We arrived last Saturday 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 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 visited grocery stores like "Tesco" and local pubs like "The York." We really enjoyed the pub experience and talking with Tim and Cassie Devane about the city and culture, as they have been in Sheffield for over six months already. Our team walks 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!
Last 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.
On Monday we gathered for a time of training on cultural awareness and practical advice for conversing with Sheffield citizens. Our team walked to Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens and started conversations with strangers, asking questions and hearing their stories, all with the intent of learning more about their culture. I talked with a gent named Hugh O’Daily. Hugh was very talkative and opinionated about U.K. politics in particular. Hugh recommended I visit the bear pit located on the other side of the Garden. He told me a story that took place during the Romantic period when people would capture bears and store them in the pit for entertainment. As bizarre as the story was, Hugh and I then had a helpful chat on the importance of animal treatment. Later that day, our CCP team joined CO Sheffield (the Devanes, Dischers and Knights), a group of U.K. University students and some members from TCH for a hike in the Peak District. It was a wonderful afternoon full of getting to know some of our ministry team and marveling at God’s beautiful creation.
Victoria Vineyard, a CO Greenville Staff member, shared her favorite ministry activity from this past week: "I enjoyed the nations training where Tim Devane did a talk on current event stories like the Syrian refugee crisis. I appreciated being reminded of the state of how a lot of people live in the world and just the sheer number of people without the gospel."
I am blown away by the amount of generous people God 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!