Friday, September 29, 2006


Yes, here we are in Long Beach once again after a very eventful flight home yesterday! It took 24 hours from leaving Davinia's house in London to walking in the door in Long Beach....we didn't expect it to take nearly as long as it took us to get to Siberia at the start of the trip!

We got to the London airport with plenty of time to spare so as to keep tranqil (?) but things didn't stay that way. We were all ready to get on the plane when they announced that there was a 'small' problem and they were trying to fix it....and trying to fix it....and then looking for a spare part....and then said it was to do with the pilot's seat and that the part would have to come from Washington DC and that that would take 10 hours!! So, the next news was that we would all be put up in a hotel and the flight would continue on the next day....NOT. The flight was finally cancelled and we had to check out our bags and then check in again to see what bookings they could find for us before putting everyone up in hotels in the area. However, we were some of the fortunte ones (?) because they put us on another flight that was leaving later in the day but it would take us via Washington DC so it would be later in getting into LA. So to finish off the day nicely...this flight also had some technical problems and we were an hour late in leaving!! Then, after about 1/2 our hour into the flight an older gentlemen started having heart attacks or something so there was an emergency and they were looking for a doctor on board. We feared we would be turned around but fortunately they were able to keep him on oxygen for the whole flight and the paramedics got him off the plane in Washington DC.
As if that wasn't enough our flight out of DC was delayed by another problem and we didn't arrive in LA until 12.30 this morning feeling quite weary but thankful to see Jon's smiling face on arrival. We managed to get to bed at 2 a.m. but were wide awake again at 6 a.m. - oh the fun of jetlag.

So, the first day home has been full of unpacking, washing and grocery shopping. Everything seems to be fine here and Jon has done a good job of keeping the 'homefront' up and running. Jon leaves home on Oct 9th for an 8 week training course near Boston so we will miss him but are glad he has this chance at a new job and we trust all will go well for him.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Meetings in Scotland

The past few weeks have been a combination of work and pleasure. In between seeing a lot of the beautiful sites in Scotland, Shetland and Orkney I have had the opportunity to preach the Word and give reports on the Lord's work in Los Angeles. The meetings have been a real blessing. We have been encouraged by the interest shown along the way. I preached some seven times in Shetland and three times in Orkney. What a privilege to preach in Shetland, the land of my mother's birth and then to preach in Orkney, the land of my grandfather's birth. I think that was the highlight of my time up north. I thank the Lord for the godly heritage passed on by my forebears.

Yesterday, Sunday, we were with the Assembly in Arbroath - about an hour's drive south of Aberdeen. In between meetings we ate Sunday dinner with John Beattie, which he himself prepared - steak pie. John is a young 91. In the late afternoon we had tea with Charles and Joan Miller and after the evening service we had supper with Nicol and Isabel Millar. The day was a great finish to our "Scotland tour." The people in Arbroath really encouraged us with their interest in the work we are doing in Los Angeles.

We were sorry to say goodbye today to our good friends Stan and Wilma Jenkins. Their home has become our Scottish home! We had a wonderful time with them.


Yes, our time in Scotland is over - we leave this afternoon for 3 nights in London with cousins of Dick's before moving on home. We have had a great time in Shetland and Orkney Isles meeting up with old friends and making new friends. The weather wasn't too kind to us but the fellowship was great. Dick was able to visit some cousins (a few times removed) in Shetland and learnt a little more about his ancesters in Orkney meeting the wife of a cousin of his mother's. So that was great.
We have been back in Aberdeen for the weekend and we were in a small village called Arbroath all day Sunday where we were able to share about the work in LA. We have been warmly received wherever we have been and now have some new prayer partners. The food has been amazing and a few new pounds will need to be lost when we return home.

We are looking forward to being home again (we think!!) and will soon be saying goodbye to Jonathan for a couple of months as he has a new job and will be going to the Boston area for training. We look forward to hearing more about this job when we get home.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Orkney here we come....

Yes, the next step of our trip is about to happen. We leave in about two hours by ferry from Shetland to the Orkney Isles where we will be for 4 nights. This will be another new experience for us - this is where Dick's grandfather originally came from. We get in at about 11.30 p.m. tonight so guess we wont see too much initially.

We have some meetings while there but not sure just what is going to happen. Everyone here in Shetland is telling us how much we will enjoy it and some have heard of the family name of Kent so may even find some relatives there!

We have had a great time here in Shetland even though the weather hasn't been too kind to us - we can't have everything I guess! But the time spent with renewed friendships is great and we even got to spend a few hours with a distant cousin of Dick's who is just so thrilled to get to know her new cousin!! She even served us a typical Shetland soup - salted mutton and potato soup! Not too bad ;-) We have also enjoyed fresh crab and mackeral fish while being here...Dick was out walking one day and some guy gave him a bag of the fresh fish.

Until next time.....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Muckle Roe, Shetland

We had a good trip from Aberdeen to Lerwick, Shetland on the ferry. We left at 7.00 pm and arrived 7.30 am. We had a two berth cabin. The service on the ferry "Hrossey" was superb.

