I wrote this at the end of my time in the USA this summer (although some students continued on to the College Training), on my way home. It was a wonderful time, and the Summer Training was also so refreshing and supplying. Hopefully I still remember enough of the Blending Trip (and have enough time) to share it with you in the coming days.
Day 3 (Thursday 21 June 2012)
Hey Y’all and I woke on Day 3 and were cherished with a lovely breakfast prepared by our hosts. We had sausages and eggs and biscuits (the American kind) and sweet melon – yum. After that we heading to the church in Baton Rouge meeting hall to meet all the other saints. Sir Wattsalot had acquired a new football – a real football that is, i.e. soccer ball for those from those parts :) – and those who spoke or sung the verse for the day had the honour of signing it with their new southern names.
Our verses for the day were Colossians 3:16-17. Anyone still remember it? :)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do in word or in deed, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
The first activity of the day was to head out to Jean Lafitte, a national historical park and reserve, a.k.a. a swamp! We were joined by some local saints, and had an enjoyable time reading and singing on the journey to the swamp.
When we arrived, a park ranger gave us the safety orientation. I learnt two lessons:
- I should not dangle my feet or hands over the boardwalk…
…because they are the size of alligator prey (and gators are prone to latch on)
- I should not wander off the trails…
…because someone did that and was lost for four days (but at least he was found)
Very important lessons indeed! We then watched a short video about the Mississippi River, the swamps, and the lifestyle in the area, and then we were on our own to explore the swamps ourselves.
Day 2 (Wednesday 20th June 2012)
It was easy to get up in the morning after a good night’s sleep and a small amount of jetlag. After breakfast, the rest of our group began to arrive from their hospitality. Actually, one couple who had helped to coordinate the trip were unable to join us as a passport didn’t return on time from the visa office. Another sister was not joining us until later in the week, and a brother and sister had got stuck in Houston the previous evening when their flight was cancelled. (Funny story: their mother called the coordinating brother and thought they were in Dallas airport… but eventually the “rescue team”, the saints, worked out where they were and picked them up from the airport. They caught another flight to Jackson on Wednesday and joined us later in the day.
Down the Natchez Trace
In total, there are 13 of us from the UK (on this part of the trip), joining a couple from Jackson and a dear brother who used to be in Jackson as our drivers. After some introductions and getting to know one another, we hit the road, heading south to Louisiana. We drove down the Natchez Trace, stopping at Emerald Mound (the previous site of a native American Indian campground, and the current home of plenty of chiggers – more on those later!), and the Pig Out Inn in Natchez for lunch (where we also saw the Mississippi River).
Day 1 (Tuesday 19th June 2012)
The US Blending Trip 2012 has now started! This year we are visiting Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and finishing up in California. (Click here to read about our trip to California last summer)
The first day was pretty much spent travelling. I had an early morning start and a straightforward journey to the airport, where I met my sister and another sister, after they landed from their first flight from Edinburgh. The waiting time passed quickly, and looking back now, so did the flights themselves – two for me, and three for the others.
We touched down slightly late in Jackson from our American Eagle flight. Jackson is the capital of Mississippi (em-eye-double-ess-eye-double-ess-eye-double-pee-eye), and the airport is Jackson International Airport – yet as far as I understood only cargo planes fly internationally from Jackson. This was the first time I’ve been in an aircraft with just one seat, an aisle, and two seats, for each row. But it was actually a smoother flight and landing than the larger aircraft we flew prior to that!
At the airport we were warmly greeted by the local brother who was coordinating our trip, who had just met two other brothers who just arrived. Our host for the night came to pick us up, and we sisters were quickly whisked off – we would regroup with all the saints the next morning.
Day 12 (Lordâ€™s Day 3rd July 2011)
We ended the blending trip on Day 12 with a sweet time with the church in Irvine, going with our hospitality to the Lordâ€™s table meeting (which meant we went to different districts). Following that, we had pizza at the Bâ€™s, had a little bit of time to fellowship and pray about the upcoming Summer Training, and then the group split again either shop, swim or rest at home. At this point, three of our group were returning back to the UK, so it was also goodbye to them.
Day 11 (Saturday 2nd July 2011)
Day 11 was a big day for 105 saints â€“ it was the Full-Time Training in Anaheim graduation! Praise the Lord! I really enjoyed their presentation of following the Lamb. Who is this Lamb? The Lamb is our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who accomplished redemption for us, and who is now both enthroned in the heavens and also in our spirit!
These are they who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He may go. These were purchased from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.