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Just a quick post to say that we are all back home safely, Sandy and Judy are already back at work today, and I’m assuming everyone else is in some form of jet lag induced rest! I’ll post a bit more during the week, including details of feedback events and so on.

Thank you all for your support before we traveled and while we were away.

Andy

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Homeward Bound

After a few last farewells and no lost passports we are at Newcastle airport heading home! See you all later.

Andy

Update – we are in Amsterdam and our flight is on time. See y’all soon.

The Final Act

Well, it’s almost time to head back to Williamsburg. Worship this morning at Trinity brought things to a close, with plenty of good byes and see you soon. Several of us had a chance to share our thoughts and experiences during the service before heading out for a day of sightseeing/relaxing with our host families and other friends for lunch or the afternoon before packing later for the journey home tomorrow.

It’s an early start tomorrow, meeting at church at 6.30am local time (1.30 am Eastern) for our flights back. All being well we’ll be back at WUMC around 8 pm Eastern time (1 am Tuesday morning UK time…). Please keep us in prayer tomorrow as you have been so faithfully doing these last few weeks. Thank you.

Andy

England 2018 – The (1st) Reviews!

On the way back from Edinburgh this afternoon I asked everyone that hasn’t yet posted to the blog to write a few words I could publish when we got back about their time over here. What follows is a first review from most of the folks o the trip of their time here. I’ve edited very slightly for spelling, predictive text bloopers and a little bit of privacy in one piece, otherwise these words are all their own, and in no particular order. Andy

The time that I spent in England was absolutely magnificent . I loved working with the kids and people from Hexham everyday. And Night-Shift was a blast. I’m really going to miss all the people I met and places we went to. And I can’t thank the family that hosted me enough, they are so amazing and wonderful I will miss them lots! ~Lauren Weber

The host family I had the pleasure of staying with was more than brilliant. They were and have been so phenomenally welcoming and generous to us, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect fit. Something I simply love while being here is all the awesome people on staff and as students to Hexham Holiday Club I get to meet, everyone has been so nice. And something that’s really spoken out to me is the passion everyone has for God, it’s so empowering. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to England. ~Kate Alexander

As is often the case with me, one of the best parts for me was meeting all the new people and seeing all the different places. My host family were incredibly good hosts, always happy to have a conversation or play a game. The other team members for holiday club were also very kind and cool people, and also did a good job running/helping with the club. Being on the drama, one of the best parts was when the little kids would recognize us every day as we came around, and would always be so excited for the drama. One of the groups enjoyed the drama so much, they bought a pie for the team to share. Everyone I met was great, and it’s sad I won’t see most of them again. ~ Kieran Barré

These 2 weeks have been great! My host family is amazing and very talented. Everyone at the church was so kind and friendly. I made lots of new friends. Working with the kids has been great as well!! -Natalie Agee

I really enjoyed the past week in Holiday Club. Everyone at the church genuinely cared about the kids, the team, and spreading their message. I met so many new people with an array of talents and had an amazing time working with them! The venue was beautiful and all of the shows were upbeat and entertaining. I would like to thank everyone who welcomed us to Hexham. -Isabel O’Connor

I liked when we were at Seahouses and went to the beach and swam in the North Sea -Corwin

It has been an incredibly wonderful gift to be with the youth these last two weeks! Being with them as they experience a different country, culture (and accent too) has been amazing. Seahouses was a perfect location to recover from the journey across the ocean. Taking a boat trip around the Farne islands was the experience of a lifetime as we saw the Puffins, Cormorants and other birds by the thousands. We also saw seals basking in the sun and playing around the islands! Thank you all for your prayers as we are on this journey and for the support that made this mission possible! Judy

I did the drama team for Hexham Holiday Club this year and it was an unexpected path. I didn’t have very high expectations for it to be honest but in the end it was really fun and definitely worth it. All the people and friends I met made it just so much more fun and the drama team performed in front of some of those friends daily and it just made it so much funnier and easier to do. Alex

This trip has definitely been long for me. I have never been away from home this long and I am missing home. Having all my friends with me though is making it a lot better. I am very thankful for my church for supporting us through this trip. My best part if this trip so far is when we were in Seahouses and took a boat to the Farne Islands and saw the seals. They would play hide and seek with the boat and it was a wonderful moment. Also the train ride to Edinburgh Scotland was wonderful seeing all the different places and view. It has been a wonderful trip. Carrie Van Leliveld

