Monday, December 8, 2014

Long Time, No Talk. Long Time, Much Thanks!

Long time, no talk...
I have been down to London twice since I have been back! 

      So I realized that I haven't posted a blog since September and I thought that ought to change. Sorry for my silence, but to make up for that, I will be posting a few different reflections this month that I have written over the past 3 months since I have been back in Newcastle. Enjoy :)

Took my flatmate's family dogs out for a walk up in Alnwick with sheep roaming the field and the castle in the background! Classic England :)

Here we go! 
Post number 1,
from 28th November....

Long time, much thanks...

    Today is the day after Thanksgiving, and although for the rest of the country it is simply another Friday, for me it is a day to be thankful (as I ride the train down to London for a 2nd Year TFG conference). 
I would have done this yesterday , but I was too busy cooking an entire Turkey Day meal for two fellow Americans and my lovely flatmates :) -which is obviously number one on my list of gratitude.

Joined my cousin in London for the US vs Columbia football match.
It was a great day of cooking (with help from an Nebraskan native who is in Newcastle to get her masters), watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and all 10 Thanksgiving episodes of "Friends." 
Then we brought American traditions to Britain at little ol' 56 Ashleigh Grove, with all the fix-ins of the big meal, the breaking of the wishbone, a night stroll through the moor after dinner, and my flatmate even prepared some fun USA Quizes to really make the night a blast!

But generally, I feel the need to reflect back on the last two months, as they seem to have gone by in such a blur!

    October was, admittedly, quite tough, with a combination of bad health, rocky relationships, and a lack of faith in how God was using me at JMC. Despite how busy I was in September with freshers and welcoming past students back, all that excitement and energy seemed to produce no fruit (excuse the cringe Christian metaphor). Although I have such a great support system here in Newcastle that was so reassuring through it all, it is very difficult to not let a lack of results affect the way you judge your "success."
But, as God does (as if it amuses him sometimes- I can just see him watching down, chuckling to himself, "silly Elie"), he pulled through this past month, without any action on my part!

I am still working on my musical side in the JMC worship
team on sunday mornings.
I got my health back on track, let go of stress from relationships, and JMC was suddenly filled with new people eager to become apart of our quirky little family :). 
One great example, was the Christian Union Church Search, which rarely brings in any new students for us. Normally, I would go each Sunday, sit around for 10 minutes, and then leave alone. Rob and I had discussed whether or not it was a good use of our time, but thought that the week we aren't there, will be the week someone shows. And low and behold, that very Sunday as I arrived and got out my JMC sign, two students immediately bee-lined their way to me!

Now we have a second student group started, a new young professionals house group going, and by the third song on a Sunday morning service, the Church is full! 
It was a humbling lesson learned (as it always seems to be), that God has his own time and plan, and all I can do is pray that my work is in line with that "schedule." 
This year's UK YAGM group has some gems that I am so
glad to have the opportunity to meet! Including this lovely
lady, Anastasia, who is doing amazing work in a small
town just south of London. Please keep all the new volunteers
in your thoughts and prayers (especially with the coming
Holiday season they will be spending away from home)!

Apart from work, I have had some great time spent getting to know the new UK YAGMs from London to Edinburgh! And now, here I am again on a train--a favorite part of British culture--, eating Thanksgiving leftovers--a favorite part of American culture--so there is much to be Thankful for.
Hanging out with a life-size (yeah, he was
 a short little man) sculpture of
Wesley- the main man of Methodist Church

Thanks G-man!

The other 2nd year volunteers in London for our conference. Only
three of us now, but our numbers will double next month as a few
January starters will be staying on for a second year as well!

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