Behind Boundless – Faking it at Football


On Friday night we decided that instead of having our usual family dinner with our team at the boys’ flat, we would all go to the traveling fun fair. Earlier in the week, Mejee and I saw a sign advertising a fair at the park up the road. We had no idea whether it would be amazing or terrible but we thought we would give it a try. After arriving and paying our £1 entrance fee we took a look around the fair and noticed the target audience was much younger than us…significantly younger! After deciding which rides we each wanted to go on, we all bought our tickets – also only £1 each. To our surprise the rides went much faster and longer than any of us expected. We drove bumper cars and went on far too many spinning rides. By the time we used all our tickets we were all feeling quite dizzy and a bit sick so we decided to call it a night.

This weekend we stayed in Beckenham so we could dog sit a dog named Glen. It was nice to stay in a house for the weekend and cook our own dinner. The only part that was not quite as nice was the commute there and back. On the weekends there is often engineering work being done on different tube lines so traveling on the weekends is usually quite the chore. We also learned this weekend that if you’re traveling outside the city on weekends, the buses and tube stations don’t always announce bus stops or times of train arrivals. I’m sure that people from the neighborhood are used to this but for others, like us, it proved quite challenging. Fortunately, with the help of our phones and travel apps, we got off at the right bus stop and were waiting on the correct platform when the train arrived.

We were able to go to Bromley Temple on Sunday which reminded us quite a bit of our corps at home. There are a lot of IHQ employees and officers who attend Bromley so we were able to immediately pick people out of the crowd and felt at home. We were also able to meet people after church in their coffee house which is a cool ministry of Bromley for their community during the week.

Sunday was our one-year anniversary! It’s hard to believe that a year has already gone by. To celebrate, we went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Shoreditch. It’s fun to be able to say that we spent our first anniversary in London – I certainly never would have guessed it. It might be hard to beat that next year…

Last night (Tuesday) we got to go see our first proper football match. For our American friends, I’m talking about soccer. Peter, one of our co-workers, was able to get tickets for us which apparently not everyone can do. Here you either have to be a part of a particular club or know someone that is. Despite Arsenal losing we had a lot of fun. There are a lot of cheers and chants that the crowd uses to intimidate or excite the other fans (depending on which side they’re on). We didn’t know any of them but we could mumble along and join in the fun. Eventually we learned the Arsenal chant but it only has one word… Arsenal!



Family Fun Fair

Emirates Stadium – Home of the Gunners

The team with Gunnersaurus

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Behind Boundless – Catchphrase in Catford


We started this weekend with family dinner on Friday night at the William Booth College where the other volunteers are staying. This has been a pretty typical Friday activity since we’ve been here. We made breakfast for dinner which, despite having very different breakfast meats here, turned out well. On our way home there was a fox sneaking around our neighbors’ garden that seemed very interested in us, for some reason. On Sunday we went to a smaller corps in Catford. We’ve been going to Regent Hall until the summer holiday season ended. The UK is very much like the US in that the summer months are often sparse in regards to church attendance because of summer programs, vacations, and whatever else happens in the summer here. Catford isn’t exactly close to where we’re staying (about 75 minutes by train, bus, and walking), but Eddie and Kathy go there and we were invited over to their place afterward for free lunch so we couldn’t pass it up. The Catford Corps is indeed small but it reminded us of the Hilo Temple Corps in Hawaii, which made it feel very homey. I played in the band ,which was mostly made up of members from the Congress Team. Despite our small size we managed to play “I’ll Go in the Strength of the Lord” decently, which is difficult as far as tune book songs go.

After church we went to the Hobgood’s for lunch. We had a tasty combination of American and English food and then recovered with a game of Catchphrase. Spending our Sunday only doing this after a Saturday of even less activity made for a rather relaxing weekend. No cool pictures of Londony stuff, though…

Today we went to the East End of London, where the Salvation Army started. We started at the Quaker burial grounds where William Booth gave led his first meeting as the new leader of the Christian Mission. We then went to the Blind Beggar where Booth first engaged the Mission he would later turn into The Salvation Army. We went to the burial grounds first because of geographic convenience. We continued through Whitechapel and the bustling market to where there is a bust of William Booth and, a little farther, a full statue. There is also a huge mural on the side of one of the buildings with significant figures from British history like the royal family, a man that looked to me like Charles Darwin, and William Booth. We also visited a church plant of the Clapton Corps, which serves during the week as a cafe and charity shop. Our last location was Abney Park where William and Catherine Booth (along with several other well known Army leaders) are buried. The park itself is old and frankly rather creepy looking because it was privately owned by a company that eventually went bankrupt and then for some time was left without care. It’s now a nature preserve but remains pretty overgrown. In a way, that fact adds to the tranquility of the cemetery and makes it feel like you’re in on a secret knowing that so many important people are buried there. I only took one photo on our tour… the rest is video which will most likely be on my next video blog on


 The particularly interested fox pup. Or kit. Or cub.

