28 June 2013

27 June 2013

Hello friends!  God is good and continues to work among us in Glasgow, even in our final week. 
We had a wonderful day Thursday, networking and continuing to marvel at what God is doing here.
We've been reading the verse for Scum's prayer and fasting week every day, and I believe it's helped to focus our minds on things back home as we prepare for our journey back next week.
Now for Glasgow: Tyson and Ben went to the Under 40's Men's Club to play games and chat, and John and Matt went to the Next Steps Club, preparing people for university courses, and helping them find jobs.
Today we were kind of slow in the Next Steps club, but I got to talk to a friend of mine, Vjslachav (Not sure of spelling!) from Latvia.  Also known as VJ! 
I had met VJ at some of our evening meals at the mission, and he was always interested in chatting more.  This was the first time I had seen him during the day.  He seems hungry to talk more, and seems interested in my story.  We chatted about Scum of the Earth.  He was familiar with the passage, 1 Corinthians 4:11-13, and said he liked that one a lot!
Pray for VJ as he continues to build relationships.  Although he has a few Latvian friends in Scotland, he must feel alone sometimes. 
Thursday evening, the volunteers at the mission had a quarterly training session, and it was good to mingle with everybody, even though it was our night off.  Our friend Graeme picked us up and took us to his home in Cumbernauld, where he cooked a traditional Scottish meal of haggis, neaps, mashed potatoes, and stovies.  Then we had apple pie and strawberry trifle for dessert! 
It was wonderful to chat with Graeme, Stuart and Lynsey, and Steven about the new ministry that they are brainstorming about here in Falkirk, as we have another meeting tomorrow night, with more of their friends.  Pray for Sat. night, that God would move among people's hearts as they hear Stuart's vision.
Pray that God would move people to come alongside them to help them start up this ministry.
It was great to hang out and chat into the wee hours with our friends.  We'll miss them so much, but trust that God may bring us together again (as he has many times before!)


26 June 2013

The Not So Glamorous Side of Missions Work

Today one of the clients fell down across the street from the Mission in epileptic shock. It turns out she was suffering from withdrawl from not enough alcohol in her system. An ambulance took her to the hospital where she was promptly released. They have no hold system here, and won't treat self-inflicted status unless you have full payment. She returned a short time later to the mission and talked for a long time with the staff, but it's unclear how much of anything they said got through to her as she was still very drunk.

Later at the evening meal I found myself talking to a man who was also very drunk, and said he was being abused by the devil. He also thought of killing himself every day. This was immediatly interrupted by silence for the reading. When we continued, he didn't remember having told me that, didn't want prayer and believed Jesus was a myth. He then demanded more juice and left.

I had barely crossed the room before I was pulled into another conversation with a client I routinely avoid and who we think is bipolar. He clearly had not taken his conversation. His way is talk at you, but in such a way that it demands answers from you. He will string you along asking questions about whether or not agree that Christians should act in such a way or do such a thing. But all of it is a long about why of trying to manipulate you into agreeing with something that he wants to have happen. I finally extracted myself from this conversation to go somewhere else only to have him follow me and begin another conversation about how he didn't have any money or a job. I've already had this conversation with him before. I proceeded to tell him about thirty times in the next five minutes that he should spend all day every day looking for a job until he had one. The most preposterous moment of this was when at one point he said he didn't know what he was going to do tomorrow, other than eat. I of course told him he should look for a job. He didn't listen.

From here were going to go out to a pub to debrief on the day, and ran straight into a man who said the police had sent him there. He said he'd been robbed, had no money and wasn't dressed to sleep outside. He was clearly altered, probably from drinking. And however much of his extensive life history was true, half-remembered or even false, I don't know. But he was definitely scared. We walked him several blocks to a hostel where we were going to put him up, only to find them completely full. In the end we walked back, gave him a sleeping back and said to come back during the day to talk to the staff at the mission. I found myself surprised during this entire encounter at how cynical I had become, not really believing anything the man said at any time. And that concluded our night.

