Friday, November 04, 2005

The England Journal: Final Thoughts

You know, I've had about two weeks now to really think about this trip and the good and bad of it. And honestly, there was both, but I'll focus on the good.

This was a really unique experience for me and my family. On one hand, I have had the incredible opportunity of being to England twice. To be honest, after the trip in 2000, I knew that Sheryl and I would go back. I honestly didn't know that we'd be back in 5 years with our child. I really thought it would be another 20 or 25. But we got to live our dream a second time and we loved it. However, it was very different from the trip in 2000 in that it was a mission trip and not only that, it was our first mission trip.

It was incredibly special. The people that we met in Loughborough blew me away with their kindness and warmth and hospitality. Mark Hill is one of the hardest working men I've ever met and I respect and love him dearly. His cousin Paul is so hysterical and such a great father to his children and just a man after God's heart. Mark's parents, Norman and Brenda, allow an American family to invade their house and gave us some privacy when we needed and made us laugh and feel at home after long days.

That doesn't even get to the young adults that we met and played with: Tim, Jo, Graham, all those teenage girls that acted just like I'd expect teenage girls to act, confirming that shrieking girls are not limited to the States.

And the children in the HBC. Those sweet fun faces that loved learning the "Going Bananas" song and "C-O-C-O-N-U-T" and that laughed with us and did the crafts and screamed at the Banana piranha.

I loved eating the fish and standing in the queues at the supermarket and saying "crisps" and "biscuits" and kind of acting English, even though I'll really never be.

And I'll always remember Wednesday night. Not because of the talk I gave, but within that talk, I spoke of a smidge of guilt I had for being in England. You see, I really wanted to go. And when the opportunity came up, Sheryl and I jumped at it. And we planned and we worked and we raised funds and all of that. Then Katrina hit and I watched with horror the devastation and had these doubts. How could I go to England when people so close (relatively) were suffering. I was going to England to work with the church, but I was also looking forward to being there and going to London and the Lion King and Westminster Abbey. This was as much a pleasure trip for us as it was a mission/encouragement trip. Mark then spoke up and encouraged me greatly and said that, Yes, they could have put on their own HBC and yes, we could have stayed home and helped with Katrina, but he already knew of children that were so sad we were leaving, because we'd worked so hard with them and taught them about Jesus and they were already getting inklings of that. And that night made the whole trip right there.

There were hard times. I got really annoyed with some people on Friday in London. I wonder sometimes if the team as a whole didn't get distracted by the fact that we were in England, and if we'd gone somewhere else that we didn't have a natural attraction to, if we wouldn't have been as distracted. But I know God worked through us and in us. I have formed relationships with people in our singles' group that I would never have had before. We have grown to love them and will always count them as a part of our family, and I know Kinsey will always remember them as her England friends.

I look forward to us going back and working with the church in Loughborough again, although it might not be for awhile. I'm grateful for the chance and the time that we had there. I thank all of you who have read with me over the last two weeks and hope you've at least got something out of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your encouraging comments about Mark. In Massachusetts, my congregation supports Mark Hill, and we were checking up on him, we haven't gotten a report in a little while. I agree, he is a hardworking, and genuinely amazing Christian. Your brothers and sisters in Massachusetts.

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