 The under £1 coins which make up a shield. Just an interesting fact about the currency.

The Boundless 8 in front of William Booth’s statue at Mile End.

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Behind Boundless – Associates and Accidental Adventures


As promised, I will introduce the Fab 5 and Boundless 8 in this post. The Fab 5 are actual employees at IHQ that did most of the headwork for Congress so we could come in and do the fun stuff.


Lt. Colonel Eddie Hobgood is the Congress Coordinator and in charge of the department. He and his wife Kathy (the Assistant Congress Coordinator) have been at IHQ for a few years. They’re very friendly and very Southern. As in Southern US, not England. Kathy has Jodi’s favorite accent. They worked on Congress for a year before establishing the rest of the Fab 5. They were chosen for their roles because of their work with the Millennial Congress in Atlanta and their various events since then. They hired Robert, Peter, and Louise about a year after to help with the rapidly growing list of responsibilities.

Robert Ball is the guy everyone is happy to have on their team because he does everything no one wants to do and keeps us out of trouble. This brilliant mind focuses on legal matters, contracts, logistics, and keeping everyone on the same page both legally and mentally. He is Irish and Jodi can’t really understand him.

Peter Haskew handles all things web and design. And registration. And ticketing. And customer relations. And phone calls. And the IHQ Fantasy Football League. Well, he made sure we were included in the IHQ Fantasy League. His main focus now is registration and all of the headaches that come with it so we love him.

Louise Rutterford was our main contact before we came to the UK. She is in charge of delegates and volunteers and making sure they are all cared for. She did a lot of the ground work involving our visas and is basically the reason we are able to be here legally. She loves charts and spreadsheets and is the main person Jodi will be working with this year.


Alexa is from Portland, Oregon and is our social media guru. She’s the bubbliest and arguably the loudest member of our team, which keeps us nice and vibrant.

Cameron is from Napier, New Zealand and works with Peter on registration and delegate… uh… affairs. They spend a lot of time answering emails and phone calls about registration and its complexities. Cameron is the only one that dances naturally at Hillsong services.

Carmen is from San Francisco, California. She mostly works with Robert on contracts and maps. Lots of maps. Turns out the O2 is pretty big. If you need a toilet at the O2, Carmen now knows where they are. She’s easily the quietest team member.

Jeremiah is from Clearwater, Florida and has his fingers in many different pies, as Eddie would say. His biggest projects at the moment are gathering historical information for potential use in the Congress as well as putting together the film festival. He’s not quite as Southern as the Hobgoods but he smiles just as much.

Kelly is from Pasadena, California and speaks 4 of the 7 languages spoken by the Boundless 8. Quickly. She handles a lot of the big writing projects and edits our writing to make them sound better. She is also very aware of culture globally, having lived in several different countries.

Suzanne is from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She is currently working on accommodations and makes sure that there are recreational options for disabled delegates. She came a little later than the other 7 of us but as we all get to know each other we are discovering she is almost as bubbly as Alexa. Almost.

5 of the Boundless 8 with the General and his wife. The other 3 had already gone back to work…

– – –

On to our regular blogging. I decided last week that I would attend band practice at Regent Hall to keep my chops in shape for when I’m back to playing regularly. Jeremiah and I decided to meet at Oxford Circus Station on Wednesday night and go together. We arrived 20 minutes early so we could be set up with an instrument but discovered it was too early when we found the lights were all off. We waited outside for about 15 minutes and when no one else showed up, we figured band had been cancelled or something. I was told band was at 8 so when no one was there at 7:55 it seemed a bit odd. We went to Starbucks instead and then headed home. The next day, one of the corps officers from the Rink (Regent Hall’s nickname- it used to be an ice skating rink) was at IHQ for an event. He asked why we weren’t at band practice and I said no one else showed up last night. He responded with, “Last night? Band is on Tuesdays.” Lesson learned. Not everyone has band on Wednesdays. Songsters was much more successful. We showed up on time AND on the right day.

