Scotland BYG Mission Trip 2015

Written by Pam Newman on . Posted in Mission Trip Blog

See the complete blog page for all details (click on continue reading). Daily summaries, team member blogs and photos have been added to you can share in the excitement of the opportunities in Scotland for the Lord's church! Continue to pray for the Christians serving there and people to hear and accept the Gospel.

Team Member Blogs when asked:

1. Spiritually, how or where did you grow the most from this trip?

2. What did you learn the most about yourself from this trip?

3. What did you learn about God and/or His Church on this trip?

4. How will you continue to be a servant now that you are home?

Isaac May

This was my 2nd year in a row going to the UK but a much different experience than the first. With only half the people and not nearly as much time, the goals, missions, and memories were definitely a change from last year’s trip. We had more breathtaking moments this year with the mountain overlook, waterfall, and small room to sing loudly and amazingly to God, which really gave me a new perspective as to the power of God and what he can do for us and what he has already done for the world. I pray that I can come back for years to come and continue to help Scott and the Perth Church of Christ continue to grow.

-       The thing I grew the most with on this trip was how to really sit down and study the Bible in depth whether I am by myself or with a group. I had multiple amazing Bible studies throughout the course of this trip and I truly believe I can continue to strive with the knowledge I’ve gained on how to study the Bible during my time in Scotland.

-       The thing I learned the most about myself this trip is that I love working with kids and they tend to like me (for the most part) so I should spend a lot more time reaching out to the younger kids at Buford. I had a great time with all the kids that showed up for the HBC Bible Camp and I feel I can build relationships with the youth at Buford.

-       I learned that God and His church will strive no matter how much resistance there is or how many people are fighting against it. Last year we were grateful enough to meet Annette in one of our coffee shop Bible studies and to have her join the church and continue in the church as we saw this year. Her two grandsons (Blaze and Diesel) had come to a bible study with her one day in which she told us that she’s been trying to get them to come to the youth club at Perth but their mom wouldn’t let them. After months of their mom keeping them away, Diesel came up to Todd and asked him what time HBC would be the next morning and him and his brother ended up coming to serve God with us. No matter how much people try to extinguish the Lord’s church, it will continue to grow and strive.

-       In one of our Bible studies, after studying a few verses at a time, we would always close out the set of verses with an “I will…” statement. So my statement after being on this trip is “I will always acknowledge God and His power/might no matter how much resistance I receive from those not a part of the Lord’s church.

I can not begin to explain how much this trip, the adult leaders, and my peers have meant to me while being in Scotland this year, but I know that it gives me an extra “spiritual boost” that I will always try to carry with me during my life no matter where I am. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read these messages and keep us in your prayers while we were gone, the trip wouldn’t have gone the same without everyone’s support.

Hannah Read

Like a couple of other people, this is my 2nd year getting to come on the Scotland trip and I’m very grateful that I did. This year has been very different from last year, but I think that is for the best because it means that things are actually starting to change. On my first trip, there wasn’t an established church in Perth yet and we were there to help promote the church to come. This year we were able to meet and participate with the few members and got to help with HBC, which is like our VBS.

-       1. The area I think I grew most spiritually from would have to be the coffee shop bible studies. Every day we talked about something different and most of the time it was things that I was curious about. The first day we talked about Mark and continued a study I had started when I traveled abroad in Greece. I also liked the fact that the groups were so small. It was either one on one or 3-4 in a group. This made it easier to let everyone speak and ask questions. I know back home we don’t really do this kind of thing a lot so I really enjoyed the experience.

-       2. Being away from home all summer has really made me realize how much I’m going to miss everyone when I go off to college. Not just my family but my church family as well. Getting to spend time with all my friends in a different country spreading God’s word is one of those memories I will cherish for a lifetime.

-      3.  It was hard to see at first how what we did last year was helpful but coming back this year really showed me that we were actually making a difference. This year there were a few people that actually came to church on Sunday and a lot of people who came to the gospel meetings that we had. Slowly but surely the church in Perth is growing and I’m just glad I could’ve been part of that.

-      4.  I will continue to have a keep at it attitude when talking to people about God. Even though going out and finding people and trying to talk to them about God isn’t really my forte, I think that if I just don’t lose hope and give up I will be help more people. Another thing that I would like to continue is studying the bible like we did in the coffee shops. I got so much out those bible studies and I think that a lot of other people would too.

This trip has been an amazing experience and I loved the group of people that got to go this year. We had so much fun and we really bonded with the people in Perth as well. Our night time excursions were probably one of my favorite parts of the trip just because it was fun and relaxing. Being in Scotland was great but now that we are heading home I’m glad to share everything we’ve learned with our family and friends.

Jake Davis

1.This mission trip was divided into many sections. There was the HBC (Holiday Bible Club) which every teen was involved in. My section happened to be the class section which is where I worked with Isaac and Mikayla May on teaching a children’s Bible class for four days in a vbs type setting. Being that this Bible class was for very young children, I didn’t necessarily learn the most during that section but I feel like I’ve grown the most from it. I’ve taught classes before but those were with people who had a decent amount of Bible knowledge. Here in Scotland, only one or two of the children had some amount of Bible knowledge. Jesus was just a far off thought or a concept to most of them that they didn’t really understand or even think about. Because of that, I think that spiritually, I grew the most during those four days of teaching than I did anywhere else on the trip. If I had to pick a second, it would be our personal Bible studies. We would have Bible studies every day after the HBC in Starbucks and Café Nero (another coffee house) and during these studies we had people wandering the streets of Perth outside the coffee houses inviting the people to the HBC and to the coffee houses to have Bible studies. Doing this I gained a lot of experience talking to random people and striking up conversations about God that I might not do every day in my normal life. When I wasn’t on the streets I was having Bible studies with a few others of the group and those were some of the best Bible studies I’ve ever had. It wasn’t two people debating a topic or talking about a matter of personal interest, it was just two or three Christians talking together and just diving right into God’s word and learning new things.

2.I learned a lot about myself on this trip. The main thing I learned is that I’m pretty good at talking casually to random people about God. In the very beginning of evangelizing the streets of Perth, it was a little disheartening because after three or so hours, we didn’t get a single response out of anyone. However, by the latter half of the trip I learned to adjust to the culture and developed my conversation style to where I was getting a response almost every time I would talk to someone.

3.In respects to God and His Church, I learned that it’s not the same in other countries as it is in America. Since Scotland is a fairly advanced country and since it has many Christian ties I assumed most people would know at least a little bit about the church and God. However, I was very wrong. So what it boils down to is I learned that for the most part, the people the people of Scotland honestly don’t know God. The church is tiny. Not the congregations, but the church. The church as a brotherhood is very small in Scotland as compared to America.

I will treat every day of my life as if I were on a mission trip. There’s the sign on the inside above the front doors to the Buford Church of Christ that says “You are now entering the mission field.” I’ve learned that there is no truer statement. This mission trip in Scotland was eye opening for me. It was also extremely encouraging for all the brethren of Scotland we came in contact with but I must remember that just because I get home from a “mission trip” doesn’t mean the mission work ends. I will treat every day like I’m on a mission trip, because I am.

Julia Upchurch

            Though this has been repeated many times, it has found a new meaning in my life. God is good. God is good. GOD is good. “God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1) Before this, I was new to evangelism and travel… actually anything to do with a mission trip. The thought was so surreal to me from the plane ride to meeting the kids for the first time. It was eye opening. None of these kids grew up with the kind of knowledge I have nor did they grow up learning about the Creator. However, every one of them had a kind, caring heart. I changed at HBC since most of the time I ended up learning from them. It was a mutual relationship where we both discovered new outlooks on life and on each other. Even though some of those kids came from a bad part of life or a worldly home, they acted positively and making the most of it. I realized that I have a tendency to speak before thinking, and this trip helped me to hold it and think because our goal was to draw people near and not push them away. God helped me through this by the patience He gave. Without it I would not have been able to talk to the people on the street with a sincere attitude and mindset. And I will say that I was not the first that became discouraged from those days. Instead, it made me feel strong and empowered. I will flourish over the temptation of Satan. I will live my life in accordance to God’s plan. I will be the best I can be to live up to His standards. As commonly stated, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13

Alexis Smith

1.There were so many different places we went and things we did so it’s hard to choose one, but if I had to choose it would probably be the mountain. To be honest there is no way to describe it. Up on that mountain I truly realized that God was in complete 100% control over my life and over everything. Any way you turned all you could see was God’s glorious creation. We sat on the edge of the mountain and sung praises to God, the creator of everything. It was just such a humbling experience that made realize that I am not my own but I am God’s and I am here to work for Him.

2. I learned that I am capable of a lot more than I think I am I just have to actually try. For me that ranged from doing things like talking to people on the street about God to playing soccer. Yes, I realize that those two things are very different. This trip has helped me to realize that I can truly do anything with God.

3.First I learned that God is in control of everything! Absolutely everything! I also learned that sometimes the smallest churches can be the most passionate. I have never heard singing like I did that first Sunday at the Cumbernauld church of Christ. It was so inspiring to see all of the people who came to the worship services or the gospel meetings and how they were just so eager to learn about God.

