Friday, August 29, 2008


Today we went to the Uni (University) in Cardiff just to drive around to see it. Then we went to Subway at the Cardiff Bay. A little piece of home.

We went to The Pit and learned about mining. It was so neat. We went 90 meters underground and learned about the hard lives that the people had years and years ago. Our tour guide was hilarious. He made a joke about horse manure and then said, "In America, they call it Peanut Butter. Just another word for crap." We all laughed. They do have peanut butter over here, but its not very common. We found out that Dave's never had a pbj sandwich-- so we're excited about changing that!

We drove around to several Castles and then went to an Abbey, and had dinner in a nice pub. I had noodles and Bolognese. Like meat and veggies and a brown sauce over almost-spaghetti-like noodles. It was delicious. I was starving.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was over jet lag. Well, that was an unintentional LIE. I'm tired all during the day and then wake up around 7 or 8p our time- so like 2 or 3p your time. But tomorrow Mike and Sarah (our leaders!) are flying in so I get to have a lie in while the guys drive to pick them up in London. A lie in means I get to sleep as long as I want. (I love using their lingo.) I am STOKED. And for some reason, I'm ALWAYS hungry. I mean, I know that's normal, but this is like- feeling dizzy, seeing spots kind of hungry. My body is definitely still adjusting.

I have been (obviously) having such a blast getting to know my team members and going on all these adventures. But I'm certainly feeling antsy to do some serving. I cannot WAIT to be here for my first Sunday- meet more people I'll be living life with and serving alongside of. The real pioneers. I can't wait to get into the nity grity real life. The mundane. I love it.

Celebration (a Sovereign Grace conference in Florida) is this weekend for Metro- guys, I'm praying for you like crazy. Praying for you individually by name, and for you as a local church. That through confession and repentance, the LORD would RENEW your relationships with Him- giving you a fresh joy in your salvation; that as you experience FREEDOM in Christ, you would grow in your understanding of that word defined Biblically, and that your heart for the lost would grow as a result of this new found, most glorious freedom. And I pray that when you return, these things will rub off on me as well- even if its just through emails. Love you dearly.

Other people's pics

Ok, so Taige took some incredibly amazing (and LOADS) of pictures today on a really nice camera. If you have facebook, friend him. His last name is McMahon and he's from Charlotte. He said its ok. These are from Kat and Ives.

This one was on the flight, but I thought it was cute.

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Ives and me at Tesco (its like their wal*mart) grocery shopping

Cantelopes are really cheap!

We went to a Roman amphitheater yesterday. Extremely beyond gorgeous. Look at how green the grass is!

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This is me winding up for my round off back handspring. I can't get over how beautiful it was there-- the pictures just don't capture it.

I think I pick a flower every day. Yesterday was a tiny daisy.

I found a pack of cigarettes lying around-- I didn't really smoke them. Just took a picture. They had warnings all over them about how dangerous and addictive they are- I thought it was hysterical.

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We had BBQ at Gavin and Emma's last night. (I ate a kabob- which they pronounce "kabab", two steaks, two or three helpings of potato wedges...aka "chips", two rolls and a salad. Jet Lag is making me hungry.) Then we went and took pictures at a nearby...I don't know what it was. Actually, we were going to drive 4.5 miles up a mountain to take pictures, but the gate was this is what we were "stuck with". Bummer, right? We ended up staying at Gavin and Emma's till really late. The guys crushed us in Articulate- its a lot like Taboo or Catch Phrase. Except more difficult.

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And then this was today- we saw several Castles, but this is the only picture I have so far. No princesses, Reagan, but I'll be looking for one for you! ;)


So, in addition to being on the other side of the road and the drivers side on the other side of the car-- there are TONS of "weird" things about the way driving is done here.

First of all, I've gasped zillions of times thinking we're about to be in a car accident. Going around turns and thinking we're going to be hit head on because the other car is in what I think is about to be our lane.

The stoplights here don't hang over the road like they do in the states. They're only on the sides of the road. I rarely notice them, so its good I'm not driving.

