Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stamford, UK

Apologies to all our followers out there for not updating our blog. It's been about a month since we have been in England. Each week we've settle in our home a bit more and are finding our way around Leicester. 

Although it's only been a few weeks since we've become residents in the UK, we can already see glimpses why the Lord has brought us here. Both Ryan and I have the extraordinary task of sharing the Gospel with many unbelievers in Leicester. We are both extremely humbled and privileged at the opportunities that God has given us to share the Gospel through the game of basketball. 

Each week Ryan and I have responsibilities to go to schools and teach basketball to students. Along with several of his teammates, Ryan attends a number of different schools each week to teach the game of basketball and lessons that involve fitness and health. He continually meets new faces of children who are enamored with his status as a professional basketball player.  Ryan sees this as a great opportunity to set an example of a Godly young man for the kids to look up to.  I on the other hand only have one lesson a week at the same school with a group of 15-20 girls. Leicester is a heavily populated Muslim community and the school that I teach basketball at is filled with Muslim students. I am eager to get to know the girls over my 10 weeks of coaching them. My daily prayer is that I am faithful and bold in showing them the love of Christ. 

Another huge part of our time over the last  month has been trying to find a home church to worship at for the next 7-8 months.  Through a friend that Ryan met at Master's, who happens to be familiar with the UK, we were directed to a church in Rugby, a town just 30 minutes outside of Leicester.  Consequently, Ryan and I made our way down to Rugby on Sunday 10th of October.  This church was of particular interest to us because we had heard that the Pastor is a graduate of The Master's Seminary.  We worshipped with them on their 43rd anniversary service and had great fellowship with the people there and really enjoyed our time meeting with Pastor Tom McConnell and his wife over a traditional English lunch after the service.  Tom referenced us to a bunch of great churches right in Leicester and since then we have been visiting them one by one. We still plan on building a relationship with Tom and his wife, as we see them as a great couple we can learn from in our time here.

There are some definite advantages about being in the UK over some other great places we could have ended up this year.  One bonus is that we have some friends close by that we can visit every now and again.  Two weeks ago after one of Ryan's games we met up with Craig and Amanda Owen. Amanda is a friend of Ryan's from First Baptist Church in Perkasie, PA, Ryan's home town. It was nice to see a familiar face and fellowship with another Christian couple... I'm sure we will see plenty of them in our time here.

Another great thing about living in the UK is that everything is generally in close proximity to one another. Ryan and I made our first day trip to Stamford, a historical town only an hour east of Leicester.  Being in this town made us feel for the first time we were truly in England. The streets were made of cobblestone, old stone buildings were covered in ivy, churches were on every corner with their steeples soaring above the rest of the shops and each had tombstones smothered in moss that were so old you were unable to read the names on it. As we made our way into the village, we stopped at the Burghley House. The Burghley House is England's greatest Elizabethan house. It was built in 1555 by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer of Queen Elizabeth I. We were in awe at how magnificent this place was. Each room was so ornate in detail and filled with bright colors. We only have pictures of the outside because no photos were aloud inside, but hopefully you can see how extravagant this place was from the pictures.  

We expect this is only one of the many wonderful sites in the UK so we plan to make day trips as often as our schedules allow. The history and landscapes continues to blow our minds here in England and we will continue to put of more pictures of all the sites we see in the future!

Hope things are going well back in the states! We will try to stay up to date in updating our blog! Hope you enjoy the pictures especially of our new addition, Zulu! She is our new kitten:) Very playful and cuddly!