Uk trip: Renfrew. Finding hospitality in a royal burrough.

I’ve been remiss on writing up a reflection of our final day in Scotland. We arrived back in London late on our anniversary, It’s a challenge to move all these people around this island without some delays, and so we braced for a few. There were some sweet moments (like finding Kari’s sunglasses at the check-in desk as we boarded the plane — someone was kind enough to put them there after finding them someplace nearby). And there were some funny moments (like when about 100 newspapers previously handed out as we boarded the plane were eventually tossed into the rubbish bin; as an avid recycler from the ‘crunchy’ Pacific Northwest, I cringed). As I told the conference attendees, I am a people-watcher. Apparently, I watch what they throw away as well.

More fun than all that rubbish is watching what people value, that is, where they focus their time and energy to see cultivated. I mentioned the Burns family in Glasgow, who is endeavoring to see Glasgow flourish by the preaching of His Word and the praising of His Name (true to the city’s motto).

Our stay in Scotland was a quick jaunt, a mere 48 hours perhaps. The first half with the Scott and Monica Burns was followed by a night and day with Brian and Shauna Luse (and their amazing five kids). Brian was actually the first person we saw as we got off the plane in Glasgow on Sunday evening. With a smile and a hug we hopped into their van and headed to downtown Glasgow, on the west side. The Sunday night gathering of RE:HOPE was winding down, and we caught part of the closing responsive worship time. About 21 hours later Brian picked us up and we were off to Renfrew to get a glimpse of their life.

Although brief, both visits have stirred my soul. They let us peek in on their lives — and gave up much of their time — and we are better for it. I pray we were a blessing to them as well.

A sunny day in Scotland

There were many highlights at the Luse ‘mance,’ such as:

  • Grilling up sausage on a grill donated by our home church; seems like we cooked up every sausage in the UK.
  • Talking through life and ministry with Brian and Shauna late into the evening on Monday.
  • All the kids choosing to sleep in one room, so we could enjoy a guest bed.
  • Waking up Tuesday morning to Brian preparing pancakes and bacon and sausage; they celebrated our being there like it was a Saturday morning. All the kids stayed home from school to give us the full experience. (We missed our own kids all the more!)
  • Playing Thomas the Train, imagining how I would relish the opportunity to do the same in short order with our son.
  • Marveling at how Shauna cares for five kids (sixth to be born shortly!), and how they care for one another. Siblings were serving one another.
  • The kids creating us KARI and JEFF necklaces out of their letter toys. Inventive and creative. (And generous.)
  • Getting a sneak preview of Brian’s birthday present created by little artist Caileen, a couple days before the day.

In short, I left that time resolving to be a more intentional father, loving, caring… present. Brian loves his kids, leads his family, and set an example for me to follow. This is where discipleship takes place.

Renfrew is a royal burrough, which from what I am told, means back in the day they had unique authorization from the monarchy to organize a marketplace, for the buying, selling, and trading of goods. It would become a happening place to be, and a privilege to live there. Just down the River Clyde from Glasgow (westward, towards the sea), Renfrew these days looks positioned for a comeback. Business is booming; there were malls and construction all around, and it seemed that young professionals will want to settle down in this attractive city.

We are praying for the leaders and saints of Renfrew Baptist Church to be faithful to Christ’s call to be and make disciples, and for God’s grace to be upon them as He prospers them to be in the city, and because the Gospel is good news for all who encounter Christ, they shall be for the city.


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