Dr. Clark graciously supplied the title for today’s Williamsburg blog post. It was indeed a rainy day – all day long, a steady, soaking rain. The locals in Jamestown said that it was the first rainy day they’d had in ages and they were grateful for it. Perspective is everything! Our students persevered in the midst of rain, and the gift shop was happy to sell a slew of brightly colored ponchos and keepsake Jamestown umbrellas.
We had an amazing set of guided tours and the students were happily engaged in answering and asking questions about the life of the first English settlers in Jamestown. They were able to look around at the area and discuss the benefits and drawbacks to founding a settlement in Jamestown. As we learned about the “starving time” when 4 out of 5 settlers died, the students were both sobered by the reality of what the people in Jamestown faced, and grateful for their own abundance. Later in our evening devotional time, one of the students reflected on that time and prayed for God’s grace to help her remember to be thankful for even the small things. What a joy to see the students connecting history and faith and gratitude!
Certainly one of the treats of the day (and not just because it was warm and dry) was a visit to the Jamestown Glass Blowers House. I won’t spoil the surprise for the families at home, but students did get to practice their math skills in the gift shop!
Our afternoon was spent immersing ourselves in the culture of the early 17th century settlement of Jamestown. We divided into two separate groups to enable more hands on time. The students were immediately caught up in learning what brought the English to Jamestown and how they interacted with the Powhatan indians who already lived here.
We learned about different weapons, tools, housing materials, and daily life of the Powhatan. The students even had a chance to try their hand at tanning a hide using only a shell for scraping.
From the English perspective, we saw how simple machines worked to load ships, how to navigate and record a ship’s journey. After going below deck of the Susan Constant (and exact replica of one of the ships carrying the original Jamestown settlers) and seeing how cramped and dark the space was, many a student (and chaperone) remembered our sixteen hour bus ride with a great deal of fondness. We had a chance to rest a bit inside the church building and reflect upon the importance of religion to the early settlers.
We finished up the day exploring the fabulous gallery of interactive exhibits exploring early colonial life and the intersection of three vastly different cultures – the Powhatan, the English, and the African slaves from Angola. As I looked around at the students enjoying a meal together after a long, cold, and wet day. I saw multiple different cultures all gathered together laughing, talking, and enjoying the full bounty of God’s goodness.
Our evening devotion closed with Psalm 18:10:
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.”
It was so encouraging to hear the students reflecting on all the ways in which they are “kept” and to talk to them about God’s goodness in His keeping. Placing that in the context of the intensively difficult circumstances faced by the settlers at Jamestown makes the promises of Scripture al the more sweet.
by parent blogger, Michelle Keller