•December 5, 2011 • 4 Comments

It has been a while since I’ve written on the blog… we have been a bit preoccupied as of late.  Baby Harp is officially due in 3 days time, and this means that my wits and I have met their end.  What day is it? What month is it? What year is it? I just have lost the answers to these seemingly simple questions. Haha

Seriously though, some of the questions I have been asked recently aren’t as simple as these. If I am going to struggle with the date, then I am certainly going to be challenged with these gems. I hope you are as encouraged (and challenged) by them as we have been.

From Ivan, age 8, “If Jesus died for His enemies, does that include the Devil?”

From Edwin, age 12, “God said that Adam and Eve would die if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but they did not die, and since the Bible says God cannot sin does this indicate a lie? Can you please explain this to me?” Wow!! I will be answering this question soon.

Our current question has already taken two class periods of discussion: “Are the books/bibles that Moses wrote still in existence, e.g. not destroyed?” This is from Conner, age 12.

This has led to a discussion of the Scribes who copied the original autographs of the Bible. We talked about how we can trust that the original message from God has been preserved when we observe the strict guidelines the scribes followed, and also by comparing the ancient texts we have today.

We continue to encourage the children that questions are vital for developing in life and in God. I explain that if someone is not willing to entertain a question, there is something wrong. We have been amazed at the hearts of these young people. They keep us on our toes, and we pray that they will continue to ask and that we will continue to answer.

Please pray for us in the coming weeks.

God bless.

God Works in Thrift Stores

•August 16, 2011 • 1 Comment

You may not know this about me, but I am an unashamed thrift store fanatic! Frugal forager is my nick name.  You might say that I’m a junkie for junk (okay, you might not say that, but you get the point). If I can see that there is a bargain to be made, I am all in. Wherever I have lived in my life, some of the first places I have found in my vicinity are the thrift stores (or “charity shops” as they are called here in Scotland).

Today I had some errands to run as I waited for Mary to finish ladies class. I finished early and had time to kill. It just so happened that I was passing by the best charity shop that East Kilbride has to offer. I have built up a good reputation with the volunteer workers there, and today was no exception. As I entered, I noticed the manager was having a conversation with two teenage boy volunteers.

The moment she saw me she said, “Now here’s a guy that can help you get to church!” Needless to say, I was surprised at this greeting. One of the two young men she was speaking with seemed even more surprised than I was. The manager knows me and little about the nature of our work (that I am an evangelist who runs a youth outreach). So I quickly introduced myself to the boys (Declan and Jordan) and got to the bottom of “how I could help.” Declan apparently had come into work today saying that God had done nothing for him and that God was the cause for the pain and trouble in the world. The manager had apparently been trying to talk some sense into him and was fed up with him by the time I arrived.

Declan began to tell me his trouble concerning God and his utter frustration with all the unanswered questions he has. He explained to me, “I pray to God and I go to Mass, but God doesn’t do anything for me! He doesn’t care about me! What has God ever done for me?” Declan believed we have no free will, explaining that any action we make is known beforehand by God; therefore, we have no choice. These were all amazing questions asked by a young man who is desperate to find the truth. We spoke for nearly two hours while sitting on second-hand couches! Declan seemed bewildered yet intrigued by the concept of simply following the Bible. His accusations of God slowly ceased, and he ended up giving God credit for our chance meeting! I wish you could have been a fly on the wall during this conversation. With this in mind, flies might be common in a place like a thrift store. Despite this, it has become evident to me that God can work in insignificant places – even thrift stores.

Please pray for Declan and Jordan as they are both searching for the truth. They have expressed interest in attending the youth outreach and we have exchanged information. May God continue to work in their lives as He has continually shown He works in mine.

