UK Tour 2018 – Week 1

In May of 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take Lubbock Christian University’s singing group, Best Friends, on a 3-week tour of the U.K. This is an overview of the trip, in three parts.


After nine months of praying, planning and fundraising, the time had finally come for us to load up in the van and head for the airport. The airport in question happened to be in Dallas, six hours away. We left after church on a Sunday afternoon and pointed the van toward Richland Hills, the home of Michael Peschell (one of our bass singers). Upon arrival, the Peschell family treated us to an outdoor feast and a relaxing evening. The calm before the storm. Fortunately, this was going to be a very good storm, but we didn’t know that at the time. We were all a bit trepidatious about what was to come. As it turns out, there was no need. God had everything laid out for us. Off to bed for a short night’s sleep.


We arrived plenty early at the DFW airport and had about 90 minutes to kill before boarding. The group automatically pulled out games to play. Mostly card games, and I have no idea where they keep them all. They just sort of appear at moments of boredom.

The trip to JFK went smoothly, and now we had four more hours to kill in New York. More games. Shopping. Eating. Most importantly, getting our minds set so we could sleep on the 7-hour flight to Scotland.

As it turned out, between keeping us awake for supper and waking us up to feed us breakfast, we only had 4 solid hours of sleep time. Thankfully, I slept all of it. Not many of the other kids did though. One rough landing later, we were wheels down in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh International

After months of praying, fund raising, emails, phone calls and preparation, we finally landed in the UK. After a short round of questions from Scottish customs officials, we were through the doors and into the luggage area. Thankfully, our successful trip continued with all our luggage showing up. That was a blessing, since our schedule wouldn’t really allow for our luggage to catch us if it hadn’t landed with us.

And, I must insert, the first thing we saw after stepping off the plane was the private Manchester City Football Club plane. It was parked next to us. I almost turned around and got back on the wrong plane.

Richard Sharpe was there to meet us. Richard is our main contact in the UK. He is an elder at Northampton Church of Christ and has hosted other groups similar to us (Durant, the Lancasters, etc). He owns a 17-passenger minibus, which felt very familiar and comfortable. Loading up, we took of for Peterhead.

The biggest immediate challenge we faced was jet lag. We landed in Edinburgh at 7AM. It’s best to try 

and stay awake for the full day you land when you travel overseas. Since his was an early landing, we had a very long day ahead of us.

Our first stop of the trip was St. Andrews, which has a long-lauded history in relation to the game of golf and St. Andrews University. Walking though the town truly felt like we were on a movie set. We even made it down to the beach front and shot a bit of video for one of our songs. After lunch and a bit of coffee in Aberdeen (which did next to nothing for our jet lag), we hopped back on the bus and headed for Peterhead. Within 10 minutes, the entire bus was asleep (with the notable exception of our driver). We only let everyone sleep 1 hour, so as not to completely mess up their night’s rest.


After arriving in Peterhead, we went straight to the church building and met our first hosts. The people in Peterhead are wonderful and they were absolutely charming. We had been warned ahead of time that the accent in Peterhead was quite thick. This turned out to be true, but they were very mindful to speak slowly so that we could at least try to understand them.

I stayed with Billy Strachan. At one point, his 17-year old twin daughters got to conversing with each other and they slipped into Dorrick. Their mother quickly said, “Holly, speak English please,” “Sorry, mum.”

We set our sound system up that evening and had a nice meal with several members of the church. Our first day drew to a close after 32 hours of travel. 

And here I must insert a very large thank you to Bose Intl. When we first started considering this trip, one of my biggest concerns was in procuring a sound system. I knew, without a doubt, that we did not want to carry one over the ocean. I was even open to renting once we got there. To avoid that, I contacted my cousin, Swade Moyers, who is the head of the Lubbock branch of the Moyers Group and explained the situation to him. He went up the chain until it finally reached the desk of the right person at Bose International. Bose has a program in place that allows them to loan out systems within certain parameters. Apparently, our musical mission trip fit the guidelines, and they loaned us two L1 Model II’s with the B2 bass. It was amazing. Thank you, Bose!