There is a very delicate balance between doing the job of the mission and not losing the heart of it, and the compassion of God. It's very easy to get worn out, and burnt out, to start to not care. To find yourself being used and abused and uncertain if you are really making a difference. But the key with this is to press on. And that seems to be the single focus on this trip for me. Sometimes we cannot see the end, and have to continue on in blindness, doing only what we know his word says. Our feelings are as dangerous to our cause as anything, but our lack of feelings can be even worse. But we have to strive and persevere, doing everything we can to stand; and in the end to stand.

"But we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." Romans 5:3-5

Yours in Christ,


22 June 2013

Strange Interactions With God

Hey Friends,

As the ongoing saga of my journey of health continues, I find myself in a place I've never quite been in before. Iona was wonderful in a way it wasn't last year. Last year I was desperate for God and angry that He seemed to continually ellude me when I called to him. I spent the entirety of that trip wandering the island and yelling out my frustrations and anger and with what I felt was nothing to show for it. This trip was far different. After a few hours of slow hiking in the morning and sitting and reading while looking out at the sea, I found myself completely satisfied. The book that I was reading was speaking to me in tangent with other things I'd found myself reading earlier in the month and what had been on my heart since the trip started: namely, about healing and faith. While I have a very deep faith, it was very clear that I often let my emotions and feelings decide where I stand at any given moment, whereas my faith resides in my will to believe God, regardless of how I feel. It was the right thing for me to read at the right time, and combined with other things that i had been reading on healing lately, as well as the spiritual journey I had been in so far, I felt strongly that this was exactly what I needed to hear and know. I spent the remainder of the trip just sitting around and being restful and content.

The next day however met with a bombardment of physical attacks on my health, and the following day was even worse. Determined to not give in to emotions and feelings, and fighting fiercely against any pain, I spent nearly every waking minute in conversation with God. This ranged everywhere from pleading, to reminding him of what He's said in his word, to reminding me what He's said in his word, reaffirming that I wasn't going to give up, questioning what His purpose was and ultimately just telling him that I wasn't going to stop wrestling with Him on this until either I was healed, or had an answer as to what I was supposed to take from this. The degree of intensity that this prayer has been is far different than any of the other types of prayer I've ever spent with God. Indeed on the outside I've become very serious and distracted. Not to the point where I neglect my duties to the mission or interacting with people, but noticeable enough to my teammates who began asking me if I'm.

Nevertheless, I'm determined to continue in this action to wherever it may lead. While sometimes physical ailments simply happen and that's the way of it, or we need doctors to treat them- and this certainly may be that, I can't help but suspect there's something deeper going on with this. The sudden onset a month before the trip when I previously have had zero health problems is certainly strange, as is the fact that in the last few months I've decided to go to Scotland on a missions trip that will help plant a church like Scum, help guide Scum into a time of church-wide prayer and fasting unlike what it's had before and have decided what God's ministry calling in my life is. Any one of those things is grounds for an attack by the enemy or testing from God, and I remember that before this all started I both felt I was on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough that would culminate in Scotland.

What does this all mean? I haven't a clue. At this moment I'm in complete darkness. But unlike other moments in my life when the darkness has weighed me down and oppressed me, I feel as though I'm moving through this slowly as though it were a huge pit of mud. But somehow I'll make it through the other side. And I certainly won't give up. We might fear no evil when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but we still must walk through it.

Yours in Christ,


19 June 2013


Dear friends

First off, please pray for Stuart Gilmour.  We received a phone call from Graeme while we were traveling yesterday that Stuart broke his jaw in two places on Monday night while playing football (soccer).  He was taken to the hospital that night and had surgery yesterday.  I have yet to hear how the surgery went.  Please be praying for Stuart's healing and attitude, Linsey as she cares for him, Graeme and Steven as they encourage and support the couple.  Pray especially that this would not dissuade them from moving forward in what God is calling them to do in building Christian community in Scotland.