4.I will try and tell as many people about God as I can no matter where it might be. Because of this trip I got to see a city that didn’t have God and honestly it was heartbreaking knowing that they don’t have God to lean on. While we were talking to some people on the streets, a couple of the questions we asked were “Do you believe in God?” and “Do you believe in heaven?” and almost everyone said that they didn’t. When they said that they didn’t believe I wondered what they thought they were living for. If not for God than for what? I heard them say that they didn’t think that there was anything after this life and honestly I don’t understand how they deal with it all. We as Christians know when we wake up every morning that God is there and He will always be there. We know that we have this incredible thing called eternal life together with Him if we follow Him. So with all of that being said, I am going to tell everyone I can about God because as Nicholas always said “How much do you have to hate someone for you to not tell them about God?”

Jared Davis

            As a couple of people have mentioned before this is my second mission trip to the UK. Because this was my second trip it had a different meaning for me and affected me differently than last year.

1.I grew the most on this trip probably from the coffee shop bible studies that I was a part of every day. Just being able to block off two or three hours a day to sit down and delve into Gods word with the intention not only to draw other people in but to further our own knowledge of the scripture was truly a blessing.

2.Over the duration of this trip I have learned that sometimes I have a hard time keeping a positive attitude. When going to a country to teach the word it is difficult to stay positive when you receive negative or no reaction. The best way I have found to cope with that discouragement is in the scripture that I chose to do my devo on. Isaiah 41:10 Fear not for I am with you, Do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

3.I learned on this trip that Gods church is truly alive and well in Scotland, and the people there are ready for God to work through them. Every member of the lords church in Scotland that I have met in my two years of doing mission work there is zealous for the Lord’s work and are great examples not only to the people of Scotland but also to us as visitors. I truly believe that they were more of an encouragement to me than I was to them.

4.I will strive never miss an opportunity to serve. I will strive to live the life that God commanded me to live. I know I will fail because I am not and never will be acceptable to God on my own, But Christ’s blood clenses and covers me from all sin, so that I might be able to stand in Gods presence one day as a clean and sinless creation.

Danyon Maugeri

1.I think that I grew the most during this trip from the times I had to pray and song lead. I am not used to praying in front of people and definitely not leading singing so those two things I think kinda pushed me to grow spiritually.

2.I think that the song leading also helped me to find out more about myself. I did something that was out of my comfort zone and doing so stretched my limits beyond what I thought they were.

3.One big thing I learned is that no matter where you are in the world you will feel at home when you are around other Christians. When we were headed over to Scotland I was a little worried of the people and whether or not I would get a long and build relationships with them or not. From the moment I got there though I felt welcomed and I felt like I had known these people my entire life. I learned that there are Christians all over the world and we are all connected, so no matter how far apart we are from each other we are still one giant family.

4.During this trip I had to try a lot of new things such as song leading and even a devotional. Though they were a bit shaky and could definitely use some improvement I would really like to continue to work on them and serve in ways I haven’t been able to serve before.

Katelyn Newman

1.This is my third trip to Scotland and every time I go I grow even more and in totally different ways. This trip I learned that I can do anything I put my mind to. For example, spiritually I was apart of the craft group for our VBS, and physically I hiked two mountains which taught me that the path to what ever the destination is maybe be hard and long, you may not get to see what the end looks like but once you get there you never want to leave all you want to do is sing praises to our Lord.

2. This year I am going to college and this trip has helped me see that I will be ok in a place that I am not used toIt grew my independence and took my teammates and turned them into my family.

3.On this trip one of my favorite things was when we would go into the town and we would split up into different groups. Last year I participated in the surveys so I changed it up this year; I joined the coffee house bible studies. Usually I am not one to want to do that but it was the best decision I made. My favorite day was the last day of our VBS Jared, Jeremy and I talked about what happens after death. After three hours of talking about it I left much more confident about where I stand with my Lord.

4.Coming home from this trip I realize that this probably be my last time attending the Scotland mission trip with the church. As that is saddening it means that I have grown up and as I may not be young anymore I am still in my youth. I am starting college and although I am going to a christen school I have chosen a career path that will put me in situations that will give me the opportunity to tell more people abut God and shine my light as bright as I can.

Mikayla May

1.I think the way I grew most spiritually from this trip is in a way I didn’t expect to grow. I learned to appreciate God more and to see Him and His power throughout my everyday life. I learned to take time each day to sit back and just think about God and all He stands for, and that He can be seen in my life every day if I would take the time to look for Him.

2.What I learned about myself is that I really need to step back and stop nit-picking myself so much. I have a bad habit of having to be in control, and if I would just let go and go with the flow every once in a while my life would be so much better. I am definitely not in control, God is, and I learned that there are times when I don’t honor that and I don’t allow Him to have His way with me.

3.What I learned about God’s church is that it is alive and well! It amazes me that there are so many groups in the UK striving to worship God the way He wants to be worshiped. The churches there don’t have the numbers that Buford has, but they sure have the heart and spirit. It also amazed me how comfortable it felt to be with them. I think that’s the way God intended it to be, that you can come together with a group of people you’ve never met and feel so at home because you both share a special bond in and through Christ.

4.I will show others the love of Christ through my everyday actions. I will take time each day to reflect on the beauty of God and all that He is. I want people to look at me and know that I’m different, and that I’m different because I know I have a Savior who laid down His life for me. How powerful is that! “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love!”

Alexa Sherman

1.This trip has had a huge impact on my spiritual growth. Everyday we faced new challenges that helped me go out of my comfort zone. From approaching strangers and asking them about God, to teaching groups of children about the Bible, I definitely grew in my relationship with God. Not only did this trip let me learn more about the Bible but also it put some things into retrospect. I realized that I have no idea how much longer I will be on this earth and that I must start studying my Bible and focusing on my spirituality much more than I have been in the past. I also learned that God is truly in every aspect of the world and that it only takes a few seconds to take a break from the chaos of the world to appreciate His great power.

2.I always knew I wanted to pursue a career that would guarantee the ability to help others and this trip has just proved to me that it is what I am put on this earth to do. I realized that I am best in situations that allow me to comfort and provide care for others.

3.Being able to work with people who truly love God and want to dedicate their life to spreading His word show me how great and powerful of a God we have. Not only the people I got to spend the trip with but also the fact that we were constantly surprised with beautiful landscapes God created was insanely reassuring that heaven is going to be no doubt the most beautiful thing ever to exist. I learned that God is a merciful, powerful God that is ceaselessly working wonders in our lives and that He has the awesome ability to bring us all to tears at the sight of His creations.

4.I will, for as long as I’m given life, work my hardest to follow The Way and shine God’s light to all the souls I encounter.

Todd Newman

This is my 2nd mission trip to the UK and 1st with sole focus in one city. In 2014 we worked in Sheffield/Loughborough England and Perth Scotland since Perth had not yet established a congregation. However since the 2014 mission trip there is fruit being produced via two congregations started in November from our visit in Loughborough and Perth. Because of these fruit bearing congregations, I was able to grow by

  • Being a better spiritual encourager for my brothers and sisters in the UK who are keeping the Body of Christ alive and my Buford Christian family on the trip to keep planting the seeds and watering so the USA will not fall into the same traps Satan has built for the UK and other countries. God is in control and more powerful that man, man’s laws, Satan or any other forces.
  • For Scott in Perth at 24 years of age, he needs so much encouragement as only 3 or 4 are members at the Perth congregation with 18 to 20 youth from Perth attending the weekly youth clubs. I can’t imagine how hard it is for a young man only 5 years being a Christian continues to press on for The Lord with so many other temptations from Satan to follow society trends vs God.
  • For Paul Hill in Leicester (who visited us in Edinburgh on Saturday) who left being the preacher for Loughborough for many years and many of his physical family to start a new congregation with his wife Janet and 3 of 6 children. Since November, 15 Christians have been restored in Leicester and others moving into the city/region has grown from 9 Christians worshipping to almost 50. The amount of effort to lead a new congregation, secure funds for the facilities, making visits to members, canvassing the city of 500K where there is only 1 Church of Christ and continuing to do his secular job is taxing and the Hill’s need all the encouragement we can offer.
  • Encouragement goes both ways though. Seeing how Scott, Paul and others are continuing to work for The Lord encourages me to keep shining my Light for God like Christ no matter what is thrown at me by Satan to distract or divert me from serving, planting and watering for God! Seeing the BYG youth and chaperone team work long hours with no real complaints, adjust where we needed for plans and pressing forward even though no one from Perth community attended our Gospel meeting/Bible studies encourages me for who they are and what they stand for God.  

As for what I learned about myself, the old sayings are true, if there is a will there is way, mind over matter, 98% sweat equity vs 2% inspiration and I can do all things through God.

