave me her cell phone number in case I needed anything! I have never experienced that before! There is no doubt in my mind that God has been with us and His good hand has been upon us. The whole time, even before I found out I was pregnant, I felt like God was saying to me "I am in this. This is Me." I know it has ALL been God. Through several scriptures and songs He led me to the point where I was able to say, "I have to trust You. I have no other choice, there is no other option. You know what's going on and I don't. Your ways are good and that is enough." He is constantly working everything out according to His perfect plan and I trust Him. I have been filled with peace that surpasses understanding, faith in things unseen, and hope in the glory to be revealed someday. Oh, how I long to see His glory! This scripture below brings great delight:
"Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Now, we need your prayers! As you will see below, so many of our previously requested prayers have been answered. We believe that God hears us and responds, so please keep praying!
- Relationships: Ministry, family and friends. As mentioned before, we believe that our whole lives are meant to be on mission with God, and we desire to minister to our co-workers and neighbors in our ordinary lives, so please pray that where He has strategically placed us He would give us opportunities to build relationships and make an open door for the gospel. This is the whole reason we are here, so it's very exciting! Please also continue to pray for mom, as her health is deteriorating and it is quite sad. My constant prayer is that she would experience the nearness of God and that He would deliver her from her suffering. Please also pray that God would continue to grow our friendships. We already feel we have so many friends in Glasgow (a city we have lived in for only two weeks) and are so blessed. Please pray that God provides us with a few couples that we can do life with and run hard after Jesus with.
- Marriage: Protection and Love. In the last few months God has done so much in our marriage! We are beginning to regularly communicate the ways in which we hurt each other and are learning how to love each other better. Please pray that we would continue to grow in our friendship with one another, that we would have "Jesus-centered" care for each other, and would be for each other. God is already doing a major work in us here, so we are looking forward to Him continuing to refine us in marriage.
- Mission: Now and in the future. Now that we are settling into Glasgow, we are beginning to think about where God would have us long-term and what He would have us do. We both still have a great desire to be a part of planting a church here in Scotland and have our ears open for opportunities to do this. We have already heard of two different plants that will be going out in the next two years, and therefore, are very excited about what God is doing in this country. Please pray for direction from God in this regard.
Thank you so much for your friendship, partnership in the gospel and prayers! We love you! Lookout soon for a post on all the cultural differences I am experiencing here. :) More coming soon!