Friday, December 30, 2011

Finally.....The Weather We Expected

There we were, playing a bit of Monopoly in the front room, when white colored stuff started falling from the sky.  Could it be...snow.  We had expected our first snow some time ago, as we were warned after we arrived of the pending terrible winter we were meant to experience this year.  It has in fact been unseasonably warm since our arrival.  When we realized that it was accumulating, we couldn't deny our southern children a chance to play.  As the following shows, they were a bit excited.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Advent of Christ - 2011 Dundee

It is an amazing thought that the God of the universe would consider that we (humanity) would be worthy of saving from eternal destruction.  It is even more amazing to realize that to accomplish the task, He would become human, and thus be able to relate to our struggles in a sin filled world.  We celebrate the story of His coming at this time of year, but the redemptive story began in the scriptures shortly after man sought to be God and took from the tree and ate.  We have worked hard to pass on the story to the kids (Deut 6:7), and see glimpses of understanding.  We must pass on the stories of truth to them as well as the students, work mates, associates, neighbors, etc.  Most people appreciate a good story.  We endeavour to be better at it.

This is one of the family traditions we wanted to continue - decorating the tree together, each with their favorite ornament.  It went off pretty well.

Our Christmas Celebration Preparation

We started the celebration on November 30th.  We decided to purchase an artificial tree, and we dug out the decorations we brought.  As you can see, we were off to a good start!  The video title is "Megan in a Box".

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Lot of Water Under the Bridge

Its been a while since we've sat down to blog.  Its a funny thing how consuming life can be.  You get to the end of the day and it feels as though you have been running non stop, but then can't list off more that a couple of things that were accomplished.  That's how it has been for us lately.

The kids finally got into school!  Yeah!  It was a bit more difficult than we imagined it would be, but in the end they are in a great primary school.  As the Lord would order it, the school has quite a good reputation and has one of the best teacher to student ratios of any school in Dundee.  It is smaller and we felt confident when we visited that it was an encouraging environment.  Before each day starts, John Spencer gets to play football (soccer) on the small field next to the school (astro turf no less), and Sophia holds court with many of the younger girls that know her and enthusiastically greet her when she walks up.  As we imagined, it took her one day to introduce and befriend most of the girls there, especially those in her class.  They were only in class for three weeks before they enjoyed a two week holiday!  The holiday is a traditional one, that allowed the children time to help with harvesting the potato crop - "Tattie days".  As we had yet to plant any, the kids didn't have to work this holiday.  They were quite excited.

As you can imagine, Sophia loves to dress up, and John Spencer dresses up because is has to. :)

Over the holiday, John Spencer participated in a football skill building camp.  It was organized by the local Scottish Premier League Football Club- Dundee United FC.  The skill level of those 8-9 year old boys was amazing.  Although it was a rough week for our 'footballer', he persevered and stuck it out.  Much character was built during this week.

After a quick trip down to London for a meeting with some medical students and the Student Staff workers in London, we co-hosted a dinner with a group of medical students here in Dundee.  There was a really encouraging turnout, upon which we hope to build momentum for the remainder of the term.

We then took off on a little adventure to the western parts of Scotland.  We had our hearts set on staying in 'hobbit huts'

But alas, they were already booked up.  My next thought was to 'rough it' and do a bit of tent camping.  I promptly woke from my stupor and booked a nice little B&B.  It was a wise decision.  We planned to do two things while away.  We wanted to hike a bit of Ben Nevis (the highest peak in Britain) and to do a bit of rock/ice climbing.  We were successful and did both.  The better of the two in my opinion was hiking on Ben Nevis.  JS and I hiked to the snow line and then a bit further.  We were forced to turn back when it began snowing so hard that we had a hard time seeing each other.  It was great!  To her credit Sophia (with a little help) was able to hike for the better part of about three hours.  M&Ms make for a good incentive.

What we looked like before the hike.

Ah...young love.

They are the Queens of the Mountain.

We made much bigger ones further up.

Note the ear to ear smile on our youngest!

Our time on holiday was however tempered by the knowledge that our friend and pastor, David, had shortly before leaving, been admitted to hospital and was in critical condition.  The illness was sudden in nature and took us all by surprise.  It would actually be more accurate to describe it as shock.  Even as of this posting he is still in critical condition.  We are praying for a restoration of his health, and that the peace of Christ would comfort both him and his family.  We all feel here that we are suffering from spiritual attack, and that the Lord is refining us through these trials.  The dross is burning away.

Our current prayer requests:
Prayer requests: 

1.  The physical healing of David Robertson, and the peace of Christ for his family as they wait on the Lord. 
2.  That we would appreciate how beautiful God is in all circumstances.
3.  Continued transition to life here (especially John Spencer).  The short hours of daylight are upon us, and we have been told that this will be a big deal for us.  
4.  That we would be sensitive to where the Lord is working here and how He would have us join in. 
5.  The Spirit would work in the hearts of the students in Dundee.  
6.  That I would be able to secure a 2 day per week position in Pediatrics and that Megan would also be able to secure a position.
7.  That we would pass our driving tests. 
8.  That we would have more opportunities to meet non Christian students.

This is a big part of what is going on in our little corner of the world.  We will add more in the coming days....

Scott (for the Dundee crew)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cultural Sensitivity

Thought I would share one of our particular experiences with cultural emersion.