Katie May

My heart is soaring after reading the blogs written by the kids, MY kids as I call them now. I feel as I felt that whole time we were there....that I should just be silent and let them talk. They amazed me each day with their willingness to serve in any capacity thrown at them, their genuine love and compassion for the sweet kids who came our way, their zeal for God and His ways, and their humbling support of each other. I was truly blessed to be able to sit back and take it all in. We were awe-struck at God's beautiful creation so many times on this trip, but I realized that there is something far more beautiful than anything that nature has to offer. That's His people. God's children following Him, working together to serve Him and spread His love, and exhorting one another as we look forward to that glorious Day. When the church comes together and follows His plan the way He intended it to be, it is most certainly a beautiful thing to behold.
I was most humbled by the church in Scotland and their courage and strength to keep pressing on despite the adversity and apathy they face on a constant basis. It can be very discouraging I'm sure, and Satan would love nothing more than for them to throw their hands up in defeat and say it is hopeless. Yet they keep going, keep sharing, keep showing Scotland the love of Christ, and remain faithful week after week, day after day. That is all God calls us to do, and that is what I will take away from this trip the most. I need to remember that here in my day to day life. Being in Scotland could cause one to come home feeling completely hopeless, that this world has fully forgotten God and is doomed. Yet, it did just the opposite for me. My cup is overflowing with hope and joy. Scott's life and passion, along with the others before him who led him to Christ, simply exude hope. The gospel is still alive and sharp, and it can pierce the hardest of hearts in Scotland, the US, and anywhere across the world. We just need to do our part and share it. We got to see so much history of the Reformation and the courage those saints had and what they were up against, that we realized we can do anything with God on our side. So let's get to work! I WILL "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Rayleen Upchurch

                  This is my first mission trip. This trip was the most amazing thing for me. I felt God’s presence from the green landscape to the incredible people that are residing here. I was pretty nervous coming to a foreign country and not sure how the trip was going to work out. However, the moment we met Scott, Adam and Graham I knew we were in good hands. Scott has done a lot for God in Perth. He is on fire all the time. It was nice being in his presence and wanting to be fired up too. I felt that God was already soothing my fears by letting me know things will be okay. I found myself walking up to strangers (Cumbernaud Church of Christ) and having some amazing conversations. I found people who I consider lifelong friends now and I know that is God working in my life and theirs. I met Annette who is a strong woman on faith. She has shown incredible perseverance even when it would be so much easier to just give up. She has two grandsons who need our prayers to continue on the right path. I also met Leah and Sheila. They were easy to talk to in our short time together. It’s wonderful to have a connection with someone you just met. I feel like God’s guidance was with me daily to be a part of His bigger plan. The children were very special as well. They were very eager to learn more about God from us. I hope it will continue even though we are gone. Our own BYG kids were just amazing. They stepped right up and did any task that was necessary. All the lessons, crafts, and games went well and enticed the camp kids to want to come back the next day. All of our BYG kids are special but I noticed these things from the trip. Jake, Jared, Isaac and Danyon can all lead songs, prepare thoughtful devotionals, and pray from the heart. The girls encouraged the lessons, made crafts fun and played games with the children. It warmed my heart to see the kids want to come back every day. One sweet boy, Luke, said he was glad he didn’t go to camp and came to our Holiday Bible Camp instead. He also was sad that it was ending. This proves to me that God was in our midst daily working and using us as vessels.

                  Being around the gorgeous nature that takes your breath away daily, I felt like I was walking with God. I felt like I could talk to Him and He was with me. I am challenged to read more and find Him so I can get closer to Him. I learned that a mission trip is about the relationship you have with people. You can change your home, work and church relationships by being a light for Christ. I have learned to be an encourager and be thankful for what we have at home. We are very blessed at Buford and in America. I never want to take my spiritual relationship for granted again. It is important to be aware of scripture, prayers, and just going to church. Our team had a common goal to bring connection into Scotland. I feel like we did that by planting the seeds for God. I want to strive to plant seeds here at home as well. This trip has changed me. I am forever grateful to the Buford congregation and the BYG for allowing me to grow spiritually, get out of my comfort zone, and spread the word of God wherever I am.

Jeremy Pate

I recently returned from a 10-day trip to Scotland with 10 teens from the BYG (Jared & Jake Davis, Isaac & Mikayla May, Alexis Smith, Alexa Sherman, Danyon Maugeri, Hannah Read, Katelyn Newman, and Julia Upchurch) and 3 other adults (Todd Newman, Katie May and Rayleen Upchurch). We left on July 3rd, and returned on July 13th. Our group went to Scotland for several specific reasons:

 1.To support and encourage Scott Tominey as he strives to plant and grow a local congregation of God’s people in the city of Perth, Scotland

2.To put on a 4-day VBS-style day camp for some of the youth of Perth. This involved crafts, games, and Bible classes and was done entirely by our BYG teens. The theme was “CONNECTION”

3.To do a 3-night Gospel Meeting for the church at Perth. Our young men led the singing & prayers while I preached each night. The theme was “CONNECTION”

4.To do some sightseeing in the UK

 As with every mission trip I’ve ever been a part of, my experience may have ministered to me as much or more than it ministered to those we went to help/serve. I was challenged, encouraged, stretched, and blessed in ways that I couldn’t have expected. I’d like to share some of my experiences in this week’s blog post.

First of all, I couldn’t be more impressed with or encouraged by the 10 young people we took on this trip. They worked hard during the months preceding the trip; they worked hard while we were in Scotland; and they had a fantastic attitude during the entire process. We did not have ONE SINGLE PROBLEM while we were in Scotland together, and this is a testament to their parents, grandparents, and the teens themselves. We laughed together (a lot), we cried together, we walked together (a lot), we worked together, we flew together, we played together, we ate together, we sang together, we prayed together, we witnessed God together; in short, we did everything together. It was a privilege and an honor to serve our Lord with these outstanding young people during this trip.

I was also greatly encouraged by the congregations at Cumbernauld and Perth. Although the Perth congregation is very small, and still in its planting stage, I know that the Lord will give the increase and bless His Church in Perth. These Christians are so warm, inviting, and filled with love for God and for one another; they are truly an inspiration. In a culture that is almost anti-God, the body of Christ in Scotland is truly a tight-knit family that seeks to spread the Gospel to everyone around them. It was a joy to spend time with them and to worship our Lord together with them.

Although there were many “moments” on this trip, I suppose my favorites would have to be these two:

1.We hiked up a hill together on Tuesday night and found one of the most gorgeous views I’ve ever seen. It took our breath away, inspired us in inexpressible ways, and provided the kind of perspective that only God can provide. Our group bonded on this hill in ways that we could have never planned or foreseen. It was an unexpected blessing and an unforgettable experience.

2.On Wednesday night, we hiked to a waterfall and found a small room (called a “folly”). We sang praises to God for nearly 45 minutes in this dark room with some of the most beautiful acoustics I’ve ever heard. The group sounded like a legion of angels as we praised our God together and encouraged one another. I know that some of the teens recorded it on their phones, but trust me when I tell you…you had to be there:)

Words fail to capture these kinds of experiences, but let me say this: if you ever have an opportunity to go to Scotland and work with the Church there, you should definitely go. It was a huge blessing and a life-changing experience.

Daily summaries:

July 13th

Headinghome webGreetings to you from somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean!  We are on our last leg of flights for our journey home to our Buford and our family!  

All are excited to be coming home but also saddened to leave our brothers and sisters in Perth/Cumbernauld and Scott.  Goodbyes are never easy, especially when we have grown to love Perth, the youth there, Annette and Scott.  However, we know because of our Christian faith if we don't ever get back to Scotland, we will see Annette, Scott and hopefully others we planted the seed with for God in Perth in heaven.  A part of all of our lives will now have a special place forever in Scotland from the last 10 days we spent there.  

We will all soon forget the
• long flights
• pains from walking many miles a day
• discomforts of our hotel with hard beds/low water pressure/some with cold showers on our last morning
• no hand wash clothes
• things and comforts we really did not miss from home
• hours without WiFi
• hills/stairs we climbed
• ever changing weather (which by Scotland terms was spectacular week),
• frustration of trying to figure out what coins to use or the exchange rate for a cup of coffee
• small cars and tight quarters
• getting directions somewhere when a motorway = our interstate, dual carriage way = our 4 lane highway, a single carriage way = our roads, a round about = our traffic lights, etc
• walking up/down stairs on the left, walking on the sidewalk on the left and riding on the left side of the road
• importance of looking left vs right when crossing the road or when a traffic light turns from red to yellow it means go for cars before it turns green
• unthinkable of having no ice for drinks or air conditioning
• paying for plastic bags at the store
• eating out of a bag paper bags vs on plates for take away
• confusing words/terms/signs like chips = fries; crisp = chips; biscuits = cookies; scone = looks like a biscuit; queue = standing in a line; pants = your underwear, our peace sign = something vulgar; to let = rent; mind the gap = watch your step; toilet or water closet = our rest/bath room; the meanings of alight/rubbish/bin/aye, the pronunciation or spelling of some words like organise, enquire, Scottish drop their "T" when not at the beginning of a word Scottish = Scuoish or computer = compuer, Eric making it hard to understand them, especially when they talk fast, etc
But replace them with all the warm, refreshing, joyful, friendly, caring, loving, etc memories we have of our Christian brothers and sisters of Scotland, the beauty of the country and the experiences we all grew from HBC, surveying, Bible studies, Gospel meeting, singing from the heart, our unexpected journeys, our sightseeing excursions and the laughs/tears/hugs/growth we all shared together as BYG.  

Scotland is beyond words for beauty which God shaped for all, the spirit of the people is alive and joyous, the water is as cold and pure as you can ever imagine and the weather is always changing to accentuate the countryside with a touch of briskness, freshness and water.  But more importantly a beautiful mission field for the workers of The Lord to plant, water and harvest.  Scott, the Body of Christ at Cumbernauld/Perth and the 10 to 12 other congregations in Scotland are full of hope, readiness and desire to bring others to God.  The real beauty of Scotland is in these brothers and sisters continuing to hold to The Way in a mission field with promise.  The youth in Scotland want something better than their parents and society have left them and are willingly open to hearing The Word.  Please include in your prayers for the hearts of these youth to be opened for the seed to be planted by the workers, accept the watering, sprout and grow in due time according to God's plan to bear fruit. Also pray for the adults there to allow their hardened hearts against "organized religion" to be opened through the youth and workers in Perth.  

