Scotland Trip: The Second Sunday, Encouragement in Fellowship

June 1, 2014
We spent this Lord’s day with the Edinburgh congregation, led by the wonderful Rev. Peter Loughridge. The service was followed by tea, coffee, and fellowship, which continued as we shared lunch together. Oleta got her second taste of post-church service love… everyone pet her, and she returned the attention with plenty of puppy kisses, including the ones she gave to the youngest church attendee, a bonnie fifteen month old wee lassie (to put it in Scottish terms). I’m not sure the little one was totally cool with Oleta licking her feet, but Oleta wanted to give her the experience either way. I met several wonderful people at the church service and fellowship that morning, including one lady who had become a Christian only three months before. She was so sincere in her new faith, so ready to live for Jesus, and do whatever he commanded her. It was so encouraging, to see someone who had lived without Christ for most of her life, and now had found Him, and in Him, she had found joy. Even so, it was clear, too, that her heart broke for those in her family that did not know Christ. She didn’t have all the answers (which one of us does?) but she was so willing to be open about her faith, young as it was, and share it with her loved ones.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Loughridge house, which was loud and lively with the three girls Peter and Emma were watching that afternoon. I hesitate to outline the situation too specifically, but suffice it to say that the girls’ family is in a difficult position, and Emma and Peter have been gracious enough to take them into their home and church from time to time to support the family in their need. Seeing Emma and Peter interact with the girls: talking to them, joking with them, helping them tie their shoes, gently reprimanding them, I was so touched. These children were so young, and in so much need of love, attention, and careful guidance. Emma and Peter’s willingness to open their lives, hearts, and home to these girls filled me with such joy. They had not undertaken this task without making sacrifices — sacrifices that so few people are willing to make, even with divine direction. Clearly, God had called them into these kids’ lives, and they had, in their trust, responded to His calling. I was reminded, yet again, to put my faith in the God that had called me to this task, this journey in Scotland, and place my future in His hands.
So, with much coaxing and quieting, Peter and Emma managed to get the girls semi-settled on the couch, and listening to a Bible story. I attempted to employ a tactic we had used Friday night, at kids club, telling them they needed to listen better than Oleta, but they apparently didn’t believe that Oleta was listening to the Bible story… I was surprised Oleta wasn’t more outraged at their comments, but I guess she was feeling forgiving. After the story, we quizzed them on the content, and rewarded the one that had listened most closely with a sweetie (candy). We played a rousing game of cards after that, until it was time for Emma to take the three back home.
Patrick and I spent the rest of the afternoon discussing spiritual disciplines. That night, we participated in their prayer meeting to ask God’s guidance in the week’s events. I will continue with those events in the next post, which will actually be soon because it’s already written. Wow!