Friday, June 24, 2011


The pastoral atmosphere of the area we're staying in is so peaceful on the outside, but we can sense the chaos and the brokenness of people whose hearts need a greater peace.
Over the past few weeks, our interns have been doing a lot of door to door work in some beautiful but broken parts of the area. This has been very difficult for them in a lot of ways because it is so outside all of our comfort zones. Reading through Philippians 2 we've been reminded that God has called us to be lights in a broken and twisted world, and we're encouraged that ultimately Jesus has won the victory. However, walking up to someone's door, not knowing the response you'll get can be daunting. Pray that God will use conversations that the girls have had to advance his kingdom, and pray that they will not become discouraged.

Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:

Caleb crawled into Abby's bed one night when we stayed late at the Matheson's house, and they slept this way for a few hours. I'm so thankful for the peace that God is bringing to their relationship. They're so much closer now than when we arrived.
Here they are playing together at the house. Caleb is giving his impression of playing the bagpipes.
Usually our mornings include a walk into town for groceries. On the way we must always stop to view the construction work on the corner.
This is the view that Caleb is so entranced with in the picture above. Abby's just plain excited as you can tell :)
Here's the scenery as we walk to the co-op.
The play park they love to visit is currently being remodeled, but here's it's location. Beautiful, no?
Our walk through the center of Kyle...
Last weekend we got to join the congregation (mostly kids on this particular day) on an outing to Inverness. The morning was spent at an indoor water park and the afternoon at a bowling alley! Here's a group at the bowling alley. It was a great, laid back day to get to know a lot of the youth in the church.
On the way home we stopped to snap some pictures of Loch Ness. No monster spotted on this trip...maybe next time.
The following Monday was our day we packed it full with a trip to Talisker Distillery, Dunvegan Castle, and the town of Portree. Since kids were not allowed on the distillery tour, Abby, Caleb and I headed down the road to a play park where I got to talk with a sweet local mom for about an hour.

Everywhere we turn there's a beautiful spot to photograph, so here's another stopping point on our way to Dunvegan!

So glad we got to see Dunvegan. So much history in this place, and the gardens were beautiful.

This tree on the right in the picture below is called a Monkey Puzzle's the most unique tree I've ever seen.

These next few pictures are from the town of Portree. I'm sure we'll visit again. There are several people I want to meet who live in this town. More on that later, hopefully.

One morning the girls were having a meeting with Roddie at the house, so to keep things quiet, I took Caleb and Abby on a walk of the Skye bridge. It's a pretty phenomenal view. The bridge is on the left side of the picture below.
This is one of the views from the bridge.

It's so hard to capture in one blogpost all that has happened over the last few weeks, but I hope you've enjoyed the highlights.

Praise God for the beauty of His creation, the perseverance of His church, and the peace that He gives.

Friday, June 10, 2011

so beautiful it hurts a little

The problem when I wait so long to update is that I don't know where to start so I just keep putting it off! Not a good cycle. As a side note, my eyes got tired reading all of this as I was proofreading, so I decided to add some bold type to keep things interesting. That's what's up with the random bold words.

Well, since we arrived in Kyle last week we've been happily busy. The two pastors who we are working with here have spent a lot of their precious time introducing us to the area and to their parishioners. We are so grateful to them and their families for making us feel so welcome and at home. Roddie Rankin is the pastor ministering in Kyle and Plockton, and Gordon Matheson is the pastor ministering in Strath and Sleat. There is a helpful map in the top left corner of this website...we're staying in Kyle of Lochalsh.

