Semester in Scotland – Observations and Contemplations

 In a place as beautiful as Scotland, it is often easy to downplay the importance of  our studies and put an emphasis on the places to go: castles filled with stories of war heroes, ancient abbeys that educated people for over a thousand years, lochs with mystical legends, and, of course, there is also Europe right across the sea that obviously needs visited.It is all too easy to understand how the importance of class could get glazed over. However, the courses we are currently studying are more than a focus on obtaining a degree; the focus is that we understand the significance of our relationship with Christ and ultimately, that we are changed by this knowledge. Needless to say, the four of us are pouring ourselves into our studies (and enjoying it too).

By this part of the semester, I think it is safe to say Kelly, Tim, Nate, and I have been well adjusted and Scotland has started to become another home to us. During our time thus far, several things have been emphasized to me.

The first of which starts with the Airdrie RP church. Now I know every student writes about the astounding kindness of the people in the church… and I will too.

At Geneva, “community” is a keyword used at least two dozen times a day throughout campus. Not only does Airdrie RP exemplify community, but the Reformed Presbyterian church in the UK embodies it.

Stranraer group sliderLast Saturday (Sep 14) Tim, Kelly, and I had the opportunity to go to Stranraer, Scotland to hand out flyers advertising for the Stranraer RP church. For such a small denomination, the amount of people there shocked me. People came from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Airdrie, and even Northern Ireland! It was neat observing the mixture of churches interact with one another and see their willingness to give up time in order to help a sister church out.

After spending much of our time in the church in Airdrie, and also seeing churches from all over the place, it has become apparent that this church body is not a community, but a family. We have been welcomed into many homes, invited out to places, been cooked for, and entertained by many. What a reassuring thing it is to see the love of Christ played out through His church!

The last thing that has been on my mind is simply being content. It is, I believe, very important to simply be where you are.

Ship at Loch KatrineOne of my favorite hobbies is photography. My heart jumps when I see ancient buildings, castles, or luscious lochs embedded in the mountains. This past Wednesday (Sep 18), Ian was kind enough to take us to a “luscious loch” type of scene (Loch Katrine). This loch had enough to leave you speechless: the steamboats, the choppy waves, the vibrant green mountains, the trails around the loch, etc. However, I have the tendency to get caught up with my camera and all the beautiful things to take pictures of that I sometimes miss out on experiencing God’s creation altogether.

Loch KatrineJust sit, be still, and soak it in.


We need be willing to put the distractions away for a “wee minute” to focus on where we are and to be content in the creation God made and proclaims to be good. Sometimes it’s okay to put the camera (or whatever distraction one may have) down and let God take your breath away.


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