They call the yellow light "amber"...and before the light turns green, while it's still red, the yellow light comes on to let you know its ABOUT to be green. I think in America we don't need to be told to "get ready"...we ARE READY to go when it turns green.

Punch Buggies. Instead of saying "(color of car) punch buggie no punch back", they just punch each other whenever they see a yellow car. Of any kind. Hilarious!

Round-a-bouts are ALL OVER the place! It's very easy to get carsick.

They have double yellow lines on the SIDE of the road to tell you not to park there. White lines in the middle.

Two lanes here are equivalent to ONE lane in the Sates. You have to take turns whenever you pass a car-- PLUS, everyone here parks in the road-- its all very squished.

Dave pointed out to us today that they make roads crooked when they could easily make them straight, just because its "The English Way".

Ok, I have to go. Blogtime is over. Thank you for your comments and love and support! Missing you like crazy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Thank you all so much for your comments and emails- I feel so incredibly loved; which makes being over 4,000 miles away feel not so far.

Last night we went to a local pub. I'm not a huge beer fan, so had "Archers and Lemonade"-- but there's no way that was lemonade. It was really good- I liked it A LOT. (Luma ladies =) Think I'll be having a few more of those this year. I learned a lot about Guiness from Dan- apparently the "waiting" is really important.

We then went back to the guys' house and watched The Ringer and ate some very interesting-tasting chocolate chip cookies I made. Everyone was very sweet and gracious telling me "how good" they were-- but we're not sure that "Soda bicarbonate" is exactly like baking soda-- plus, I had no form of any kind of measuring cups or anything-- AND the oven is in Celsius and not Fahrenheit. Totally had to guess on everything. With no google or cell phones, we just tried to wing it. I guess considering all those factors, they really weren't THAT bad...but I am hoping to sort of redeem my cooking skills.

Peter found a bunch of silver fish in one of the glass cups in the cupboard- gross. Then, everyone came in to look at them, and we found loads more-- silver fish are my least favorite bug ever. I'm so glad we didn't find them in our house.

I had a really hard time going to sleep last night and definitely plan to take some Tylenol pm tonight--

Today we're going SIGHT SEEING! Castles, here we come! (Jules and Steph- I'll be thinking of you the whole time!!!) I'm disappointed I don't have my camera, but everyone's been really great about letting me borrow their pictures, so its really not a big deal- plus, Joy found my charger back in VA, which is WONDERFUL so hopefully more pictures to come.

Something that's been an unexpected blessing is the way the guys are serving us here. They are way more mature than I was expecting and have sought to display biblical manhood in all of the things we do- always holding doors, encouraging us, being extraordinarily patient-- their mammas raised them well! I'm so excited about all these friendships.

Make sure you're checking out Peter and Kat's blog- they're on my bloglist. Some of the info might be repeats, but they have different pictures and stuff.

Last night I camped out in Psalm 103. I love that Psalm. I'm loving my nights with the LORD. What stuck out to me most was that God does not deal with me according to my sin or repay me according to my iniquity. So, nor should I deal with others according to theirs. His steadfast, unwavering, unmovable love for me is as high as the heavens are above earth-- and He has REMOVED my sin from me as far as the east is from the west. (oh, rejoice!) The nearness of my Savior is becoming more and more tangible as He graciously has removed everything else that would be familiar- so that I might know Him more. This time has been so sweet. I can't believe its only the beginning. I'm so excited about this year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let the Waling begin!

This is impossible. There is NO WAY I could even attempt to tell you all about our flights, my new friendships, the housing, the grocery shopping, the funny "new words" we're now using and learning-- these last two days have been PACKED with new things. HOW FUN! I wish you all were here to experience and enjoy this with me!

We don't have internet at our houses yet, but once we do, I'll be able to explain more and show you more pictures.


This is me handing my keys to my dad-- the BMW isn't mine anymore!!! Kristen and Melodye Jones (as well as Meghann and Steve) will be thrilled.


