Sunday Night’s

Hey y’all!  Well, here we all are, 2018 is officially well underway and most of us have recovered from the Christmas and New Year festivities.  I’ll confess, Sam and I spent the week between Christmas and New Year vegging out, mentally and physically recovering from all the busyness of December.  Our first Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland was incredible though, and we are both so grateful to be serving the Lord here.

Last week (January 7th) we launched our long anticipated and much prayed over Sunday night services, and we had a great attendance and heard lots of positive chatter this week.  Of course I wanted to find a way to exercise my gift of hospitality, so we started out the evening with a soup and sweet dinner.  We’d also invited several other pastor’s from our community who do not currently have night services at their churches and were pleased to have many of them attend as well.  I know as someone who serves in a leadership role in church how nice, and important, it is to just be a part of the congregation and get fed spiritually.

We started the service with a great time of modern praise and worship; and while we don’t currently have a band we have been able to download new Christian praise and worship songs and videos from the Internet and use those to facilitate a great time of corporate worship that is much more modern than what you’d normally see in a church service here in the UK.  I’m so grateful for technology.

As far as the teaching goes, Sam has been working really hard over the last couple of months on putting together lessons that are a good combination of his “How To Study the Bible” and “Footprints” series.  If you’ve ever been a participant in either of those studies you’ll know that he has an incredible gift for taking the Bible and setting it inside of the bigger picture of history and world events, and ties that all together with God’s plan of salvation for us found all through the pages of Scripture – from Genesis to Revelation.  This current teaching series will last this entire year, and very likely extend into the next couple of years, so he’s got his work cut out for him, that’s for sure.  But everyone loved his lesson and are looking forward to coming back next week.

Sam capped off the night with an amazing Gospel presentation from Genesis 5.  Yep, that’s right, the first geneology found in the Bible is a presentation of the Gospel message of Jesus.  I was floored when I saw this, especially as someone who’s been in church my whole life, I’ve never before heard this but I want to share it with you because it is just one more confirmation that we’re God’s plan A!  Pull out your Bible and turn to Genesis 5…

Name                                              Meaning

Adam                                              Man

Seth                                                 Appointed

Enosh                                             Mortal

Kenan                                             Sorrow

Mahalalel                                      The Blessed God

Jared                                               Shall Come Down

Enoch                                            Teaching

Methuselah                                  His Death Shall Bring

Lamech                                         Despairing

Noah                                             Comfort

If we are to read these name meanings as a sentence it says:

Man was appointed mortal sorrow; the blessed God shall come down teaching that his death shall bring the despairing comfort. 

Praise the Lord!

Where does the time go?

Hello, friends!

Thanks for stopping by and witnessing the resurrection of our website and blog.  I’m absolutely embarrassed that I haven’t taken the time to write a blog post in months!  I’ve been so focused on everything else that I’ve completely disregarded my writing schedule and y’all have suffered for that.  I’m so sorry.

First, I want to say a huge “thank you!” to each of you for your prayers, emails, and words of support and love over the past couple of weeks.  Sam is doing really well and is recovering each day.  He was released from the hospital on Wednesday evening and has been very good about taking care of himself and doing what his doctor told him to do.  According to his doctor every one of his test came back with good results and minimal residual damage.  His official diagnosis is angina and high blood pressure, but there are medicines for both and with proper diet and exercise they saw no reason why he shouldn’t live many more years in health and happiness.  He has a follow-up appointment with his GP tomorrow morning, and we’ll find out what we need to do to go forward and get him back to full health as quickly as we can.

We are daily amazed at how much God takes care of us.  If we’d been in the States when his heart attack happened and the two subsequent TIAs (mild strokes) we would not have been able to afford to have him treated at a hospital, as we didn’t have health insurance.  In coming to the UK we had to pay our National Health insurance up front as a part of our visa fees, so every test, scan, blood draw, x-ray, CT, prescription medications, and the hospital stay was covered by National Health.  He received exceptional care, and he even said the food wasn’t too bad.  God certainly held the timing of this event in his hands and allowed it to happen once we arrived here and not before, and I for one am so grateful that we serve a God who cares that much about his children.