We arrived safely and without incident on the Isle of Iona yesterday afternoon. I mention the travel because to get to Iona takes traveling 3 hours by train, a 45 minute ferry ride, an hour bus ride across the Isle of Mull, and then a 10 minute ferry ride to the island.  But everything went well and I was awe-struck again by the beauty of Scotland as we passed by lochs (lakes), mountains (foothills to people who live in CO), forests, and fields and fields of verdant green, speckled with yellow, white, and purple flowers.  Ah!  It is absolutely gorgeous!

Today is our day of silence & solitude which has been awesome for me so far: I went to the service at the Abbey where I was brought to tears by the way they sing 'All Creatures of Our God and King' as well as the liturgy we read together.  

Wandering the Abbey afterwards was just so peaceful and inspiring to read and meditate on our brothers and sisters of the faith who went before, from St. Columba and his successors, to the Benedictines who restored the Abbey in 1200, to the founder of the Iona Community who restored the Abbey to it's current state as evidence of his desire to call Scotland back to Jesus.  

I went to the Abbey Museum which I haven't visited since my first time here in 2008.  I was astonished by how much they have improved it!  It now tells a cohesive, chronological story of the life of the Abbey and Iona from which I learned so much! 

After the Abbey, I climbed Dun I (pronounced 'dune ee') which is the highest point of the island and from which you can see the entire island, back to Mull, and out across the ocean.  To say it is beautiful is ineffective.  It is...  I don't know, awe-inspiring, wonder-full, yes, all of this and more.  Standing on Dun I, I realize God's love for me and the world and I feel the peace of knowing the His love will triumph over all. 

I prayed, I sang, and listened, and cried.  God is overwhelming on this island.  I don't actually remember how I found it, I believe one of the volunteers at the Mission told me about it and I looked into it, but I don't remember who or any specific details about it. But I know it was inspired and I am so incredibly grateful.  Walking  onto the island from the ferry, I can feel worries and cares draining off of me.  As we walked to the cottage we are staying at this time, I felt God's peace slowly filling me as I entered into it.  The early Celtic Christians talk about 'thin places' where the barrier between the spiritual and physical is thinner than other places.  This is truly a thin place!

And the final thing that makes me dumbfounded in my joy and thankfulness is that this year, I get to share this experience with Tina!  I knew she would love it from the first time I brought a team here in 2008 before we were even dating.  It's so awesome that God has provided us the opportunity to be here together and share in the peace and beauty He lavishes upon this place!

Please pray for our team as we seek God today, that we would be open to Him and what He desires to speak to us and show us, pray against any thing that would distract us, and pray for safe and uneventful passage back to Glasgow tomorrow.

Thanks so much for reading!

Ben Mercer

17 June 2013

Thoughts and Questions

Over the last few weeks I've had a chance to see Scotland in a way I never have before. Last year it was very much a chance to see a different culture while exploring myself. But now the second time around I've been able to see the culture more for what it is rather than continually comparing or contrasting with that of our own. During my time at the mission, my conversations with the both the clients and the staff, our time in various churches and our friends Stuart, Lynsey, Steven and Graeme I've had a chance to really put together my impressions of where the culture is at and what God is doing here.

The primary thing that stands out is that Scottish people tend to look backward rather than forward. Having never been to other European countries there's no way for me to ascertain whether this unique or indicative of nations with greater roots than a country as young as ours. The Scots find their self identity in the past: they constantly look to the events of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce as great moments for them, or else remember when the English did this or that to them. This also transpires now as a fair number of  people look for Scottish independence. Whether this is good or bad i can't say, but the prevailing ideology by the Scottish people is that they have always been under the English in some form or another and need, for better or for worse, a chance on their own.

The sad problem with this is that there is such a focus on the past that it inhibits them from seeing their lives now or focusing on the future. Additionally, even within Christianity here there is such a strong push for national identity as opposed to remembering that when we become Christians we put aside these things. "We are neither Jew, nor Greek; slave nor free; male nor female." This is obviously not an exclusive problem. We have a very similar view of things in America in our own unique way. Nor would I say that this is indicative of all Scottish people. There are plenty of people who are very much the opposite of this. But if I had to sum of the general feeling in the air that I sense here, that would be it.