My sister is BEAST. She carried this incredibly heavy bag all around the airport for me. On the United Airlines website, it says you can pay $50 for an extra 20 pounds-- so I opted for that. Unfortunately, the lady told me at the counter, that that information was incorrect, and it was going to cost me $385 to bring my bag. Needless to say, Joy came to the rescue again- we smashed some of my clothes in Peter's carry on and then Joy snuck my shampoo and conditioner (gotta have the professional stuff) into my bag that had already been weighed... =/ Not sure how honest that was...but we did it.

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This is Peter and I landing in Dulles!


We met Katherine and Ivy...


..and Taige


...and flew to London!

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This is me opening my "Don't open until the plane ride" letter from Janelle Phillips. Thank you so much, sweet friend. Your kind words were saturated in grace as you purposed to set your eyes on God's work in my life and encourage me. You are a gift. And that letter is a treasure. I love you!


Taige's luggage ended up being on the wrong plane-- so we waited at the airport for a few hours (Dan got stuck in traffic on the "motorway" anyways =) and got it at like 9:30a our time. (Motorway sounds like "moat-a-way" with the accent. I didn't realize what he was saying and had a funny conversation about that in the car with Dan...)

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Meet the GAP TEAM! We're all finally here! From left to right- Peter, Ivy, me, David, Taige, Katherine. We had dinner at Dan and Kat's place (his wife) last night. Domino's pizza. =) They have some stinkin' cute kids.


This is my new house!!! On my "Home Sweet Home" post I have our address-- but we're actually #67, not 65. I love mail. *hint* =)

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our ity bity little kitchen...


I LOVE my keys. =)


And this is my room...

Posted by Picasa view out of my windows- a cemetery (which they call a ceme'try) is across the street along with a conveniently located bus stop!


...our little backyard...


and our living room!

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We have been BOMBARDED with the way this church has served us. We had letters for us with packets of information on the dining room table when we got there-- they'd gone shopping for the basic cleaning supplies and some canned food, cereal, milk, bread, eggs, cheese, etc. We each had little baskets on our beds, curtains in the rooms, trash cans, laundry baskets-- all the things that showed they were paying attention to the DETAILS of wanting us to feel at home. Ah, what a gift. What a blessing. I thought I was coming here to serve; not be served.

I'll be posting more pictures when I can-- I somehow lost my camera charger, so that's been a little bit of a problem taking pictures. The guy's house is AMAZING. They have an apple tree in the backyard that I plan to make some pie with in the next couple weeks. I'll post pictures when I get them.

We went grocery shopping today, and Peter almost got run over. Apparently, pedestrians don't have the "right of way" but, as Dave, who's from England said, pedestrians have "the right to get knocked over". He told us that as we were walking into the store, a lady was cussing us out in her car and we were completely oblivious. He said it was hilarious.

I'm making Shepherds Pie for all of us this week! (*Shocker*, Meghann, right? ;)

Tonight we're going to a pub for dinner and tomorrow we're having BBQ (cooking out) at the Administrator of the Church's house, Gavin. I can't wait.

THANK YOU for your prayers- our traveling could NOT have gone smoother. I feel totally adjusted from jet lag already! I'm noticing HOW MUCH time I had by myself in my last season in Orlando- in the car, or my room or whatever - and I am enjoying being with people all the time, but have realized that I'm needing to be more intentional about reminding my soul to dwell on the LORD, to talk to Him throughout the day- even when everyone else is around.

Please pray for grace for these relationships with my team members. That the LORD would instill His love for each of these souls in my heart as He gives me eyes to see how to serve them.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Re-packing. And packing again.

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My sister, Joy, is amazing. She just made ALL of my stuff fit in ALL of my bags- I can't believe it. Miracles happening over here.

So...I'm off to Wales in the morning! It's finally HERE!

I'll meet Peter at the airport at 10:40a and our flight leaves at 12:47p for D.C. We'll meet up with the Charlotte folks and fly to London at 6:40p tomorrow evening.

I'm planning on wearing my favorite jeans and I'm really excited about it. =) You know, the ones with the "love holes" in the knees.