God Knits Harps

•August 2, 2011 • 1 Comment

I actually saw God knitting right before my eyes. He was not finished but was  just calmly weaving each strand as we stole a small glimpse of His masterpiece. We saw Him at work and He glanced up at us as he was moulding and shaping His creative piece of art. He waved at us and we could almost count the fingers as He did so. The little toes wiggled in excitement and each movement seemed to strum the very chords of my name.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13,14

Have you ever experienced a heart that was beating so quickly you could hardly believe it? Well the baby’s heart was beating pretty fast as well, but mine was absolutely racing! As if it was just keeping the same time as that little pitter-patter I saw on the screen in a hospital room last week. Mary lay there as if almost floating!

We just experienced the 20 week scan so we have passed the halfway mark! The nurse explained that the baby was moving so vigorously that she struggled to get a proper reading! She kept saying, “naughty baby” and I was thinking, “naughty? That’s daddy’s baby right there.” To say that I am proud of our perfectly healthy bundle of joy would be the understatement of the century! If you notice I have not expressed the sex of our little one because we decided, with much hesitation, not to find out until it is evident to all. Because of this, so many questions are flitting around in my head. These few moments in their (not its) life are precious. It’s a time for their mother and I to love them because they are simply precious and for no other reason. The result is a realisation that God allows our Faith in Him to grow with each passing day! God provides for His children and gives us constant reminders that He created us in the very same way that He knits Harps.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

Top Picture: 20 Weeks Scan

Bottom Picture: 12 Week Scan (we still dont know how the Harp in got there haha)

A New Sister and Brother!

•June 28, 2011 • 3 Comments

We are so happy that two more have made the decision to be part of God’s family!

Jordan (15) is a wonderful young man who has been attending the congregation at East Kilbride his whole life. He has been asking questions about becoming a Christian for quite some time, and his parents along with several in the congregation have discussed this decision with him. It was so uplifting to watch Jordan being baptized by his father, Kenny, on June 5. We rejoice in this wonderful new beginning and pray for Jordan as he begins his walk!

Peggy (75) has been attending services at East Kilbride for the past year with her friends Louise, Mary, and Pat. She began by coming to Ladies’ class and then started attending worship. She wanted to learn more about God’s plan (having come from a Catholic background), and we were honored to have the opportunity to study with Peggy. It was so encouraging looking at the simplicity of God’s Word and hearing her state that she did not want to make this decision for anyone else but herself. What a delight when she decided on June 19 that she wanted to be baptized! Please pray for Peggy as well as she begins her Christian life.

Spiritual Twins!!!

•May 31, 2011 • 4 Comments

Edwin & Dale

We are so happy to inform you that two young men have decided to give their lives to God! Richard had the privilege of baptising them into Christ on Friday evening, May 27.

Dale has been attending the youth club for several years and attended Camp Heatherbell for the first time this summer. Since then he has been a regular at youth weekends and all other youth events. He has been involved in Richard’s weekly boy’s Bible studies as well. Dale decided he wanted to have a special Bible study last week, and made the statement “I want to become a Christian.” We met with Dale’s mother to alleviate some of her concerns, and she was happy that he made this decision on his own. Dale’s mom and siblings were also there to see his baptism! Pray for Dale as he strives to be an example to his family.

Edwin has been attending the congregation in East Kilbride with his family for several years since they moved to the UK from Ghana. He comes from a family of wonderful and faithful Christians who are great workers in the church here. He is also heavily involved in all the youth events. Edwin has been asking many questions about becoming a Christian lately, and has been discussing it and thinking about it for some time. He is a fantastic young man and we are so happy to have him as part of the body!

Dale and Edwin are not only spiritual twins, but their physical birthdays are only one day apart and are this week! We were so proud as we heard them both lead their first prayers at the youth devotional following their baptisms. We look forward to seeing what these young men contribute to the Kingdom!

Mattie’s Wing

•March 9, 2011 • 1 Comment

From the title you might wonder, “What is Richard talking about?” Could it be some kind of crazy Scottish snow bird and Richard has chosen to only point out it’s appendage of flight? I did not see it in the fresh snow that peppered my credit card sized lawn this morning as I awoke. I saw Mattie’s Wing last night at the Tuesday club.

