This month, I thought I would talk a bit about our trip to Scotland and my musings on the trip. It had been 6 years since we had had a real vacation. You know the kind…staying in hotels or bed and breakfasts instead of relatives and friends homes…going to museums just because you’re interested…eating out anytime you wish…driving just to see scenery, not to get to the next speaking engagement…reading novels instead of books to help you prepare for the next speaking engagement…sometimes sitting and just doing nothing, just because you feel like it….spending money on unnecessary things. It’s actually difficult to make oneself not feel guilty about all this when one is so used to utility and work. It feels so wasteful, and perhaps it is…or is it? Is resting and restoring the soul, just for the sake of rest and restoration, truly a waste?

In my logical thinking, I know that rest and restoration are important. There is a reason the Lord established a Sabbath rest. He knows that we can’t continue to work, work, work without any break. I keep telling myself, “Hey, an occasional vacation is good and it is not a waste of limited funds”, but try telling that to my guilty conscience! And so, I reminded myself again and again during our Scotland trip that this was fine, good in fact…that we weren’t wasting funds or time, that we needed the real rest to restore our bodies, and that God was pleased with our vacation.  

Hey, maybe He really was pleased. You should have seen the weather! At a time when Scotland is known for miserably cold and wet weather, we were experiencing sunshine and warmth – at least relative warmth! Even the locals were enthusing over the wonderfully unseasonable weather. We told them we brought it with us from Kenya. I don’t know if they believed it, but it made for a few laughs.

We arrived in London on Sept 21 and rented a nice Volvo SUV for the duration of our stay. We spent a few days in the midlands of England, visiting old friends from our Nyeri days in Kenya. We took a day to go to Coventry.

We then proceeded to the Yorkshire Dales for a couple days. I’d always wanted to see the Dales ever since becoming a James Heriot fan in my early adult years. Ah, my dream come true. They were even prettier than the PBS series showed them to be. Then we made our way up to western Scotland and followed the coast north to the top, making forays in and out along pretty, more isolated routes. This was not
a vacation for cities and towns, but for mountains, waterfalls, forests, gardens and old castles. And we were not disappointed. We got some history and culture in as well as our fill of natural beauty. After a while I began to feel like I must have come from this place, it all felt so natural.

We took a ferry to the Orkney Islands and explored for a day, taking a longer ferry at night up to the Shetland Islands. What a wild, wonderfully beautiful place! I kept forgetting we were still in Scotland! We participated in a 3-day cultural festival while there, learning a lot about Scottish folk music and dance. It was here the Lord arranged a cool thing for us. We went to a local church one Sunday on the Islands and incredibly, saw a black family there. I’d not seen any black people since we’d left England, so I naturally was curious. We sat behind them and struck up a conversation. Yup, that was definitely an accent I heard, and it sure sounded East African. I finally got up the courage to ask where they were from and it turns out he’s from Nyeri (where we lived for 13 years) and she’s from Muranga (where our new son in law’s family comes from)! Who would have thunk?! We get to such a remote place on earth and find people from home! We used a bit of Swahili and tears came to the lady’s eyes. Yeah, I can relate. I’m missing Kenya already and I’ve only been gone not quite 2 months. Our next destination was the U.S., where the work portion of our trip would begin.

Here in the U.S., we have begun our round of speaking engagements and visiting supporters, friends and family (often the latter two are one and the same). We have been here 3 weeks and have another 2 months to go. It’s been busy already but should slow down again over the holidays, for us to spend quality time with family. We plan to spend Christmas with our grand kids – something we’ve not done in 4 years. This has been a good trip for us so far, and we anticipate it continuing to be so. We are very grateful for all the people who have hosted us and listened patiently while we tell our stories, share our hopes and dreams, and of course, show them our daughter’s wedding pictures!

Lots of people in Kenya do not understand this thing we call furlough (or home assignment, as some call it). They say things like “We hope you have a good time on your holiday”. Wow…a 3 ½ month holiday! That’s a nice sentiment, but folks, this is NOT a holiday…well at least not the U.S. part of it. Scotland was definitely a nice holiday, one we’ll file away amongst our fondest memories of once-in-a-lifetime events. And of course, if you have the time, inclination, and patience, I have LOTS of pictures!

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