You can’t help but notice my niece, Katie, not because she’s loud or pushy. She’s not. Anything but. Katie has a gracious elegance and quiet demeanor. You might mistakenly think she has nothing to say. But that wouldn’t be true. She has a wealth of beautiful words inside, she just shares them more sparingly than most. But you can’t help but notice her, she’s a tall, extremely lovely redhead with a shy smile. Katie is an art major (at my old alma mater) and she is studying abroad this semester. She’s also a member of our church and we miss her.
I love catching glimpses of Katie during a service. She’ll be pushed up to the edge of her seat, pen in hand, eyes glued to her pastor (who also happens to be her uncle), until she scribbles down a few notes in her journal or Bible. She’s what I call a hungry listener—she gobbles up every good word from the Word.
Katie’s been writing about her semester in Liverpool (on her personal blog) and I asked her permission to publish some of her posts here. I think you’ll be delighted to hear her heart and travel with her overseas for a bit.
Here’s my Katie ~
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This past week is the first one that I’ve spent outside of the USA. Despite all the adventure and excitement that I’ve experienced (and have yet to experience), it’s likely that this trip will help me fall even more in love with my home. I miss the sunny, pine covered, Arkansas mountain landscapes already. And I must admit that the first few days felt a little bit like an overwhelming series of endless flights, jet lag, and trying to make my small room feel homey.
Liverpool is so different from anywhere I’ve ever seen before, much less anywhere that I’ve lived. People walk everywhere here. That’s one of my favorite parts, especially since the walk down the road to the market consists of lovely little homes with architecture that is much more old-timey and decorative than places back home.
They even study art differently here, focusing a lot more on research. I’ll have more time to dive deeper in my research and study of art this semester, especially with all the great art galleries that are nearby and the opportunity to travel to so many scenic places in the UK.
Even though there are some wonderful things about experiencing this new culture, like the old architecture, the close vicinity of stores, and the cool accents, there are some things about the culture that I can tell might be a strange adjustment for me. It’s weird, because a lot of things are very similar, but everything is just a little different. Before I came, I knew this would be a struggle, but now that I’ve arrived, I’m aware of how differently people live here. I’m sure the culture shock hasn’t even hit yet, but I’ve been trying to prepare myself for it.
Knowing that people in this country and city live so differently has made me really desire spiritual leadership, biblical teaching, and challenge/encouragement in my faith, like I’m used to receiving at my home church. God has blessed me right from the beginning, by bringing me, and a few of the other international students, to what seems to be a very strong and biblically sound church, which is just a mile or two down the road from us, and we visited it on Sunday. Their passion for the gospel, and sincere love for the body of Christ, was so encouraging and inspiring. A family invited us all over for lunch afterwards. Their hospitality was such a wonderful reminder of the family we have as the global church.
God’s Personal Touch ~
God has been abundantly faithful in answering this prayer for a church while I’m here, but has also shown His faithfulness to me this week by reminding me of His powerful guidance in our individual lives. On Tuesday, I was able to tour the art department’s campus, called the Creative Campus. It was so exciting for me, because art is the main reason I’m here. As some of you may know, the theme that I’ve been planning my senior art show around since this past summer is Psalm 8.
I chose that for my theme because I want this show to express, through art, how faithful God is to us—even though He is our Creator and His magnificence surpasses any need for Him to care for us. I’ve hoped and prayed that, by His grace, this show would be guided by Him and honor Him. At the very beginning of the tour of the campus, they took us outside to a small garden. Standing in the back of the group, for some reason, a bench beside me caught my attention. On the bench was the scripture, Psalm 8:4 “What is man that you remember him, the son of man that you look after him?”This blew my mind. God has guided me from Arkansas to Liverpool as part of the journey He has for me to proclaim His goodness. And I know that by His goodness He can carry this work He’s begun in me to completion—whether that’s in art or just in my life. I’m so comforted by the closeness of His presence, even in this place that feels so different and far away to me. Praise Him!
I feel like my adventure here has just begun and that it will fly by so quickly. I’ll do my best to post a weekly update so you guys can know what I’m up to, see photos, and know how you can be praying for me. Thank you so much for your care and prayers! ~ Katie
HOW YOU CAN PRAY:
1) Pray that God will grant me a stronger faith and boldness in Him. That He would sustain me and help me to speak His truth in boldness.
2) Pray that God would give me sincere love for those He will place in my path here, for my classmates and the people of Liverpool.
3) Pray that I would trust God with my needs and surrender my wants to Him.
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And that’s from Katie! Don’t you love her heart? I love how she is experiencing Liverpool through the grid of Scripture and from a deep love for God. Thanks for joining us for a quick trip to the UK, we’ll drop in there again to see what Katie’s up to next week!
Photo Credit: Katie Stanage