England [aka the Motherland] was a fitting start to our 8-week European adventure. I mean, where would the world be without the British Empire? I certainly couldn’t call Australia home if it weren’t for the clever chaps in the 18th century that sent Captain James Cook on his quest to find new lands. To boldly go where no man has gone before… or something like that.
We, of course, have other reasons for visiting Europe. Being part of a global church has brought about some amazing friendships with people from all over the world, who you’ll start to see more of in our ‘Lingberries vs The World’ posts. London and the surrounding areas seemed like the perfect launching pad.
Upon arrival, our dear friend Amanda [aka Bix] took great care of us by organizing an airport pick-up and letting us stay the night at her dad’s quaint little house in Hampshire. We spent the day resting, cooking, eating & playing cards. It was a jolly old time.
We drove into London with Bix the following day – just in time for Hillsong Conference Europe. Sydney & I were blessed with two full-time registrations, so the next few days were mostly spent at the O2 Arena. & filled with run-ins with friends from across Europe, powerful messages from God’s Word and uplifting times of worship. Here below you’ll see one particular moment of a new song called ‘Victory Song’ that has a very Mumford & Sons feel. It’s definitely one that invokes some dancing and celebration about what Jesus has done for us!
On Saturday after the conference, our buds the Rubie’s & the Darcey’s joined us to explore a little bit of London town. Dave & Sav Rubie are on their own ‘round the world tour – click here to check out their blog.
We headed to Workshop Coffee around 11am for a great cup of joe [thanks for the tip, Em Oak] and some brunch. Hands down – the most amazing French toast ever. If you live in London, stop what you’re doing and go. Just go. You can thank me later.
Moving into the day, the decision was made to hit up Portobello Markets and we were definitely not the only ones who had that idea. It was PACKED. We perused the market for about an hour and then hung out in Trafalgar Square before dinner with buddies Laura and Patrick. Fun people + fun city = fun day!
What would Sunday be without church? As Pastor Bobbie always says, we are one house with many rooms. It was great to visit another room of our house in London (and see my brother Dave Ware leading worship!). Hillsong London meets for services at the Dominion Theatre every Saturday and Sunday if you are keen to check it out.
That evening, we had dinner at home with our lovely host Fiona in Wimbledon, who so kindly opened up her house to us for the week. Fiona & Sydney are friends from way back. So far back they don’t even remember how they met! Haha.
On Monday, we drove out to Oxford along with our friends Laura (who you met earlier in this post) and Mel, both beautiful girls and Londoners too!
Our main purpose for the trip was to visit the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. OCCA is a key component of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), a ministry that has impacted endless lives around the world. We took a short tour through the facility and were blessed to meet and chat with some of the staff as well. Ravi Zacharias has significantly influenced my own life and I look to him as a mentor in many ways.
With a pocket of sunshine on a very rainy day, we enjoyed a little picnic & bottle of Rosé before continuing on to Stonehenge.
The drive out to Stonehenge was stunning. The beauty of the country is everything you would appreciate from British shows like Mr. Bean, Downton Abbey & Dr. Who. What wasn’t so great was the 8 pounds they made you to pay just to look at those big rocks! Well, let’s just say we decided not to go in. It did however make for a few funny shots of us with the ‘poor man’s Stonehenge’ and me pretending to jump the outer perimeter fence.
Okay, okay. We got one decent shot… from the car. ☺
All that to say we are now nearly a month into our 3 ½ month trip. Apologies to those we didn’t get to see while were in the UK! (Talking to you Emily & Sarah Jane…) Our next stop is Oslo, Norway. It was a whirlwind visit, but we really maximized our time thanks to our amazing host, Daz.
Until then, God bless you… and God save the Queen!