Scotland is poor. Not impoverished, as many countries. There is enough, but that is it. There's no surplus. Everyone struggles to make ends meet. There is very little money for recreation and fun. There are constantly companies going out of business. There is also just a very clear sense of depression and expecting the worse because that's just the way it's always been. There's a defeatism here, and in a sense, fighting for independence is all they have left. But that's not what will ultimately help them, because what they need more than anything is God.

Now while this all sounds very dire and miserable, I have a very strong belief that God is on the verge in moving in a very strong way in Scotland. I wouldn't have said this last year, but it feels very much closer to it now this year. While I do see a sad defeated people, i see the pride of that situation and the anger of it disappearing. I see it turning into a hunger that will ultimately be the perfect place for God to begin something miraculous that could spread like wildfire. Our time with Stuart and friends has shown me that there is a desperate heart by people for an authentic experience with other Christians that is no longer what has always been presented: stale and forced, but rather alive and active. I don't know what kind of time frame this will take, how many years or how many steps still to go through in the order for this to happen. But in the spiritual world it feels imminent. This is very exciting and I know beyond a doubt that God is doing something in Scotland and will continue to do more amazing things than any of us can probably even imagine. Continue to pray for these people.

Yours in Christ,


15 June 2013

15 June 2013

Hello friends and family,

We had a great day Saturday in the city of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and the site of many historical places.  It's about an hour's train ride from Glasgow.
We saw many beautiful parts of the Scotland countryside along the way; lush green rolling hills and meadows covered with yellow flowers.
We got to Edinburgh and toured the National Gallery of Scotland.  Many beautiful paintings (mainly oil paintings - Rembrandt and his contemporaries) are preserved there.  They even had a small section of American works.
Then we wandered around a bit, and ended up at Maison Bleu, a fancy French restaurant, for lunch.  My my, the drinks and the food were exquisite, and not too pricy!  Everything from escargot to ratatouille, duck confit and Scottish salmon were thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Then further down the Royal Mile we went, trying to take in as much as we could on a busy Saturday.  We went to an underground tour of some catacombs, which had a rich history, and toured some vaults that were pitch black!
We took the train back from Edinburgh to Falkirk, where we met up with our friends Stuart and Lynsey Gilmour, Graeme Watt, and Steven Green.  We love and cherish these dear brothers and sister in Christ!  Steven opened up his home to us and we admired his lovely aquarium (several clown fish, sea urchin, starfish, several hermit crabs, shrimp, and many others!).
Steven cooked a lovely meal for us which consisted of stogies (Not sure of spelling) - meatballs in spicy sauce, and sausages with leek and onion, and potatoes.  Such a wonderful host!
Then out to a local pub where we enjoyed some pints, and God did his amazing work!  Stuart and Lynsey opened up about their visions to (possibly) start a new church, and that that might be what God is calling them to.  The Scum team encouraged them and called out their giftings (Stuart - preaching/teaching, Lynsey - women/teaching, Graeme - music, Steven - hospitality).  We had a couple awesome prayer sessions right there in the pub!  God clearly spoke through the Scum team as we encouraged our brothers and sister to meet regularly and continually be in prayer, as this is just an idea at the moment.  We believe God is doing something in Glasgow, and specifically in the hearts of these brave men and woman.
Praise God for his continued faithfulness to those who seek his will!  He never ceases to amaze me!

Matt Kingham

Wednesday, 13 June 2013

Things here in Scotland have been grand: it has been wonderful to see friendships with clients, volunteers, and staff at the Mission grow and develop. Tina made it safely and without incident into Glasgow on Wednesday morning and joined Tyson and I as we helped out at the Young Men's club Thursday. Since the art show was on at the Mission, we took the guys under 40 bowling where Tina beat pretty much everyone :)

We had the night off from the Mission and took the time to chat about how we each were doing, being here and what God has been teaching us. It was really great to take the time to connect deeper as a team!

