June 12, 2007
Hello My incredible family and friends!!!
Greetings from Edinburgh, Scotland! We arrived here on May 30th and have been going non-stop since! I finally got some time today to be able to sit down and write you all an update! So here it goes…it may be a little long so I’ll try to split it up into sections! 🙂
On the 29th we flew into Philly, and that’s where I met the rest of my team. There’s a group of four of us from the States that are doing this internship. It’s a great team, they’re from Texas, New Orleans, and North Carolina. Once we met up we hopped on the plane and headed to Edinburgh! Once we got in and went through customs we headed straight to our Pastor’s (Pastor Perry Burkholder) house who was in the process of moving to their home they were recently able to buy in the city! It is such a huge blessing for them to actually be in the city. In order to help us get over jet-lag, they had us dive into manual labor and start packing and help them move! Their strategy worked and we were wiped out by the end of the day and conked out for the night. 🙂
After the moving process, we had a staff picnic so that way we could meet and get to know everyone on staff at Every Nation Edinburgh. What a great group of people! They welcomed us like family and made us feel right at home!
Wow! This has been a huge blessing! A man that’s in the church who’s an extremely successful realtor in the city got the 3 of us girls a flat in the center of the city! On my goodness, this is such a blessing. We’ve been able to have girls over and its been a great place for ministry. My flat mates are Jordan from North Carolina and Candice from New Orleans. It’s so nice we all get to live together and we’ve made it a priority to pray over the city, missions, and other concerns every night. Woowee, I’m telling we get some strong prayer going! It’s great!
The first part of last week we had all day meetings and dove into our intern assessments. We went through a book called Network which helped us discover our spiritual gifts and ministry passions. We also went through a book called Now Discover Your Strengths that many businesses use in order to discover what each individuals’ strengths are and what types of motivations will make them successful. It was very beneficial and we learned a lot about each other as a team which will help a ton in working together. According to the spiritual gifts test I found that my strengths are: Mercy, Hospitality, Shepherding, Encouragement, and Words of Wisdom. Pretty neat, huh?
Summer Research Assignments
After our assessments we had one-on-one meetings with the senior pastor (Pastor Tom Jackson) and we discussed our strengths and the plans for the summer. On top of all the mission planning and organizing we have also been given an incredible opportunity to research an area where our ministry passion is. As some of you might remember, last summer the red light district was put on my heart when I visited Amsterdam and its been something I’ve wanted to do something about. After much praying, my heart still aches for these girls and I’ve come to find out that much like the rest of Europe the sex-industry is extremely prevalent in Edinburgh. So far in my research I have found that there are over 700 prostitutes in this one small city and 18 active brothels. It’s so sad and absolutely breaks my heart. With that being said, Pastor Tom wants me to do research in this area and become a expert by the end of the summer, he also wants me to research 3 other cutting edge red light ministries and study what they do for ministry and what has been successful. That way we can learn from them, and effectively reach this need in the city. If any of you know of some good ministries I can research and look into, please let me know! I’ve be praying for divine appointments to possibly reach out to one girl in the industry and be able to share Christ’s love with her. Well, since God is always faithful, as I was walking back to my flat one night with my flatmates we saw a girl leaning up against a wall outside a show bar and we could tell she was a street walker. I knew I had to find some reason to talk to her, so for lack of a better reason, I pretended to be lost and asked for directions to a certain street. She was so sweet and we were able to talk for a bit. The conversation wasn’t anything earth shattering, but it was a start. My heart ached for her so bad, she was such a beautiful girl. Wow, if only she knew what her Heavenly Father thought of her, that’ll change her life and take her out of her situation! When I got back to the flat, we all stayed up and prayed for her quite a bit, we know that God will be faithful and we’ll run into again and be able to talk some more. I’m hoping to be able to have multiple and meaningful conversations so then maybe we can meet up for coffee one day. That would be awesome!!!!
Right now we are in full gear and getting ready for the upcoming mission trips. We have 3 mission trips coming out this summer and the first group arrives here on Saturday. It’s a group of about 50 students from all over the US. We are so excited about them coming. What we’re planning for the week are outreaches to two different high schools in the city. We’re planning a big Ultimate Frisbee Tournament for the Saturday at the end of their week. So, throughout the week, the students are going to be building relationships with the high school students they meet and invite them out to join their team to play in the tournament on Saturday. Each night we’ll have outreaches that the students can invite their new friends to called “God Talks”. We’re so excited and we’re praying for a lot of fruit in reaching out to the youth of this city.
We are also in the process of finalizing our plans for the 2nd and 3rd mission trips. We’ve been scouting out different areas of the city today where it may be best to do some servant evangelism activities such as handing out breakfast bars or Kit-Kat’s at lunch time. Jordan and I have also been researching some different opportunities and ways that our teams can be serving in the community in different volunteer areas.We’ve gone to the City Council and a organization called Volunteer Edinburgh to found out where the greatest need is. We’ve found a few potential options and so we’re in the process of finalizing those options. We’re looking into the areas of serving the homeless, mentoring youth, helping the sick, etc. I’ll keep you updated on what happens!
Blessings! Sarah Wood