17 June 2009

It's about time

I have a hard time getting motivated to send out letters to supporters and to write a blog about all that has happened. Most of you know that we did not make it to Scotland and if your not aware of that then please read the other post for that information I would feel like I was repeating what has been said already.

The reason for my lack motivation is to be blunt I just don't feel like thinking about it all. This was going to be my first mission trip and I was going with people I care about and to a destination I have always wanted to visit and in the past year have decided that I was going to live. It was perfect trip on so many levels. But God had different plans for me. Plans that have started to be relived but in my eyes I feel that going would have paid out more for me.

This is not to say that God has not blessed me coming back, he had made it possible for me to go to Portland to see a friend of my Girlfriends get married plus a couple of extra days to see the city. Along with a few other things that would have not been possible if we had gotten to Scotland.

I have start work again and that was probably the hardest thing to get organized since I been back since my boss went on vacation about a week after I got back so thankfully a few co-workers gave up a shift for me to work and it all worked out. I do have to wait about a week before I get a normal paycheck so for most of June I have had to be a penny pincher witch is a good thing I supposed. I’m quite amazed that I haven’t run out of money yet.

Along with getting back to a normal life during a time I wasn’t supposed to be here, I have been planning on proposing to Danae my girlfriend. Although this was planed be fore I was going to go to Scotland I did not have a set time, place or pretty much anything worked out. I’m excited for this new chapter of my life to begin. But since the plan is to become missionaries it’s a little worrisome that our first experience of the mission field together (and yes she was on the team) turned out the way it did but God is in control and I just need to trust him that he will prepare us the way we need to.

That pretty much sums up my life right now. I hope to go to Scotland with scum someday just not likely in the next year.

06 June 2009

Reflections on Detainment and other stuff

Last week, I said good-byes and fare-thees and figured I would wrap up the responsibilities I had and just put things on hold for a month. I notifiied my bank; I shut off my phone. I gathered gifs for baby showers, birthdays, and weddings, and divied them out to messengers. I am usually not this prepared. I worked in advance at the job, and delegated to coworkers that didn't have to be so nice to me, but nonetheless were. I wrote out bills and spoke with my housemates. My room was occupied and others were given keys to use my vehicle while I was gone. Plenty of hugs, lots of love, and "see ya, see ya- in a month." Oh, and will you water those plants?

Last week, four others and I flew to London with a desitation of Scotland, and the intention to work with Glasglow City Mission and other initiatives. Many, many of you supported us in countless ways. We didn't make it. We got to Heathrow Airport and made it through: one-on-one interviews with immigation officials, a 13 hour wait in the holding rooms (complete with offerings of sandwiches and hot teas from a free "vending" machine), and rides in vans with metal bars and hard plastic walls. Our passports were taken away, our belongings locked up... and we waited. Meanwhile, others worked extremely hard to make our 'stay' as pleasureable and comforting as possible. We laughed with immigration officials, escorts and fellow detainees from England, Russia, and Australia. The urgency in our voices was met with prayer and counsel from people in the United States and Scotland. We waded through the process with anticipation. We hoped it would have been turned out differently; we were sent back to the United States. Our passports were returned to us when we reached US soil. Immigration regulations had changed in March, and we did not have the proper sponsership to be welcomed into the UK.

This week, we greeted and surprised many of those who had helped to send us. More hugs. And still, we waited. Would sponsership come? We realized it was a much longer process than originally anticipated. It would take longer to apply and to show forth results, and it would cost some money, for sure. So, my bag stayed packed, and I bought food for a day at a time. I went back to work for a couple days, and what could have been quite an awkward situation was instead a true welcoming back. We set a Thursday as the date as a team, so we would either be on a plane on Thursday or regrouping for further possibilites. Thursday night, I went grocery shopping in Denver. This time I bought food that would last more than a week; we were not on a plane. I was o.k. Friday we met as a team--not in the Scot's Highlands--but in a fabulous little coffee shop in the Highlands of Denver. ;) The team may be heading out once more for the much-awaited destination of Glasglow, Scotland; however, I will not be able to join.

Dude, I took a 48 hour trip. It was insane. It is surreal being back. My wallet is still filled with Scottish currency, and a stamp from customs marks my passport. I guess it was real, afterall. Frankly, it was frustrating and difficult. It was uncomfortable and stretching. Yet, it was an adventure. There was a lot of giving up control and persevering in hope, throughout. It was about encouraging a team, when you, yourself had no idea what was going to happen. It was not scary, but it was a stripping of our rights and status. It was a character-refining trial that reminded us that our own itineraries are mere proposals for tomorrow. I hope I managed to love on people, although the people we met were not the intended audiance. Good stuff happened, but I will probably have more insight a few months from now. :)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. xxx


Enjoy this hour. "Continue on and have fun."

29 May 2009

Why Scum is not currently in Scotland...

In March, the UK regulations for international volunteers changed & now a sponsoring business or charity is required. However, when this changed, Immigration didn't tell any UK charities or businesses, so all kinds of people have been refused entry into the UK: missions teams, students, interns, etc. Needless to say, none of our friends in Glasgow knew about this which is why I'm now in the US.