On Tuesday night, I met a young man who had just ended up on the streets a few days before and had come to the Mission for the first time that night! I was able to connect him w/ one of the staff workers who was able to get him some resources and he came back on Wednesday! It was awesome to see that he realized that the Mission was a place of sanctuary and wanted to return! Please pray that God would use the Mission to draw this young man closerto Himself.

Wednesday night, there was an older gentleman who had been sleeping in a park for almost two weeks w/o looking for resources. He made it to the Mission and one of the staff, Ewan, spent a large bit of time trying to help him find a place to stay that night. When he was unable to do so by phone, he took him by car to other places but none of them had room so Ewan gave him, blankets, a sleeping bag, and warm clothes and let him off at a place known to be safe for sleeping outside (or sleeping rough as they call it here).  

Ewan and I chatted afterward and I was reminded that sometimes we're not able to provide for others in the way we want to so we have to realize we are not God but that God loves these folk more than we ever can; then we do what we can like giving them the resources we do have available, and pray.  We haven't seen the man since and would appreciate having you join us in praying that God would provide this older gentleman a safe warm place to stay while he gets back on his feet.

Ben Mercer

12 June 2013


Hello Friends,

As the days go by the health problems continue to go up and down. By God's great mercy, and by your continuing prayers, things have reached a plateau where the distraction of pain does not supersede the need for God's work. Yet the struggle continues as does the questioning of why God has allowed this to happen. At this point I'm not longer trying to diagnose the problem, but wondering more specifically if there are deeper reasons at play in all of this. A vast majority of my time has been spent in prayer trying to understand what God is trying to say in all of this, and what I might be intended to learn. My one fear is that I would walk away from all of this with out some answer that allows me to step into a new level in my relationship with God, or that I had somehow squandered my time.

That being said, things with the mission are great. Every day I get another chance to be with my great friends here and learn even more about them. Interacting with the clients has been much easier than the year before. I think also that they are more open with us who have been there before. There is less wariness, since they've seen us around and know our faces. We also know when they're trying to deceive us in things and we are more wise about how to interact with them. This becomes clear to them as well and they end up being better behaved because of it.

Tonight after the serving the evening meal I had talked with Iranian man who'd been living in the UK for about 6 years. Remarkably he'd been given a vision of Christ when he was 5 and living in Iran in a Muslim household. He didn't know who Jesus was, but in the vision he was clearly addressing him as "God," and this confused him. He didn't understand how God could also be a man. It wasn't until many years later and home church in Europe, as he was learning more about Bible that he read in Isaiah 63 about Jesus. In that chapter he is wearing a red robe, and in his vision before the man he had seen had been clothed the same. He knew immediately that Jesus was the man in his vision, and that Jesus was God.

This story is to me remarkable for many reasons. Firstly, even though I've heard it told in stories, I've never met someone who was called out of their culture and had the gospel revealed to them by vision when there was no other messenger present. It's a beautiful portrayal of who God is and how he loves and has a plan for all people everywhere, even if missionaries should be unable to reach them. Secondly, it shows us that visions are still very much alive, and that people are still able to see Jesus face to face. I know most of us probably won't in this lifetime, but it is definitely an aspiration of mine and it's inspiring to see that happen. It was remarkable to listen to this man from Iran, who was being tutored by a pastor and attending what classes on theology that he could as he had no money, knowing so clearly who Jesus was and how God loved so thoroughly everyone and still feel so desperate to understand scripture and not have a strong base. It's like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and then being taught to swim.

This man is also a good example for what the mission does. He has very few friends in Scotland, and between trying to learn English, study theology and make money in whatever way he can, he has little time to try and make friends. But he has come to the Mission for years and has always felt a sense of welcome and peace there. He's felt comfortable asking the volunteers for help and advice. It's been a blessing to see that it's more than just providing a meal and word of scripture to people coming in off the street: it's about providing a community and a place of rest.

