Burns Supper

Tonight we had our Burns Supper. Celebrating the national poet Robert Burns. We had haggis, neeps and tatties, recited a few poems and listened to local singer (thru the cd player) Eddie Reader sing songs in honour of Robbie!

Home safe

I’m back in Glasgow and only a bit jet lagged. I had a wonderful time at my family & high school reunions and it was so good to be back with people who never forget me for who I was and who I have become and have yet to be. Mermories of my past behaviour were frequently brought up (I was a little vandal) and also compliments about my wife, kids, ministry that made me feel so loved and appreciated.  Special thanks go out to my sister Mary for hosting me, my parents for carting me about, and to my brother Brian and his wife Karen for the goodies and taking me to the airport. Makes me want to move back to the States….but I can’t. Mike

Why I love Glasgow

I love Glasgow. Many simple things I encounter make me smile and appreciate living here. Today, it was the lady showing up at the door asking if this ‘is the house she sold manure to?’ I thought to myself, “no but we certainly are full of it at times!”. People are always showing up – young Mormons on their required 2 year stint, fishmongers, and since we live in a former orphanage, those that were once cared for here. Our first week in our flat we had a reporter ring the buzzer asking if Martin O’Neill lived here – “No he doesn’t, I’m the new tenant, and I don’t know who Martin O’Neill is.” I now know who he is – a former Celtic coach – and we eventually got to meet him. These are the people. However, as I look out our front windows – often doing the washing up (dishes), I see a plant that only flowers for a couple weeks. One year we missed it as we were in America. Today, I found a little bouquet on the table for Father’s Day. Here is a photo and a reminder of why I love Glasgow: 

Butterfly flowers?

Perspective

I’ve been down the past week for a variety of reasons and really feeling burdened. On Friday it was a particularly rough day with almost burning the house down and having some really difficult ministry related conversations. In passing someone mentioned all the polic that were 5 minutes from the school – something major had obviously happened. I read this on Monday from the BBC website:

“A murder inquiry has been launched following what police called the “violent death” of Eleni Pachou. The body of the 25-year-old, who was from Greece, was found in Di Maggio’s pizzeria in Ruthven Lane in the city’s west end at 0820 BST on Friday. ”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7427580.stm

Her family is grieving over her death and I’m bemoaning what really are trivial things. With opening a business ourselves and at times having staff, perhaps even Carol or myself, closing the store at night, this could have just as easily been one of us. This news about this young ladies death, in a well off business district, 5 minutes from my kids school, and me pitying myself, makes me sick of my sinful attitude. We have much to be thankful for if we only had the proper perspective. I am thankful.

Rain

It often rains in Glasgow and you hear a lot of complaining about it. Yesterday I needed to take a car in for servicing and the annual inspection. Now I know why people complain. We have a car and when we want to keep dry, we take the car. We plan our days around the rain or lack thereof. This morning it has been coming down in buckets and the car is 2 miles away at the shop. I need to take the kids to school, walk the kids to a school activity (they walk in the rain usually), walk to meetings, and then walk to get the car. Carol has just shouted out that it is snowing. Snow is unusual so I shrug my shoulders knowing that it will turn back into rain at a moments notice!

Today I’m thankful for my car and I hope my attitude about rain has been tempered by the snow. I/we need to ‘suck it up’ and just get on with living!

 Random thought for the day, Mike

Poverty

It has been raining a lot and because the weather was fair today we went out for a walk. We decided to walk along the Kelvin River and Forth & Clyde Canal. We ended up passing through the area of Maryhill. This is one of Glasgow’s poorest areasand on the doorstep of Glasgow’s wealthiest neighbourhood. As we walked through streets with litter, Tesco shopping trolleys thrown about, abandoned flats, etc. a general sadness came over me. We have enjoyed food, parties, and presents this Christmas season and this grey, lonely and blighted area brought me great sadness. Even one of the local churches seemed to be braced for what might happen in the night – steel doors and bars, no longer stained glass but plastic windows, and closed off entrances. The contrast of Maryhill and our ‘rich’ Christmas season makes me pause with gratefulness, sadness, and simply a desire to pray for healing there.

Goodbye

Yesterday at our Mosaic gathering we said goodbye to a family we have known for a little over 2 years. The Crockett Family is from Australia and today they board a plane to head back to their homeland. For the past 2 years we have taken turns walking the kids too and from school. This year I collected their 2 kids and Margaret walked ours to school. It is through this link that we became friends and journeyed in life together. Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things about living here; many people come from all over the world to work here and are here only for a short while. We have been blessed to get to know them and we will miss their friendship. Here is a photo of Lily & their youngest daughter Megan – it says it all.

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Success!!

At the last minute, I dashed out to get another passport photo of Sophie. As I came up from the subway, I received the following text message from the Home Office/Border and Immigration Control: ” Please be aware that due to a fire alert today there will be delays for your appointment time at the Public Enquiry Office for Wednesday 14th November.” I was there early and everyone had to wait outside the ‘compound’ until lunch was over and the alert had passed. I was the third inside so was 3rd in the queue. Everything went smoothly, I found out I got 24 out of 24 on the residency test 🙂 and 2 hours later, I/we emerged successful! We are now all permanent residents of the United Kingdom. Interestingly, Sophie is also immediately eligible for citizenship since she was born here. As I walked home, I praised God for yet again His provision. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers!

Arrived safely

I’m back from the USA, a little jet-lagged, but grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Norwalk. The people were generous, friendly, and for small town America much more familiar with life outside the States than our media would portray. A number of people had been to the UK/Europe and even an 8th grade class was familiar with some of the news/life in the UK. We will debrief and plan our next steps but our ultimate aim is to have cultural exchange and to develop a experiencial worldview between Glasgow & Norwalk.

In the next few days I’m helping with our Mosaic gathering, we have a number of parties for the kids, and planning for our Mosaic ‘community conversation’ (a time to listen and share a bit of our vision).

Busy days

Yesterday a couple in Mosaic – Dave & Elaine – got married. It was a beautiful ceremony and we were privileged to be there. I loved dancing the traditional ceilidh dances. We were seated with the other ‘ministers’ and I sat next to the officiator of the wedding. Interestingly, we know his brother and sister in law as we have stayed at their cottage on Islay. At the wedding, I also recognized someone (Bill) from the Partick Housing Association (PHA) that I have had a few dealings with. Bill is an American that has lived here for over 25 years and through his role with PHA is helping redevelop a local park near where we meet as a church.

Today we have our Acts 2 gathering (worship, teaching, fellowship, food, & communion) and I will be teaching the primary aged kids – I leave in 10 minutes to go set up! Monday we have a visit to a museum and friends over for lunch. Tuesday we go on a hill walk and Wednesday I pack because I’ll be in the USA fromthe 18-24th as part of a team networking with Norwalk, Ohio as part of a trip sponsored by the GeoTrac Foundation.

Please keep us in your prayers as the kids are also off school this week – that helps and adds to Carol’s week while I’m away. It is busy but good as in all we do we are building relationships and practicing the presence of God!