“I thought I spoke English before I came to the UK” I exclaimed to those gathered at the table. The night before the big celebration a few of us close friends from ship days gathered together for dinner and were sharing our experiences of adapting to British culture.
A little over a year since we shared two years of our lives in close quarters with so many people we called friends, I cannot describe to you how refreshing it was to be back in the company of these old friends. Chief amongst these for me were some of my closest friends from my time onboard. Ruth also enjoyed meeting with friends of hers. I was encouraged by others sharing their stories of difficulty adapting to british culture after marrying Brits. Calling crackers biscuits and calling biscuits cookies, parking on the wrong side of the street and misunderstanding social cues. Sometimes I feel totally foreign and at other times I feel like I belong here.
The celebration lunch happened the day before they left for the US and just weeks before their US wedding and held all the hallmarks of a wedding reception. It was a delightful affair – and it was so nice to see them walking the road to marriage so well. I was very impressed by the way Colton had prepared every detail for their future life together in the states.
Christian weddings are often a great witness to God’s goodness to us and our ability to celebrate without excess in drinking and the like – and this celebration was a shining example. I loved the way the speeches reflected God’s provision and guiding in their lives, that whilst alcohol was available it barely featured, that we celebrated with such a lovely barn dance – and mostly that we could all gather around Claire and Colton to pray God’s blessing upon them as they travel onwards and together. They say that Christian marriage should reflect the way Jesus loves the church and we love him – and this is already evident in their lives.
According to my job description one of my main tasks is ‘to network with other missions on issues involving the education of missionaries’ children.’ This was one of the areas I identified before I started as being something totally new for me. Any networking that I have done in previous roles has all been set up for me and I didn’t really have any idea how to get started with this. However, as always God had it all planned…
A few weeks ago I was sorting through documents I’ve inherited with the role and found a load of old articles about TCK (Third-Culture Kids) education published by another organisation. Curious as to whether they were still being published I e-mailed the address given to ask. I got a response back that informed me they were but that also said ‘we have a Global Connections TCK Forum event due on the 4th October in Birmingham on educational issues which would be really useful for you.’
So, last week I headed down to Birmingham for the day to attend the forum. A 3 hour journey each way meant it was a long day but it was definitely worth it. There were about 25 others there from various mission organisations, as well as the speakers and organisers. Once again I saw God’s hand at work in the sessions provided – both of them were about topics that I was planning to start researching so that I can update documents (UK University Entrance for TCKs and Home Schooling Support organisations). Attending this forum has saved me hours of work in trying to find things out myself! There were also opportunities to hear about new and updated resources that are available and to meet other people who have similar roles to my own.
I’m sure that the connections made will be useful in the weeks and months to come. Global Connections run these forums regularly so I look forward to attending future ones and continuing to develop networks that can ultimately benefit the families we have in OM.