The seeds we helped plant over the last 10 days we might never see the growth or the fruit but we all know the  power of God is greater than anything we can imagine.  Let His Will be done through Scott and the others workers in Perth.  Let the encouragement and growth we gained from this trip allow us to be stronger for The Lord upon our return.  Let our Light shine brighter for Christ in an ever darkening USA where God is being removed so we don't fall into the same traps of Satan as many countries around the World.  

As I close, a few fun facts -- 8 had never been on an international trip, 2 have never flown, 8 had never been on a train and all of us collectively walked on average 110 miles a day or over 1,000 for the week!  Next I want to thank you for allowing me to share from my perspective as 1 of 14 my experiences from the 2015 Scotland trip.  I have grown!  Finally, I encourage you to talk to each about the trip when you see them next and check out their stories on social media and the BCOC Mission sight for blogs.  You should be very proud to serve side-by-side with these brothers and sisters at Buford for Christ and ask you to continue to pray for their growth.  Time will allow all to realize how they have grown from this focused effort and hopefully pay it forward in the future for another mission trip. 

Thanks again for your support, love and prayers!  See you soon!

May God be and receive the glory from our efforts and fruit to come!

In Him

Todd

PS. The group arrived home safely. Thank you for the prayers during our trip!!

July 12th

LastDayBYGWorship webLastDayWorshipPerthcoc webLastDayPerthcoc c.webLastDayPerthcoc bLastDayPresenttoScottLastDayGifttoBYGLastDayPizzaParty webGreetings to all from Perth Sunday night on our last day in Scotland. We had a wonderful day of worship with a BYG group and the Perth congregation.  The weather in Perth has been chilly and windy with partly cloudy skies all day reminding us the Scotland summer can change in a days time. However we welcome the Perth weather as we know back in Buford it was close to 96° today.  

• Our day started with worship next to the river Tay around 11:30am after everyone was able to sleep in from a long day in Edinburgh.  The BYG boys led us in song and prayer and Jeremy brought us a lesson about home. Jeremy's lesson described home is really nowhere except heaven and used examples of Moses and Samuel and others who really had different homes in their lives just as we did in Perth for the last nine days.

• After morning worship we all had a picnic in the hotel conference room and prepared to head to Perth for the afternoon worship service. Scott shuttled some of us to the Perth worship center while others jumped in a taxi due to Cumbernauld need for the mini bus on Sunday's. We had a guess speaker, Mitch Vick, who came from Stirling Church of Christ to present the lesson to us which was great.  Plus their continued support of Perth as they know how it is starting from no members.  It is very encouraging to see The Body of Christ supporting each other. Annette was there and warmed our spirits yet again due to her story of 2014 and still being faithful. Afterwards we had tea and biscuits for fellowship with all and worked our way back to the hotel to pack and prepare for trip home tomorrow.

• Finally we ended the day eating Domino's Pizza as a group and presenting Scott with a canvas picture of his work in Perth to hang in his office of the 2014 Perth BYG Scotland trip. Scott also presented each one of us a framed picture of our team at Perth college with Scotland flags as the background and a personal note for us to read later.  This trip has been very rewarding and something we will all remember and pray that our seed planting turns into a full-grown tree bearing fruit very very soon.

Thank you for allowing me to present my perspective of our trip over the last few days. I will make my last update tomorrow sometime between leaving Perth and arriving in Buford. Plus I know many have been following the BYG team on Facebook and other social media for their updates.  I encourage you to read their blogs, see the story through their pictures and pray for her safe return.  

In Him

Todd

July 11th

EdinburgCastle bEdinburghCastleEdinburgh cEdinburg PaulHillGreetings from Edinburgh Scotland, the capital of Scotland. The city was very busy with tourist from a cruise ship, being Saturday and the capital.Day 8 was another great one for all of us as we took the train to Edinburgh for the day.  
• We started early at 7am for the walk to the Perth station and 1.5 hour ride to Edinburgh
• We then all toured the Edinburgh castle before breaking into smaller groups to visit the Capital city of Scotland

• Paul Hill from Loughborough England church (where the 2014 BYG team conducted YOLO for God youth day) joined us for half a day to visit and reunite with some from the 2014 mission trip.  It was a great joy to be able to see Paul and spend time with him, very encouraging.  As an update, he and his wife Janet started a new congregation in Leicester England in November after our June trip last year.  He stated our trip, enthusiasm for God by all and unbelievable drive to serve The Lord helped him and the elders of Loughborough embark on this new church plant.  They started out in November with 6 and now are up to 45 with 15 restored who had fallen away due to no church in the area.  A great worker for The Lord and harvesting by them in Leicester the fruit.  May God continue to bless the work in Leicester.

• All enjoyed the day in Edinburgh sight seeing, hiking, shopping, taking in the views and tasting more of Scotland goodies!  See individual Facebook or other social media sites for their pictures.

Continue to pray for us as we spend our last full day in Scotland on The Lord's day and let our encouragement for The Lord to the people of Perth plant seeds for future fruit!  Plus their encouragement to us.

In Him

Todd

July 10th

StAndrewsCathedralNorthSeaStAndrewsTrainStAndrewsDevoNorthSeaStAndrewsNorthSeaStAndrewsGolfCourseStAndrewstouringDay 7 was our first free day with a trip to St Andrews in the shire of Fife.  See some highlights below:
• St Andrews is rich in history from the largest cathedral (now ruined due to the reformers from John Knox who basically built the bulk of the city we walked though from the wood and stones), Andrews University where many Royals have attended including William and Kate, where John Knox began the Reformation against the Catholic Church, the home of golf started by Tom Morris on St Andrews Links (where the British Open is being played at next week), the beach where Chariots of Fire was filmed just to mention a few.  
• We started our day around 9am with a mile walk to the train station, a 25 minute ride to Dundee, a 15 minute ride to St Andrews station and a 10 minute bus ride.  The weather was brisk at 48 with mist from rain overnight but to clear by noon.
• When in St Andrews we walked about a mile to the St Andrews ruined cathedral and took in a few of the sights.  
• Today was Danyon's day to lead the devo and he decided to have it out on the rock pier into the North Sea.  So we found a great section on the rock pier to sit for our morning devo as the waves were crashing into the left side with the harbor on the right side where we faced.  
• Danyon conducted his first ever devo on Job and the message was very good about not giving up on God.  All back home would be proud of Danyon's devo as he has many first on this trip for leading singing, teaching HBC and prayers.  Plus it will be hard to top having his first devo ever standing on a very old rock pier in the North Sea.  
• After the devo, Scott and I gave the BYG team some history of St Andrews for the Bible and our faith.  Because of events in St Andrews for Reformation in UK and Alexander Campbell Restoration in North America way before we were born we were in Scotland working for The Lord.  The circle for us being closed, we saw where King James was crowned King who brought us the English translated Bible and where John Knox started the Reformation movement which indirectly brought The Way to us in the USA.  It was neat to see the light bulbs going off for the BYG team -- without these movements and translation of the Bible we might not have ever found The Way and be sitting in Scotland.  It was a special moment for all and taking in the amazing view with the sound of the North Sea.  
• After our devo and Connections of St Andrews to us, we walked the St Andrews Cathedral ruins, visited the ruin castle gift shop and then broke into groups to explore St Andrews.  

All had a great day in St Andrews as the skies turned partly cloudy and fresh chilled air from the North Sea.  We made the bus/train/train/walk back to the hotel arriving around 4:30pm.  Many rested then went into Perth for dinner and headed back to the garden near the hotel for a 9pm devo.  Scott brought us the lesson about planting a seed now but we might never see the tree grow or the fruit.  He connected his story to our work in Perth for HBC, Bible studies, surveys, etc and we might never see the growth/fruit but it will happen. Amen!

We all ended the day heading to our rooms for an early rise for Edinburgh at 6:30am cherishing the great day we had in St Andrews.

Continue to pray for our trip and talk later!