God bless you,


11 June 2013

Hello friends!

Sorry it's a little late, I'm just now getting to my blog duties for Tuesday.  The good news is that Glasgow is 7 hours ahead of Denver, so I guess I'm not that late after all! God has continued to show us grace and used us to bless the clients that come through the mission. And we have been blessed by them!
Tuesday was my first day of clubs at the mission.  I had IT (computer) club first.  It wasn't that busy, but I got to help a client learn how to use a mouse, & he played several games to help him get used to the mouse. It was fun to help people with their computer training so they could be better prepared for jobs in the future.
Next I had the art club.  I'm not artistically inclined (I'm a stick-figure sort of guy) but I really enjoyed watching people create art, & even helping a woman create a clay sculpture of 2 musical notes. I had to laugh that although I traced the design for her and did the lettering, she was photographed with her work and got the credit! I was happy to help in any way I could.
The clients were excited about the upcoming art exhibition at the mission, scheduled for this weekend and featuring work by many of the homeless in Glasgow.    
The art helps many clients to forget about their hardships and is a form of therapy.
I started work on my upcoming talk to the men this Monday, and then we had the evening meal. It was great to see many of the same clients and volunteers, and have a chance to show God's love. The clients ask some tough questions!
That's all for today. Thanks for your love and support!

10 June 2013

Monday June 10'th

        It feels weird when I realize that we have been gone for a week already. The time has gone by pretty fast. But it feels good to have the first week done, and be starting a new one now. I am sure you have read all the posts before this one and so I wont bore you with all the repeated details, but I will just say that its been a great week of reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.
But it feels sorta good to have all of those introductions behind and now move onto being here and present in the task that God has asked us to do. Being that 3 of us have done all this before, being here again has felt much like riding a bike with only a few new things thrown into the mix. Matt has done a fantastic job of diving right into the new experience.
Jet lag has not been too bad but naps have definitely been needed for some of us in the last week, but I finally feel as though I at least have moved past it. Hopefully.
John was not feeling very well towards that beginning of the last week but is now doing better and that is amazing. We still daily pray for his continued healing and that God would keep him and all of us well through out this trip.
All this is to say that I feel as though the last week was great, but this week will be even better. I pray that this week will be even better. God has so much in store for us that this week will surely be full of many blessing and trials. We begin this week with hope and anticipation. We pray that God would reveal himself to us and through us to the men and women who come in here. We pray that God fill us up and renew us because we have no chance of sharing what we do not have ourselves. A glass can only spill what it contains.

               In Christ

09 June 2013

1st weekend continued

We got to reconnect with Bill, Ovi, Max, Carol, and so many others we've met from previous years and we also got to meet new friends! It was such a wonderful day!

At one point, I was chatting with someone and I look to see Grant and Ewan, the Executive Director and Program Manager from Glasgow City Mission hanging about! I went over and talked with Grant who said he'd been a part of Mosaic for a few months now and he'd brought Ewan along for the day!  So not only did I get to introduce Stuart and Linsey to Mosaic folk, but Mission folk as well!  

It has seriously been a prayer of mine for years that these people would meet and it did!  Not only did it happen while I was there, but on the same day!  God is so incredibly awesome :D

1st Weekend

Hey friends, Ben Mercer here.

I hope this all finds you well!  

This weekend was wonderful!  Yesterday morning, headed over to the Ha'penny Bridge House just outside the Botanical Gardens, where we helped Friends of the River Kelvin set up tents for their gala.  A fund-raiser they put on every year with a band and various booths for people walking along the Kelvin River.

Mosaic has been working with FORK for years now, cleaning up the Kelvin once a month.  God has blessed Mosaic through this partnership, giving them a chance to share the gospel with people they wouldn't normally come in contact with and inviting them to their Sunday gatherings where these friends can partake in the greater Mosaic community and hear more about God's love for them. I have met a few people at Mosaic who have begun to follow Jesus because of this partnership so it was awesome to support Mosaic by helping them support FORK!

