The Canvas house - an old converted church
We were really excited to see all of them and to experience Canvas. After a few delays in our train we were joyfully greeted at the train station by our good friend, Robert Braden. We headed back to his and Natalie's house for some lunch and my introduction to their son Benjamin. He is probably one of the most calm and laid back babies I have ever been around. So many of you know me and know when I get excited and are around people I haven't seen in a while I turn into motor mouth. You would think I hadn't spoken to anyone in weeks and wanted to make sure I told them everything in the first hour I saw them. After I calmed down from all the excited we headed over to the campus house to see everyone else.
Jackson's upon arrival
As I walked in the Canvas house I was greeted with a big hug from my friend, Tatum. It was really awesome to see him in England because it was such a journey for him to get over there. Next we saw Allison, Mike, and Jenn. Mike and Jenn took us on a tour of the University of Birmingham and we ran into some of the students involved in Canvas. Being on and around a college campus is such a great feeling. I am not so far removed that I feel out of place and I even like to pretend I am still there.
Our tour guides - minus much information about the campus
According to a student we met, this free-standing clocktower on campus is the tallest in the UK (world?)
Also, we learned that J.R.R. Tolkien lived near this area and Birmingham/Selly Oak was a source of inspiration for the city of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings (must be a great selling point for the local real estate agents!). Recognize the Eye of Sauron? (Keight?)
To get out of the staff's hair before their big night of the week Justin and I went to dinner and enjoy a few Magners (I can't get a enough of this cider). From there we headed to the big showdown and what a night! Kevin and the band were rocking and they sang some great songs. The atmosphere in the house was chill and relax and you could tell people were enjoying the evening. It is awesome to see your friends doing what they love and also changing the lives of college students for Christ. It is even more amazing to think that campus ministry is happening all over the world. Our campus ministry, GTCCF, had such a profound impact on Justin and I that I truly wish everyone could experience it and at Canvas they are. Nathan gave a great talk and even threw in a little Seinfeld. After Bible study we headed out to the pubs with some students. Just to make this clear in England pubs are like coffee shops and people go and hang and have some awesome conversations. Pubs have a great vibe and you can tell a lot of minds and mouth are processing some deep thinking. It was a great night with many laughs, but than anything a lot of admiration for our friends.
Do you feel the atmosphere?
Kevin and the band doing a heck of a job.
Nathan rocking out the talk
What Canvas is all about
The next day we headed to CADBURY WORLD! That's right folks and it was as awesome as it sounds. Cadbury officially began in 1831 and the famous Dairy Milk Bar was introduced in 1905. We took the tour and loaded up on chocolate... nuff said.
Welcome to Cadbury World
Initially I was excited to pose with REAL Cadbury Creme Eggs, but later I found out that they were actually supposed to be cocoa beans......LAME!!
Oh My God!! Have you ever seen a more glorious sight? Me neither. I love these things....and I took a 12-pack home!
After a chocolate filled afternoon we headed back to the Braden's to have a family style dinner with everyone. This was one of those nights that you will look back on and just smile. Good friends, good food, great conversation and tons of laughs. Between Justin giving his best Rick Harper imitation and Benjamin spitting up on me it was a recipe for a good night. The one thing I loved about hanging out with everyone is that they know me for me and I can be myself. The girl that says stupid stuff and can get a little fired up at times, but they love me anyways. It is so cool thinking about how we all met in college and all have a common bond. Good friends are the ones you don't see all the time, but can pick up right where you left off. The whole night was such an encouragement and just good for the soul.
How can you not love that face?
How about when he spits up on you when you were just trying to have a nice time.
Even Justin got in on some baby holding time. (No spit up for him)
In lieu of our best friend, Keight, not being there we wanted her to know we were thinking of her.
And her husband, Jesse, and their dog, Chopper, were missed too. Check out Robert's sweet drawing.
The whole gang. This is the only good picture because everyone got excited by the camera remote and starting taking pictures left and right.
Out-take number 50. What a night!