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When mission takes us to a holiday cottage

Respites in the Lake District encourage Christians to seek God

If a holiday cottage could write, it would fill many a book. Visitors come and go, and the cottage is weaved into the tapestry of life. More often than not, the cottage forms the centre piece of the annual holiday highlight. It offers four walls of protection from the hustle and bustle of the daily slog, a much-needed haven. Depending on its setting, it will also serve as a door into another world, a world of beauty and escape. 

David McKie and his wife, Gill, know this very well. David has found himself in one or the other cottage in the Lake District at least once a year since he was six weeks of age. He has always associated the Lakes with a place of peace and refreshment. In fact, he says, It is unique. There is nothing like it. It is irreplaceable to me and I would not want to miss coming here. When I am here, I feel closer to God.” 

For the last 15 years, David and the McKie family have rented large homes in the Lake District and invited people to join them for the summer, keen the offer them the opportunity to seek God’s face and tarry in His presence, because whatever life throws our way, this beautiful corner of the world revitalises each of us. 

Every summer is different. The McKies cater for an eclectic mix of up to 20 people from all generations from their church. David and Gill put together a suggested plan for the day, which will include time at the Keswick Convention and then an afternoon of hiking, time by Derwent Water, cycling through Whinlatter, or an outing to one of the many cafés in Keswick and beyond. There is something for everyone. 

David explains, Over the span of 50 years at the Keswick Convention, I have only missed two summers. My parents took me here and their parents before them. We now bring our own two boys. Coming up here is part and parcel of who I am and we have returned at other times of the year. 

I love the Lakes and would not want to miss the combination of being spiritually refreshed at the convention while enjoying this most gorgeous landscape. As we watch our friends during their time here, we can see their demeanour change and a renewed sense of hope return. It is wonderful to see.” 

One story that particularly stands out to David is that of a young mother who struggled as a result of a very difficult home life. The first time she came to Keswick her walk was burdened, her heart clearly heavy. Then, within a couple of days, hearing the word of God and stepping out into God’s beautiful creation made all the difference: the spiritual transformation in her life practically tangible. The Lord had lifted her burden. While her home life did not improve much, she returned with renewed hope and courage to face the day. 

Mission comes in all shapes and expressions. Wherever we are, wherever God takes us, we are presented with opportunities to reach out. Mission might take us to faraway places. Equally it might mean that we take others to join us on holiday to experience the life-changing power of the word of God and the soothing whisper of His creation. 

About David

At the centre of David’s heart are teenagers and young adults. For almost 30 years David has been serving young people. He has enjoyed an international business career, been in full-time youth ministry and currently is working as a child psychologist in a psychiatric hospital. His passion is the emotional and spiritual development of children.

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