>The longest journey…

>

Dear Friends and Family,
A lot has happened since last week! Let’s see, our lectures last week were by Rob Whitaker (The Early Life of Abraham, which we finished, and we started Getting the King Out of the Boy), Ken Needham (Luke), and Mark Thomas (2 Corinthians). The week was also spent getting to know my 10 day outreach team members, praying and preparing for our weekend getting to know the church we would be working with.
Friday morning at 9:00 my team was sent out from Capernwray, with many prayers, in the school’s minibus. Joey drove wonderfully! There was only one close call, and that was due to another driver’s poor decision making. We didn’t even get lost! When we got to the church we were a little earlier than we had expected, even after having to find our own way around Gravesend after our directions stopped working because of a blocked-off road. There were a few people at the church who welcomed us and were preparing a meal for us. The church was freezing! Apparently, a couple weeks ago during the annual inspection the inspector had taken a look at the boilers that heated the church and had them condemned. The cost of replacing the boilers is going to be about £10,000, quite a blow to a congregation of about 80 people. The church members were lovely, and the woman who hosted Nicole and I for the weekend was so sweet! She was offering us tea every other minute (I calculated nine cups of tea over the course of Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, and those are only the cups I specifically remembered), fixed us a delicious supper on Saturday evening, let us watch some British TV (quite fun since it’s something we don’t get to do at Capernwray!), and generally spoiled us.
We learned a bit more about what we will be doing over our ten days. We will be doing a couple school assemblies, some men and women’s prayer breakfasts, a youth club, and leading a a Sunday service. Another opportunity is to shadow some “Street Pastors” – my host is actually a part of the Street Pastor team and is scheduled to go out the first night I will be there. The Street Pastors go through a 12 week program where they learn about basic sociology, psychology, first aid, drugs and alcohol, and protocol for social services programs. They then go out from 10pm to 2am and go around outside the clubs giving flip-flops to girls who are tired of wearing high heels/are no longer capable of walking in them, giving blankets to homeless people on the streets, being there for people who just need someone to listen, help diffuse tense situations, and giving out Spikeys to the girls. Spikeys are little plastic devices that fit into the top of a bottle and only let a straw through, preventing someone from drugging the drink. Obviously, this is the area of outreach that I know the most details about. The church is going to be sending us specifics for the other activities soon, how long we need to plan for the services, what to include in the school assemblies, etc. We might even get a day of somewhere in there! Since we are only about thirty-forty minutes away from London we are hoping to take a train in and spend the day sightseeing.
If you could be praying for the situation in Egypt that would be wonderful, one of the students here is a lovely woman from Egypt who has family living there and is very concerned by what is happening. It’s hard for her to be here, so far from her family while this is going on on. We are having a prayer vigil from 7am tomorrow until midnight, if you want to pray with us that would be great.
Alaina 

>Grave(send) Robbers!

>Just kidding! I ate lunch with my 10 day outreach team today and we were trying to figure out if we should give ourselves a team name. That was one of the names that was brought up, but we haven’t decided 🙂

Just a quick update:

The past week was really nice, we had a man called Ian Leitch come in and lecture on Apologetics all week. Then, on Friday night we had “British Night”. It was organized by all the British students, complete with a “pub quiz”, and “guess that British food”. Everyone dressed up in their interpretation of British style, it was pretty fun. We had “The Spice Girls”, “Kate Nash”, and people dressed like the people you would see walking by on the street.

Saturday was a day trip to Skipton, a town about an hour’s drive from Capernwray. It was really nice to just get away for the day. Kate Arnold (one of my roomies this term) and I broke off from the rest of the group to go explore Skipton Castle. It’s one of the oldest preserved medieval castle in Europe! The self-guided tour was really fun, when you walked in they gave you a piece of paper that took you step-by-step through the entire castle. Well, not the entire castle. A little over half of it is off-limits because people actually live there!

After exploring Skipton Castle and taking a lot of pictures we wandered around the town. It was market day so we bought some Egyptian strawberries and ate the little box while we continued looking around. We found a little shopping center called Craven Court that had some cute shops in it. We had the most delicious hot chocolate I have ever tasted at Hemingway’s Tea Rooms, and then we found owls! Yep, owls. In the middle of the shopping center was an owl rescue group that had taken in several owls. For £1 you could hold the owl, for another £4 you could get a professional picture of you holding the owl taken and printed while you waited. Kate decided to hold the owl, and I took a picture that we can print on our own time. 🙂 The owls were really cute, and I was able to pet a couple of them while Kate was holding the snowy owl (named Hedwig).

