Monthly Archives: September 2017

Update from the Goldsmiths – Aberdeen and Shetland

 “Anything that goes wrong in Scotland is London’s fault”. That was my political instruction for the day from the fervent SNP supporter sitting next to me in Aberdeen airport!
On our way to Shetland we had enjoyed two days in Aberdeen with our good friends Angela and Geoffrey Tudor. They had also arranged for us to meet with 14 local ministers and church leaders to share with them some lessons for Britain from our experiences with the church in Asia. Such a stimulating and pleasant occasion!
Then the smaller plane took us over Orkney and Fair Isle out to Shetland which really feels closer to Norway than to Scotland. The Shetland dialect also contains many old Norwegian words. The islands belonged to Norway until the 1500s when the King of Norway gave Shetland to the British royal family as a wedding present! So, if you are getting married, you could suggest Shetland as a wedding present! It is such a beautiful place with its wild and bare treeless hills overlooking its lovely coastline with handsome bays and rugged cliffs. Bird life abounds and other people had seen killer whales – sadly we never saw them. Our good friends Dr. Bruce and Chris Cleminson gave us warm and generous hospitality, also showing me their old croft house which they are doing up and extending. Again the views were superb with seals galore lounging on the rocks below. But it is a major task to make the croft secure from the tremendous winds which rage in the long winter.
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I was invited to Shetland for their annual Bible Week when all the churches get together for five evening Bible expositions – I taught on John’s Gospel. It was so heart-warming to see the appreciation people showed. The Lord was clearly encouraging and challenging many as they listened to God’s Word. They also had a day for me to share with ministers and church leaders. It was very stimulating to think together with some forty leaders about the good news of Jesus related to a Shetland context. A seminar on the Saturday on “What about other Faiths?” also drew a warm-hearted group of some 40 people. We had two Sundays and preached in three churches, so also had the chance to meet people in their own location. Great.
Sadly Elizabeth had a slight heart attack just before we left for Aberdeen and Shetland. She therefore had to spend almost the entire time in hospital. The care and treatment were just excellent – wonderfully friendly and caring, but also highly efficient medically. Shetland does not have the facilities for doing angiograms, so we had to wait until Aberdeen had a spare bed. Then they laid on the air ambulance which was a new experience for us and impressively efficient and friendly. Happily the angiogram showed nothing serious amiss with Elizabeth’s heart and major arteries. Hopefully increased medication should ensure her against further heart attacks and she feels very well again. The whole process of getting the angiogram in Aberdeen took longer than expected, so sadly we had to cancel our usual annual teaching in Norway.
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And now we value your prayers that we may know the mind of the Lord. Should Elizabeth come with me on Oct.16th when we are due to fly to Singapore for teaching there and in Java (Bandung and Surabaya) and Sarawak (Miri)? Or should I go on my own? We have the great privilege of being invited by a large church (5,000 adults on a Sunday) in Singapore.
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