Berwickshire High School, Duns, Scotland

After a bit of an emotional journey, we arrived in Scotland ready for the service which was going to be kicking off the mission week in Berwickshire High School. Not only were we going to be in the school doing our lessons, but also two other teams were to be joining us, taking other kinds of lessons around the schools. We were joined by Foolproof; the Christian Theatre Company who we had met on our last visit to Scotland in January, and also Nomad; a YFC football team who take RE and PE lessons using their football cage. The service was held in the Parish church which was to be our base for the week. We enjoyed worshipping together, praying together and hearing about how the other teams are envisioning their week in the school and who they are. It gave us a great opportunity to get to know the teams better over dinner so we were already getting to know them well before we were working with them for the week in the school.

 

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The week was a ‘Christian Focus Week’ in the school and the school chaplains had been busy organising many events to happen throughout our time with them. Each Christian Focus week has a theme; this year the theme was ‘RESPECT’. It meant that in our lessons and assemblies we were going to be touching on Respecting one another.

We set up on Monday morning in this brand new school building. It was a beautiful school which was very big and had a pretty impressive school hall where we were to be situated for the week. To kick start the week we held an assembly for each of the years all throughout the morning. The assemblies were a joint effort with Foolproof; quite similar to how they had run in our last visit to Scotland!

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We were taking the music lessons during the week so we ha a lot of fun teaching them about some of our instruments and letting them show us what they could do!

 

On Tuesday the morning was slightly different; it had been arranged that there would be a bit of a debate involving 4 Military Chaplains who are all of different faiths. There was a Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Buddist on the panel and the students had been asked to question them about their jobs regarding their faith and the theme of  Respect. After the panel had answered the questions, there were then questions directed at the pupils. Some of them were quite difficult and one in particular was slightly personal. We were asked to roam around and chat to the groups; one of the questions was ‘where are the areas you have struggled in your life, and how did you get through them?’ I was expecting the groups not to be very open but I was surprised about some of the answers I had got. These sessions were being repeated 3 times during the morning; in the first group I felt quite out of my depth with some of the areas the girls in the group were discussing as I hadn’t been through that sort of situation. However, I felt that these sessions would be a good opportunity to share a bit of my testimony, and so between sessions 1-2 I prayed that God would use me in the next session to help someone in my situation. It came to  the second groups turn to answer and I found a group of girls, and the first thing someone said in the group was how their parents had split up a few years ago. Wow!

 

The morning was very unique! Never before had I seen 4 military chaplains of different faiths sat together and answer questions like that!! I don’t think the Nomad team had seen them play football together either!!

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After every day in school we were all congregating back at the church for our meals. It gave us a great amount of time to get to know the other teams and to play a spot of Ligretto!!! In de-briefs at the end of the day we were able to discuss how everyones days had been and we heard some great stories of how everyone got on in the lessons.

 

On Wednesday it was Josh’s birthday! The day began slightly different to the other days; a warm birthday welcome to Josh as he came downstairs for breakfast and the opening of presents got us right in the mood for a lovely day at school! The timetable had changed on a Wednesday and so we were due to be finishing a bit earlier. After our lessons and our lunchtime with the students we decided that it would be cool to visit one of the school chaplains’ farms! It meant crossing the border into England again, that showed how close to the border Duns really is! We all went on the outing together; all three teams which was lovely! Ali who owned the farm was showing us how he stores everything, he took us on a tour of the farm and the different fields with the beautiful views, and finally, gave some of us a chance to drive a tractor!

 

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On Thursday we had another gig day! The concert was going to be slightly different to the structure of the one we had done in the week previously in Yarmouth; this time we were combining all three teams to create a brilliant evening! Taste were down to perform a selection of songs, Foolproof were going to do two sketches and we were including a football challenge and a testimony from Nomad. I had been really struggling since Tuesday with not feeling very well and it had resulted in me losing my voice pretty much and struggling to sing properly! After a lot of prayer and my team trying to get me to shut up (oh, it’s a very hard job!!) I managed to get through the day on Thursday without having to sing much, but I knew that the evening programme would be a strain because I would need to be singing solidly for pretty much the whole 2 hours. Joy worked wonders by making my voice sound pretty much normal out the front with her sound desk, but by the end of the evening my voice was exhausted! We were unsure at the numbers that would turn up for the evening, but much to our delight there was at least 30 students that turned up. Jack from Nomad shared his testimony about how his parents had split up and how he dealt with the situation. It was great to hear how someone else has gone through a similar thing to me and for him to be honest in sharing with the people at the concert. The girl who was in my group on Tuesday morning was at the gig and I really hope his testimony will have had an impact on her.

 

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Following an evening of our gig and a sneaky trip to the chippy with everyone after, we were pleased to be in bed after a busy day! Friday was going to also be a long day because not only were we teaching, but we also had the long journey back to England. To kick start the morning we had a P7 assembly; the P7s from the local feeder schools had been bussed in to come and join us for an hour assembly. We treated them to some music from Taste and some sketches from Foolproof where we continued to look at the theme of Respect. They loved it! They were so excited to be able to experience what we do!

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Due to Friday being Sport Relief we found out half way through the week that there would be a mile run on behalf of Sport Relief and the whole school would be taking part. Luckily I remembered to take my flats with me for that day! It was very cold outside and everyone congregated ready to begin. We even had a mascot and someone playing the bagpipes to commemorate the beginning! The course was mapped out around the perimeter of the school. Elliemae and I decided that we would go for it and yes, we did infact run most of the way round! Doing our team proud! Reece was in the top 20 in the whole school, pretty impressive! Us girls even beat Josh, Joy and Andy! There were people dressed up in onesies, with masks on, some bouncing on space hoppers.. the works! It was a great way to end the week there doing something together for a good cause!

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Unfortunately we never got the chance to have a game of football in the Nomad cage!

Friday evening was time for goodbyes. It had been SO good to work with such a funny, lovely team! We had to think about leaving as the journey was going to be taking us way into the early hours of the morning. After a lovely fish and chip dinner it was time to head back on the road (and hope we didn’t meet anyones relatives in the service stations along the way!!!)

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