Bethel Baptist Church, Llay, Wales
Well, we're here.
8 years and 11 months ago, God placed a call on my parents' lives, and I was merely along for the ride; no one knew where the end result would take us. It has been by no means a short trip, but here we are at the almost-final destination, a temporary home in Marchwiel, Wales, United Kingdom.
This was a trip made significantly longer by the flight to get here. If you would like to simulate a flight to Wales from the comfort of your own home, just sit in a chair 12 inches from your television screen for 8 hours, watch a very great movie (i.e., The Adjustment Bureau), a very underwhelming movie (i.e., Unknown), and just close your eyes for the last three turns of the hourglass. Oh, and then call your friendly local Customs agent and get them to ask you 25 questions about why you're staying in your current country.
But I'm not here to complain. Actually, that's all the complaining I can possibly do, as I've been given a tremendous opportunity. I am in this incredible country for just over four months before returning stateside to continue with life as I know it. My goal is to make the most of every day as my Lord would have me to do; I have some other goals of my own, but they will fall in line behind schooling, and helping with Dad's ministry and youth group as I can.
My first day was about as unproductive as possible, but I chalk that up to jet lag. My family and I flew in to Manchester at 8 in the morning on Saturday, got settled in, and I proceeded to sleep the afternoon and most of the evening away, interrupted only by dinner and a brief dose of a Britcom (surprisingly entertaining stuff) with our host pastor.
Today was a true highlight though. Services at Bethel Baptist Church this morning were a delight in a foreign sort of way. The hymns were unfamiliar and I probably sounded laughable trying to stumble through them, but they were refreshing ways to worship the same God written about in the rest of the hymnal. The chapel we will be working in is smaller than most youth rooms I've visited, but every person that was there genuinely loves the things of God, which is more than can be said for some churches in the States. The youth group of one is a tad disheartening, but there is a lot of potential to be had in that one, and that number can only go up. A fellowship with tea and biscuits (cookies in American-speak) after evening service is a new one on me, but I can definitely get used to it, and it was a great way to meet the church faithful--Victor, Catherine, Vivienne, Megan, Rhys, and those select few whose names I am forgetting right now. Each of them was a blessing to me today.
A view from the back row at Bethel, about 20 feet from the pulpit
That's pretty much all I have to say so far. I have been here long enough to know that the food is strikingly different (but not bad at all), and the culture and language are worlds apart, probably enough so that I could subdivide those two aspects into separate blogs. But those are considerations for another day. I am up past midnight typing this because my mind still thinks it is around 7:30 p.m.--cursed jet lag. I'm going to try to get some sleep, tomorrow morning's schedule inolves a trip to the city of Wrexham, an architectural mix of old and new with which I fell in love this afternoon. A good night to all.
Postscript: Thanks to my friend Kaitlin, who suggested the idea of documenting my time over here on the interweb. I had been toying with the idea for a while, but hearing the idea steeled my resolve to go ahead and do it.