Today I left campus. Due to the visa situation we could only ever stay in the country for 180 days. Having completed those, we will continue the rest of the year with online lessons. And what a busy week of final preparations that makes! There is the need to pack, to clean, to give thanks to the people whom you have come to know. And the realisation that there are still so many things you never got to do. People to spend more time with, library books to read, and enjoying the foods found only in England. But above all I give thanks to the Lord for the ability to be there at all. For the people I did get to spend time with. For everything that has been made possible by living on campus.
Looking back, it has been a great six months. In many ways they flew by, but in many ways they feel like exceptional memories. I remember my arrival. Awkward, because I had to spend ten days in travellerâ€™s isolation, but on my first free Saturday the hospitality left a serious impression. I also remember the great conversations I had â€“ especially those that challenged me to examine Scripture even more closely. And I remember the special people that I had the great privilege of spending time with.
When I was a child, and even when I was a teen, I used to think that we would one day wake up and be â€œa perfect grown-upâ€. Yet now in my twenties I am beginning to realise that there is no end station in learning, there is only progression. This holds especially true when we study the Word. And with the amount of studying I have done these months, there have been many opportunities to grow.
Iâ€™ll keep it short here, but some of the things I learned entail a deeper understanding of the foundations. The attributes of God, the significance of justification by faith, just how holy God is. And then there are many things that are of secondary importance or are just nice to know. (For an example of the latter, scrolls in NT times used to be up to 10.5 metres long, which is a likely reason for Luke splitting his Gospel and Acts between two books, as these were each around 9.5 metres long.) And then just last night I spoke with a second year student, and we both agreed that the learning pace for the head-knowledge far exceeds the learning pace for the heart-knowledge â€“ doubtless there will be much more application of what I am learning than I can currently foresee!
Besides the added benefit of living with like-minded people in one place, and the benefits to learning while being on-site, I am also immensely thankful to God for the practicality of living on campus. We did not have to worry about groceries, because the dining hall provided food throughout the week. We did not have to worry about cleaning more than our own bedroom, because certain student were assigned to clean the public places. (Personally I was assigned for nine hours a week to the dining hall kitchen, in which I spent more time cleaning than cooking.) Finally, having been provided with a house to live in was a great blessing, as having to find one close to the school would have been quite difficult otherwise.
Writing this from the train during my return journey, it feels strange to see so many familiar places again (especially riding through Eindhoven station). But as sad as it is to say goodbye to everyone and everything in North Cotes, I am really looking forward to seeing everyone I know in the Netherlands again. I have also been greatly blessed by a brother who had a room available in his apartment, whom Iâ€™ll be able to live with for the coming months.
- Thank God for my time in England
- Thank God for all that I have learned and all that I will continue to learn.
- Thank God for the housing that is available to me.
- Pray that the switch to online lessons will go smoothly.