Land of Kilts and Haggis!

Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
Trip End Feb 08, 2011

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Where I stayed
Aunt Pearls

Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Monday, November 1, 2010

Against all odds, we arrived into 'pure dead brilliant' Prestwick with the beautiful sun shining out over the luscious green hills. What a welcoming, unexpected sight!
Aunt Pearl and Suzannes father, Jim, were there to meet us in a hearty welcome - with photos and a poster holding our names to ensure no repeat of my last experience arriving here in Scotland!

This family, with all the extended relatives, is extremely close and caring, and we were immediately included as part of the clan. With missing having our own family around I seriously can't say enough just how wonderful that was for us.

Aunt Pearl was to be our host for most of the duration of our stay here and she was absolutely amazing. Right from day one we were thoroughly spoiled by her thoughtfulness and incredible generosity...made to feel so welcome by her wonderful, grandmotherly ways.

My connection with Suzanne was a rather random one in it's beginnings ... but we really hit it off when we first met back in 2008 on my tour around Europe - and have remained very close friends from that time. She has a song for every occasion under the sun and a heart so big and giving that inspires everyone around her.
On arrival we went through with Suzanne the proposed schedule she had planned out and arranged for our time here. Looking at it on paper really highlighted just how fleeting these 3 weeks were going to be...
but it was great to be kept busy with a whole range of projects as well as some scheduled time to appreciate the stunning countryside.

Since my last visit here, Suzanne has started up a ministry called 'Wheels in Motion' ...a soup bus supporting homeless people and those struggling with addictions in the Ayrshire district. Based on the verse from Matthew 25:35 "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in..." the story so far is overflowing with absolutely incredible testimony to Gods provision and faithfulness --- and one of my main projects for our time here was to showcase this in the form of a scrapbook, that could also be used as a tool to promote awareness. I spent a good number of hours researching into it's astounding background and then many hours more putting the incredible chronicle together with an array of papers, textures and colours in the endeavor to make it come even more alive to those leafing through.
It was great to be a part of the 'Fun Night' that Suzanne had organized as a thank you to all the volunteers who are involved with Wheels in Motion - and open to any of the homeless people who come along. Loads of Chinese food for dinner and many laughs shared over games throughout the evening.
Actually being able to go out with her on the bus was a truly amazing experience. What an awesome, relevant ministry! The people were piling into the tiny space for a cup of soup, rolls and a hot drink, so open and keen to talk...and with no desire to leave until we had to tell them too when packing up for the night. I had one very interested guy ask me when I became a Christian and all about how that has effected my life. His response was a very genuine "I can see it has changed you. I can see it in your eyes."
It's an amazing thing.

Samuel spent a good few days down at the Manse, helping [Pastor] Kenneth with some maintenance needed to be done around the place...building a gate, putting up new facia boards and making a start on the new shed.

Among Suzanne's crazy-packed schedule of serving and giving, work and social, she is the youth leader at her local Church. So with us here, she asked if Samuel and I could be involved in sharing with them of our adventures so far and all that God has taught and shown us to date in our travels.
The following weekend we all enjoyed a sleep-over in the Church hall: pizza, pavlova and piles of junk food to be consumed while watching 2 very challenging movies: 'Fireproof' and 'To save a life'. Needless to say there was very little constructive sleeping had - but a great time enjoyed by all! The next morning, somewhat blurry-eyed, we were all involved in leading the worship for the service that day. Great times.

Four of our days were spent down in the tiny little community of Newton Stewart...about an hour and a half south of Prestwick. It's one of those cute little places where everyone seems to know everyone. We stayed here with Aunt Myra, who helps to run the little Church here. She, along with the small handful of other women we met during our stay here, were perfect examples of faithfulness and commitment...and such fun to be with! The project here was to demolish and re-build the front steps of the little Church - as well as replacing the weed matting under the carpark. The former proved to be somewhat of a challenge, with materials not being the same as expected, but the finished result looked great.

Amidst our projects, Aunt Pearl totally spoiled us with an incredible day trip to the beautiful Lakes District of Northern England. So picturesque with it's gorgeous little towns amidst vast expanses of stunning lakes and autumnal trees.
We loaded onto a bus one other day to enjoy a quick review of Glasgow before moving on to the more character-filled Edinburgh. Exploring the old city under the Royal Mile, through Mary Kings Close, was a great experience - our tour guide was totally awesome! And it was absolutely wonderful having the opportunity to catch up with Hayley over dinner, my childhood neighbor-friend who has in recent years moved here to Scotlands capital.

The weekend before we were to fly out, Suz took a long weekend off work and we set off for a Highland fling up to Glenelg. This little isolated, out-of-the-way community is located just opposite the bottom of the the Isle of Skye, and home to more of Suzannes family: her cousin and family - our wonderful hosts. The scenery was absolutely amazing and so easy to get lost in the awe of its rugged, endless beauty. What an awesome Creator!

We loved our time in Scotland.
Such friendly, generous people who welcomed us in as part of the family and blessed us with their friendship --- occupying a beautiful country that we had the privilege of seeing a wonderful percentage of it's scenic countryside.

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