On Saturday several of us went on an accidental adventure. We started with brunch again at the same place we went to last week. After that, we decided to go to St. Paul’s Cathedral which is right next to IHQ. Jodi and I know the train route well as it is one of our options for our daily commute. On Saturdays, however, there is often service being done on tracks or trains. This Saturday was no different. We didn’t think to check the TFL (Transport for London) website before traveling and thus were caught off guard when the tube stopped and the engineer said it was now going the other direction. We got on another line and made it one station away, where we discovered that line was also turning around. We were in Central London so we decided to just go up to ground level and explore. We ended up at the Tower of London which, if you don’t know, isn’t actually a tower. We didn’t go inside because we’re volunteering this entire year and it costs money, but we were able to see the poppies spread around the outer walls which represent each of the fallen soldiers from World War I. We then crossed Tower Bridge (after some selfies) to get to Borough Market which was far busier than we would have preferred. After a few samples and a lot of people dodging, we made our way back out of the market.

At this point we were all pretty tired of people so we headed to St. Paul’s at last. There were far fewer tourists in the area but because of the amount of fog we decided not to go up into the cathedral, where there is supposed to be a pretty fantastic view. After relaxing in the courtyard we decided Starbucks was in order. We hopped on the number 4 bus to Highbury because I remembered seeing a fancy Starbucks when traveling on that route. Alexa wanted her first London Starbucks to be a fancy one so I figured it would be a good candidate. We got the wrong Starbucks the first time but eventually made it to the one I had seen before. We continued on the route to Highbury where we showed everyone our closet… er… our flat… and we watched British television in the lounge until around 5. We then headed back out to take a tube to Leicester Square where we met Carmen for her birthday dessert. We went to the Haagen-Dazs restaurant which only serves ice cream dishes. By the end of that there was little energy left in any of us so we all went to Covent Gardens to spend what was left of it. I learned quickly that it is not a garden. It’s basically a shopping plaza. With a Moleskine store. Yes. A Moleskine STORE. Too bad I can’t afford paper anymore. We went home after that.


 Tower Bridge selfie with the adventurers (Alexa, Cameron, Suzanne, Jeremiah).

Us. And the bridge.

Carmen’s dessert, which was the best looking.

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Behind Boundless – Pizzas, Parks, and Perfect Weather


While the breakfast served at Highbury is very good, it is the same everyday and can thusly get old. We decided to spend our Saturday morning eating brunch with our friends. We looked for places on the internet and there was a place that was both close and had positive reviews called New London Cafe. We met our friends at the Underground station and walked with them to the cafe, discovering a new charity shop along the way. The food was fantastic and they even let us pay separately! The coffee was Jodi’s favorite she’s had so far in England. They tend to make it more bitter here. We both had a dish called “Ooh La La”, which is basically cinnamon french toast with bacon.

After breakfast, we visited the charity shop we found before and some of the others came out with some good finds. We then went to the park near our flat and played football for a while until a 5-year-old showed us up… we switched to frisbee which, honestly, wasn’t much better. But it was fun nonetheless. I have wanted to visit a Haagen Dazs restaurant (yes, it exists) since discovering it on Oxford Street 3 weeks ago but we hadn’t had the time or stomach capacity before. I suggested it and we all went back to the Underground station. While on the train, however, we decided breakfast was sweet and substantial enough for our appetites so we got off at King’s Cross Station to go to Platform 9 3/4. If you haven’t read or watched Harry Potter, you’re probably wondering how that exists. And you should probably also skip to the next paragraph. We went to Platform 9 3/4 but there was a queue far longer than any of us were willing to stand in. We might go back to the photo op when tourist season is over. Instead, we just went to the gift shop and pretended we could afford Harry Potter memorabilia.

On Sunday we all decided to go to the Catford Corps to surprise the Hobgoods. Jodi and I made it to the first transfer in Peckham Rye but I misread the screen which resulted in our waiting at the wrong platform. We saw our train come and go from across the tracks and discovered to our dismay that the next one didn’t leave until after the service started. We took the Overground back into London and attended Regent Hall instead. While we were there, I was invited to Band and Songsters practice, which starts back up this week. Their rehearsals are on two different nights but I don’t have much else to do on week nights yet… Jodi is only joining Songsters. After church we went to the London Eye, which is a massive ferris wheel right on the edge of the Thames. I attempted to make a time lapse video of the rotations but the sun was too direct for the lighting to work. The view was spectacular, though, and we could see for miles. Makes us appreciate the clear days while we have them.

Last night we had a “family dinner”, as we have come to call them, with the rest of the Boundless 8, which is what we call the 8 Congress volunteers. Alexa and Kelly made the dough from scratch, which is pretty impressive. The rest of us were responsible for bringing sauce, toppings, drinks, or dessert. We have a standard procedure now where each of us brings a part of the meal and that also distributes the cost. The pizzas turned out better than we expected, considering we hadn’t really made pizzas from scratch before. Next week I’ll go over each of the Boundless 8 members so you know who we’re talking about when we refer to them. If you want to know now, one of the other members has already done that in her blog.


Ooh La La.

 From the London Eye.

The Boundless 8. And Timon.

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