I saw a tube of toothpaste and I cried. But we’ll get to that later.
One of the five values of the YAV program is intentional Christian community.
“YAVs explore what it means to be a Christian community with one another and their neighbors. While some will live in housing together and others spread throughout their country, all YAVs will reflect together on their service and explore their relationship with God, the church, and their ministry in a broken world.”
Not that I wasn’t expecting it, maybe more so it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, but my intentional Christian community in the context of my YAV year extends far beyond my YAV community. Serving in Scotland has meant being a part of the Priority Areas family. From the PA staff to all the folks that work in Anderston, to the folk with whom I cross paths with in Milton, my squad is endless. And I love, love, LOVE them.
Back in October (!!) our flat got broken into while Lynn was away. We were still babies and didn’t know anyone really well (or have a ton of Scottish phone numbers in our phones yet). The only name that came to mind was Irene, who is the Session Clerk in Milton. She’s also one of my favorite people here and has played a huge role in my life here in Scotland. But anyway, that call sparked of a chain of other events and phone calls that sent the cavalry to the YAV flat on a really shitty day (Fred was our MVP of that night).
I believe that God calls us to be in relationship with one another. In April of last year I found out I would be coming to Scotland and I met Lynn for the first time. I also got to meet some of the folks that would be serving in my YAV class, many of whom would also be serving internationally at different sites. Having people to spend the summer exchanging Jesus-themed memes and packing lists with was very reassuring. It’s a blessing to get to do life with other people.
One of the challenges facing the Church is that people aren’t walking through the doors in the ways that we’ve previously expected them to. We say that we need to now go OUT into the world into communities and be with people in ways that THEY expect us to. Now, I certainly don’t think that I have all the answers, but I know one thing is for sure: this is a hard task. Meeting people on their home turf, by their standards is difficult. But then again, being in constant relationship with people, with God’s people, will always be hard work. It’s the sort of hard work that we should be running towards.
Huge shoutout to my housemates, my Americans, my sisters. Their crazy meets my crazy. One, we all decided to do this thing called “mission” together and that will always be a bonding point. But more importantly, it’s absolutely a blessing to come home to, no matter the day I’ve had, a live music video in my bedroom, a reorganized kitchen, or an offer of ice cream (that will always be rejected on my part, to much chagrin).
Below are various shots of us spending time together. We do it quite a bit, in various ways. One of my favorite things to do as a group is to pray together. I really haven’t made prayer a good practice in my adult life so far. So getting the opportunity to pray with them has been such a blessing. We have various selfies, our kitchen catch-ups, ceilidhs, concerts, walks, and a couple of train rides…
Isabella and I had both run out of our respective toothpaste tubes and had moved on to the travel-sized tubes hidden in our toiletry bags out of pure laziness. A week later I walked into our bathroom and there stood a brand-new tube of toothpaste. I’ll blame it on an uncharacteristically emotional day, but I saw the toothpaste and burst into tears.
There was something so overwhelmingly comforting about a conversation on collective laziness turned into a super mundane, but equally grandiose, act of love. And that’s been my takeaway of being in Scotland this year- learning to live with strangers and working in a place that is different from my current home in so many ways. These are simple things, and people go through these feelings of newness, of novelty, every day. But in the newness and the constant learning, I’ve gained a family I didn’t know I needed. A family that rides for each other through the thick and thin. A family spread out amongst a whole nation. A family that shows up for each other. A family that argues with one another. A family that is probably single-handedly keeping the tea industry together. #priorityareasaregoodplacestobe #Oliviawashere
Below is a playlist of some of our flats all-time fave songs. The best part of today was getting everyone to pick just three! See if you can guess which song belongs to which YAV (we each have 3)?!!?!