Day 2 in Peterhead started with a bit of sightseeing. Our first stop was the Bullers of Buchan, a breathtaking view of cliffs and seaside. It was like something out of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only in Scotland. From there, we stopped at our first really old building, Castle Slains. The old castle overlooked the ocean and was in semi-working condition around 100 years ago. Since then, part of it has fallen into the sea and the rest fell into disrepair. It’s still a pretty amazing place to see, though. We shot some video throughout the grounds. Look for it coming soon.

That evening we had our first concert of the trip. The Peterhead church was extremely gracious and treated us very well. They had about 50 in attendance, which was about double the size of their usual attendance. A group from Aberdeen showed up, as well as a few from the community. They also fed us well and introduced us to proper tea. It was a great stop all around.


The trip back from Peterhead took the better part of the day. After testing out the Scottish version of McDonald’s (which wasn’t too bad), we arrived at the church in Livingston and immediately went next door to the Nursing Home. We had the opportunity to sing for the entire population of the home, which they greatly appreciated.

After a good night’s rest in host homes, we met up again for a day of sightseeing. Our fist stop was Culross, a very old town where a good amount of filming has been done for both Scottish and American productions. It’s most famous for the BBC program Outlander. Most of the town is built on a roughly 30-degree angled hill and we walked all the way to the top to see the Abbey. The group sang a song on a balcony in the ruins of the original monastery (they drew quite a crowd). They also sang a song in the current abbey, but stopped when an older fellow asked why they were singing about Jesus in a church. When he left to see if we had “obtained permission”, we took the opportunity to depart the premises. Yes, we got kicked out of a church building for singing a song about Jesus.

That evening, a great crowd joined us at the Livingston Church of Christ where John Mooney was our host. Normal attendance there is around 50 or so. Almost 150 people showed up that evening and there was much excitement. As usual, Best Friends did a great job.

This was the last stop for the Anderson Family. It was good to have Nathan, Christy and Julien with us for a few days. It was a quick turnaround for them, but I think they enjoyed it too.


Our next stop was in Glenrothes with Allen Phillips. Glenrothes is a wonderful little church that has a big impact on their community. The church building is used daily for all kinds of non-church related activities. Allen took us to his home that afternoon where we had a chance to sit and relax. Thus far, that was a rare chance and we took advantage.

The concert that evening was lightly attended, but we had the opportunity to lead worship the next morning.  We even got to do a small singing workshop in the afternoon, which I believe had as much impact (if not more) than the concert.

And we got to meet Stephen. Stephen is a young man bound to a wheelchair with cerebral palsy – but only his body. His spirit was certainly alive and he was an active participant in almost everything we did. I think he sang louder than anyone else in the building, but only he and the Lord could understand what he was singing. It was great.

Oh, and they fed us. Lots. And lots. Every time we turned around it was time to eat something again.


Our next day was simply a day of recreation. We took a 150-mile drive overland to the west side isles and visited Glencoe – the Scottish Highlands. It was a beautiful sight.

I should mention at this point that the weather has been magnificent. No rain, clear skies, mid-50’s temperature… just about perfect. Everyone had told us that the Highlands would be socked in with clouds and rain, as it usually is. And they were wrong. It was a crystal clear day and you could just about see forever.

We hiked around the mountainside, played around in the heather, did some shopping and shot more video. When our afternoon was finished, we drove about halfway back and stayed at an AirBnB place just off Loch Lomond. It was actually on Loch Voil, and the only way to get to the hostel was a 12-mile dirt road through the forest and around the lake.

Our final destination that night was a 12-bed house on a working sheep farm on the shore of the lake. It was a beautiful, relaxing evening and a great ending to a fun day. The only downer was the fact that no one had hot water the next morning. I guess it was part of the experience.

To be continued in Pt. 2.

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