Howdy to everyone back home! Thank for for continuing to support us in this important service to the Kingdom here. The harvest continues to be plentiful and there’s simply not enough workers for the field!
We’ve been following the weather and it looks like it was a toasty summer as usual. It was a warmer summer here as well with more warm days than expected. London even topped off into the 100’s which is a bit unusual and up here in the North it climbed into the 80’s, but with no a/c. Those days were a bit toasty, but due to Shannon being pregnant, I was able to find a second-hand portable a/c unit that we used sparingly to help keep things cooler. Electricity rates here are still very high, as we are paying upwards of 4-5x per kWh that we would be back in Texas and the same with natural gas. We also heard that rates may jump again come October.
August was a busy month, as we welcomed a new baby, we began to help Village Church plan for the autumn, and both Gideon and Avie began attending the local school here!
Over the past few months we have continued to settle into the neighborhood and into the village. This past month we received a surprising message from someone we know here. WhatsApp seems the go to conversation app used here, so a message for us, was passed along from someone they knew. One of the young ladies, we met in town after moving, has been working to get her driver’s license and also a car and in the past few months. The test is split into two sections, a driving test and a theory test (questions and scenarios), and as she worked hard and accomplished both we were cheering her on. She doesn’t live in Meldrum, so takes public transport to get to work, which adds up if you don’t have a student bus pass. In August, after she bought her car, I dropped by an air freshener for her car (right before the baby was born). The message we received through a mutual friend was from her mom thanking us.
August was a big month of transitions and adjustments and we will try to share some of it! Of course, make sure to follow us on our private Facebook page: Clan Stellhorn for further updates and stories!
Say "Hello" to Gwendolyn!
This month, we welcomed Gwendolyn to the topside! The adventure of her birth is one Shannon will share soon on her birth blog and once she does we will include the hyperlink here to check it out. She was born at home and I (Christopher) delivered her. She was 5lb 2oz and 17&3/4″ at time of birth! There’s no obligation, but we are registered for the baby on Amazon UK.
The end of July...Mens Event
As July closed out, we held the first mens event here. We didn’t know really what to expect, so it was low key. I smoked pulled pork and made homemade bbq sauce, we made a plan for the evening, but things took a surprising turn when the local fire department showed up and joined us. The second event was held August 31st and the food was homemade tacos. The word spread around the village some more and we are hearing good things and positivity toward future attendance. Work schedules are constantly in flux, so continuing to feel out what time and days are best for holding the event. Once again, we didn’t know what to expect or how it would go, but a group of men showed up to join us; This time it was men from churches as far as Aberdeen. One of the men from the Church of Scotland in the village joined us, plus a couple from Inverurie and from Aberdeen. My second favorite part of the night was after we sat down to eat and the man next to me bit into his taco, his eyes got real big and looked at me with astonishment at how good it was. Most of the men there had never had “real” tacos and chili con queso was foreign to them. We will sit down in September and begin working on this next months plans!
We are continuing to settle into Meldrum here and it already feels like it is our home. We are building new routines, new friendships, figuring out the local customs, etc. Anytime you move into a new area you have to learn the local flow of how things run and work, so that is still a work in progress. At the moment things are almost at an overload point, because so much is happening at once! We are a little behind our normal flows and routines as we get used to an extra little human in the house, plus the new school routines. Much is also happening with the church here, as new leadership teams are forming and new programs and ministries as we rise to meet the needs of the community. We will have more to report on next month as things begin to kick off!
I think for me (Chris), it’s been rather different since moving. Spending almost the last twenty years teaching between one to four times a week is a shift for me as we learn the new routines here. I love to teach, its a big desire I have, so stepping back and focusing more on group facilitating is new for me for this extended period of time. Teaching is a big outlet for me, so as of yet I had not put into place new outlets to channels my desire for creativity, but will start on that soon. Adjustments are sometimes slow, especially with prepping for the new baby, but now that the baby is here and school semesters have started we can begin the next phases of settling.
It’s like in the George Strait song, “Where the sidewalk ends (and the road begins)”. That phrase I think helps describe the way I envision this time frame of living here. We are stepping off the pavement and onto the road, a new phase of life is starting here as we move further and further into more unknown territory.
In September, I (Chris) will be traveling to Glasgow for a weekend training event, the first of several of the next six months. This training helps you understand and meet the needs of the culture here in Scotland. We are currently in the process of raising the necessary funds for this special training. If you feel called to support this training, please reach out to us.
My (Christopher) parents are planning to fly out this month to visit us, its their first time overseas.
How to Be involved!
- For our family with all the change taking place. From the kids and school, to transition into the culture
- For the church here and all the new programs going into place, including the new kids programs
- For Chris as he takes on more responsibilities
- For Shannon and the new baby & for Shannon as she begins her lactation consultation position
2) Non-Financial Support
- Send letters or messages of encouragement and check-ins! (Reach out for our mailing address overseas)
- We are collecting local bumper stickers for our vehicle here. If you would like to mail a vehicle bumper stickers or decal that represents where you are from, an important monument, etc. you can pop into a letter envelope to us. It’s just a fun way to see where our supporters and readers are! Right now our vehicle only has a “Bucees” Roadtrip sticker!
- Share our info with friends, your book club, your Bible study group, or your church.
- Stay informed via our Facebook page or our email list as well.
3) Financial Support
- Rising Costs: As we move into the fall, utility costs here are suppose to double in cost. Right now we are paying almost $150 a month for around 400kwh of electricity. Please consider starting new monthly support or increasing your monthly giving if you haven’t looked over your giving in over a year.
- Training: Christopher will be starting training with, Forge Scotland. It’s an in-country training on create and forming churches in this culture. We have received a grant for 2/3 of the cost, but still owe around $600US, plus travel expenses for the September training. The next training, in November, is in Chester, England. Though the training fee will be paid up, Christopher is responsible for his accommodations, food, and travel costs for three days/nights. Chester, England is around the northern tip of Wales and is a fair distance away.