Well...it’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything. The manse (that’s the pastor’s house for you contemporary types) has a desktop computer and DSL access, but I haven’t been able to connect my own laptop to the system. Today I brought my pc into the church office and am posting from here. I’ll get it worked out soon. Pictures will follow in a later post.
I’ll recap the journey over and these past few days.
The flight over was blissfully uneventful. We spent some extra miles and money and upgraded to business class seats, which meant we had the equivalent of 3 large recliners in a row, ordered off of a menu of steak, lamb or chicken, and had unlimited French wine to drink. As a result we slept most of the way and didn’t watch a single movie. A member of the church picked us up at Heathrow and delivered us to the manse. After a tour and a little unpacking, we walked up to the cluster of shops in our neighbourhood and had some dinner. By the way, we live in the Belsize Park area of London. You can Google it for some details.
On Saturday on of our new friends at the church (we’d also spent some time with her in June) picked up Julie and took her to a large grocery store to stock us up on food. Ian and I took the Tube to the Natural History Museum for a dinosaur fix. He’s loving the public transit—yesterday he told his Uncle Bill that his favourite thing so far has been the buses and trains. On our way to the train on Saturday Ian and I stopped in a little Italian cafe near our house. During a conversation with Rita, the proprietor, where she told us a lot about herself, she ended by saying that even though London wasn’t where she wanted to spend the rest of her life, she was convinced that God wanted her there for now. I told her that I felt the same way, and that I was going to be the new pastor at the American Church, and that just opened the gate. She attends a Pentecostal church in the city, but may drop by for a visit. That was an important little event for me because a). it reminded me that we’re here because God led us to this place to serve for a season, and b). that even in this most secular city it’s possible to run into another Christian and have a chat.
Sunday we stayed in (probably my last Sunday off for a long time), except for going out to lunch, and that night we went to dinner with two families in the church. There were 3 older boys there (12, 14 and 14), and after dinner they watched Zathura with Ian (he loved being with 'big kids'). We had intended to leave at about 9pm (it was New Year’s Eve), but we were having such a good time we ended up getting on the Tube at about 11, just as the revellers were loading up (in every sense) for the big celebration in Central London. It was a little scary (but also fun) to make our way home, but it was fine. We made it in time to watch the fireworks on TV—easily the most amazing display I’ve ever seen. If you can find footage of it on YouTube, check it out.
On New Year’s Day we mostly stayed put. It has occurred to us that we’re having a harder time than usual making the time change, because we’re not pushing to get out and see things. Last night (Tues) was the first time we’d slept through the night. Anyway, Monday night we had our first guests. A member of the church council dropped by to give us some maps and guides to the area. The associate pastor was out for a run and came in for a drink (water, this time). And then we had our first dinner guest, someone we’d gotten to know pretty well over the past 6 months as we prepared to move. He’s a press official for the Foreign Office (think State Department), but when Ian opened up a case of dinosaurs we found both “boys” on the floor creating a little Cretaceous scene in the living room. Very cool.
Tuesday we plotted a bus route for getting Ian to school next week. It takes two different buses, but drops him right across the street from the school. As I write this Julie and Ian are making the trip alone for the first time. Also on Tuesday I went into the office for the first time. About half of the staff is still on vacation, but I spent some time with the interim pastor, the facilities manager, and had lunch with the associate. I got the feel of the office and my desk, then took the bus home.
At some point today I'm going to figure out how to post some pictures. For now this brings us up to date.