Over the course of our 12 hour detention in London-Heathrow Airport, we learned this about the new regulations:

A UK Sponsor is needed to get into the country. What this entails is a business or charity that has gone through certain steps to become a registered sponsor which takes about 6 weeks. This sponsor then requests a certain number of slots which they can fill with people who will be entering the country as unpaid workers connected in some way to their charity or business. When the sponsor finds the people to fill those spots, they input the name & are given a number. This number is then given to the person who, in turn, brings that number with them to the UK, presents it to the UK Immigration people & whisks blissfully into the glories of volunteering in the UK.

There is a .pdf with 611 pages of sponsoring organization found here: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/pointsbasedsystem/pbsregisterofsponsors
If you know of any UK businesses or charities & would be willing to see if they are on the list & contact them on behalf of us to see if they'd be willing to chat w/ me about trying to figure out a way to help us get into the UK & eventually to Glasgow, it would be so much appreciated. We would be willing to donate some time to working w/ them if that would be a help to them.

Please be praying for us as we seek to return to Glasgow & figure out what God's wanting to do w/ the us in the midst of all of this. Thanks for reading!

28 May 2009

Dear Friends

So I'm sure your expecting a entry about how our trip went and how great Scotland is but this is not that entry. We are all back in the states. The short version of our trip is that we got to Heathrow England and got denied entry to the UK due to the fact we didn't have a sponsor to do volunteer work in the UK. basically we didn't have the write paper work. We are working on getting that paper work and hopefully we get back soon, we will know in the next couple of days. we are waiting to hear back from the church of Scotland because they seem to be the only ones that might be able to sponsor us.

as far as the trip went it was 14 hours of flying then 12 hours of waiting in the Heathrow airport then the trip back equaling 48 hours of being away and 22 hours of being on a plane. while waiting in the airport we met many very lovely people that we hope to thank in person if we get back (and if we fly in through Heathrow again). We will posting a more in depth blog with details tomorroq but right now we are just resting up since we only had a bed to sleep in for about 4 hours last night.

please keep praying that we will get back and that it's God will we do, also Thank God for his hand in this, we met and talked with many many people that we would have never met if it didn't happen this way and we as a team feel that all of this was Gods doing.

25 May 2009

Trip Contact Info...


Less than a day away from leaving. We'll be getting into Glasgow around 1pm on Wednesday their time. Who knows what time it'll be our time... :) Okay, let's see if my brain's working right: 6 hours ahead of us, so it'd be about 7am here in the States, I believe...

So yeah, a little bit of team info while we're in Scotland:
We'll be staying @ the Sheiling's location of Glasgow City Mission which is found @:

24 McAlpine St.
Glasgow, Scotland
G2 8PT

but WAIT! That's NOT where you should be sending the letters, postcards, cards, cookies, treats (they don't have ranch dressing in Scotland & I can't take more than 3oz on the plane w/ me..), etc! If you want to send stuff via postal mail, you need to send it to:

(whoever's name you're sending it to)
C/O Glasgow City Mission
19 Elderpark Workspace
100 Elderpark Street
Glasgow, Scotland
G51 3TR

Of course, this 'blog is 1 way to keep up w/ what all is happening w/ us & our adventures over the pond. Another is through all our photos @ our flickr site.

In addition to Glasgow City Mission, we'll be spending a lot of time w/ Glasgow Mosaic & VoidAvoidance along w/ a bit of time w/ Friends of the River Kelvin, & the Salt & Light bus.

This isn't the 1st trip Scum of the Earth Church's taken to Scotland. We did 1 in 2007 and another in 2008 so feel free to check them out...

Please be praying for us as we travel tomorrow & Wednesday (we'll be in 4 different airports before we make it 'home' for the month) & that God would be continuing to prepare us for Scotland & Scotland for us :)


.....Because I'm leaving, on a jet plan dont know when i'll be back again.....

leaving tomorrow. almost pack but I'll get it done. I'm starting to get a little nerves but the true reality of this trip hasn't hit me yet I'm guessing that will happen around when we take off or land.

09 May 2009

So soon...


In less than a few weeks, we'll be heading to Glasgow, Scotland & I'm so stoked! It's been almost a year since I was there last & I miss my friends, the green, the cool dampness... Ah! I'm so excited to be heading back.

Only yesterday, I learned that Glasgow City Mission (http://glasgowcitymission.com/) will be hosting us in their building for FREE! Which means that we'll be able to spend a Saturday in Stirling, checking our the town & the castle. I'm stoked for this 'cause I've never been to Stirling before! & we'll be able to spend a few days & a couple nights in Iona again for our holiday. I just bought our 2 nights (16 & 17 June) yesterday so it's becoming more and more real to me each day!

If you'd like to read more about our travels, keep checking back... I'm hoping that this will be the year that we 'blog all the way through the trip instead of slacking off about week 3 :) & I'm hoping to keep this 'blog going for each year after this so that we won't keep changing urls every year! So please check back & see what we're up to...

...ben mercer