When we got back to Capernwray that night my room mates had decided we were going to have a “get to know you better” night so we all stayed in the room and ate popcorn, talked, and watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. It was fun to get to know everyone a little better.

Sunday we had a duck race in the little creek that winds around the sheep pastures surrounding Capernwray. The duck race was to raise money for one of the Ugandan students that is attending, he is the oldest son so he provides for his family back home but here has no way of doing that. So, we were able to raise about £500 for his brothers’ to be able to go to school this next term. I guess I should explain that these weren’t real ducks, they were little rubber duckies like the ones you would put in a bathtub. Each duck was sold for £3 and had a number on the bottom. All the ducks were released into the creek at the same time and the duck that got to the finish line first won. The owner of the winning duck won a £20 gift card to the bookshop in town. It was really fun and some of the guys got really into it! They were cheering for their ducks and jumping up and down, one even jumped in the creek to try to “help” his duck along!

This week has been fairly good. Rob Whitaker, the principal of Bible School, is back from Italy and has continued his series on the early life of Abraham.

Friday is going to be interesting. We are leaving for the weekend to visit the churches we’ll be working with on 10 day outreach. My team leaves at 9:30 am and will drive through (with a quick stop for lunch) until we get to Gravesend. There we will find out what the church has in mind for us to do during our 10 days, and who we will be staying with. Please pray that the drive goes well, one of the students will be driving us and we don’t get a GPS, just a map! This is a little bit scary. I know, saying that to a generation of people who didn’t grow up with GPS must sound a little silly but, hey, it’s a 21 year old American who has only been in the country as long as I have who’s going to be driving! 🙂

I’ll make sure to update you after our weekend and let you know how it went.
Alaina

>10 Day Outreach

>Hello!

Monday I was finally able to find out where I will be going for 10 Day Outreach (we’ve been waiting since before Christmas to find out!). Drum roll, please….

Gravesend!

Yep. I didn’t know where it was either. So, I looked it up and found out that since I’m in north-west England and Gravesend is in south-east England it’s going to be a seven hour drive by mini-bus to go there.  During my research I also found out that Gravesend is located on the Thames river, east of London (we’ll have to drive around London to get there) and Pocahontas is buried there. Yes, Pocahontas was a real person (I couldn’t believe some people here didn’t know that!). Other than that I don’t really know anything about the city or what exactly we’ll be doing during our outreach. This is the first year Capernwray has worked with this particular church so details are a little fuzzy but we should know more by next weekend after we make our preliminary visit to the church to meet the people we’ll be working with and who we’ll be staying with.

I am part of a team of seven people, three guys and four girls (including myself). We have two team leaders, Amanda and Joey. Joey will be driving the mini-bus for us.

Prayer requests:
-Good team building between now and our outreach
-Unity
-Safety while driving (and that we wouldn’t get lost! Pretty sure they’re not giving us a gps to get there)
-Effectiveness

Alaina

>One week

>Well friends, it’s been a week. Things have been really different this time around and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand, it’s really nice to see all the friends I made and to get settled into lectures again.

On the other hand, I’m now in the conference hall (which is really different). The conference hall is definitely not the worst thing in the world, and I really do like my new room mates. It’s just a little sad that I don’t see my old room mates as much (although Melissa and I still do tea occasionally) and I’m actually homesick for the main house as well as my real home!

The conference hall does give me an opportunity to seclude myself, while that’s not always a good thing I feel that it has given me a better opportunity to get quite and spend time with God. I’m almost caught up with my Bible reading and just have to finish one assignment later tonight.

However, the assignments never stop! Tomorrow, after I turn in my lesson plan for teaching about the prodigal son I have to start working on another paper that’s due on Thursday. Also happening tomorrow, everyone gets to find out which 10 day outreach they will be going on and who will be going with them. Our 10 day outreach will happen at the end of February with teams spreading out all across England working with various churches. When I know which outreach team I’ll be on I will be sure to let you know.

This week hasn’t been much to write home about, but I thank you for reading anyway!

A few prayer requests:
-That the sun would come out! (It’s been raining almost constantly since I got back)
-I would settle in happily and not get hit with homesickness
-The team I get placed with for 10 day outreach will get along really well, and getting sent somewhere interesting and far away wouldn’t hurt either!
-I would get completely caught up with my assignments
-My future after Capernwray (this is something I have been thinking about over the past couple weeks)

Thanks!
Alaina

>Traveling

>I decided I should give you a play-by-play of how my days here at Capernwray work. Mind you, every day is a little different, depending on if we have Interactive Group, New Testament Discussion group, or Family Group. However, you probably are interested in hearing how my traveling went!