Okay, moving onto the news that you really want to hear!

Sam and I have decided that we’re going to use this blog format as a replacement for a newsletter, at least for a while anyway.  We have several reasons for this decision, but mostly it’s simply a time issue right now.  We’ve been so busy trying to get settled and sorted that sitting down for long periods of time to do any real writing has just taken a back seat to other, more pressing matters.   And to be honest with you, life happens every day, not just once a month.  There have been so many funny encounters, awesome stories, and incredible ways in which the Lord is working here and if we wait to share all those things in one newsletter they just lose their potency, for us and for you.  This format will allow us to share things with you as they happen – as if you’re right here serving along side us, rather than as a blip in our month.

I can’t believe we’ve been in Buckie over two months now, the time has just flown by and so much has happened.  We’ve had an incredible first couple of months getting to know the church and the community around us.  Sam has preached every week except for the Sunday he was in hospital, and his sermons have been really good.  He’s decided to do a study through the book of Luke, and each of his sermons have been on point and well received among the congregation.  We have seen a few folks who had fallen away from the church over the past couple of years without a minister have started to trickle in, and many in the town are talking about us, just waiting to see how things go before coming back.

In addition to our study through Luke, Sam has started a study in the book of Hebrews for our adult Bible study which happens on Sunday morning at 9:30.  This group runs between 7-9 people currently, and they have all been really active participants as we’ve really dug into the book of Hebrews and the superiority of Jesus over the Old Testament system of worship, and some of the current trends in Christianity of the resurrection of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the observation of Jewish feasts/festivals/and laws among Christians.

I (Brittan) have recently gotten involved in a food ministry at a church here in Buckie called Soup & Sweet.  This is a weekly luncheon for the community which raises funds for an addiction and crisis ministry in town, run by our friend, John Coppard at Riverside Church.  I’ve been allowed to get in the kitchen and make soups and desserts and I’ve had the chance to get to know a ton of folks in the community though this event.  The majority of people who attend on the Tuesday lunch are older, some are physically or mentally disabled, and many have been life-long residents of Buckie, Findochty, Cullen, and the surrounding areas.  Several of these folks attend other local churches, but some have never attended church, or are casualties of the Church.  This outreach ministry is strictly food based and open to everyone, but each week I see opportunities arise where I can meet hurting, lonely folks, pray with people who are ill or distressed, and offer a smile and a kind word to people who are very much the fringes of this wee community.  Monday’s (the day we cook) and Tuesday’s (the day we serve) are my favorite days of the week now!

I’ve also had the privilege of hosting our ladies Bible study group at the manse now for the past month and have really enjoyed getting to know these women better.  We’ve been looking at God’s Sovereignty through the book of Ruth.  Its been a fun journey looking beyond the love story at how God is always in control and His plan will always be accomplished.  We’ll finish up Ruth this coming Wednesday and then move right into a ten-week study on Psalm 119, which will take us to Christmas.  I can’t wait to see what the Holy Spirit reveals to each of us as we sift through the words of David.

Like many of you, we’re getting geared up for the Christmas season here, although in Scotland Christmas is a much more low-key event than in the States.  Our first planning meeting for our Christmas service will be held on Tuesday.  I’m super excited to see what ideas the congregation has for this year, and we’ll start brainstorming ideas for next  year as well, especially since we hope to have a year of diligent groundwork in the community done and may attract a larger crowd for next year’s event.

We will be announcing the dates, cost, and rough itinerary for our summer 2018 short term mission trips by Thanksgiving, so stay tuned for more information to come if you’re interested in coming to Scotland next summer!  We’re currently planning two work based trips, a ladies only trip, and we’ll offer a couple of spots for summer internships for college students as well.  We’re really excited to see who God is going to prompt to come and join us in Scotland next summer, and we’re already praying that the Lord will work in your hearts now.

We are extremely grateful to each of you for your continued partnership with our ministry.  We can feel the Spirit of the Lord beginning to stir in this community already.  We’re going to be doing some intentional prayer walking around town over the next couple of weeks, praying specifically for each of the churches in town, and against the strongholds the Enemy has here.  We believe with our whole heart that the Lord has a great revival planned for northern Scotland in the next couple of years, and we know that the best facilitator to revival is prayer.  We have discovered that our wee congregation has some mighty prayer warriors in it already and we’re trying to figure out a way to maximize that in our community.