These two weeks have been a rare opportunity I’m so glad to have been a part of. Thanks to all who have contributed and prayed. You are what has made this incredible journey possible. On the last day of Hexham Holiday Club, my group of children wrote letters to persecuted Christians in oppressed counties. One of my kids approached each to help him write his letter. He explained to me that he would prefer to write his letter to his mom who he see’s only once a year. He proceeded to completely open up his personal story to me. Here in front of me was a young child bearing more weight and tragedy then I could imagine in such a bubbly little kid. I explained to him that no matter what happens in his life God will always be there to love and cherish him, and that God has a special plan for him. The smile that painted his face made my trip.

Isaiah Woo

These 2 weeks were amazing and I am blessed to be able to have an opportunity of this magnitude. I throughly enjoyed the first week at Seahouses. It was so pretty and the water was cold but I am glad to say I swam in the North Sea. Then this week in Hexham has been amazing and definitely life changing. I was on the drama team and like Alex said It was an unexpected path. I am glad I decided to do it though because every day the kids would laugh and enjoy the skits which was amazing. In a way the drama team were the stars of the camp which was cool. – Cameron Kersh

It has been a blessing to have experienced and learned about such a beautiful place on this Earth. Not only were the places we visited jaw dropping sites but the people I’ve met here and the bonds I’ve made are life changing. Seahouses holds a spectacular seaside view and a scenic town filled with shops, a castle, and many dogs. Hexham included a friendly town filled with wonderful people of all churches. Edinburgh was a diverse city holding the mountains and the coast on either side. Overall, my expectations of this trip were greatly exceeded due to my faith growing and the people who helped me through this journey. It was an adventure I will never forget or regret.

Kayla Nordeman

How can this world be so small and old but yet be so big and beautiful? This mission trip will be unforgettable. Hexham will be a place on my list to visit again. I can’t find the best word to describe Holiday club. I was scared at first; I mean new country and different culture. Even the language we spoke was slightly different. I was on the drama team and it was an amazing opportunity I was almost was going to pass up. I was able to teach the kids the words of God and how to be a team builder with crazy characters and funny skits. I didn’t know how big of an impact I was on the, until during the picnic in the middle of the week. The kids were calling for my character and was laughing and smiling. They came to me and messed around and they told me how excited they were for the show until some trailed off and made fun of Kit Washer and Dan the Dangerous. After that more and more signs showed on how the kids were impacted. It was a joy to grow my faith and see more of this planet god gave us.

Phoenix Allred

This was my first time out of the country and also my first time being on a plane. Going to Hexham was an amazing experience. I got to meet a lot of great people and had fun at holiday club teaching the kids about Jesus. It felt great to have a connection with the kids and I would definitely go next year if I could.

Stephen Davis

The trip may be declared a success in that the team set out to serve the children of Hexham and they have done that. Everyone worked very hard. They took on whatever task came their way and did it with a willing heart. I am very proud of each member of the team.

Bill Herman

Scotland!

We have arrived in Edinburgh after an interesting journey on the train, a couple of rowdy groups in our carriage added some atmosphere to the trip! We’re in the National Museum of Scotland right now, and folks are off exploring the different floors while I grab a little bit of down time!

Andy

The Final Countdown!

Well, Holiday Club 2018 has come to a close. I believe a total of 249 children registered this week though attendance varied each day. This evening instead of a Night Shift session The Show brought things to a close, though worship on Sunday morning will continue in the holiday club mold.

At the show each age group presented a piece, including most of our youth leading the assembled throng in a rendition of Country Roads, see below!

There was also a video recap of the week, a copy of which will be available when we get back to Williamsburg and do our feedback evening and events.

Earlier in the day we had a tour of Hexham Abbey, which dates originally to the 7th century, though that building is long gone, but has been succeeded by 2 others, the most recent of which still stands

Exterior of the Abbey.

Stained glass windows in the Abbey.

In the crypt.

Sitting on the Bishop’s Throne, which dates back centuries.

After the tour, and a bit of shopping to pick up supplies of tea and chocolate I had some time to mooch around town and take a few pics of Hexham itself.

Hexham Trinity Methodist Church

One of the many small streets around Hexham

A view of the Old Gaol.

Tomorrow we’re off to Edinburgh for the day, please pray the weather improves and that the trains are running on time, the heat here has caused some transport difficulties today.

Andy