I can’t convey all the details of what I’m doing here, as it would take far too long. And I’m also unable to fully describe the feeling and atmosphere here, but I know I have friends and family that want to know how and what I’m doing, so these are the snippets that will hopefully give a fair impression.
The past few days have been, as you might expect, a bit of a plunge into the deep end of a swimming pool. But that’s what you need sometimes, and it’s certainly better than sitting and waiting for things to get going. This week of introductions and induction has been useful for getting to know Guildford, getting to know the people of Emmaus Road Community Church, and understanding the values of 24-7 Prayer.
Guildford is a lovely place, and similar to Huddersfield in some ways. It’s right in the middle of some awesome countryside, really close to a big city, and people seem to come here for a bit and end up staying. Always a good sign. Guildford appears to be quite a few rungs up the “money ladder” than Huddersfield is (average house price is almost triple!), which means it’s quite expensive to live here. That isn’t so great, although perhaps because there is almost every shop and restaurant you could ever want in the town centre, it’s hard to keep your money in your wallet.
I already love Emmaus Road church. Maybe it’s because we’re the ‘Vissies’ (pronounced viz-eez) i.e. the Vision Course students, but everyone has been pleased to see us, happy to meet us, and really welcoming. It’s the kind of place you don’t want to leave. Similarly to my church in Huddersfield, The Net (miss you guys!), they meet on a Sunday at 4.30pm, and they often eat together. It’s obviously the way to go. I’ve also been wonderfully welcomed by my host family (and their pets). Brilliant. One thing I have noticed within Emmaus Road is the amount of people who live together. There are couples who live together, some families with lodgers, and a few house-shares of 3 or 4 people. During my time in Huddersfield, when I have lived with other Christians we’ve often all been part of different churches. For me, I think that has been helpful in keeping a open mind and a good perspective, and making sure I know it’s not ‘all about’ my own church. But I also see the HUGE benefits of living with other people from your church and sharing your life with them. The opportunity for deep and real relationships to be built is a lot bigger when you have the same vision. Living together “in community” is something that has interested me for a while, so I’ll keep my eyes open and see what else I can learn about this here.
24-7 Prayer is THE business. I’m so excited to be doing a course with them. The more I learn about God and being a Christian, the more I realize that prayer is the key and foundation to everything we do. When we pray and ask God for things, it shows we’re dependent on him and that we trust him. And we are also changed as we pray; as we spend time with God in prayer, we gradually become more like him. Win-win-WIN. Oh, and if you want to know a bit more about prayer, check out this nice little video. I’m hoping the things I learn on this course will stay with me forever, especially some of the stuff about establishing rhythms and habits of prayer.
That’s all for now, I’ll see what I can rustle up in a few days time.
Shout out to my crew, Nightlife, Cake and Muscles.
This is Linguini, signing off.