Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Update

Every December Edinburgh becomes a winter wonderland. Outside New College, a modest yet elegantly lit Christmas tree overlooks the New Town and a throng of busy shoppers enjoying the seasonal festivities. Just west of New College, the Edinburgh Castle serves as an imposing backdrop to the German Market and ice skating rink which have overtaken the Princess Street Gardens. Just behind New College, you’ll find determined tourists fighting gale force winds as they march up and down the cobblestone Royal Mile and more reasonable folk savouring mince pies and ginger bread lattes at the local Starbucks. While all this seems rather picturesque, I am also reminded that this Christmas marks approximately the half way point of our three year tour in Edinburgh.

We continually thank God for the local Free Church where we worship: Buccleuch & Greyfriars, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this month. Located only two blocks from our wee flat, it shapes the rhythm and rhyme of our week. In addition to attending Lord’s Day services and the mid-week prayer meeting, Angela and I coordinate the monthly International Meal. This ministry is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the global community that have come to Edinburgh primarily through the university. Each month, members from the congregation graciously host these internationals in their homes and provide them with a hot, home-cooked meal. Most who come are non-Christians. These meals not only allow students an inside look at Scottish life, they provide a friendly, informal atmosphere to share the gospel.

The hot food, hearty fellowship combination also formulates part of an evangelicalism program I help with entitled Christianity Explored. This past semester, individuals from Scotland, England, America, Germany, Israel, and China met together in the church hall for a study of the gospel of Mark. For some this was their first encounter with Christianity. Others came interested to learn more about the Bible, and still others wanted to grow in their faith. By the end, everyone wanted to know what was next! As a result, a fellow colleague and I started a follow up course on the book of John. Please join us in praise to God for the privilege he has given us to advance his global glory. He has brought the nations to our doorstep at Buccleuch; it is our prayer that we can bring the nations to Christ.

God mercifully continues to give me opportunities to preach. I have preached in Free Church congregations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, London, and in several other smaller towns. I also preach every 4-6 weeks at a reformed Baptist church in Leith, just outside Edinburgh. We are always treated like royalty and given an endless supply of sweets and savouries. Indeed, this is the land flowing with (hot) tea and biscuits (i.e. cookies). We are extremely grateful for the chance to experience part of the wider community of the body of Christ.

Angela is diligently working at the Royal Infirmary as a clinical assistant in the radiology department. In fact, she returned early this morning at ten ‘til seven from working a night shift. Since her certification from the states is not recognized, she cannot work as a radiographer. However, a small window of opportunity has opened for her to work as an assistant radiographer. She would be the first in Scotland in this position. Sympathetic to the non-transference of her credentials and appreciative of her organizational skills and hard, friendly work ethic, her supervisors approached her with this possibility. If all goes as planned, she will start this new post shortly after the New Year. She continues to sacrifice her all for me to study. She is the unsung hero of our time in Edinburgh.

My studies are progressing slowly but surely. Last September, my research proposal on John Owen passed my review board without exception or qualification. If all goes as planned, I will finish my thesis by summer 2008. Over the summer, I presented a paper on Owen’s commentary on Hebrews at a post-graduate theology conference here in Edinburgh. I’ve also written a book review which was published in the fall edition of The Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology and an article on Owen for the January edition of reformation21.

God’s provision sees us through each and every day: spiritually, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and also financially. We are unsure where the necessary funds will come from for our final year. But we have always had more than our daily bread and are confident that God will continue to guide and sustain us.

Your prayers and encouragement play a vital role in our Edinburgh endeavour. We believe that every experience is not merely preparation for ministry in the future but also an opportunity for us to engage in the work of the gospel here and now. As you can see, we have so much to praise our Sovereign for. We are grateful for living in this historic city, grateful for your continued support, and most grateful for the unfailing mercy of God.

As they say here in Britain…


John & Angela Tweeddale


The Slawsons said...

Merry Christmas, dear friends! I tried to leave a comment yesterday, but who knows what I did wrong for it not to work, so I'm trying again.
Ya'll are in our thoughts and prayers regularly. Congratulations on reaching the half-way point on your time in Scotland. We long to see you again, and are praying to that end.
We hope to be moving to Russia next summer. The Lord is really providing in amazing ways for us!
Much love and prayers,
Cristy (for the boys, too)

Anonymous said...

We happily join the Slawsons in wishing you a Merry Christmas. (Or Happy Christmas, as they say.) Baby is trying to add to my post, so must make this short! God is indeed good to his children, and we rejoice with you to hear of his provision for your years in Scotland. But, we also miss you. Rob was just telling me he misses y'all (as he recounted a Dr. Jussely story to me!)

Megan (for her boys, too)

The Slawsons said...

Happy New Year!
Thank you for your Christmas card. I was so sad, though, to learn that you were in Georgia during Christmas because we were in Georgia and through Georgia 2 times! I wish that we could have worked something out ahead of time. But I trust that you had a wonderful visit back in the states and with family.
Hope to talk to you soon!
By the way, can you believe that Isaiah will be 1 on Tuesday!