Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Day 7 & 8

Day 7 was mostly packing up and driving to London, then dinner and nightlife (for some of us) in town. Day 8 was touring London.

Attempted selfie with my feline friend.
Getting ready to load the vans - since the trunk wouldn't open, we had to lift all those suitcases over the back seat.
Big Bertha
Photo Opportunity on the way to London

Driving on the left side of the road was an item off my bucket list.
Ah, traffic - felt like home.

Debriefing with Eric over dinner.

Exciting night life in London. :)

Trafalgar Square
View from a bridge. I don't know which bridge.

The bridge.
Buckingham Palace

Big Ben in the background

Westminster Abbey

Hatchard's - London's oldest bookshop

My first taste of Thai food.

These were not good.

Harrod's - didn't get to go in, but it is pretty at night.

Some people will get why this sign cracks me up. Some people won't.

Ended the night with another late night conversation in the lobby of the hotel. Love those. :)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Day 6

Last day of All-In Church. In the morning, Amy and I finished taking pictures for the comunity mural, then we had one last rehearsal for the kids' drama during drama camp. During All-In, the team and I did the last skit that I wrote - same audience reaction as the first 2, unfortunately. Dinner was bangers and mash and Yokshire pudding - the most Englandy meal we had. :) Yorkshire pudding is not a pudding or even a dessert, so I don't know about that name. I like Yorkshire pudding.

After dinner we had a "Rossington's Got Talent" contest with the kids and a few adults. Mickey, Michael, Landon, and Matt were the judges. I ran sound. Then we were going to have an outdoor movie, but the weather didn't cooperate, so we moved it inside. We provided American candy, and I can only imagine there were some sick kids that night because they were scarfing it down. Our team left about halfway through the movie as it was getting late.

Once we were all in our vehicles, everyone else had left when I noticed the light indicating an open door was on. Turns out it was the trunk, but it wouldn't close even after repeated tries. After fumbling with cell phone flahslights , I figured out the button you push to open the trunk wasn't popping back out, so I figured out how to force it out and we were on our way. Once we got home, when we tried to open the trunk, it wouldn't open. I climbed in through the back and tried, but it wouldn't budge, so we decided to look at it again in the morning.  Of course, climbing into the trunk required me to be crawling all over the seats that had previously had sick kids sitting on them, so that was lovely.

Another late night convo with the roommate and one of the guys that was staying with us from Rossington to finish the day.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Day 5

Second day of All-In Church. As I said in yesterday's blog, we were all so exhausted, so we slept in and went to the church around lunch time. We continued rehearsing our skit in the drama camp, and it's such a good skit. So amazing how quickly it came together. Then we did the 2nd skit I wrote for the All-In Church. I still don't think the audience is even paying attention. I've been running sound and helping serve the dinner we give after church. Today we introduced the English to sloppy joes. They were a hit.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Catching Up

Ok, here's Day3 and 4. The blog delay is due to ongoing technical problems with my tablet, busyness, and exhaustion. Also, I don't have access to all my photos, and I haven't taken many of the ministry work we've been doing - hopefully I'll get copies from others at some point - so photos are limited at this point. To quickly sum up the last couple days, I need to explain that this trip is different from what a lot of people expect a missions trip to be. It's less about service and more about relationships and showing God's love. As Eric Simpson, the missionary we're supporting, said, "The people of Rossington believe that no one cares about them, so just the fact that people came specifically for them means a lot to them." So though we are doing some service projects, we're focusing more on getting to know people and stuff. As such, we've done some things like taking people to the zoo, though that doesn't immediately seem like a missionary thing to do.

Anywho, for me, the last couple days have been trying.

First, the good news: I'm doing much better with driving that behemoth of a van. We named her Big Bertha. I've also been a bit validated by some locals who were shocked at how big it was, and said it just wouldn't fit on some roads without hitting the curb and such. So. Yay.

The rest of the news: On Sunday, we did church at Eric's church - helped with worship and did a drama to the song, "Oceans." And then we had a long lunch with the church family. For the record, egg mayonaise is the same as egg salad. I like egg salad. After that Eric and his family wanted to take us to Gainesborough Old Hall, which is where many of the pilgrims originated. I knew the Henry VIII history, and I knew the American history, but I hadn't really combined them in my mind, so that was very interesting. On Monday, we took several car loads of people to a local wildlife park. My van had about 9 people in it, a mix of our team and people from the local area. One child threw up in my van on the way there. This caused me all sorts of problems. But I did find out I can keep driving while having a panic attack. The wildlife park is basically a zoo, but the enclosures were much larger and nicer than I've seen before. I always feel a bit sorry for the animals in a zoo, but it is fun to see them. I love me some otters. The park also had a number of awesome playgrounds and play areas and much of the zoo time was spent at those places. One awesome playground featured slides and rope nets and tunnels and such. I spent about an hour running around chasing the kids before I could no longer breathe and had to stop. Because the place was built for people slighty smaller than me, I am covered in brusies. But it was fun, and it was cool to see the kids playing together. The park also had a slide room. One of the slides starts in a vertical drop. Seriously, straight down. Scary as crap when at the top looking down. But I did it. Three times. Less proud of myself after seeing the kids fearlessly doing it over and over again. Then more vomiting happened. Same family but different kid as the first time. So my freaking out renewd itself. I ended up driving a different car back to the church, and from what I hear, it was a good thing. We had fish and chips from the "best fish and chips place," for dinner and then went home. At home, we slathered up in "Thieves Oil" that Emily had brought and prayed we wouldn't get sick. And I continued to freak out.