So, on to some highlights from the week:
On Wednesday and Thursday we went door to door in several of the small towns inviting people to an event this coming Friday night. I'm super excited about the event. An apologist named John Blanchard is coming to discuss Christianity and answer questions from the audience. We hope to have a lot of people from the community show up, especially perhaps those who don't believe in Jesus yet.
Michael and the girls also had the chance to go into a couple of the primary schools with Roddie and Dave (who works with the youth) to watch/give presentations during assemblies.
Once a week each of the churches puts on a type of soup kitchen for folks in the community to gather and eat a meal together, so we attended both of these lunches and had a chance to visit and help serve and clean up. Seeing the hospitality of those in the church towards those both in the church and those not in the church was so encouraging.
On Thursday evening, the primary school here in Kyle had a 50th birthday celebration for the building that they're in, so we went along and heard some real live Highland bagpipers and fiddlers. Caleb LOVED it and has been giving his reenactment of the bagpipers all week. I'll have to catch it on video soon because it's the cutest thing. I met another young mom named Lyndsey there who invited me to a playgroup on Friday mornings down the street from the house where we're staying. It was a great spot to meet other moms in the community, so the kids and I plan to go back every week Lord willing. Please pray that God opens up doors for conversations and friendships there.
More from this week included dinner with the Mathesons and the youth from their church, a seal expedition (where we did in fact see seals!), a video shoot for the upcoming holiday club, prayer meetings, communion service, and lunch at the Rankins' after church.
The pictures below are from a hike along the coast that we took with Roddie in Drumbuie, a quiet little village where highland cattle and sheep roam the one track road that winds along the hillside.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Prayer for a friend

My dear friend Carrie's cousin, Emmett Stallings, went to be with the Lord this morning after battling esophageal cancer for a year and a half. Please pray for Emmett's family and friends. His wife's words of grief are so heartbreaking and yet still point to Jesus. You can read them on the blog that they started together to record his battle:

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Here are some pictures of our time in Edinburgh and the drive to Skye.
Finally Abby is well, so we're seeing more of these sweet smiles! I think she was very excited about lunch here:
This was our lunch spot. Super delicious and fun retro atmosphere with a Scottish twist. We tried the sausages and mash...I think I'm a bigger fan of Scottish mash(ed potatoes) than the American version. The ones I ordered were stuffed full of leeks and bacon.
When we first arrived in Edinburgh we traveled the Royal Mile which should be named Tourist Row instead. There were plenty of these bagpipers, street performers, human "statues," and tartan shops. It was fascinating, but it left me wanting to find a spot off the beaten path.
Beautiful statues and monuments like this one were all over the city and added such a level of historical interest.
The "old town" was very medieval and through the "closes" (or alleyways) you could see down into other parts of the city. Through this particular close you could see the Scott Monument which was built to honor Sir Walter Scott.
Caleb slept right through Edinburgh Castle, but here he is snuggled up in the stroller with Michael.
This picture below was from one of my two favorite spots in Edinburgh: Princess Gardens. From Princess Gardens you can look up and see the castle and the old town, then you can look behind you and see the new town with it's Georgian architecture and high style shopping area. This particular picture is looking up.
This picture was from my other favorite spot: Dean Village. It was a hidden gem in the corner of the city. I would definitely want to spend a lot of time here if we have the chance to ever go back to Edinburgh. Michael and Caleb are looking at the view that you'll see in the next picture. The village was so picturesque with it's winding cobblestone passageways, the lush green riverbank, and the castles towering above.

Here's an attempt at a family picture. I didn't realize that Abby was so hidden though...she's on my back sleeping in the baby carrier.
In Princess Garden again...
St. Giles Cathedral was our meeting spot with the girls and a great end to our day in Edinburgh.
I didn't start taking pictures until more than halfway through our drive to Skye, so you'll miss the most beautiful part. You can google Loch Lomond to get a taste though.
This picture is heading into Glen Coe, the pictures below were taken at a pull off right in the middle of Glen Coe. It was stunning.

We experienced this a few times on our way into Skye: waiting for accident clean-up. The roads were super narrow, winding, and beautiful...not a good combination apparently.
These last few pictures are from Plockton. I can't wait to get more pictures and possibly some artwork from this area. It is unbelievably beautiful and right down the road from where we're staying.

Stay tuned for more later!