Much love to each of you, and our prayers and thoughts are with you and your families.

Love and hugs,

Brittan & Sam

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closing a Chapter…

Sam and I both enjoy reading.  Sam tends to be the kind of reader who is able to read multiple books on various subjects, and usually has several books going at one time.  He can read a few pages in each of his books every day and keep up with the content.

I, on the other hand, prefer to read voraciously in spurts.  I favor espionage and crime novels mostly and will cabbage onto an author I love and read everything they’ve written before moving on to the next author.  I especially love it when an author writes a series of books based around a main character or story line, like Brad Thor’s Scott Harveth, or Tim Downs Bug Man, or Patricia Cornwell’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta.  Currently I’m reading a British author, Peter Robinson, who writes the DCI Banks series.

Regardless of which character I’m reading about I always find myself a little bit sad when I finish a series because I feel like I’ve really gotten to know and love these characters, and I hate to see their stories come to an end, even though I’m about to discover a new story line and set of characters that I’m going to love just as much.

Right now, our life is a bit like the ending of a great series of stories.  One beloved chapter is coming to an immediate end, while another, equally exciting one is about to begin.  Our time in Georgia is drawing to a close, and in approximately 10 weeks we’ll be loading what’s left of our worldly possessions into a couple of suitcases and boarding a plane for Scotland where we’ll begin the next amazing chapter in our story.  Our emotions are all over the board, and most days we would sum them up to one word: bitter-sweet.

We are super excited about how God is working in our lives right now, both personally and through our partners.  We have re-discovered just what a big God we serve as we’ve seen him remove barriers, obstacles, and distractions in ways we thought weren’t possible.  We have been blessed daily by unexpected words of encouragement, the faithfulness of our partners, and watching people enthusiastically embrace us and this ministry.  We have felt new life breathed into old and tired bones as discouragement is replaced by vision, purpose, and determination.  And we have been able to rest in the peace of knowing that we’re walking right in the center of the Lord’s will for our life as the pieces begin to fall into place for our move.  Just in case you didn’t already know, we serve an awesome God, y’all!

One of the biggest changes that has happened for us in the past couple of weeks has to do with our farm.  Many of you know we purchased a little farm about four years ago.  At the time, we felt it was our dream property, and an avenue for us to stay in Georgia permanently and live a more self-sufficient lifestyle.  For the past two years as we’ve prayed over and wrestled with this opportunity to return to Scotland we had not felt comfortable with selling our little piece of heaven.  It’s paid for, and it seemed like a good security net should we have to return to the States for whatever reason.  Sam and I have talked at length about renting it out, using it as a short-term home for families in transition, leaving it empty, moving Sam’s children from Nebraska or my parents from Florida into it, and a variety of other options that cropped up.  As we explored the possibilities both Sam and I felt uncomfortable and burdened by each option.  In the last month or so our prayers have seemed to morph from, “Lord, please open the door for us to keep our farm by…” to “Lord, please give us peace about our future, whatever that might be.”

Oh how I love the way our gracious God works when we truly surrender our will to His!!

A few weeks back we were meeting with a friend from church about partnering with us financially.  At the end of the meeting he asked us what we had decided to do with our farm.  We told him we just weren’t sure, and shared some of the options we’d been tossing around.  He listened intently and when we’d finished running through the list of possibilities he just asked us if we’d pray about selling it to him.  WHAT?!?!  In that moment we were totally blown away because he was one of the options we’d thrown around in the early days and then dismissed because we didn’t think he would be interested.

Friends, I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you that one of the most important lessons I’m learning right now about true surrender and trust is to not say “no” for people when God has been preparing them to say “yes”.

As this part of our story begins to come to a close, we admit to having mixed feelings.  We are sad and dreading the emotional roller-coaster of saying farewell to friends, family, our church, and things we have grown to love and cherish; but we are also anxious and excited to move into the next part of our story where we will write a whole new chapter full of new friends, family, and memories.

Thank you friends for being a part of this journey!