 We have had new visitors joining every week since Mary and I arrived back from the States, and last night was no exception. Kieran (age 12) came running into the club as if he had known everyone his whole life! With a smile on his face the entire time, he would go up to his peers and introduce himself without any pretenses. Kieran is our next-door-neighbour’s grandson and he is truly one of a kind! You see, Kieran has autism and his grandmother (Irene) tells me he doesn’t have any friends. She told me she would bring him to the club and last night she did. Both she and I wondered how he would manage and more importantly, how the other children would manage with Kieran. Let me tell you, last night our concerns were laid to rest!

I saw what seemed like a miracle in the reaction of the other kids to Kieran. One boy (Mattie, age 11) had a bewildered look on his face as Kieran introduced himself in his own special way. He glanced at me as if to say, “Is this kid for real?” I informed him of Kieran’s relation to me and his disposition.

I saw the wing!

A side of Mattie I have never seen before. Prior to this meeting, Mattie seemed to always keep to his own select friends and I never saw him “step up” into any leadership role within the club. Mattie took me aside and asked me, “Can I help Kieran tonight and show him the ropes?” I was amazed and I sat and watched Mattie explaining to Kieran the “ins and outs” of all our activities! At the end of the night we have tuck shop (snacks for the kids). Mattie asked me if I could make sure Kieran sat next to him during this time. Mattie completely took Kieran under his wing, and I heard so many of the kids explain how much they enjoyed Kieran in the club.

I wonder if he would have been as well received if it weren’t for Mattie’s Wing.

“But Jesus said,“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14).

Ask and you will receive!

•February 8, 2011 • 2 Comments

Tonight marks the second “Bible Time” held before the Tuesday youth outreach. I want to explain the topic of interest. But before I tell you the topic, let me tell you the interest. There was more participation tonight than ever before!! We had three new boys come to the Bible class and they were very active in our discussion. Amazing!! We also had one new girl. Many of our regular children were not even in attendance and we had 10 in the class!!! Eight of these were boys — this is just outstanding!  

But I am getting ahead of myself with excitement. Anyway, the topic of interest was from Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

I set up the class by explaining the thousands of people who came to Jesus on any given occasion seeking answers to life’s questions. Jesus explains that He wants us to ask questions and never has anything to hide! I used this time to emphasize that if any group or individual was uncomfortable with questions, you could rest assured they were uncomfortable with the truth! I explained that God and Jesus His Son and wants us to question them! We will find the answers only when we ask the questions, and the answers can be found by simply asking God. We discussed prayer as being the way we ask God our questions and continued our discussion.

I then asked each person to take a piece of paper and write down any question they had about life, God, purpose, etc. I let them know that I too wanted to be like Jesus and be open to their questions! I told them I would answer one question for the next “however many classes it takes.” The questions we received blew us away! Apart from two questions (one unfinished and one illegible), I want to share the rest with you.

1. How do you think the world began?

2. Who is God and how did God die?

3. Why is there evil?

4. What’s the meaning of life?

5. Is heaven real?

6. How was God Created?

The next few questions came from one of our youth group children (his parents worship with us here in EK).

7. If we were a different religion, we would say we were right. So how are we right? (WOW!! Isn’t this amazing coming from an 11 year old boy?)

8. If we are baptized would we go straight to Heaven?

9. What if you were following God and you weren’t baptized, would you go to heaven?

These questions came from children ages 8-15! God be praised for these precious souls who are genuinely searching for the truth!!

Ask and you will receive.

If you have any ideas on any one (or all) of these questions I would love to hear your input as I prayerfully search the scriptures in preparation for the answers to these incredible questions.

Back Home to a Fresh Start

•January 12, 2011 • 1 Comment

Samantha and her beloved candy corn!