Later that day, Stuart and Linsey Gilmour came by and took us to their flat in Falkirk where we bbq'd and had marvelous chat with they, Graeme, and their friend Steven.  I've known Steven for years but never had much of a conversation with him so it was good to connect more with him.  It's so cool to see him geek out about the Star Trek: TNG/Dr. Who comics crossover :)

We spent the night in Falkirk and had such an amazing time partaking in the incredible hospitality of our friends!  It was so encouraging to all involved to just share life with these dear brothers and sister!

We woke up and went to Carbrain Baptist where we got to see Graeme and our own Matt lead worship.  During communion, Matt sang a song on his own which was incredibly moving.  I realized that I'd never heard him sing on his own before.  He has an amazing voice.

The message the pastor, Grant, preached was on the royal law of love.  Thinking about Jesus as king in the middle of a monarchy gave me a new perspective on God's authority.  The sermon was also a good reminder that love is ultimate and if we do absolutely ANYTHING without it, whatever it was that we did is worthless.  If this trip happened without love, it would be completely pointless.  I'm so glad that God has provided some wonderfully loving guys for this trip!  It's hilarious to see how different our expressions of love are, but each of these guys are so filled with God's love that is spills out of them and I'm honored to lead them!

We brought Stuart, Linsey, and Steven with us when we met up with Mosaic.  We watched the West End Festival parade together and had chat and BBQ again this afternoon.  We got the opportunity to introduce Stuart to Chris McKenzie, Linsey Wells, and Mark McDade from Mosaic leadership which was something I'd been wanting to do for quite a while!  We also got to see Saied and meet his wife and daughter!  I've been praying for their reunion since we first met him in 2012!

07 June 2013


Hello Friends,

For the last six weeks I've been dealing with a variety of health issues that my doctor and I have been trying to narrow down. It's been unclear what's been causing everything, and after several tests, my doctor concluded that I'm probably simply deficient some minerals in my diet. I was nervous about the day of travel and coming over here without a certainty that things would be better, having to work at the mission while battling uncertain health concerns and being away from everything familiar and uncertain of what healthcare might even look like should I need it.

The day of travel was fine, and there were no problems. However, the following day I was bombarded by severe pain in my stomach the likes of which I've never felt. It certainly wasn't something I ate, it wasn't clear if it was spiritual, and it prevented me from being able to focus on the mission. The exact thing I was most fearful would happen did happen. Jet-lagged and having stayed up for 36 hours the first day, I found myself with only 3 hours of sleep on the second day due to the pain.

The following day was a little better than this. But I was in no way healed in any way. I was exhausted and in pain, and didn't know what to do. At the behest of our local friends, we called the hospital and talked to a nurse, but the nurse thought since I didn't have additional symptoms it didn't warrant a trip to the emergency room. It helped a little to know that it wasn't an emergent situation, but the problem still remained.

Yet through this it was great to see both the team, and our friends both at the mission and outside the mission here gather round to show concern and help. It's been hard for me to be in such a position when what I want is to work and help people here, to be a positive influence and also hear from God in many areas, and then to find yourself seemingly hamstrung in all of that. Yet despite all that I maintained due diligence in bringing this before God. Every morning and every evening I've made the team pray for this situation, unwilling to put up with anything less than victory no matter how long it takes. And though we are across the world, I've kept in contact with my prayer group at Scum, knowing that no amount of distance separates us in the spirit.

Today I was meant with an amazing improvement. I felt nearly completely healed when I woke up today, and throughout most of the day maintained that. As they day wore on, the pain began to show itself again, but in no way as powerful a way. I'm not giving up on prayer for this situation, but I am a lot more confident that there's an end in sight that might be resolved much earlier and easier than expected. God is good. Please continue to pray, as I'm still not fully healed, and we don't really know what the problem is or was yet. However, it's been a blessing to have today where I didn't have to worry about things, and was able to do what was needed, and interact with everyone here at the mission the way I've hoped and dreamed.

