Week 9 / 13 June - 19 June
We just finished our final full week here in Scotland. Finding words to describe the journey and all that God has established for us over the past 9 weeks is proving to be quite a challenge. It may take awhile, so we'll probably save it for our next newsletter. For now, however, we'd love to share with you a fun trip we took this week to Oban, and some of the the inner Hebrides islands, including Mull, Iona, and Staffa.
Things in Whiteinch have slowed down as everyone is getting into summer holidays, so it was a good week for us to get away and see some more of the amazing beauty of the west coast of Scotland. We took the train to Oban on what is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the land. It is easy to see why! Even in the rain, the view was stunning.
Touring the Islands
We stayed at the YWAM base in Oban and took a day trip via ferry to Mull where we caught a bus across the island to Fionnphort where we caught another ferry for the 10 minute journey to the incredible Isle of Iona.
Iona is breathtaking. It is known as a "thin place" where "only tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual." It is where Columba established a monastery about 1500 years ago. The island is still a vibrant centre of Christianity to this day. We wandered about the island seeing the Benedictine Nunnery, the Reilig Oran – the burial place of kings, and the famous Iona Abbey. It was stunning and peaceful, truly a unique and special, "thin" place.
Isle of Staffa
From Iona, we sailed 35 minutes to the wee island of Staffa. This is where hundreds of puffins nest every year. They are quite friendly as they seem to have figured out that when the humans are around, their predators are not. So they don't spook very easily and you can get rather close to them. We also explored Fingal's Cave which is quite stunning reaching back 250' into the island.
The rock formations on Staffa are very much like that in Giant's Causeway on the north coast of Northern Ireland. They have distinct shapes of hexagons and columns. These shapes were caused by volcanic activity, and specifically the rate at which each layer cooled. It's quite fascinating - and once again a reminder of just how creative our God is.
From Staffa, we returned to Fionnphort and traveled by bus back to Craignure where we got the ferry back to Oban. It really was a spectacular day, and we timed it perfectly. It rained on our travel days there and back, but our day in the islands was dry and beautiful!
Our final Sunday at Whiteinch was quite special as we had the opportunity to thank our new family here for making us feel so welcome. We also had many of them surround us at the front as they prayed for us and sent us off. We were so humbled as many of them came up to us after with words of testimony of how God had impacted their lives simply by us being here. We are so grateful, and so honoured to be part of what God is doing in Scotland.
On Sunday night, we were invited by our new friend and fiddle player, Jill, to a local pub to enjoy some traditional Scottish music. Oh what fun! Several musicians with fiddles, guitars, pipes, and flutes gathered around pints of brew lifting the roof off with the sounds of this beautiful Celtic nation. What a fitting way to end our time here. Please click the photo on the left for a sample of these amazing sounds!
Our trip is so quickly coming to an end as we fly back to the States on Wednesday, but it's only the beginning. We have watched God establish relationships and connections that are all part of His long term plan for us here in Scotland. He has given us great favour here, and has refined and clarified our mission and vision. We will be back - often - and for much longer periods of time. God is establishing a home for us here.
For the foreseeable future, however, we will be planted both in Scotland AND the States. We know God is being very intentional with where we are based and with whom we are linked. We're excited to get back and see what God has for us there.
We are still without housing in California, but we know we are to be there, and that God will pull through as He always does. Please be praying for that provision to be released quickly! Initially, we will be in North Carolina for a couple of weeks to try and sort out and significantly downsize our belongings, and to sort out a move of only essentials to California. If we have to have stuff in storage, we need it to be in California so we can at least have access to it. The process and logistics of all of this are quite overwhelming, however, so please pray for grace and creative ideas on how to pull it off!
This is probably the last "travel blog" post for the trip, however, we will give a final recap in our July newsletter, so be watching for it there.
Thank you for joining us on the journey!
See you Stateside shortly!