Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trip to England: Part III in Which We Meet Up with Old Friends and Make New Ones

One of the hardest parts of missionary life is the constant goodbyes we say to those who have entered our lives for a few months, a year, lots of years.  But the flip side of that is that we have friends all over the world.  Including in England.

On Saturday the 22nd we had a bit of a lie-in as they say in England (sleeping in for you Americans).  Then we had lunch with friends that John has made during his years studying in the UK.  Many years ago my dad and mom were doing a short-term in Nigeria.  My dad and another missionary attended a conference at Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (I think I have that right) and while they were there they attended a church called Woodstock Road Baptist Church.  My dad had really enjoyed it, knew it was on the same road as OCMS, and recommended it.  The first year John was in the UK this church was in walking distance from where we stayed (about 1 mile away), so on his recommendation we tried it out.  We walked to church every Sunday morning and every Sunday evening, so every Sunday we got in four miles of walking!  Anyway, we enjoyed it so much and they have really become John's church family while he's in England.  In that church is a family with three girls who have made a point of having John over for a meal or a picnic or something whenever he's been there.  Their girls love John and accepted him right off as kind of an uncle.  So on Saturday they had us over for lunch.  It was a cold, grey, rainy day so we sat around the living room after lunch to chat (we'd thought we'd go for a walk, but that was out).  The girls showed me how to recline the chair, gave me a blanket, and I was out, sound asleep.  Wow, not a very good guest, but I was so comfortable! Later we played some hilarious Wii games.  We forgot to get a picture, but here's our picture from the next day at church.


Our friend, John, then drove us to another friend's house.  Joel had been a student of mine at Sahel Academy when he was in 4th grade almost 30 years ago.  Now he's a PhD student at Oxford University.  We got to meet his lovely wife, Bernadette, and their two gorgeous girls.  Bernadette took the photo so she's not in it.  



The girls took a liking to us immediately and the oldest insisted that I read her bedtime story to her.  They live not too far from the bus stop we needed to get home, but we did have to wait in the rain for awhile.  Thankfully it was at a covered bus stop!



Sunday morning we went to church.  We took the bus into Oxford and stopped at McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin.  It tasted really great, but Brits definitely do bacon differently than Americans do.  Not bad, just different.  After church we went for dinner at the home of a couple in the church.  They have recently bought a big house that used to be a farmhouse.  You'd never know as the city has grown up around it.  Another couple also came along and we had a great meal and then we talked all afternoon until time to go back to church.  Ummm, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch again.

On Monday I had to stay home to participate in an on-line training, but in the morning I got to go for a long walk through the countryside and to a small picturesque village.





That evening we got together with John who had been a short-term teacher/teacher's aide at Sahel Academy during his GAP year between secondary school and university.  He works overseas, but happened to be in Oxford when we were there.  We got to meet his girlfriend, too, but she's taking this picture.



While scrolling through Facebook I discovered that a friend of ours was also in England and that they were going to be in Oxford!  Brian and Lura have done numerous trips to Niger and also attend the church of one of John's aunts.  So we arranged to meet them at their hotel and then we went out for breakfast together before they went off on their tour of the day.



I also want to mention how wonderful our hosts, Keith and Sally, are!  When they offered to rent John a room when he's in England, he jumped at the chance.  They are so easy to be around and are very hospitable.  John (and me when I was there) does his own breakfast and lunch and then Sally fixes an evening meal.  They are retired but as busy as anybody working full time!  We're so thankful that we could stay with them.

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