We are staying with Jim and Freda Johnson on Muckle Roe, an island connected by a bridge to the "mainland." It is so peaceful here. No sound of traffic. The only sound is that of seagulls. With only 24,000 total population in Shetland there is no rush and bustle. We've done plenty of walking. There are inlets (voes) everywhere in Shetland and it is impossible to go anywhere without getting a view of the sea. I was walking down by a jetty on Tuesday and a small boat came in and the owner gave me some mackerel and crabs which we had for lunch yesterday. Nothing like fresh fish direct from the ocean.

Each night I have a meeting with a different assembly. There are four assemblies in Shetland. On Tuesday we were at Brae, near Muckle Roe. The Brae assembly is the most northerly assembly in the UK. The setting for the Brae assembly is unique. You look out of the left window to see the North Sea and out the right window to see the Atlantic Ocean.

Yesterday we visited the birthplace of my mother in Hillswick, about 15 miles to the north. We were able to go in and see the family home where she lived for 3 years. It is now modernized, but was a simple croft house built of stone. It overlooks a beautiful beach. In summer it is idilic, but in winter it is windswept and often has winds of 100 miles an hour. No wonder my forebears left for New Zealand. The foundations of the Blacksmiths shop (with forge etc) still stands. This is where my grandfather worked. The smithy's shop was only a stone's throw from the house.

Yesterday we went 50 miles to the southwest of Shetland for dinner with Davy and Jean Simmons. Davy is an interesting character. He has been in the merchantile navy, a whaler in Antarctica, lived in New Zealand for a few years and now at 75 continues crofting on his farmlet. We had Shetland lamb for dinner. Scientific research has discovered that Shetland lamb is the only meat in the world that does not produce cancer. The moral is, "Eat more Shetland lamb!" We then went to Selivoe Gospel Hall for a meeting where there were some 20 people present.

We are now off to visit Ollaberry (Thursday morning) where the Williamson family came from. Ollaberry is a little hamlet on the banks of a voe. My maternal grandmother was Margaret Williamson.

We'll talk more next time in between eating mackerel, crab, oatcakes, Shetland lamb and girdle scones!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Scotland...Shetland Isles....Orkney Isles...Scotland

Well,we have now been in Scotland for about 10 days and have been having a great time. Debbie and Les and family arrived here about 4 hours after us and we have invaded the home of some good friends - who aren't used to having little kids around so we are trusting we haven't been 'too much' for them.

During our time here we have spent 4 days in Edinburgh where we were able to stay in a lovely Missionary Flat. Unfortunately it was raining for the first day and a half but we did get to do a tour of the city and go up to the castle which is magnificent. Hopefully we will be able to post some photos eventually but sometimes we need a little 'help' to do that!!

Since being here in Aberdeen we have been able to take the grandchildren to a farm to feed animals which they really enjoyed plus a few other novelties. Les and Deb went away for a couple of nights (not sure if it was another honeymoon, a break from the in-laws or a break from the kids!!) and we were left in 'charge'! Made us realise that it is a long time since our kids were 'little' and we are looking forward to a 'holiday' in Shetland!! We didn't do too bad really and had Stan and Wilma's help also. The only problem was that Sydney had quite a bad fall the last day so looked a little beaten up! She is fine though.

This evening we are leaving by ferry to go to the Shetland Isles (where Dick's mother was born) for a week where they have booked Dick up for meetings nearly every night! However,we hope to do some touring around as well - it is not a very big place! Then a week from today we move on by ferry to the Orkney Isles where Dick's grandfather came from so he wants to look into his 'roots' there also.

Les and Debbie and family will stay on here in Aberdeen until Friday when they fly back to Novosibirsk where they expect to soon be into their long hard winter. They have really enjoyed the scenery and different pace of life here in Scotland.

Don't know if we will have opportunity to use a computer until we are back in Scotland so you may not hear from us for a week or so. When we return to Scotland we will only be here for a weekend and then we fly on to London to visit some cousins and then it is back to Los Angeles once more.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Moscow - City of Contrasts

Moscow was a great city to visit. We were swept away by the magnificence and opulence of the center of Moscow. We walked around Red Squre, the Kremlin, Lenin's Tomb and the great cathedrals. Alongside we visited the shopping malls which just seemed to ooze money. Moscow from the perspective of the center of the city is up with all the other great cities of the world.

What a contrast staying in the suburban town of Pushkino some 15 miles from the center of Moscow. There were the usual high-rise apartment buildings, crowded streets and market place, with the usual groups of young people with their bottle of beer in hand.

We were accommodated in the ministry apartment belonging to Pavel and Yulia Ignatiev. Pavel and Yulia have a ministry in orphanages. Each Sunday they have a small church meeting in their apartment that includes some ex-orphans. It was interesting to talk with Pavel and Yulia and learn about their ministry and be introduced to life in Moscow.

After a four day stay in Moscow we departed for Scotland. Our flight plan was Moscow - Dusseldorf, Germany - London - Aberdeen. More on Scotland in the next blog where we met up with Les and Debbie,Misha and Sydney and our old friends Stan and Wilma Jenkins.