In Him

Todd

July 9th

Greetings from Perth as we finished our 6th day in this wonderful country and city!  The BYG team has been awesome and so great to work with.  Today we finished our HBC with the youth (which we and the youth were all sad as we wanted to keep doing this every day), visited Scone Palace where all the Royal Scottish were crowned until unification with England in the 1,500's and enjoyed an evening of free time.  See below highlights of day 6:

youthclublastdaywebyouthclublastdaybwebyouthclublastdaycwebyouthclublastdaydwebHBC Youth Club (Last Day)
• We started the morning at the college around 9:30a with a devo led by Jared.  He charged us to finish the day strong for The Lord.
• Today was our biggest attendance with 13 youth and all were excited.  Many from Tuesday had brought their friends today.  And if you remember yesterday Annette's grandsons (Diesel and Blaze) had enquires about coming, well they showed up with their mum!  We were sooooo excited to see them knowing our encouragement on Wednesday during our Bible study had worked!  The seed planting works!
• The BYG teams worked through their plans all wrapped around being a great helper to all like the Good Samaritan.  After the lesson time, crafts was all about building your tool bag for helping another and listening to your heart (literally and spiritual) for doing the right thing for God.  Katelyn was dressed in her scrubs!  The games were team activities to help each other through different stations to apply their learnings.  
• We ended the HBC with a group picture, hugs and tears by BYG/youth.  All had bonded making new friends during the week and now we had to go.  
• In the end, the HBC week had brought 18 new youth to Scott for the Perth weekly youth club.  About 25 in total attending for the week sessions.  And potentially a break through for Annette's grandsons to start attending the weekly youth club after we leave and hopefully church on Sunday's.  Continue to pray for Diesel, Blaze and their parents to allow them to go. 

sconepalace websconepalace bwebScone Palace Visit
• After closing out HBC Connections, we headed to Scone Palace (pronounced Scoune) to picnic as a group on the beautiful grounds.  Scone is where all Scottish Royalty were crowned up to King James I in England from Scotland.  King James is the King who commissioned the KJV Bible in English.  
• Scone is a very critical part of Scotland's rich history and the Connections to us today in 2015 is indirectly linked via the KJV Bible converted to English vs Latin for all to read.
• Also another Connection to us in 2015. Scone also ties back to John Knox who escaped Mary Queen Scot by visiting Martin Luther until Mary's death.  So why is this important, many might know John Knox as an fierce reformer but might not know Alexander Campbell was part of the movement.  Alexander made visits to Scone and the Perth area from Fife/St Andrews.  Alexander overtime ended up splitting off the Reformation movement to begin a pure Restoration movement to follow the Bible in its purest way.  Of course he brought the Restoration movement to the new world, USA.  
• The visit was a great one for all to take in some rich history, culture, links to our beliefs and Bibles and able to enjoy some time exploring the Scone grounds, maze, wild life and sunshine.

BYG Free Time
• After a group dinner, the teams took the night off.  Some went to a local football (soccer) game where the Perth Saints won and others took in a movie play the local playhouse.  Note - the ones who experienced a soccer game in Scotland ran into some of our HBC youth and spent some time talking to them.  One boy was the ball boy on the field.  So a very neat connection made in their community.
• Check out the BYG and chaperone Facebook or other social media for their pictures.

Special Call Out
• Adam Barr - for driving us around Saturday through Monday and always keeping us on our toes from his wit.
• Graham MacDonald - for driving us around Tuesday through Thursday, helping find our unexpected journey locations with me and always making us laugh with his puns.  
• Caylie Houck - You might have noticed another girl in many of our pictures this week.  Caylie is an intern at Cumbernauld this summer from the Mayfair congregation in Huntsville where former Buford members Richard and Valerie Harris attend (a small and delightful World we live in when it comes to the church).  Well we have all been very forgetful to introduce her to you as we all immediately accepted her as one of our own in day one!  She has been a great team player with the BYG and seems like she has been with us forever.  She loves the BYG team and has grown with us.  She plans on attending Harding in the fall, so pray for her as she finishes in Scotland next month to start college.  Thank you Caylie and our honor to meet you and have you as part of BYG Scotland 2015 team for The Lord!
• Perth College - for being a gracious host of HBC and the Gospel meeting.
• Starbucks and Cafe Nero - for opening their stores up for us to conduct daily Bible studies, openly.  

Finally, this week to-date has been so rewarding for all of us knowing we have broke some walls down, planted seeds for The Lord in 25 youth and maybe their families, encouraged the saints in Perth/Cumbernauld/Scottish churches, encouragement of Scott to help him continue the very hard work to grow the church in Perth, growth by all on the BYG team and helped Annette see the power of The Word through the BYG youth knowledge of the Bible and opening a door for Diesel and Blaze to know God!

In Him

Todd

 

July 8th

youthclubday3youthclubday3byouthclubday3cwebcoffeeshopstudyday3webDay 5

Greetings from mostly cloudy day where we started off right around 48 with a few rain showers and a stiff NW wind.  The locals said this is Scotland but wait around and the sun will come out.  We were all slightly tired from the weeks events so far but all were excited about what the day had in store for us for HBC, City Centre and Gospel meeting plans.  We were ready to enjoy the day God gave us all in our BYG Connection t-shrits.

We completed our 3rd day of HBC youth club in the morning, campaigning in the city centre, conducted coffee shop Bible studies and attended the last night of the Gospel meeting.  See below highlights from day 5 in Perth:

HBC Youth Club
•    We started the morning off in devotion led by Isaac May who challenged our thoughts to continue connecting with the youth like Jesus connects us with God
•    We ended up with 4 youth today with a visitor asked to attend by Evan who attended on Tuesday.  Evan could not make it but he made sure his friend did make it.  Great spirit we have seen in the Scottish youth and some of them know some Bible.
•    The youth club finished the day with a twister station and musical balloons where the teams had to connect with each other through the games.  In the end we had another great day with the youth excited about coming tomorrow and bringing friends
• Plus see Jeremy's followers who line up daily to get hand drawn super heroes or football players.  They love them and Jeremy loves doing them for the youth.
•    One reason for a lighter attendance, Scott had his weekly youth club attending a family adventure event (Noah’s) at 1:30p and we heard parents gave the youth an option, you can go to the HBC or Noah’s.  Six youth who did not attend HBC did attend Noah’s where Scott and three of BYG helped in the afternoon.

City Centre Campaigning
•    We all enjoyed lunch together at Starbucks as the weather was “threatening” according to the Scottish.  Plus there was a planned 1p weekly Wednesday Bible study at Starbucks for any and all posted on Starbucks monthly board.   
•    The teams split into 3 groups for afternoon Bible studies at Starbucks and Café Nero and campaigning in the city centre.  
•    The Starbucks Bible study was a verse-by-verse study of John 7.  Annette and her grandson’s attended the Bible study with 6 of the BYG team.  We approached by all reading a grouping of scriptures, discussing what it meant to us, how would we react to such things if we saw today and each developed an “I will…” statement pulling the message from the scripture to me in 2015.  It was a very deep study and all grew from it.  Annette stated at the end she was taken back at the depth of BYG’s knowledge of the Bible and their keen awareness of how to apply the scripture.  She stated this Bible study with them helped provide hope and encouragement for the church and the youth of today.  She thanked us for such a beautiful study and deep thoughts shared which helped her understand more insight from John 7 and depth.
o    A little background on Annette if you will allow me to share - Annette is the lady who last year (2014) saw our BYG Bible study in Starbucks and enquired what church was conducting the study.  When she found out it was the church of Christ, she asked which church of Christ due to the Mormans using a similar name.  When she found out it was the New Testament based church of Christ, she cried and was so excited.  
o    Bring it full circle, in 2015 she is a member of the Perth congregation started back in November and has been attempting to get her two grandson’s (Disel 11 and Blaze 9) to come to church and/or youth club.  However their mum is against the boys attending any organized religion.  Well as you know, things do happen when you plant a seed and encourage someone to come join you at a HBC or church.  
o    I had asked the boys plus others in our group why they had not been at HBC each week and their response was they were too busy.  Even though they avoided our questions, Jeremy bought each a NIV thin line Bible from a Christian bookstore in town and gave to them while we conducted our Bible study.  Plus gave the littlest, Blaze, some of our crafts from the day of work in HBC.  
o    Later that afternoon after our Bible study and the teams were in the city centre campaigning, Disel finds me near Starbucks and asked me what time should he and Blaze be there tomorrow.  I explained 10a at Perth University.  He and Blaze gave me a high five and off they went with Annette home.  I was excited they found me and asked what time for the HBC as it told me they must have talked their mum into going but did not confirm.  So I said a prayer to see them in the morning.   
•    The Café Nero Bible study was from John, Mark and Hebrews about what will judgment day be like, death outside of Christ and the cleansing blood of Christ does for all.  The Bible study lasted about 2.5 hours and Jeremy/BYG members stated it was a very deep study, energized them for what we were doing on this trip and how much they grew from being in the Bible.  
•    After our time in the city centre, we all had a group dinner and reflected on our day on how we grew, how we were seeing progress and encouraged each other.

gospelmeetingday3gospelmeetingthankyoujackGospel Meeting
•    We had 33 in attendance for our last night of the Gospel meeting.  Again, no one came from the Perth community but we continued to pray for our efforts to produce fruit in due time
•    Before services started, Jack Straton one of the preachers at Cumbernauld, moved us with a loving story about his brother (Alex) who had just passed the same day from a battle with cancer.  He thanked us for allowing him to share this with us and led a prayer.  The funeral will be sometime next week.  Keep the Straton family in your prayers.
•    The BYG guys again led the services in songs, prayers and scripture reading with great singing by all.
•    Jeremy brought us the lesson of the night challenging us to “Incorporate our Connection” with God into the threads of our life.  The lesson was very powerful and helped us all understand the Love of God and how we can be more powerful than any force around us if we keep Him first.  
•    We ended the night with two special recognitions and in fellowship having tea, coffee and biscuits (our cookies) up until 9p.
• First, Scott thanked Jeremy for being the speaker for the Gospel meeting and presented a token of the Scotland saints appreciation.  A Quaich bowl was given to Jeremy.
• Second, Jack, after worship, asked a dear lady, May (cannot spell her last name), he has known since childhood who was a nanny for Jack and Alex and helped as a nanny for them.  May has been blind since birth and has written many Christian hymns for the Scotland hymnals. Jack asked her to sing Autumn about be ready when our Autumn comes to meet God face-to-face.  She sang for us in memory of Alex who had just pasted away that day.  It was moving and allowed us to support Jack.

