As we expected, it has been a very busy week. It would be difficult for us to express just how at home we feel here with the sweet folks of Westoe Road Baptist Church. They have seen to our every need and our only discomfort at this point is DRIVING!!! Before we get into those stories, let’s give a little report of our week.
We are coming to grips with the fact that at 4 a.m. the sun will be shining through our bedroom window. The people here think that it’s funny that we don’t experience such long days in Texas. It is, however, rather inspiring to wake up in the morning and look out our bedroom window to see the sun shining over the North Sea. We find ourselves having sweet hours of time with the Lord and in His Word each morning as we seek His wisdom and guidance in ministry at WRBC.
Brenda started the week off by joining “Sisterhood” at their weekly meeting. Sisterhood could be compared to WMU and was established in the 1920s. They are a dear group of ladies who love the Lord and one another. At this particular meeting they heard a very good lesson from Luke 25 and enjoyed singing a few songs. Brenda was quite impressed by their pianist, Mrs. Nelly Cowly (age 95). She became a deacon at WRBC in 1941 (during the years of WWII) and has served faithfully all these years. We ended Monday with a 3 hour deacons meeting at our house. . . definitely not a negative thing! It was such a blessing to listen to each of the deacons report on their teams (Yes! Team Leadership at its finest!) and how they are striving to bless the Lord by ministering to His people.
“Coffee Pot” was Tuesday morning. Remember from the 1st blog that we questioned the term “Coffee Pot.” Well, it’s true. The Lord has sat us down in a part of England where there seems to be more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers. Hard to believe, but it’s true. Coffee Pot is an outreach to those living in the area, mostly senior adults, who need a place to enjoy time with others. There is a “care” home (retirement/nursing home) a few blocks from the church and from time to time some of the residents come for a cup of coffee (or tea) and to enjoy conversation with the members of the church. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and will definitely make this a regular weekly event . . . especially to enjoy a piece of Dorothy Binns’ coffee cake (Brenda plans to ask for that recipe). We left Coffee Pot and drove to the train station to make a test run to Newcastle. Wes and Suz arrive today (Monday) and we needed to make sure where to meet them when their train arrives from London.
We caught the Metro here in South Shields and made the 25 minute ride into Newcastle Central. The trains are quite efficient and make it possible for us to leave the car in a car park (parking lot) and not have to drive . . . which is a good thing!
Newcastle is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city that is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne and has a rich history of shipping and coal mining as do all the cities along the Tyne in this area. We took time to take a walk along the river.
Tuesday ended with Brenda joining the “50-Somethings” for their monthly outing to a local pub for dinner and a pudding (dessert). You should be impressed by the size of that dessert. She’s still recovering. These ladies have been together a long time and many have been at WRBC their entire lives. They are as much fun as they look and no doubt there will be many more evenings such as this one. While Brenda was out with the girls, Dennis went to dinner with Geoff Aydon who is married to Liz (front right). We're not sure who had the most fun, but all enjoyed a great evening of fellowship. There will be more pictures of all of these folks in the weeks to come as we want you to get to know all of them.
Wednesday began with Brenda enjoying some time at “Knit and Natter.” “Knit” – knit/ “Natter” – chatter. It lived up to its name. These 12-15 ladies work on ministry projects and were able to show some beautiful knitted blankets that they lovely knit for the residents of the care home mentioned previously. Right now they are working on replacement covers for some of the chair cushions at the church. These sweet ones are a beautiful reminder of Proverbs 31 as they work with their hands to provide for the needs of others. Not knowing how to knit, Brenda will be purchasing some knitting needles this week and learning to knit in the very near future. Wednesday ended with a big Texas “Yee-Haw” as we turned the church Hall into a Line dancing studio. With our boots on, we scooted a boot around the Hall to songs like “Achy-Breaky Heart” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Line Dancing began last October at WRBC when a team of Texans from Oakridge Baptist Church in Conroe came for a week. Such fun!
On Thursday we were invited to meet the Head Teacher (Principal) and Deputy Teacher (Vice-Principal) at Westoe Crown Primary School. It quickly became evident to us as we were escorted through the halls of this beautiful new school, that this was truly a place of excellent education. These two administrators were very warm and welcoming as we ended our visit by sitting in their office for almost an hour and talking about their love for the children at Westoe Crown. We have been invited to speak or do an assembly for the school in a few weeks and we are very excited about that. When we stopped in at Whizz Kids later in the day and at Boys Brigade and Anchor Boys that evening, several of the children smiled and told us that they had seen us at school. We are thrilled to have this connection in the community.
Brenda got her “baby-fix” on Friday morning at Baby Vine which is the newest ministry at WRBC. Much like the Ducklington Toddler Group we told you about last year, Baby Vine is a place for a Mum and her little one to enjoy some time together with others. Brenda thoroughly enjoyed playing with these little ones and is thinking she’d like to have one of her own some day (hint, hint, Colorado kids).
Saturday was a day off, so we decided to drive the Ring Road (loop) around Newcastle so that we will know how to drive to Scotland tomorrow with Wes & Suz. Oh, my goodness! After 2 hours we had gone 53 miles and finally pulled up in front of our house on Bamburgh Ave. It was almost a moment to kiss the ground! We have been given a Sat-Nav, but it quickly became obvious that she (sweet little lady with a beautiful English accent) had no more idea of where we were than we did! Praise the Lord! We survived and have now found an alternate route. Yes, THAT IS A PRAYER CONCERN FOR THIS WEEK! We will be heading to Scotland tomorrow with the kids and will welcome driving the countryside with no traffic and no round-a-bouts. . . well, there probably will be a few round-a-bouts unfortunately.
Realizing that this has not been a very “spiritual” blog entry, we continue to appreciate your prayers as the Lord establishes us in this culture and in ministry at WRBC. Needless to say, the ministry here is going to be very hands on and relational. Dennis’ message yesterday (which included communion) was very Gospel focused. He used the theme of “preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily” and will continue to build on that foundation for the next few Sundays.
We’re sorry we can’t send some of our cool temperatures to you.
Loving you all!