It is now 11 days since returning home and I finally am getting some time to try to catch up on posting reports of our last week in Ireland and England. I was off yesterday and was able to file our expense reports for the trip and to get our income taxes filed.
May each of you have a most blessed Easter and experience a fresh awareness of His sacrifice and His presence.
Thanks for praying with us … God has protected and blessed our time in Ireland and the UK. We arrived home safely and on-time last night and I am back at work while Patti is getting re-organized at home. The last week has been so busy in the UK that I have not had time to post updates. I will try to share some posts about that time as soon as possible.
Sam & Patti
We were disappointed to learn last night that our seats on the plane had been changed and we were no longer sitting together. However, there was nothing we could do about it until we got to the airport, so we tried to get a good night’s sleep before getting up early to start heading home. Veronica took us on the 15-20 minuted drive to Luton Airport for we would catch a bus to Heathrow Airport for the long flight to Philadelphia.
The trip to Heathrow was uneventful except for missing our scheduled bus, but we were able to catch the next one and still arrived in plenty of time. Unfortunately, the airlines was of no assistance in correcting the change they had made to our seating. I was able to make the most of it though in getting to know my seat-mate and sharing with him about our ministry as he showed interest. He in turn told me about overhearing the young man across the aisle mentioning involvement in a ministry in Ireland. When he was away, I got the chance to talk to the young man and found out that he was attending the Catholic seminary in Maynooth, Ireland.
Our arrival in Philadelphia was a little late, but we made it to our connecting flight to Newport News in time. It was delayed also, so we were a little late arriving in Newport News. The important thing was we were home safely again.
Thank you again for your prayers … they protect us and open doors of ministry among the people of Ireland.
Glenn Collard left early this morning to return to the U.S. The remaining Calebs were taken on a guided tour of Cambridge by our dear hostess. It was a great time of fellowship and getting to learn more about each others ministries while touring historic sites.
We had an adventurous return trip to Veronica’s that we will probably never forget … sorry, but can’t give you the details.
Trinity College, Cambridge
The River Cam, Cambridge
Fish & Chips @ The Eagle
As part of our worship time in the morning at the conference, several people were invited to share how CBSI had impacted their lives. Among these were our dear friends from Northern Ireland, Sammy & Joan.
Sammy And Joan Sharing
I tried to capture a video of it, but the sound did not pick up and my camera’s battery died during the recording. It is always fun listening to Joan tell a story!
The conference wrapped up after lunch. Veronica had invited each of the Calebs to stay a couple of days after the conference at her home. Those that were able to did so and here’s a picture of most of us gathered around their dining room table. Patti and I were the first ones to arrive and were able to enjoy watching beautiful snow falling outside their dining room window with Richard, Veronica’s husband.
Dinner @ Veronica’s
In addition to the previously mentioned messages and training, the Calebs (CBSI missionaries) were given the opportunity to share some about their countries and ministries. Below are pictures of the Calebs attending as well as our European Director, Glenn Collard, and Veronica Alvarez, his regional director assisting him in Europe and our immediate supervisor. Veronica also currently serves as the CBSI-UK Director.
After we shared about the ministry in Ireland, some young ladies from Lithuania (there with Marietta Smith pictured below) shared with us that they had friends from Lithuania in Ireland. They told us where they were going to church (not far north of where we will be living) and that they thought they might be interested in doing some CBSI studies, especially if they could get them in Lithuanian like they were using. Talking with Marietta later about this, she even offered to come and bring some of her leaders to train leaders for that if we found that they were interested.
Veronica is seeking to promote the Caleb ministry in the UK and to get study leaders and participants interested in either becoming Calebs (to their home countries in many cases as the UK has many immigrants) or to make trips to support the Calebs in making contacts. In pursuing this goal, we are discussing with Veronica the possibility of visiting classes in the UK to share about the Caleb ministry and about the ministry in Ireland.
Veronica Alvarez with her husband Richard. This picture was taken in their kitchen/dining area after the conference, as was the picture of Glenn and Marietta.
Glenn Collard is the CBSI-Europe Director. Marietta Smith serves CBSI in Lithuania where she is living. She was able to bring quite a few Lithuanian leaders with her to the conference.
Janet Phillips (far right) and Kristin Kessler (far left) serve with CBSI in Wales. Since Wales is part of the UK, several of the leaders that they have trained were attending the conference also. This was Kristen’s first official trip as a Caleb.
Fielder & Gretchen Israel serve CBSI in France. France obviously is not part of the UK, but are also supervised and supported by Veronica, so they were invited to the conference also. They live in Williamsburg and became Calebs as a result of Patti sharing at Gretchen’s CBS class in Williamsburg.
Today was a day of firsts … first time attending the CBSI-UK Leaders Conference, first time flying into Manchester International Airport, and first time riding on the English rail system. It was also a day of lasts (at least as far as we can anticipate) … the last time staying with Sean and Marie in their self-catering apartment (at least 8 years now), the last time renting a car from our agent Joe (at least for more than a day), and the last time to leave Ireland after just a few weeks.
The flight to England was short and uneventful … starting our descent shortly after leveling off. We had a decent bit of walking at the Manchester to get to the train station, intensified by having to carry with us two large suitcases and two carry-ons. We had to catch one train for a short trip to the main station to catch another for the longer trip to the town nearest the conference. We had time to get lunch at the main station. It was interesting and a challenge to find a place for our bags on the trains as they are not really set up for that. The first one was not too bad as they had an area where we boarded that we could leave them, probably because it was leaving from the airport. The other did not have such a provision and we had to leave the bigger ones on the smaller landing where we boarded and try to place them where they would be out of the way.
Sammy & Joan
We arrived at the conference center while the conference staff were still setting up to receive people, so we had plenty of time to rest some and fellowship before dinner. Our friends Sammy & Joan from Northern Ireland were there already so we got to visit with them and unpack before the crowds were arriving.
It is a beautiful location for a conference as you can see in the picture below and the facilities were quite nice. We met many wonderful people as well as connected with several other people we already knew.
The keynote speaker for the conference challenged us throughout the weekend with messages from the book of Psalms and there was much time given to prayer and worship also, as well as leadership training.
This is a picture of the main building of the conference center, but where most of our group stayed was behind the camera about the same distance away.
Sam & Patti pausing in front of one of the beautiful trees on the conference grounds for a photo op