A team of 12 Americans visited the Carrick area recently to give local children a glimpse of American life and provide teaching about Christianity. The Americans were sponsored by Milestone Christian Fellowship in Girvan.
Team members spread throughout the area and as far as Wigton and Stranraer to work in churches, put on student rallies at the Girvan Christian Centre, and talked with students at Girvan Primary School and Girvan Academy.
The American team arrived on Friday, 13 March at Girvan and settled in with Milestone church members who agreed to host team members. The team came from Missouri, a central U.S. state.
On Saturday, team members split into three groups with one staying in Girvan, and the other two heading to Wigtown and Stranraer to work with local churches on Sunday, and in the respective communities on Monday.
In Girvan on Monday a group of Americans met mums at a Parents and Toddlers meeting. The American and local mothers shared sweets and talked about the differences and similarities of parenting in their separate countries.
At the Girvan Academy four Americans introduced themselves to students in three science classes. The four Americans included one medical physicist, a dentist, a primary teacher, and a high school student.
The three adults discussed their individual careers and the student mentioned what school was like for her in the United States. Girvan students listened attentively, then asked questions about the American school system.
They were also keen to hear about study requirements for education and medical careers, and about American social norms and U.S. sports.
Other team members met with primary and secondary students for an informal football game on the Victory Park pitch. Some younger students were curious to toss about American style footballs, which are similar in shape but smaller than rugby balls.
Adam Oellermann, pastor at Milestone, said he invited the Americans to Girvan in order to begin building relationships with local students.
“I think it worked well,” Oellermann said. “It was useful. The students don’t often get visitors like this in their schools and they got to hear about American life.”
On Tuesday evening the entire team presented at a student rally for the Milestone church’s regular Tuesday night service at 7.30pm at the Girvan Community Centre. The event included the singing of Christian songs, individual stories of some of the American team members, and raffles for free iPod Minis and miniature footballs to the students.
The Americans’ stories all centred on how Jesus Christ helped them overcome addictions, abuse,eating disorders, and other struggles in life. The stories emphasized that Jesus is not a religion but a relationship through the difficulties.
They also taught the students Lean On Me with hand gestures that got the students and adults on their feet for a raucous time of singing and laughing.
On Wednesday morning several American groups presented at the Girvan Primary School and in Girvan Academy.
One group presented at the Scripture Union in the primary school. Another team member met with a Maths Group at Girvan Academy to answer questions about American life, then played football with a group of students.
A third group joined with a Primary One class at the primary school, where they enjoyed helping the children with their fairy-tale cottages.
The students were keen to learn about primary school education in the United States, as well as different terms for food—such as cookie for biscuit, fried potatoes for tatties, and chips for crisps.
The 30-minute session flew by, with Scripture Union leader Danielle McInnes saying it was wonderful the American team arrived to give the students a different experience.
On Wednesday evening, the Milestone hosted an open mic night at the community centre. Americans told about themselves, and more free iPod Minis and footballs were raffled off.
The Americans toured Ayr on Thursday before heading to Dublin on Friday to begin their journey back to their homes on Saturday.
The team came to Girvan from a Baptist church in O’Fallon, Missouri. O’Fallon, a city of 80,000 in the St. Louis metropolitan area, is in the eastern portion of Missouri.