So since Stephanie seems averse to authoring her own blog (when was the last time you posted, Stephanie??), she’s made a new rule. All are welcome to visit her adorable home in Huntingdon, the fee is just one blog post.
It was such a reasonable offer that I jumped at the chance. My friends, Amie and Daniel Berryhill, and I flew to England last week to spend a few days in the life of our dear friend Stephanie Hardy. We hit tourist hotspots like Cambridge, London and Oxford with Stephanie, but we also got to spend plenty of quality time catching up with her and discovering life in Huntingdon/Alconbury.
A great benefit of the trip (besides the tourist extravanga) was getting to see where Stephanie lives, where she shops, and where she works, and especially getting to meet the students Stephanie loves so much. I love being able to picture her life now. The town of Huntingdon, is bigger than we imagined, but also adorable and charming. Walk out of Stephanie’s house, turn right and cross over the road and you’ll find the river Ouse and a lovely walking path that runs alongside it. Walk out of Stephanie’s house, turn left and you’re just a few steps from Huntingdon’s High Street (similar to a Main Street in the U.S.). This is a mainly pedestrian street with bakeries, charity shops, grocery stores, and more.
On Tuesday we got to spend the afternoon and evening with the Club Beyond students. I loved sitting with the kids as they ate, getting to know them a little bit. We had helped Stephanie plan some games for the meeting, and organized a crazy M&M relay race. There were M&Ms everywhere by the time we were done, which, I think, is the sign of successful youth group game.
There was one thing Stephanie said to the kids that really stood out to me. She was telling them how much they are loved and said, “I loved you before I even met you. I started praying for you before I even knew that I would be coming to Alconbury. Amie and Jill and Daniel and lots of other people back in Charlotte have loved you enough to be praying for you too.”
I think I loved it so much because it just brought home the fact that this is all real. Stephanie really heeded a call to serve God here, and she did it to come play crazy games with these students in hopes that she might get to share the gospel with them along the way.
What she did was not easy. Moving across an ocean from her family and friends and the only world she’s ever known isn’t simple. While, luckily, they do speak English in Huntingdon, she’s had to learn about the local culture and customs, how to drive on the left side of the road and how to navigate around towns she is completely unfamiliar with.
But last Tuesday, she shared the gospel with about 75 middle and high school students, and it was easy to see that is why she is at Alconbury.
P.S. Another thing I learned is that she does separate Club Beyonds back to back for the middle schoolers and then the high school students, and that is exhausting.
Note from Stephanie: Thanks Jill…you are wonderful, amazing and too much fun! My friend is on her own incredible inspiring journey; and you can read her blog, Lost and Not Found. It also includes more stories about our week together.
And I will start back blogging soon!!