My name is Rhiannon. I’m a writer and have long dreamed of seeing England. When I say “long”, I mean I can’t recall a time in 39 years when a mention of anything British in a book or on tv didn’t stir up feelings of longing and trigger a million daydreams. I believe God calls us to things, nudges us with desires that may seem ridiculous to others, but they are pieces of our path in life, our destiny. I believe this trip is part of my calling. Obviously, money is an obstacle or I wouldn’t be here asking for your help.
If you’d like to help, you can donate here: Rhiannon’s GoFundMe Campaign
Can you be a collaborator in my journey? Can you give (even small amounts help) to make this dream a reality? I promise that I will take you along with me, not just in spirit and in my prayers, though I certainly will do both, but via my blog and social media as well.
You can find my blog here: Be the Beauty – Rhiannon’s blog I will be including a “London Summer” Tab soon to make it easier to follow along!
So, let me explain my dreams:
As a writer, I know I can ramble for ages about being brave, taking leaps of faith, and following dreams. I have done my share of those already but, they have mostly been confined to the realm of my small and predominately risk-free life. I need to put that philosophy into action and spread my wings. Writers need adventures to fuel their imaginations and world views, to grow and connect with people so that their words can reflect that growth and return that connection to others. If I only live in a bubble, I will only write within that same scope. I want to use my writing to glorify God and show the realness of faith. As my friend Ronne said, “Faith isn’t airy or nothingness. It’s got heft to it. It’s weighty. It’s more real than reality.” This journey is my faith in action, following the voice of God far beyond my comfort zone and surrendering to whatever He wants to reveal to me.
SUBMERGED IN THE CULTURE
I want to take you along with me as I blog about my experiences. I’m sure there will be cultural differences between my small town life in the semi-rural US and the big city of London in the UK.
I don’t want this to be just a quick tourist visit. I would love to live there someday, but for now, I am making the most of this one trip by spending two months there, submerging myself in London as much as I can, breathing in the architecture and the history of the churches and libraries and museums, witnessing the grit and grime and beauty and all the intermingling gravity of the lives there. I want to stroll through parks and play the guitar in the shade. I want to write poetry and articles in coffee shops or on park benches. I want to take walks by the River Thames and try to discover why it seems so special in my mind.
One of the first places I want to visit is 84 Charing Cross Road. After the book and movie, I need to know that I didn’t wait too long to follow my dreams. I want to see the plaque on the wall where the bookstore once stood and know that I really did it, I got to reach out and touch something that has eluded me for so many years. I need to know that this was finally real and not a forgotten wish-turned-regret when my life is over.
I’d love to take a pilgrimage to a tiny village in Somerset where a writer who greatly shaped my theology and my worldview is buried. I want to pay my respects and meditate on the impact that we make in the world just by being true to ourselves. I want to marvel with God that He uses every relationship to create ripples through time and generations that we may never witness.
Since I came out as gay nearly 2 years ago, I have longed for LGBT community. I live in a very rural and conservative part of Missouri where I am the only “out” LGBT I know, and definitely the only out gay Christian. That kind of community is nonexistent for me here. I will be there in time for Pride in London to be my first ever Pride event and will definitely be writing about that! (for perspective: Leicester Square alone, which will hold the women’s stage, has a capacity for 5,000 people. My entire town has a population of LESS THAN 3,000.)
NO RESERVES. NO RETREATS. NO REGRETS.
My flight is booked. My savings are nearly wiped out. My budget for the next couple months is incredibly tight. Can you help me to make this trip a really special experience? I don’t want anything fancy. Hostels and friends’ sofas will help. But there is still a deficit and I want to be able to follow where God is leading me.
My pastor recently spoke of a man named William Borden. He felt God calling him to be a missionary in Asia. When he died, found written in his Bible were the words:
“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”
To me, these have come to mean: that I reserve nothing from God, I’m laying it all on the line to follow where He is calling; there is no turning back, no matter how difficult the journey gets; and I will not live a life of regretting the dreams I haven’t chased or the callings I’ve not heeded.
FAITH THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE
I am stepping out in faith that I will be taken care of along this journey. I know that God will provide my needs. It is possible that he will provide them through some of you.
I’ve never been good at asking for help, but I’ve noticed God often makes us rely on other people when we least want to. Even the apostle Paul had people giving money to support him as he travelled around to various churches to preach the Good News. As a Christian, I believe that all of our lives, every aspect of them, are part of our witness and ministry. As a writer, I know this adventure will have long-lasting effects on my career. As a girl who has wrestled with her faith and asked God to show her clearly the direction He is calling, I have come to this place where I lay my hopes, dreams, and needs out before you and trust that Yahweh Yireh (the God who Provides) will do as His name suggests.
Amanda Palmer, singer and writer, has a philosophy called “The Art of Asking” which illuminates the exchange between people when they undertake a partnership of seeing and being seen by one another, that one person giving money to fund another’s passion is a two-way exchange where both come away with something of value. As you give, you will be helping me reach me dream. As I live out that dream and write, I will be carrying you with me and reaching back to you with my words and my gratitude.
Seriously, thank you for taking the time to read about my dreams. Thank you for any prayers or positive thoughts you can spare me, including prayers for my safety and health during my travels. Thank you for any money you are able and willing to give. And, whether you can give or not, would you be willing to pass this on in case my story resonates with someone you know? If so, thank you for that, too. Perhaps some day I can return the favour and help you follow your dreams.
This is a song I wrote last year about following God. That is what this trip is about, but it is also what my life is about. (Apologies for the slightly rough recording quality and that it wasn’t memorized since I recorded it the day I wrote it!)