As you know, my itinerary changed at the last minute because the New York airport was shut down because of a blizzard so I was supposed to fly through Atlanta instead. So Friday was spent hanging out with my cousin Robert for a little while, going to visit Alex at school, eating lunch with her, then taking her to cosmetology school, then I finished packing and headed to the airport. I got through security with no problems at 4:15 and had to wait until my flight started boarding at 5:45. I was doing fine and not stressing out at all until we were in line to take off and things got delayed. We were supposed to leave at 6:12 but didn’t leave until 6:35, which really wasn’t that bad but since I only had an hour for the Atlanta airport originally it cut my time down to 45 minutes! Still we somehow managed to land 20 minutes earlier than was said originally. I honestly have NO idea how that worked, but it didn’t do me much good because another plane was still at our gate and we had to wait until they left.

Finally, we were able to get off at gate A1, I had no idea where my other gate was going to be so I was really nervous that I would have to run through the entire airport. To be honest, I was praying the entire time we were waiting for the other plane to leave that my other gate would be close. When I saw the board in the airport that said my departure gate for Manchester was gate A16 I was so happy! I had 40 minutes before my plane was supposed to depart so I was trying to decide if I had time to call my parents or get something to eat when I heard someone call my name. I looked over and saw five Capernwray girls sitting at my gate, including one of my room mates from last term! I walked over and said hello, and then they started boarding a couple minutes later. The flight itself wasn’t bad, I only got an hour of sleep but I wasn’t feeling too tired until later that day. All of us girls decided to go through customs together, which also went really well.

When we were through customs we all took the time to clean up and try not to look like we hadn’t slept all night, then it was time to part ways. The other girls had already booked tickets for the train for Carnforth. I was about to call John when we saw him walking towards us! So we drove to his house and his parents were really sweet. I stayed there for about an hour and a half while we were waiting for Cavan (another Capernwray student), who had come in the night before and spent the night at John’s house, to wake up. We drove back to school, which took about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. When we got there the reunions started, it was really fun to see people after three weeks.

Anyway, it’s Monday evening and lectures have started again. I’m still a little jet-lagged (almost fell asleep during lectures, oops!) and still unpacking. Pray that this term goes really well as there are certain things that have changed with my return, not necessarily to my liking. Thank you so much for the travel prayers, they are greatly appreciated!
Alaina

>Change of Plans!

>Things have changed since last Saturday! In fact, if you want to get technical about it, things have changed since yesterday at 8:30 pm. By now you should have noticed that I am neither on my way to the airport or at the airport.

Last night after we picked my cousin Robert up from the airport we found a message on our answering machine letting us know that my flight out of Charlotte to JFK in New York had been canceled! Instead, I will now be flying out of Charlotte to the Atlanta airport, with a one hour layover instead of five. So, I’ll be leaving Charlotte tonight at 6:15 and arriving in Atlanta at about 7:30, then my flight to Manchester leaves at 8:30!

Getting to Manchester later isn’t going to be a problem, thanks to my wonderful friend who is still happy to pick me up from the airport. However, I am nervous about having only a one hour layover in this rather large airport. Please pray that I manage to get to my flight on time, and that the flight out of Charlotte would not be delayed.

Thanks!

>On the road again…

>Well, I’ve been home for two weeks which means that it’s just about time for me to leave again.

On Friday I’ll be flying out of the Charlotte airport to JFK in New York and from there I’m flying in to Manchester. I think this will be an entirely different experience from the last time I arrived in England. This time I’m not in any sort of rush to meet up with people, catch a taxi, then catch a coach! All I have do this time is call one of my friends who lives in Manchester and he’ll pick me up from the airport and we’ll drive back to Capernwray (about an hour and a half away).

My time at home has been really nice. I’ve been able to see almost all of my friends (some didn’t come home from college or were visiting other relatives), eat home-made food, spend time with my family, and sleep. Since my sister goes back to school this week I’ll mostly be running around doing some errands before I leave. I need to pack, pick up a few things that I can’t get in England (or else they’re very expensive), and finish checking things off the list of “stuff to do while I’m home” that my mom made me write. 🙂

So anyway, a very short update this time. Please pray that my flight out of Charlotte isn’t delayed and that I’ll find things to do in the JFK airport during my layover (it’s actually a very boring airport).

Happy New Year!
Alaina