Mission trips have been a part of our marriage since the early days… for me. Hot climates, high humidity, bugs, and the like just didn’t appeal to Rebecca. In early 2018, during a Burkina Faso Africa presentation by our mission’s director, Rebecca leaned over and whispered “Why can’t they go somewhere like Scotland?” Fast forward a few months, and Pastor Brian Bloye announced that West Ridge would be starting missions in …you guessed it… Scotland.
Rebecca was elated…until she found out the trip had filled up on the first day. As luck (or fate or providence) would have it, someone dropped out and Rebecca was able to go. What happened next changed her…our… lives forever. During that trip Rebecca fell in love with the people and the country. So much that she signed up for another trip the next year. We also went together on a Pastors Vision tour the next year (we’re still wondering why they invited us!).
Since that pastor’s vision trip, the Lord has burdened our hearts for Scotland. It’s a country that is filled with such beauty and splendor. It’s also dark and heavy. This wasn’t a burden that we welcomed. After all, we’d finally found our groove (with much help from the Lord) as a married couple. Great jobs, our dream home, and a wonderful church family made the decision difficult. Almost too difficult. We said yes, but it was conditional. We both felt led to pray and seek the Lord for a full year. If after a full year of prayer, we still felt called to Scotland, we’d make it official.
As they say, the rest is history. We are currently in the process of making Scotland our home. So much has happened, but we know the Lord is going to do great things in Scotland, and we get to be a part of that!
A Leap of Faith
For Rebecca, selling everything and moving to Scotland seemed inevitable from the beginning. Not that it would be easy. It was a giant leap. For me, it was a process. What does moving our family across the pond even look like? Jobs? Schools? Church? Friends? Fishing? All things we would be “giving up” if we left our nice little life back in the US.
But we did it. We sold our house, cars, most things we couldn’t take with us. Most of it was actually not that hard to do. We aren’t hoarders, so there wasn’t that much “stuff.” But our home, that was different. We designed and built every square foot of that house to fit us. And we loved it. Did we have to let it go?
Of course, we knew the answer. We also knew that God would help us through the grieving process. And not just our home, but our normality. Or at least what we thought that was. Everyday life was different now. The language (yes, English, but it’s not the same). Business. Food. Social norms. We’ve learned so much and He has been faithful from the beginning. But we realize there is much still to learn and plenty still to do. As we make the shift form part time to full time in Scotland, we know the road will be long and tough. We also know it will be worth it!
Our Current Status
Believe it or not, Visas aren’t easy to come by…at least not in Scotland. Neither is purchasing property. But we did it (not the visas yet)! We bought an old Scottish Inn that we will use as the centerpiece for most of what we will do in Scotland (more about that in the Red Lion tab). When I say old, I’m talking mid 1700’s old. We hardly even have a reference for what that looks like in America. Our hotel is older than the United States. That is both cool and frightening!
But the best part of our journey so far are the friendships and partnerships we’ve been able to establish. From day one the Lord has put the right people in our paths, at just the right time, such as Young Life Scotland, Cornerstone Church, Hope City Church, and AT3. As that list grows, we know the Lord will do great things with the church partnerships and profiles Rebecca is leading.
Through obedience He has also shown us what He wants our ministry to look like. Has what it looks like now changed from our original plan? Yes. Will it continue to change over the course of this journey? Most likely. As our good friend and mentor, Kevin Dunlap, reminds us often, “Hold on Loosely.” So that’s what we are doing; we are holding onto what direction the Lord has given us, but we are mindful that it could keep looking different than what we envisioned.
Honestly, if you want the real story, you will just have to come and experience it for yourself. What we hear over and over from those who come to help sounds like, “I had no idea,” or, “This has changed my life.” We are so thankful and humbled to be a small part of it.