So, we just made it back to York from our week away in the countryside, it's nice to be back in the flat, but i miss the country already!
We went and stayed at the Jonas Center in Wensleydale (Wallace and Grommit anyone?? Think cheese...their favorite Wensleydale cheese!) It was an absolutely amazing week! We stayed in little cabbins with a different set of rommates than usual which was fun, but i must admit i was missing my girls! Luckily we had a room date or two through out the week so we still got to spend some time together.
I can't even begin to explain how beautiful this part of the country was...probably the prettiest part of the England I've seen yet! We were in a green valley full of fields of sheep, and mountains on both sides. It was truly a perfect example of just how beautiful God's creation really is. What a nice break from the city life it was! It was so awesome to wake up every morning and walk out and see a view like this...
Brian and Cheryl Broderson flew over for the week to run morning and evening sessions which were incredible. I was so blessed to hear both of them speak, and they had some really great stuff to share with us! But our afternoons were ours to do as we pleased.
My first afternoon I went for a hike down to the river and to some waterfalls which was so peaceful and relaxing. I started out with a group but decided to go off on my own and just enjoy some peace and quiet and some rare alone time. It was so amazing...I waded through the river in my wellies (rain boots) sat in a green meadow, and did a little bolder hopping trying to cross the falls.
I got volunteered to do Thursday morning devotionals...meaning I had to prepare a talk to share with everyone that morning. It was a good challenge...and definitely God stretching me, showing me how much i've grown, and showing how through my weakness he shines. I'm not a huge fan of talking infront of people, especially about God...I always fear I'll say something wrong, or get intimidated by how much more the people around me know about the bible and how much longer they've been walking with the Lord...but that so isn't what it's about! Of course the one week I had to talk this semester was when we were off campus, no church library, no internet, and all i had with me was my bible...and of course I hadn't packed my Bible with a concordance in the back, or a Bible with commentary in it...all I had was a basic bible...just God's word, which really is all I should need anyway! It was a total blessing, I couldn't lean on those other things, or look up a suggested topic, I truly just had to rely on God to show me something, and my memory to pull together other verses that applied. So a bit of my free time each afternoon went to preparing for that, as well as most of my evenings.
Wednesday afternoon I went back down to the meadow by the river and hung out there for a few hours with a small group. I ended up getting soaking wet in the river, running through the hills, and talking to a lot of sheep! There were little lambs everywhere and they were SO stinking precious! Overall I'd say it was a VERY succesful afternoon...I even got a bit of a sunburn, yes, that's right..a sunburn! The weather was so great all week, we didn't get even a little rain! It was a bit windy a few of the days, but the sun was shining and that was just amazing!
Thursday was probably the best day all week. My devo went really well..I was way beyond nervous to give my talk. But my 3 roommates from the flat and I all got together and prayed before hand which was nice. I'm pretty sure it was evident to everyone when I got up there how nervous I was, but it was amazing how as soon as I opened my bible and started to read the verses I was going to be speaking on I felt and absolute calm wash over me...I don't really even know how I got through without stumbling on my words, or making a fool of myself, I can honestly say it wasn't by my strength...but by the Lord's...and it actually went really well. I was definitely relieved when it was over, and it really wasn't so bad afterall! Thursday was my date with my roommates and Helen Salmon (the school secretary/admin person...and the sweetest/funniest lady ever!) We hiked to a castle...to have a tea party in their tea room. Talk about an English adventure! It was so amazing, Bolton Castle was beautiful, and they had the most amazing sticky toffee pudding! I don't think we stopped laughing all afternoon...
Okay, I could go on and on with stories from this week. Ask me sometime and I'll share more! But this will have to do for now :) Time to get down to some serious homework! I'll add more photos in the next day or two so be on the lookout for those as well!