Next day was the start of the "all-in church" (an off-shoot of "Messy Church"), which was where we were doing our skits, VBS, women's ministry and dinner with the community. Before that started, though, another team member, Amy, and I, drove to some local schools and such to take pictures for a community mosaic mural. We got yelled at a few times for being on private property. My companion lacked my ninja skills. 😉 We did the first skit I wrote at the beginning of the "all-in" service. People said they liked it, but it felt like the crowd really wasn't paying attention; they were talking and distracted. Other than the skit, I didn't really have a place in the afternoon. We had a drama camp that I was excited about, but was unable to really contribute to. Then there was VBS and Women's Ministry, which I had no part in. Since there were 2 of us that morning taking pictures, which was overkill, I really began to feel very useless and un-needed. And my pride was damaged from being passed over in the drama camp. So it's all self-centered thinking, and though I have no one but myself to blame (though I could easily share it 😉 ), it made for a miserable day. I'm still not sure why I'm here, nor convinced I'm supposed to be.

We were all on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion, so we slept in today and are getting ready to leave for the 2nd day of "all-in" church.

So far, my favorite parts of the trip haven't been missions-related. We've had some fun at night - a lip-sync dance party, a hysterical bedtime story some of us told a visiting kid by doing one line per person at a time - I was laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants - and late-night talks with my roommate, and joking with my co-pilots. Probably not what I'm supposed to say about a missions trip but there it is.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

15,000+ Words

 I thought there were a bunch of rocks all over the ground - like several dozen - but they weren't there the day before.

 Turns out they were snails!

Another new friend. We named him "Corky."

 He had a cork in his mouth, and we used it to play fetch.

 Attempted selfie. (You can kind of see the cork in his mouth.)

 I love skeleton keys! This one actually works! On the door of our house!

 Open-air market.

The "Crooked Spire," also known as the Church of St. Mary and All Saints.

A real English scone! Whoop, whoop! So good!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Day 1

It's been a long day! Been a 2-day-long day. Got up for work at 7 am yesterday. It's now the equivalent of 1:30 pm today. No sleep. Seventeen hours traveling. So far, we've had a kid throw up, and already had enough plane delays to miss a connecting flight. But the weather here is awesome! A cool 65, 70 degrees!

I got to check off a bucket list item by driving on the left side of the road, but the rental car I was given is a huge, massive behemoth, and we were driving on some very narrow roads. I didn't have too much trouble with staying on the left side, but I did have some issues due to the size of the vehicle. Frustrating and disappointing because I pride myself on being a good driver, and today I didn't prove that I am.

No scones, yet, but I did get my first, real English fish and chips. And mashed peas. I ate all the fish and chips. I did not eat all the mashed peas.

England is beautiful! I haven't taken any scenery pictures yet because of that whole driving thing, but I saw more sheep today than I have in my whole lifetime. And we went through some quaint, little English villages that were the cutest things ever! And check out the house we're staying in! It's so cool! Although it's tiny - 2 bathrooms for 13 people!

 And this is my new friend:

And I really, really want to call my mom and talk with her about sll this stuff. 

Hoping I can sleep. 

So, um, good night.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ready for England

So, obviously, I haven’t been using this blog for its intended use, so I might as well use it for updating those who are interested in the happenings on my missions trip to Rossington, England. 

We leave tonight! I think I’m ready. All my screens and camera batteries are charged, I’ve packed more than enough underwear, my passport is in my carry-on… My wallet is still in my car - I hope I remember to get that. I watched a YouTube video about how to drive on the left side of the road, I switched some dollars into pounds, and I wrote 3 scripts for some skits we’ll be performing. I’m still trying to narrow down the books I’m bringing. (Yes, I have a nook, and it’s in my bag, but I just like real books so much better.)

I’m excited – it is England, after all – and I’m nervous – it is me, after all. For those who didn’t read my Facebook posts, Rossington is a small, former coal-mining town a couple hours outside of London. Think West Virginia coal-mining town, and you’ll get the idea. My church has supported a missionary there, Eric Simpson, for over a decade, and we will be working with him in his church and community. We’ll be doing outreach, community and service projects, VBS (called holiday school in England), women’s ministry, drama, and running what they call a “messy church.” Messy Church is an evening event that includes a meal, activity or craft, and a devotional time. Since many people in England no longer attend church and think it’s an outdated, boring religious structure suitable only for holidays and funerals, this is Eric’s way to get people involved. One of his main goals for our visit is to demonstrate that church and Christians can be family, can go deep, can be a positive experience. No pressure! This is the first time we’ve sent a “family missions team,” which means we’re including young children travelling with their parents. It makes for a different type of trip, so we’re the guinea pig team, to see how this works. Key word is flexibility. 

That’s all I’ve got time for at the moment. Please pray for health and safety of me and the team and the people we’ll be ministering to. Pray for me because this is way out of my comfort zone and includes many of the experiences I try avoidon a regular basis. And pray I don’t totally screw anything or anyone up. And pray we get out of our own way, or out of God’s way.

And, of course, it's not too late to help out financially. 😉