follysingingAn Unexpected Journey with an Amazing Melody
•    Graham and I decided to find another special place to visit since the weather was still nice (but brisk) for us to share in the last 1.5 hours of daylight.  We found a main water tributary of the Tay River to venture to called the Hermitage in the lower Highlands, about a 20 minute drive..
•    This time the trail to a sizeable waterfall appeared to be short in distance and along the riverbanks verse up hill.  Well, it proved to be another moving journey of God’s creation and an amazing melody that I cannot even describe in words.  (Some of you might have already seen some of the updates on FB from the team)
•    The temps had dropped to about 50 but the wind had dropped to a slight breeze, so we were alert in the crisp fresh air but not uncomfortable.  The trail was flat and smooth as it meandered through 100 to 150 foot cedars along the side of the river.  The sounds, smell and the site of the river flowing over the boulders definitely reminded me of the North Georgia Mountains.  
•    The trail ended about a quarter mile from the car park with a spectacular waterfall roaring over jagged granite rocks falling about 50 to 60 feet at a high rate of flow.  The jagged granite rocks created 3 full waterfalls with cross water flows all throughout making it a very impressive sight and sound of power.  And of course, all of us had to get as close as we could to the falls for pictures and take in what it had to offer, no matter the obstacles we might face.  
•    What came next was impromptu by all as we were winding down our exploring of the waterfalls.  A folly was built in the woods on one of the cliffs downstream from the falls designed to provide another view of the falls.  The folly is perfectly round made of stone with two doors and one glass window at the top for minimal light.  All 17 of us were able to stand in a ring around the wall but could not really see each other with the doors closed.  You know when you get Christians together, we have to sing and so we did.  Well, the sound of this folly was so acquistically perfect, you could hum and it would sound like 100 humming.  We sang for 40 minutes praising God, our spirits being lifted and edified in a way I cannot say I have ever been.  I can only imagine if what we experienced in this folly round building from 17 who sounded like 170 singing to God is what heaven’s singing will be like, I cannot begin to describe in words what those 40 minutes meant to me or anyone else, let alone how God received it.  God is good!
•    So our 2nd unexpected journey allowed us to yet again stop to reflect on the day of great work in Perth for The Lord and the awesome God we worship.  Plus His awesome shaping of the Scotland land via the rocks/waterfall and our talents to praise Him through singing, it was simply amazing melody and harmony.  
•    By the time we arrived back at the hotel around 11:30p, the team had listened to our singing many recorded and continued to sing and discuss our whole week in Perth working The Lord!  Growth is an action word and I have seen all we have worked with for The Lord and us “grow” spiritually on this trip, may the fruit of labor continue to be harvested in months to come.

Please continue to pray for our trip and for the seeds we have planted to produce fruit in Perth for The Lord.  Thanks again for allowing me to share from my perspective of the wonderful opportunity to serve The Lord in Perth!

In Him

Todd

In an old round folly enclosed building we all gathered in and sang songs of praise.  There was no light except on small round window in the top.  The acoustics were awesome and 16 of us sounded like 100's. It was very moving! As one said, "It was a little piece of Heaven!"

singinginperthwebTo Listen to them sing, click here!

Team members blog about the trip - Day 2 . . .

"One. The theme of our first day of Bible club was one. It was our first day with the children and one little boy showed up. How discouraging that could be, but God reminded me through the day that He is interested in one. Each one soul is important to Him. After all, God incarnate told the parable of the shepherd leaving 99 of his sheep to search for that ONE lost sheep, then rejoiced when he found it. I heard as we went later in the afternoon and had our coffee shop Bible study about sweet Annette who found her way back to the Lord at the coffee shop Bible study last year. Just one person after days and days of passing out leaflets, having Bible studies, and discussing God with strangers on the street. Yet that one dear soul continues to come faithfully an entire year later even though no one else has joined her. We rejoice along with the angels over that one. Then, Jeremy touched on Noah. One man in the entire world that was following God……the entire world. God didn’t destroy the whole human race, though. He didn’t give up on us. That one was enough for Him. So, we press on. We have faith in God’s ways and His heart. We show His love to one, twenty, a thousand and we pray for the increase. Incidentally, the team went around the neighborhood to share about the club with some other kids and we got 6 to come play with us. All 6 of them showed up today, and one brought his sister. Keep praying, friends. It was one boy out of many years of doing Bible club who decided late in his teens to follow God and now he craves for the whole city of Perth to know this Savior he surrendered to. One of these young kids could be another Scott. God is good!" - Katie

"In terms of personal/spiritual growth, this trip has pushed me to rethink my approach towards those who are outside the body of Christ. Although there are many ways to reach out to the lost with the Gospel, most of them make me very uncomfortable. I am not comfortable approaching strangers with questions or surveys. I am not comfortable passing out flyers. Because of this discomfort, I have typically put most of my focus on helping/teaching/instructing those who are already disciples of Christ. On this trip, I am being pushed outside of this particular focus, and it is causing me to grow. Growth hurts. Growth is uncomfortable. It is human instinct to avoid discomfort, and it has been my instinct and default behavior for me to do the same. This trip has been very good for me so far, and it is causing me to grow in ways that I need to grow. I am truly thankful for that. This trip means a lot to me. If I had to choose one meaningful thing, I would have to say that it is our teens." - Jeremy

"'Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.' Psalms 1:1-2

As Christians who grew up in a powerful country and in a strong religious background, we often have the tendency to take it all for granted. Before this experience, I didn’t realize that most Scottish people have never once heard the Word whereas my whole life I have grown up with it. I understand that WE are here to be their example since most cannot rely on family and friends about matters like this. We are a “chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9) that has been called on to stand up and be the good example for the others around. To compensate for their lack of faith, I have acknowledged the need to continue to study the Bible in order to have better answers. This trip has allowed me to change my view on the spiritual things I take for granted in life. I’m here to praise the one true Father and to be faithful throughout it all." - Julia

"This trip so far has been such a blessing to me. Just being here again surrounded by the BYG and working for the Lord is so surreal I can’t even describe the feeling. We start off our days working with children in a VBS, our afternoons are spent surveying in the streets (this year’s survey question- “If you could ask God one question, what would it be?”) or having Bible studies in cafes, and our evenings are spent in a gospel meeting. What a full day! You would think we would be exhausted after the gospel meeting, and most of the time we are, but last night Todd decided to take us all on a hike. We had no idea where we were going, it was a straight incline the whole way, and I was wearing a maxi skirt and flats so needless to say I was not very happy. When we got to the top of the hill, though, I felt bad for ever complaining. The view was breathtaking, absolutely incredible. We were met with a view of green, rolling hills and the sparkling, winding River Tay. If there has ever been a moment where I have felt as if I was in the true presence of God, it was in that moment right then. We sang some songs, and as we sang out “How great Thou art! How great Thou art!” I couldn’t help but be filled with a peace, the peace that passes all understanding. The Lord is with the BYG on this trip, and His presence is felt! Thanking Him for his outstanding love and mercy. To God be the glory!" -Mikayla

"This trip means very very much to me. There’s always plenty of mission work to be done at home but this is my very first time doing mission work in another country. It’s my very first time flying at all, for that matter which makes everything that much more special. While there are others I wish could have come on this trip to gain the experiences I have, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be surrounded by. This trip is all about spreading God’s word and everybody here has been very good at keeping that focus but we have had no shortage of fun at any point in the trip. This is by far the most beautiful land I’ve ever seen and I’ve taken at least 200 pictures even though we’ve only been here for 4 days haha. I’ve been out of my comfort zone ever since we landed which is a very good thing because it means we’ve not been shying away from the tough work.

I have gained more than I ever thought I could in such a short amount of time on this trip. I’ve gained valuable experience in talking to random strangers and asking the questions about their religious beliefs and I’ve gained an ease of speech when talking to them that allows the conversation to go smoothly. I learned that most people don’t know who the Church of Christ is and it’s been nice to not have a label slapped on you as soon as you mention your beliefs. Bottom line, this trip has been very fun, very beneficial to the mission effort here at Perth, and a very very special trip to me personally. I’ve learned a lot of things in the three days of mission work we’ve had so far and I can’t wait to get back out there today. I love everyone here to death and I can’t wait to tell everyone about it when I get back." -Jake Davis

"This trip has been such a God send for me. The vast beauty of God’s creation is placed in Scotland. Everywhere we look is green, rolling hills, flowers, rain and even plenty of sun. It is the perfect place for planting seeds of faith. Seeing God’s creation allows me to feel closer to Him daily. Meeting new friends here has taken me out of my comfort zone. It is difficult to walk up to a stranger to start talking. I have grown daily by praying to God to help me find the right words and not be stopped by fear. Going to a coffee shop for Bible study can be intimidating. We cannot be discouraged. Scott Tominey shared a sermon about planting seeds even if you NEVER see the results.

