We made it. Sheffield, United Kingdom. As I type that, it still feels a little surreal. God has been faithful through the last 5 months since our first team meeting in late December. I am blown away by the amount of generous people He has provided who have committed to pray and/or give financially in order to make this trip happen. If you are reading this, then that may be you; if so, thank you! I will keep this first post pretty short, even though we have already done a lot in our first four days here. I’ll give a short overview of each day and share a few things that have really impacted our team so far.
We arrived last Thursday morning in Manchester and hopped on a train that took us to our home for the next seven weeks, Sheffield. We checked in to our accommodation (British word for place of residence) for the summer, the Wilson Carlile center, during the afternoon. We quickly settled in, and spent the remainder of the afternoon getting to know the city. Our team split up into two groups and went to two of the main grocery stores in the area, Aldi (they are in the U.S. as well) and a store called Tesco, which is owned by Wal-Mart. We split up between these two stores to compare prices in order to see which place would be best to shop for different essentials that we will need for the summer. I think Tesco won. Thursday night we went to a local pub with Andrew and Sara Knight and their twin boys. We really enjoyed our first pub experience, and it was great to talk with the Knight’s about the city and the culture, as they have been here about a month already.
Friday was spent getting to know the city as well. We walk most places, and I mean we really walk everywhere. Imagine the amount of walking you would do in a day at the zoo or an amusement park, now multiply that by 10 and you have a regular day in Sheffield. We also explored some of the public transportation in the city that day, and by that I mean we rode a bus (no it wasn’t a double decker). The bus ride was quite an experience. Streets are a lot smaller here; well, everything is smaller, but the busses are not smaller. Therefore the bus ride was a little hectic, but fun nonetheless. On Friday night, Andrew and Sara had our team over for dinner. Sara made us wonderful Mexican food and we enjoyed our time there.
Saturday and Sunday have been the best days so far, if you ask me. Saturday we spent most of the day broken up into pairs walking about the city talking with students (or anyone that would answer our questions). Our main objectives in these conversations were to learn, ask a lot of questions, and to get to know students in the area that we could follow up with later. I think just about everyone met a student or two who will be followed up with in the next few weeks to hang out and talk again. Please be praying for those students, and that we would get to connect with all of them again. We were also able to spend some time Saturday night at an event down in the “Fresher” dorms (“Fresher” = Freshmen). Endcliffe Village, where theFreshers live, houses about 6,000 Freshers. Please pray that we would continue to have fruitful time down there as well.
Sunday was our first day at The Crowded House Church. I had a great time worshipping with the local body on our first Sunday in the country. It was incredible to be with a body of people across the world, worshipping the same God, Who redeemed us in Christ. I was reminded during worship through song that, for those of us in Christ, that we are known, loved, and accepted by a big God who is at work in massive ways all over the world. It was a privilege to be able to worship with our brothers and sisters here, and I look forward to the many more times we will be able to do that throughout the summer.