As food plays a large role in the 'flavor' of a culture, I decided it was time to experience what is the considered (at least stereotypically) as the quintessential Scottish cuisine - Haggis!

For those that are not aware haggis is "a traditional pudding made of the heart, liver, etc., of a sheep or calf, minced with suet and oatmeal, seasoned, and boiled in the stomach of the animal." 

I ordered a chicken breast filet that was stuffed with haggis.  This particular restaurant and in particular this preparation of haggis came highly recommended by the owner of a B&B outside of Inverness.  So, we did not just run by the local McDonalds and pick up an egg McHaggis.  This was to be an authentic experience.

The taste was truly unique.  There was a gamey richness to it that was a bit overwhelming.  I think that it is a taste that will have to be acquired, but I am willing to give it another try.  The following pictures chronicle the event.  As you will see, I was not alone in the experience.  I was able to persuade another to expand their gastronomic horizons with me. 

The Brownish stuff sticking out the end is Haggis.

Haggis on the fork.

Haggis in the mouth.

Haggis in the stomach - yum!

Must have been good - there's none left!

A small treat to celebrate the occasion.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vehicle Update

We finally have a family ride!

Megan was gracious to let us use her ride for the past couple of weeks.  She bought an Audi station wagon a couple of weeks ago that seats five.  But now we have a "family ride."

Below are a few picts of our Rad Ride.

It's a Citro├źn C4 Picaso.

No sliding door, but...

There are 7 seats in total!

Still working out how to protect the seats from the kids!

Currently I (Scott) am the only one that feels comfortable to drive the team around, but that is changing quickly.  Jennifer and Megan are polishing their driving skills.

The "L" stands for "learner".  

This is just another adjustment we all are making.  Further training in cultural sensitivity - instruction on how not to drive on the "right" side of the road. :) 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Settled In....

It's been a while since our last post - and we have lived quite a bit since then...from getting bikes to mourning the death of a dear friend.  We are learning that each day is a gift given by our creator.

To secure the sanity of the family we decided to procure bikes for the family, so that we could release excess energy and get a bit of exercise.

I think the bikes fit.

Everyone is getting into the spirit.

Did I mention that we have a lovely park on the other side of our street....

It is called Baxter Park...

Plenty of room for Ultimate Frisbee! 

A Playground in the Park.

A Cafe in the park.

We are trying to learn how to enjoy it and each other....

The only thing that we forgot was the sunscreen!

We are learning that life is a bit different here...

Note the socks on the radiator and flowers on the table.

I mentioned that we lost a dear friend.  His name was David, and he had a passion for Christ that was contagious.  He was one of the factors that the Lord used in our calling to Dundee.  He desired to see his campus, his city, his country, and the 'nations' to know that Christ came to reconcile us to our Creator.  We loved him deeply, and mourn his death.  We take solace in the fact that he is where we long to be, in the very presence of Christ our Savior.  

Please pray for us as we mourn the loss of his presence, and are presented with opportunities to share the hope we have in the reality of Christ.  

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV) 

Thank you for joining with us in this journey.  The rubber has met the road.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunburn in Scotland?

That's right, today was so sunny I think we all got sunburned.  It is summer, so it is to be expected.  It got up to about 73-75 Fahrenheit today. We were invited out to a barbecue on a farm in the country side outside of Dundee.  We are certainly now on our cultural journey.  We were thankful for the invitation, and certainly had a fabulous time! (as can be seen in the following picts)

Jennifer relaxing with new friends

John Spencer learning a new Sport

Megan still picking on the smaller kids

Off to the races

Old habits....

Picking flowers

Sophia driving

Sneak attack

Friday, July 22, 2011

We Found a House!

The Lord answered our prayers.  Over the past 36 hours we looked at 3 houses, turned in paperwork on one, and received our approval.  We then went by the Real Estate agency, paid our first month's rent, and picked up our keys.  I didn't realize how important it is to have a place to call your own, so that you could spread out and relax.  We've included a few pictures.  Thanks for all your prayers!

Scott (for the fam)

The kids explore

A view from the west

The Living Room

The Dining Room

Our Kitchen

Friday, July 15, 2011

We have arrived!!!

We are quite excited, as we have finally set foot on Scottish soil without return tickets!  A sobering thought.  We are convinced that the Lord has called us to this work.

We arrived in the Edinburgh Airport at about 8 am.  It took a while to get through border control, and to collect our bags.  Wow, 5 carts filled to overflowing, what a sight (I'll post those picts later, along with a group photo.)  Then on to the car rental counter.  There we had to call on our Gumby powers (flexibility) to keep it together.  The cars I reserved (supposedly) can only be driven by those who are 30 years or older.  My plan was for David and myself to drive the women and children to Dundee.  He is not 30 yrs yet, so he can't be a driver.  Megan stepped up, and took one for the team.  We were also told that there is no way we would be able to fit 23 bags in those two cars, even if we didn't have but 2 passengers total.  Those guys had never met a sleep deprived group of determined MCOers, who had learned over the years to make it work with what we have.  I have included a few photos of the packed cars, an impressive sight.  At any rate, we made it to Dundee, after lunching in St. Andrews, at about 15:15.  We then drained a few ATMs, walked (we were too tired to run) a couple of errands, and settled in to catch up on some sleep.  That's where the team is now and where I am heading now.  Peace.  scott

This is the biggest car I could rent!

The luggage is overflowing!

Every nook and cranny was filled.

Relaxing for a meal in St. Andrews.