I didn’t have a very exciting day here today. I really didn’t even take any photos. Except for this one that I shot on my way to the Bodleian for some studying.

Looks like they’re not quite wrapped up yet…

I did have dinner with an amazing couple tonight, though. The guy is in my Greek class with me. Another guy from Wycliffe Hall. His name is Lynden. Yes, just like the city back home.

Suuuuper nice guy. He’s from New Zealand. He was a bond trader in London for six years or so before deciding he wanted to go into the ministry. Now he’s studying Theology at Oxford. These are the kind of people I’m meeting here. The kind of people who mention (in passing) that they have a PhD in computer science. The kind of people who invite me over for dinner. For mexican food. Rad.

Dinner with Lynden and Mems

Lynden (or Lynde) picked me up around 7:30 tonight. In his silver Audi wagon. “It’s secondhand. I got a great deal on it from a guy I used to work with. It’s actually eight years old,” he told me after a compliment on it.

He and his wife and their two kids live in a neighborhood just a 10-minute drive north of me. Northwest. Beautiful home. It’s been remodeled recently, from the looks of things, so it has a really modern feel to it. Lots of light colored woods. And vaulted ceiling. It’s not claustrophobic like a lot of the homes you see here.

We walked in and it instantly looked like a home with children. Not in a bad way. I loved it, actually. Toys on the floor. Trainset. Blocks. Crayons. It made it feel like a home.

Mems was putting the boys down to bed when we pulled in. She came down to greet us shortly after we arrived. They’re an amazing couple. Like I said, he’s from New Zealand. So he has that New Zealand accent. And a bit darker skin. Darker hair. And he’s always smiling. Always laughing. And Mems (I can’t remember what it’s short for), Mems is very English, as she told me. She has a few inches on Lynden. She’s about as tall as I am. And blonde.

They met while at university, and they lived in London for about six years while Lynden was in bonds trading. Moving to Oxford has been a pretty big change for them, as well. They have a lot more space here. Their two year old son, Joshua, calls the back garden a park.

Mems finished work on the tacos while we talked in the kitchen for a bit. I was so happy to be having tacos. I love the British food, but tacos definitely sounded refreshing.

Mems told me not to worry about spilling or making a mess, because she’s incredibly messy. Sure enough, she made her point right off the bat with the rice. I told her it was just an ice breaker to make sure I didn’t feel embarrassed when I spilled. She assured me it was not.

We had a great talk over dinner. About our interests in the ministry. About some of our favorite pastors and authors. They had a stack of John Piper books beside the table. We instantly had a common bond.

We talked a lot about the state of the Church in America. And in England. We talked about the differences between the two countries. How America’s portion sizes match the size of the country’s homes, both much bigger than here in England.

“It’s totally okay if you don’t like my cooking,” Mems said, “but I’ve made some pudding for dessert.” This was after my second plate of tacos.

The English call everything pudding, by the way. You have to remind yourself that by pudding, they could actually mean a number of things. Like cake, for example.

“It has pears and cinnamon and almonds,” she explained to me. It looked amazing. And it tasted even better. Especially with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Mems excused herself to comfort their youngest. Joel. He’s just eight months old. She brought him into the dining room where we were at. You could tell he had been woken up from a nice sleep and he wasn’t happy about it.

“Probably had a bad dream,” Lynden said.

Mems went to return Joel to bed, and Lynde got up, stepped around the table and kissed him on the forehead before he left.

We moved to the living room after finishing our dessert. To chat some more. We talked about some of our coursework. And about how we were dealing with the things that flew in the face of our beliefs.

I told him I kind of knew that’s what I’d be getting myself into. That, even though it’s not always comfortable, it is a conversation I felt like I needed to be familiar with, if I wanted to take this seriously. He agreed.

They told me about how they planned to move to New Zealand after Lynde finished his degree. To work in the ministry back home.

“There’s a real need for it there, that’s for sure,” Lynde told me.

I asked if that was going to be a hard transition for them, after being in England so long.

“I think I’ll realize just how English I am once I get there,” Mems said with a laugh.

I thanked them for having me after a while. Not wanting to overstay my welcome. It was nearly 10. They said it was no problem. They said they were sorry I had to be here for so long on my own.

They told me if I ever just want to be around people, not to hesitate to give them a phone call. That they were only a little ways away.

“Yeah, and we have a spare room, so even if you wanted to stay the night,” Lynden said, making me feel completely welcome. “And if it’s just not a good night, I’ll let you know,” he said with a smile.

“Yes, they’re quite blunt in New Zealand,” Mems piped in. “Took a bit of getting used to.”

I told them it was nice to come somewhere so far from home and still feel comfortable. To a place that felt like home. I think they appreciated hearing that. I appreciated them having me even more.

Saying goodbye, Lynden made a joke about trading Mems in for a younger wife.

“Pretty soon you won’t be twenty anymore…” he said with a sly smile.

“If that’s the case, you should’ve done so whilst you were still a bond trader,” she fired back.

“Hey there, I’m going into the ministry,” Lynde mocked a pickup line.

It made me miss Jen. The back and forth between them. The kiss on the cheek and saying goodbye. I can’t wait for her to arrive.

Sam & Maddie

I returned home to find an e-mail from Jen. She had been babysitting two kids from back home. Sam & Maddie. And she sent me their photos.

I love these guys, and seeing their faces made coming back to an empty home to study after being in such a warm, familial home a bit easier. Thanks, hun. I love you.

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