Monday, July 21, 2008

Traveling To Unst

Do you know where Unst is? My son and I discovered this little known, northern UK island a couple of years ago. We sent an email to the official Unst website and, lo and behold, received one back! Since that time, we've "visited" the island a few times via the Internet. We think its fascinating, though very isolated.

Unst is off the coast of Scotland-the UK's northern-most island. Its most famous claim to fame is that it adjoins the island of Shetland where-you guessed it-the Shetland pony originated. The Vikings were there at some point in history and it is home to those funny little birds called "puffins".

While exploring Unst this last time, we discovered a tourist spot called "Bobby's Bus Shelter". It's a little bus stop that one of the children on Unst decided to decorate with sofa, curtains, microwave, and TV. It became something of a quirky tourist "must see", equated to the "loneliest phone booth" in the world (which happens to be in the USA's Nevada desert). We found many photos on the web about Bobby's bus shelter, but this led us to a rather sad mystery story.

Seems Bobby's father was an outspoken critic of the oil industry and had been a part of a new company on Unst that was promoting the production of hydrogen and wind as a renewable energy source. There was even a car that was able to drive around Unst using this combination as fuel!

One night, Bobby's father did not return home from work. He was missing for several years, and many theories arose as to what happened to him. Then, in February of 2008, a thigh bone that had been found on the shore near where he went missing was confirmed as belonging to Bobby's dad. The supposition is that his dad was swept off of one of the steep cliffs by the very winds he used to help make his renewable energy.

This made us sad...we had always thought of Unst as a kind of fantasy island,free from modern cares and steeped in old ways and charming old houses. The death of Bobby's dad brought home to us the reality that many little villages and isolated outposts of the world are filled with people. Real people who love and laugh, work and play, and die...just like the rest of us. And just like us, they need the Lord.

Unst has the distinction of having the northern-most church in the UK within its boundaries. I'm curious as to what role that church plays in the life of the island's people. Did Bobby's daddy hear the gospel there?

We all have the ability to travel to a place like Unst; a place where the isolated and the lost live. A place that might very well be right next door. My prayer is that I become sensitive to the Holy Spirit's listen to His voice as He calls me to the side of someone who needs to hear the gospel one more time, or maybe for the first time.

It's comforting to know that though Unst has little recognition in our modern world, the Eyes of the God who created it is always on this little island so far away and on all the people who live there. And I plan to keep the people of Unst in my prayers.

For more information on Unst, click on this link: The Island of Unst


LauraLee Shaw said...

Wow, how fascinating. I will keep these people in my prayers as well.

Laury said...

Sounds like Tabor:) LOL! Thanks for such interesting facts.

Patty Wysong said...

Wow--I'm constantly forgetting the fact of real people. (and it really bothers me!) God is into real people and real lives--what a comfort that He knows all about these places and people we've never heard of or thought of!

Joanne Sher said...

Absolutely fascinating, Dee - and an incredible lesson. I think we all forget about the people more than we'd like to admit. Thanks for reminding me to remember.