I was invited by Dr.’s Steve and Kathy Scott to visit them in England. I met them in 1997 in Nepal while they were missionaries in Pokera. Steve, especially, liked the string figures and saw a great use for them. He is also an amateur illusionist.
I was able to work out a trip for the month of February even though it did not fit well into their schedule. They were not able to meet me so they arranged for a bus ticket to be at Gatwick airport for me. I took the bus to Heathrow Airport and changed it for a bus to Bournemouth and was met by Steve’s parents. While there I gave a string program at the Vineyards church on Sunday.
That afternoon they put me on a train to be met by Peter Rook of the Pentecostal church in Dorchester. Peter could not meet the train so he sent another couple who met me and took me home for tea. It is a continual exercise in trust to know that someone will meet me; sometimes I stand there making string figures so they will recognize me.
That evening I gave a program for the Pentecostal church and Steve and his son Peter came to the church to get me. When I saw Peter, I realized that he was the young man from KISC school who came up with the cross from a figure I had taught him. Wow, what a small world. I had not put him together with his family because he was in boarding school in Kathmandu and not with them at the time.
I went to the Scott home and met the other children and we planned my stay. Like most trips, something is planned for each day and when people see or hear about the ministry, they start calling for more programs. I did at least two programs each day that I was there, either churches or schools. I also did two prisons and a home for the mentally challenged. Many of the programs I did for a “love” offering to help defray expenses. It is so nice when people buy into the program, so to speak.
Dr. SM Scott, String Magic Promotions and Sales International, UK Managing Director, or rather Steve did a great job of getting me into a variety of venues. I started in two churches on Sunday and then worked in the schools. Schools in England do have a religion class and many are cooperative ventures with church and state. There was no problem if I talked about God in the programs.
I went to St. Osmund School on Monday and a couple more times during my stay. Next day I gave a presentation for the youth group at the Pentecostal Church. I also gave a presentation for the Narcotics Anonymous program Tuesday evening. My favorite school was Piddle Valley Primary School. It was something right out of Beatrix Potter’s books.
Of particular interest to me were two visits to prisoners. One was to the Young Offenders in Weymouth. They were most receptive but I could not leave strings…weapons, you know. I also visited the Kainos community at The Verne Penitentiary, on a rock island off the South Coast. It is a Christian ward in the prison where the inmates live by certain principals and rules. What a neat time. I couldn’t leave strings…but one of the inmates went to his room and got two shoelaces to learn some of the tricks. Even without doing the string figures, they heard a strong Gospel message.
One Saturday, I gave a workshop for teachers and librarians on storytelling. We had a good turnout at the local Methodist/United Reform church. I brought over a number of things to use during the workshop and it was well received.
Sometimes the intended audience are not who we think they are. I gave a program for some profoundly handicapped people. They liked the attention but it was the staff that became engrossed with the strings. They were laughing and carrying on watching who could make things and who was having trouble. I have no doubt that they will be showing and helping each other for a long time.
I did enjoy my free time walking around Dorchester and shopping at the little shops, the bakers, the flower lady, the cheese shop, the fish and chips concession. I did have to sample things at a number of these places. I also saw many of the area sights as we traveled to schools or churches to do programs. All in all, it was a very rewarding trip and I see that I could be busy doing the same in each city in England. So many people…so little time. Thanks to the Scotts and their hospitality.