It is great to be back home in East Kilbride to our second family! Although still jet-lagged, we have started our activities in full force. Last night was the first night back for the youth club, and what a night it was! The kids were so excited to be back, and they loved the American candy we brought them. I (Mary) have started something new for the year with the young ladies. I had them fill out a “Bio Sheet” to explain more about themselves, submit ideas for activities, and also to gauge their level of interest in spiritual things. All the girls said YES to “I want to learn more about God,” with a couple maybes. I was so encouraged by their response! Richard is doing the same thing with the boys. Our plan is to start a 15-20 minute bible time before the club meetings each Tuesday for those children who are interested. Please pray that this endeavour is successful! This morning the youth club staff had a planning meeting, which was very successful. Our theme with the kids for 2011 is “The Golden Rule.” We are excited about this and many other new ideas!

Chick-fil-a, Kiwi, and the Old Truck

•December 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After a very busy month of youth events and trips, we are home on our support raising furlough! We left a very snowy Scotland and arrived on U.S. soil Wednesday. Jet lag is a factor, but we are getting over it very well. A busy schedule lies ahead of us with many congregations to attend. Our first meal had to be none other than Chick-fil-a with a tall glass of COLD sweet Tea! The things we take for granted aye?

We have so loved being home with our family!! Not to come in second to Chick-fil-a; we have our priorities right, I assure you! We have spent quality time with our puppy Kiwi, who watered the living room floor for us as we crossed the threshold! Couldn’t blame her excitement. I drove my old truck (now dad’s) yesterday and was very comfortable driving on the left side of the road for some strange reason (I’m ruined haha)!

Even though it is great to be back into our “old” way of life, we already miss our new church family in Scotland. We are so thankful for our closeness to them and for all they have done for us. It was hard to leave the teens who are just beginning their studies of the Bible, and especially hard to leave Kalina, our brand new sister in Christ. But we are excited to see their progress in a month’s time, since we know the Christians there will be helping them and studying with them while we are away. What a blessing to have Christian family all over the world, like many of you who are reading this post. Thank you for your support and love!


4 Months Ago to the Day!

•October 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

4 months ago to the day, Mary and I kissed our family goodbye and boarded a plane bound for Scotland. This was 5 years of planning that brought us to the threshold of the terminal and the plane door. What would happen in our future? Sometimes I feel like I did not step into a plane that day, but rather a roller coaster of ups and downs. The eldership of East Kilbride Church of Christ dissolved just two weeks before we arrived, and shortly after the initial confusion as to why this took place, one of those elders announced he would leave East Kilbride. This was a difficult pill to swallow for both ourselves and the congregation. There have been tears shed and questions left unanswered.

Now that the “downs” are out of the way, let me explain to you the “ups!” We have had an overwhelming response to our various programs in such a short time! We have mentioned many of them on this blog and in our Thistle Epistles. (If you would like our thistle epistle just send me a quick message via email

We have been experiencing a constant rise and interest in the youth club (Tuesday), art club (Thursday) as well as our Friday café (this is our devotional time). Mary had a one-on-one study last night with one of our girls. She is very serious about studying and she has encouraged us with her exceptional commitment to her growing Faith. Please continue to pray for this effort, specifically this young lady.

We have introduced a biblical focus at the end of the Tuesday youth club with devotional singing and a devotional thought. We have lost some children due to this; however, we expected this would happen. We still maintain the same amount of children because more have been coming. We have had 4 new children in the last week. Beginning in January, we have decided to begin the club with a proper bible class setting 30 minutes before the club. This way, the children have a choice to come to the bible class and it could not come across to them as an “afterthought.” We pray that we will reach more children this way.

Sure there have been “ups” and “downs” along the way, but that is just the nature of our roller-coaster. When I think back on that threshold between the terminal door and the door of the plane, there is no doubt in my mind that we did the right thing when we boarded 4 months ago to the day.