We'll get into London at 6:30a Wales time on Tuesday (about 1:30a here), go through customs for about an hour, and then CRASH when Dan comes to pick us up. We're having dinner at his house that night.

Please pray that I would fight for joy in the midst of travel, carrying heavy bags, tiredness, hunger, and probably many "change of plans". I want to bring glory to the Savior even in those mundane parts of these next several days- not being consumed with myself or worshiping comfort. It's not about me. My life's not about me. This trip's not about me. My life has been purchased. It is not my own. It was bought with a price- and the price was the life of the only Perfect One who ever walked this earth. His love for me cost Him everything- and I want to live my life forever pointing others to this MOST GLORIOUS NEWS! We can have relationship with GOD through the atoning work of Jesus Christ! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ariel!!!

Since this trip to Wales wouldn't be possible without Ariel, I found it appropriate to honor her via blog. =)

Anyone who knows Ariel knows she's "THAT" kind of friend. She has innumerable times, sacrificed her time, desires, and preferences to serve me when I'm struggling. She loves being willingly inconvenienced to be a blessing to someone else. She prays for me almost as much as my MOM. (WOW!) She encourages me every time we talk telling me what a blessing our friendship is to her and how she sees God working in my life...and she uses specific examples. I'm not exaggerating when I say every time. I really mean EVERY time. She's the friend that raises $1300 for you to move half way across the world-- because she wants to support you in whatever you're doing...even if its the opposite of what she wants.

She loves TRUTH. She loves applying truth to her life. She has a listening ear to hear ways she can grow or better serve others even when that's not what's being discussed. She responds humbly to correction. She brings correction humbly. She longs to grow. To be changed. To help.

She's the friend that notices that you don't do well without a lot of sleep (or food =)- and instead of telling you to "get over it", she seeks to make sure you're able to get rest (or eat), and serve you in whatever way to make it easier for you to overcome the temptation to be short or harsh.

She tells every story the same. With the "OH NO!" expression as her hands curl and move towards her mouth and she lifts her right knee. And every story is just as dramatic as the one before. Always ending in uproarious laughter from the hearers, and usually with an unintentional dirty joke she makes...and then she covers her face.

She's the friend that will shove you into the men's bathroom on a cruise(don't worry, it was just one stall) as you're puking to make sure you make it to the toilet in time...or close enough.

Ariel is all blond. 100% Miami. Completely crazy and super FUN. Everything's an event. And if she brings her camera...WATCH OUT. There will be pictures of wallpaper, trash, light name it. (Right, Amy?)

She steals drinks from bars on cruises, gets hit on by guys who like her A LOT, has more embarrassing jokes being apart of a Worship Team than I've ever heard of before, and most importantly, is a friend Biblically defined. She is an answer to many prayers.

Ariel, I love you so much and pray that this year is full of JOY as you continue to position yourself to obey the LORD and whatever He has for you. He is not with holding any good thing from you!!! I anticipate many emails and phone conversations about our hearts, sin, and the abundance of God's grace this year!

Vanessa and Emily!

My amazing Charlottesville friends came to visit me for a night!

Vanessa has been one of my closest friends for almost a DECADE now. Wow, that makes me feel so old. She has dreamed with me, been through the highest ups and lowest downs in life so far, and always has been just a phone call away. We've spent hours laughing at ourselves, probably thousands of dollars in gas back and forth from the houses we grew up in, and spent the night at each other's houses more than any other person in my life! I love you, Vanessa. I'm so glad we got to see each other before I go.

Emily and I first met when I babysat for her when I was like 12. =) In my "in between year" in Virginia she was one of my dear middle schoolers at Christ Community. We've kept in touch, and she came to visit me in Orlando in February for her birthday! I love our coffee dates, emails and phone calls. Em, I love watching the LORD pursue your heart. It's amazing the convictions you have at such a young age. I love you, sweet girl. I look forward to keeping in touch this year!

This is Emily pretending she saw the Jonas Brothers outside. Oh my.