God bless you all.

6 June 2013
dear friends, What an amazing time we've had already! God's love for Glasgow has been evident through the staff and volunteers at the mission. On Thursday, John, Tyson, and I worked at the Scheiling, an
unoccupied building that the mission is clearing out . John and Tyson worked on sawing down tree branches while I hauled them off to the makeshift "dump" on the side of the building. Ben stayed behind at the mission to help organize the store (food and toiletries storage). Then I got to go to the dump, a collection station where we threw stuff over a ledge to be compacted and transferred to a real dump. It was awesome riding through Glasgow and learning more about the city's landmarks from Tyson and Robert. Then back to the Scheiling for more sorting and filling the van back up again.
we had the afternoon free, and I enjoyed a lovely walk along the Clyde river, and also went downtown to the city Centre.
we had Thursday night off, and met up with Graeme, and Stuart & Lindsay Gilmour for dinner. Then we went to Graeme's house and had a lovely visit with his parents. It was a great relaxing evening, except for the "midgees" (like tiny mosquitos) that pestered us when we were standing outside.
So awesome to relax with friends across the globe, who have a similar heart for ministry to the downtrodden.
Then back to the mission for late night debriefing and bed! A nice full day.

Matt Kingham

05 June 2013

Day Two

Day 02, Wednesday, June 5th

Today saw the first day of work at Glasgow City Mission. But before I tell you about today I should write about yesterday. We arrived in Glasgow yesterday morning and were picked up by volunteers at the mission who had graciously volunteered their houses for us for that night. John and I went with a man named Jim and Ben and Matt went with a married couple Gordon and Irene. We then met up after dropping our stuff off at their house back in the city center of Glasgow, kinda like a downtown area.

We met up for lunch with a friend named Graeme. Graeme does a lot of volunteer work with his church,Carbrain Baptist Church. He works with the worship team and has invited Matt to play worship with him one Sunday. He also does a video club with some youth at the church where they get together and make movies, and has invited John to do some work with them.

Afterwards we met with a friend from Glasgow Mosaic Church named Mike. Mike and his family moved to Glasgow from the United States about 10 years ago to plant the church here. He filled us in on all the work going on at Mosaic and filled us in on all the ways Mosaic needs to be prayer. One of the ways that mosaic needs prayer is that the building that they lease for sundays is being renovated. So pretty soon here they are gonna need to find creative spaces to meet for their Sunday meeting.

Its been unusually good weather here for the past two days so last night John and I had dinner outside with Jim. It was really just a great day getting reacquainted with the city and the people we are going to be working with again.

Today we started our work at the Glasgow City Mission. They have just ended the lease on an old building that they used to use but no longer need and are trying to move all the stuff out of there. So they asked us if we would help them out. We spent the afternoon with Robert moving stuff out and catching up with him. Robert has been around the mission for countless years and is now finally retiring at the end of this year. Its amazing to see the way after all these years that Robert, who is officially more of a facilities manager than actually social worker, cares for these guys, especially a man named Willie Black. Willie works with Robert on occasion helping out around the building and has been using the service at the mission for several years now.

In about an hour we are gonna go downstairs and help with the dinner set up, I am writing this now before that because I am sure when that is done, at about 10:30, I will be too tired to think altogether straight. From my experience here two years ago dinner service is a rather hectic time of handing out sandwiches and soup to the guys coming through the door. After the dessert is handed out and when the evening is winding down someone will give a short message about the Gospel to the guys who want to stay and hear it. They have seen an influx of people using their services especially the evening dinner service.

Its been all in all a great day of meeting old friends and making new ones. It feels more like we have never left coming back here, or at least thats kinda the feeling for John, Ben and myself, for Matt who has never been here I am sure this is all new. Thanks for all your prayers and support over the last few months as we have been working towards this day and serving here at Glasgow City Mission.

In Christ