            We drove to Kinnoull Hill. We all began walking up the path. It was very steep, rocky, and I found myself stopping several times to catch my breath. I wanted to give up from the exhaustion of the climb. At one point, I was completely alone. I had to decide to keep going or turn around and go back to the van. Looking at the nature around me, I thought how this decision is like our walk with Christ. We decide to stay on the path. We decide to keep climbing hoping we will make it to the top. Or we stop, give up, turn around and go back down the hill never seeing what is at the top. After this reflection, I made the decision to stay on the path and head to the top. The mile was not easy but I finally made it! Before I got to the top, I saw my friends cheering me on saying, “You can do it!” The encouragement was just what I needed to go those last few steps. As soon as you reach the top, the River Tay valley comes into full view. We were 730 feet up in the air. The Norman Rockwell painting scene unfolds below you. The little white farmhouse with the light green patchwork farmland below and the winding River Tay twisting and turning through the land are the first things you can see. The mountains stretching out in front of us so far that they disappear into the clouds and mist. It is the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen. It takes your breath away and calls for your soul to believe in a creator. The orange and purple sky with the green trees can’t compare to the pictures we have taken. In a word, PERFECTION! The climb was worth it! I’m thankful I didn’t give up or turn back. I’m amazed that Scotland is so lucky to have this right here. I’m also so blessed I was allowed to see it. Joy flooded my heart and soul. I felt like I was in the presence of God. The group took pictures and shared their feelings but what I noticed was the silence. People got into their own thoughts and just sat and stared at the beauty. I noticed how we pulled together as a group to send out love, comfort, tears, hope and encouragement to the ones who needed it. We even managed to stay until the city lights came on and some of us didn’t want to come down off the mountain. The photos will not do it justice. It is a life changing moment for me and I’m sure for a lot of our group as well. I’m reminded that this was Heaven on Earth for me. I have the hope that if we persevere in our climb, stay on the path, and get to the top, we will be rewarded by our Father in Heaven. How beautiful Heaven must be and I had a glimpse of it in Scotland. Thank you Buford church and BYG for allowing me to be here! I have grown a lot!" - Rayleen

"Hello Buford! My name is Caylie Houck and I am the Youth Intern at Cumbernauld Church of Christ this summer. I am from Huntsville, Alabama and am a rising sophomore at Harding University. Coming to Perth with your teens has been a tremendous blessing in my time here. I am so humbled by their willingness to accept me as one of their own for the week. I want you all to know how wonderful your teens are and how highly I think of each and every team member on this trip. I had the honor of seeing Jesus in each and every one of them. One of my most treasured memories I have from this week was Tuesday July 7, when we hiked up to Kinnoull Hill and worshiped our great God. What a holy moment. Being from Harding, I knew that the 7th had tremendous meaning to the Buford Church of Christ family. I never had the opportunity to meet Nicholas in person, but boy were he and God there that night. Standing on top of this cliff singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” I had the honor of witnessing this youth group love on one of their own when she needed it the most. Parents, you have raised some WONDERFUL and godly children and should be proud of each of them. Teens, thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me be apart of this week. I will forever be blessed by your love and heart for God. My prayer for you (BYG Scotland Team 2015) is the same as Paul’s for the Ephesians (Eph. 3:14-21).

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches HE may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, BEING ROOTED AND ESTABLISHED IN LOVE, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, TO GRASP HOW WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the love of Christ, and to know THIS LOVE THAT SURPASSES KNOWLEDGE—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

KEEP PLANTING SEEDS."  In Him, Caylie Houck

Daily Summaries Continue . . .

July 7th

Day 4

Greetings from mostly sunny Perth where we were to get rain all day!  Instead we enjoyed warm temps in the low 70’s with a slight breeze, however the Scottish said it was a “scoooorchin” day.  Anyway, we all enjoyed the day God gave us.
 
We completed our 2nd day of HBC youth club in the morning, campaigning in the city centre, conducted coffee shop Bible studies and attended the 2nd night of the Gospel meeting.  See below highlights from day 4 in Perth:
 
youthclubday2d webyouthclubday2 webyouthclubday2b webyouthclubday2c webHBC Youth Club
• We started the morning off in devotion led by Jake Davis.  While we were in our devo, 2 of the boys from Monday showed up around 9:30a ready for the youth club, so we invited them to sit in.  They were full of smiles and ready for the day asking to sit by Isaac and Julia.  It lifted all of our spirits as we closed our devo in songs and prayer.
• By 10a another 4 youth showed up for youth club and around 10:15a a brother and sister arrived.  The brother and sister, 8 and 10 years old, apologized for being late due to missing their transit bus to the college.  What a dedication from these youth for us to learn from.
• In the end we had 8 youth attending day 2 and all the BYG teams kicked into full gear for their stations with BIG smiles.  The youth all enjoyed the lessons, crafts and games with the theme of Connection through Creation and Christ birth.
• The youth club finished with a human Foosball game played by all the youth and BYG members to demonstrate how a team can connect to score a goal.  The Foosball was a hit and in the final score, for those who kept it, was 7 to 4.

Perthcitycentreday2 webPerthcitycenterday2b weblunchday2 webCity Centre Campaigning
• We all enjoyed another great lunch together in the sunshine while we reflected on our 2nd day of youth club.  All felt really encouraged for having 8 in attendance from 1 with many of the youth saying they were going to invite more of their friends.
• After lunch we all headed to the city centre to campaign for the youth club, the Gospel meeting and two coffee shop Bible studies going on until 4:30p.  The teams mixed up their duties a bit to ensure all had a chance to stretch themselves and grow for The Lord while talking to people on the street.
• Even though we did not have anyone join our Bible studies, the teams on the streets did gather some contact information and had open discussions with many about Perth church of Christ.  Many on the streets of course were not interested but we are asked to spread the seed which we did by all in Perth.
• In the end, our day in Perth was a great one and we all are praying there will be fruit of labor this week and after we leave for Scott and others to harvest.

GospelMeetingDay2 webGospel Meeting
• After a group dinner in an old city council building, we all headed back to the University for the Gospel meeting.  We had 34 in attendance for our 2nd night with 20 coming from area congregations to support the meeting.  Unfortunately no one from the Perth community attended but we continued to pray for our efforts to produce fruit.
• The BYG guys again led the services in songs, prayers and scripture reading with great singing by all.
• Jeremy brought us the lesson of the night challenging us to “Internalize our Connection” with God vs going through the motions.  The lesson was very powerful and helped us all remember how we are loved by God and how He keeps His promises.
• We ended the night in fellowship having tea, coffee and biscuits (our cookies) up until 9p.

kinnoullhillday2 webkinnoullhillday2b webAn Unexpected Journey with an Amazing Reward
• Since the day was so spectacular, on the way back to the hotel, Graham and I decided to find a high overlook point on one of the hills around Perth.  We found a possible spot on our GPS and drove up into the hills see if there was a car park.
• We did find a Perth park where we parked in a car park with a trail head to the summit.  No one in our party knew we were going on an unexpected journey and got real excited when we stopped.  What Graham and I did not know was the trail was about a mile up hill to the summit.
• All aside, the whole team hit the trail with excitement and we all forged ahead to see what the reward was for our efforts.  (Note – Graham and Scott are not from Perth, so they are still learning what Perth has to offer)
• As you can imagine, we had slow, fast and faster groups making the journey but with the same reward.  The temp was in the high 50’s by the time we got started up (about 9:20p) with sunset coming upon us around 10:20p, so all were alert with excitement and a push to get to the top.
• The hill is known as Kinnoull Hill with sweeping views of the River Tay valley, the city of Perth and ability to see the lower and upper Highland ranges on a clear day. Well, we had partly cloudy skies with a wind from the NW that allowed us to see almost 50 miles.  Well, I am getting ahead of myself and pictures will never describe what the summit presented to of all of us.
• See the below snapshots we took which can only touch the surface of what we all experienced.  In the end, this little unexpected journey allowed the whole team to close out a spectacular day in Perth working for The Lord, presented to us realization of how small we really are on this Earth but how wonderful we are as part of God’s plan and creation and cemented the lessons we had heard/taught throughout the trip on Connection.  

The Body of Christ is alive
Finally, you have noticed by now the team wore Nick Smith shirts the whole day in memory and honor of what Nick stood for and demonstrated for Christ in his life.  7/7/15 marks the fourth month since Nick was taken from us but we carried him with us in Perth in our hearts and on our backs.  I want to thank Richard, Amy and Alexis for allowing us to bridge the Connection of Nick and the BYG Perth Mission trip.  Because of these shirts
• We looked unified to all who came in contact with us at the University, the city, the stores, restaurants, etc
• I personally had 4 or 5 people of Perth ask about the shirt, the meaning and the scripture which allowed me, and I know others, to carry the story of Nick’s dedication to Christ to the people of Perth
• To speak to some who did not ask about the shirt but the message from God in scripture printed
• Allowed the extended spiritual family to support Alexis on this important day, those that know the BYG, you would be very proud of the love shared
• The Kinnoull Hill unexpected journey also allowed us to wrap our love around Alexis overlooking such a beautiful creation of God in Perth.  Nick loved to hike to summits to see what God had created.

Please continue to pray for our trip and thank you for allowing me to share from my perspective of the wonderful opportunity to serve The Lord in Perth!  And also thanks for your patience in this update, Tuesday was a very rewarding and powerful day for all of us.
 
