Hi everyone! This is John.
Nearly a week has gone by and today was the first time we saw full and bright sunlight. However an hour or so after this miraculous unveiling we were once again caught in a downpour. So far it has rained fairly consistently every day. But even though it’s continually raining, the temperature is fairly mild, and only rarely is it ever a serious downpour, and more often only a slight, consistent drizzle. The more unusual thing is that it is still well lit outside until 10:30 pm, and then it suddenly shifts to night until about 4am. So far this hasn’t been too disorienting.
It’s been interesting to note the differences in Scotland to America. For one thing, since America is such an incredible melting pot and has been since its foundation, we have people of all shapes and sizes and looks. Yet one of the first thing I notices about Scotland is the incredible homogenization of the people here. There is an incredible common look both is shape, size and facial features to most people here, which is not surprising since they never have had much immigration until recently.
I have to say that Scottish people are far more friendly than just about anyone I’ve ever met. Anyone will talk to you and give you directions to wherever you need to. One example of this was we were in a book store today. Ben was trying to find a peculiar book store he remembered from a previous visit, and asked the shopkeeper who immediately pulled out a map and gave Ben precise directions to the exact spot where he needed to go. Additionally, the clients of the mission themselves have always been friendly and talkative. One might actually think that these are people who are not down on the luck with the easy manner in which they talk and smile. They are very grateful when we are serving food and polite when asking for specific things (for the most part).
It’s been an incredible experience working with the staff of the mission, who are wonderful, friendly, loving people. Watching them work with the homeless, direct activities for them, remember all of their names and what’s going on in their lives as well as well as consistently apply Christianity and talk about salvation with them has been inspiring. That is perhaps the thing that’s been most amazing to me. While there are numerous differences between our cultures, and even in our ways of speaking, when it comes to talking about the Bible and God, it is exactly identical to everything we hear and teach ourselves, proving beyond all doubts that Christ transcends all cultures. I have to say that the brotherhood that comes from the global church is something unlike anything I’ve really experienced before, and creates such an incredible sense of belonging that I feel can’t even really be mirrored by having a home community of believers.
I’d also like to share something very personal that God has shown me since arriving. Before leaving for Scotland I’d been in a very stressful place in life, constantly running and trying to determine God’s next step for my life. I was desperately trying to figure out what to do and felt extremely pressured. Many people tried to encourage me that for this moment in time I needed to just rest and relax, even have fun. The verse my mother felt was meant for my life was “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10. Simply be still. During the first day at the mission, after church service we were to turn to the person next to us and pray for them. After praying for this person, she asked me if I needed prayer, and I told her very simply that I just felt like I’d been trying to figure out God’s will and I was stressed about not being able to be determine it. She said she understood completely from her own life. And without any other words she said: “You need to just relax. You need to spend this time on yourself and having fun. Be still.” Sometimes you need to go halfway around the world and have a complete stranger tell you what God’s been trying to tell you all along. But if that’s what it takes, God’s going to be faithful. He’s going to wait for you to get there, then He’s going to tell you again.