Many are aware that the Barnard family is set to leave on September 1st. After eight years living and working in the village, we feel that the time has come to begin a new chapter of life. The decision has been difficult. Kiltarlity has become a home to us in the richest sense of the word. Our boys are Shinty players; our network of friends and spiritual family live in the area; our favourite hills and woodland trails are here. Although technically we are returning to our native country, in our hearts we feel as if we will be leaving home.
Before we go, Anna and I want to express how much we love and appreciate this village. By village I really mean the people in the village. As beautiful as Kiltarlity is, what makes this place special are the people who live here. Since our first days upon arriving we have been welcomed not only by the family within the Free Church, but equally by so many others within the village. We never could have imagined eight years ago feeling so rooted and accepted by a village in the Highlands, so distant and remote from our home culture in the United States.
In addition, we want all to know that we will continue to pray for the welfare and blessing of this village. Although we will be distant from you in person, you will always be in our hearts, and we will forever keep an eye to the North of Scotland, asking God to pour an extra measure of His grace and mercy on this place.
Finally, we do hope to see many of you before we go. As always feel free to come up and experience the warmth and love of the Free Church on a Sunday morning. Some in the village have experienced the radical transformation in the congregation over the last eight years. Others would still be surprised to discover how different the church is from what they might expect and how many people – just like you – are there already. We would love to see you on a Sunday. Otherwise, feel free to stop in the Post Office on a Friday morning to say good-bye (part of my weekly ritual) or to visit the manse.
With love and appreciation,
Joe, Anna, and the rest of the Barnard family