In Him

Todd

 youthclublocationwebyouthclubday1webyouthclubday1bwebJuly 6th

youthclubday1cwebGospelMeetingDay1webcoffeeshopbiblestudy1webDay 3

All
Greetings from Perth and hope all is good with you!   
We have completed our 3rd day in Scotland kicking off both the morning youth club and first ever Perth Gospel meeting!  See some high lights from Day 3:

Youth Club from 10 to 12
- We met at the Perth College and University in 2 of their large classrooms for the youth club

- 4 boys attended the morning youth club from 10 to 12 with 1 from the start and 3 others later in the morning
- Schools are out for a 2 week break, so we had hoped for more kids from Scott's weekly youth club and 3.2K leaflets handed out last week by Scott.  Some families are on holiday or parents are working but we are praying we have more come tomorrow.
- See the stations we had setup (crafts, games, class)

- Each day will consist of breakout sessions for OT/NT lessons, crafts and games wrapped around the Connection theme.
- Six of the BYG team did make a quick walk in the morning through one of neighborhoods near the college to hand out leaflets.  The effort produced three of the boys who came later in the morning.

Lunch and Youth Club Activities
- After our morning session we had lunch at picnic tables outside on the grounds, it was a beautiful day in the mid 60's.  For us, it felt great, for the Scottish they said they were roasting!

- After lunch we had fun activities for about 1.5 hours in a field consisting of soccer, Frisbee and time to get to know the youth.  Four more youth did join us and wants to come tomorrow for the morning class, lunch and activities.

Campaigning, Surveying and Bible Studies
- From about 2 to 4:30 we headed to the Perth city centre to campaign for the youth club tomorrow, the gospel meeting that night, complete religious surveys and conduct 2 coffee shop Bible studies for anyone to join.
- Three groups walked the streets of Perth centre for surveying and inviting to the gospel meeting, two groups campaigned in a local neighborhood for youth club and two groups conducted Bible studies in the Starbucks and Cafe Nero coffee shops. We hope the fruit of labor will been seen today and this week
(Campaigning in the neighborhoods)

Gospel Meeting
- After our dinner and quick freshen up for all, we headed back to the Perth University for the start of the first ever Gospel meeting.
- A total of 32 were attendance with 18 from the surrounding churches in Cumbernauld, Glen Rouse and New Castle.  Unfortunately no one from the Perth community attended but we are praying some will come tonight.
- The services were lead by the BYG guys and Scott introduced Jeremy who brought us the sermon.  It was Jeremy's first International Gospel meeting and he did a fabulous job.  He presented a lesson on Connections for Investigating & Identifying the Design of our Universe, the Earth, the animals/plants, us as Humans and the Bible as the Divine inspiration.  He got many Aye's (like our amen) from the Scottish attending and all of them took detailed notes.
- We ended the Gospel meeting in fellowship with each other and getting to know our new friends but more importantly our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Continue to pray for our work for The Lord in Perth and the people of Perth to continue to welcome us.  

In Him

Todd

CumbernauldsceneryPerthhotelandparkWorshipinPerth

CumbernauldandPerth

July 5th

Day 2

We were able to sleep in until around 9am which helped many of us recharge and get use to the 5 hour difference.  We were picked up at the hotel at 9:30am on a beautiful crisp sunny day (around 49 temp) and headed to the Cumbernauld church to grab breakfast, fellowship and get to meet more brothers and sisters in Scotland.  Worship started at 11am with 72 in attendance!  The signing was very moving as the Scottish people sing from the bottom of their hearts with pure joy and love.  I had explained to the group to expect very good singing and our Scottish brothers and sisters did not let me down, their singing encouraged us.  The men of the congregation lead the services with a very powerful lesson from Scott Tominey about not going the way of the Israelites but the way of The Lord.  We ended our worship around 1pm and had one last time to fellowship with the Cumbernauld congregation before heading to Perth.  All of our team were very encouraged by their worship with Cumbernauld and made some new friends to keep in contact with.  We all loaded up in the mini bus and cars to head to Perth, about 45 miles north, for the 2:30pm worship service there.  The ladies of Cumbernauld packed us awesome Scottish lunch bags with finger sandwiches, Scottish crisp (our chips), Scottish sausage pastry rolls and Scottish deserts, a very nice gesture and what we needed to eat while we traveled to Perth.  The travel took us through more sweeping landscape vistas, passed the Stirling Castle where the Scottish Royals ruled from, the Wallace moment who along with Robert the Bruce defeated the English in battles around 1,100.  Words nor pictures can really describe the beautiful country Scotland has to offer.

We arrived in Perth around 2:15pm at a local Community center where the congregation has been meeting since November.  We quickly setup the room for worship and welcomed 4 members to worship.  Right now the congregation is having up to 10 in attendance but this particular week is summer holiday for the schools, so some were traveling.  The BYG guys led the worship service in signing, scripture and prayers, one of the members led the Lord Supper and Scott Tominey brought us another powerful sermon.  I have known Scott for almost 5 years and I have really seen him mature as a Christian and today, his sermons were very powerful and presented as someone seasoned in the pulpit.  Continue to pray for his continued growth as we support him on this trip but your support of him for The Lord in Perth.  Again, the singing was so encouraging and helped us close out a great day of worship as we prepared for our work in Perth this week.  To finish our time with the Perth members, we had a fellowship which consisted of Scottish tea, coffee, biscuits (our cookies) and other goodies.  We ended our time together at 4:30pm and headed to the Perth hotel to check-in, change and relax for a bit.

Around 6pm, Adam, along with Scott, Carlie and Annette from Cumbernauld, headed to the foothills of the Highlands in a quaint city called Pitlochry (about 22 miles north of Perth).  Again the drive offered beautiful vista views, time to reflect on the day and for many continue to get to know Adam and Scott.  We ate at a local carvery called Victoria’s where all enjoyed different flavors of Scotland and Europe in a very relaxing setting.  After dinner we strolled through the city admiring the summer flowers in full bloom throughout the city, enjoyed the cool temps in the high 50’s, enjoyed the character of all the buildings which were built back in the 1,600’s, window shopped and took in a walk across the dam on the River Tay which comes straight down from the Highlands.  At the dam we could see mountains to the North and South as the sun began to sink low in the West plus we looked for Salmon making their way up the fish ladders heading upstream from the sea to their spanning areas.  The visit to the foothills of the Highlands allowed all of us to take in some very fresh crisp air, enjoy what God had blessed Scotland with in the Highlands and recharge us for our exciting week of youth clubs, Bible studies, surveying and gospel meeting.  After our travel back to the hotel we had a devo in an English garden next to the River Tay overlooking Perth.  The devo was led by the BYG guys and a short message about The Way from Todd.  Even though it was around 10:30pm, we all enjoyed worshipping together to end our first full day in Scotland and prepared in our minds our work for The Lord the rest of the week.

So, as I close, thank you for your prayers and continue you to ask for them as we go into tomorrow.  We believe the fields are white with harvest and we will do our part for The Lord in Perth. - Todd Newman

4thBBQCumbernauld

ArrivalGlasgowArrivalLondonJuly 4th

Day 1

Greetings from Perth Scotland!

Well, we all arrived in Scotland safely with good spirits about our trip and the people will be working with throughout the week.  The weather has been bee in the low 60’s with partly sunny skies and slight wind to keep you alert.  The landscape vistas have been breathtaking as we journeyed from Glasgow to Cumbernauld to Falkirk and Perth.  The people of Scotland have been more beautiful and full of joy since we met them welcoming us with smiles.  A very refreshing and rejuvenating way to start our trip in Scotland after our 14+ hours of travel (Left Buford at 5:30, took off at 10pm for 8.5 hour flight, landed in London around noon, 1 hour of customs/security, 4 hour layover in London, 1.5 hour flight to Glasgow and 40 min ride to Cumbernauld) on July 3rd/July 4th via bus, plane, walking, customs, security checks, 2nd plane and bus.  Note, we went forward in time as we crossed 5 time zones as UK is 5 hours ahead of Buford.    

We arrived finally on Saturday July 4th around 6pm to meet Scott Tominey and my good friend Adam Barr at the Glasgow airport who were ready for us.  They loaded us into a mini bus and a car for a 4th of July BBQ and celebration of USA Independence.  Plus the Scottish are trying to obtain their independence from the UK, so they have a similar interest and enjoyed the BBQ for us.  The BBQ was set in an open park with sweeping vistas of the green pastures, mountain ranges, a castle and passing clouds in a beautiful blue sky.  We had burgers, hotdogs, Scottish sausages and grilled marinated chicken grilled by Ron, one the members of Cumbernauld.  They had horseshoes for us to play, Frisbees and footballs (well rugby balls, close enough).  In all there were about 20 members from Cumbernauld we fellowshipped with for the evening.  The BBQ and fellowship were a great way to unwind from our long hours of travel and introduce us to Scotland but more importantly our Christian brothers and sisters.  In between our ride from the park to our hotel, we made a pit stop at Walmart’s UK store called ASDA to pick up a few supplies, some local goodies and soft drinks for the rooms.  By the way, the chocolate is spectacular over here made with no preservatives or other ingredients you can pronounce, just the good ole chocolate.  The goodies helped us actually push through the last few ours as our goal was to stay up to 10pm Scotland time so we could get on their schedule 5 hours ahead of us.  We ended the night around 11pm with a devo and lights out at our hotel as most of use only got up to 3 hours sleep since July 3rd.  However, we were all excited about our upcoming work side-by-side our Scotland brothers and sisters for the Perth people. - Todd Newman

July 3rd

Our BYG and Adults departed at 10pm to London with a 4 hr layover then flight to Glasgow Scotland. They will be working with the Perth church of Christ and Scott Tominey

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