I have now been living in community for 4 months now and it is the start of a new year, it is a rather fitting time to reflect on everything that has happened in my life over the past 4 months.
I moved into community on the 9th of September 2016 and since then things have been a mixture between being a radically different and there being elements of normality present. Some of the things that have been radically different are fairly obvious, including being so far away from family and friends, not really knowing anyone who lives down, getting used to new surroundings.
The less obvious things that have been radically different include; living with people who I don't know and don't really know much about, having to get up to say prayers at regular times of the day, living in such close proximity with people who are not family, with some conflicts arising because of that, sometimes over the most trivial things - like what Lord's prayer we say. However, that is something that we are getting used to, due to the different traditions and experiences that we have all come from. Perhaps, the one thing that I am still getting used to, is the night sky and just how staggeringly beautiful it is, especially on clear night.
I have found it be very comforting to be living in a rural setting despite coming from the city of Aberdeen. I may have only been here for 4 months but it feels like I've spent a lot longer down here, due to the assimilating so much into the community. Which is one of the elements of normality I have found, that I am comfortable no matter where I am, whether that be in the middle of a city or in the heart of rural South Devon.
I have certainly felt welcomed into the wider community as well as the religious community or "monastery" as some of the locals call it. It truly is a wonderful part of the world to live in. I believe that God has definitely called me to this area and He is at work in my life, which is why I feel so relaxed and welcomed into this area.
The last 4 months have been a time for growth, for both myself and for the community. I have grown more deeply in my relationship with God, with the ability of saying no to people when they ask something for me. I am learning to take a step back in life but while also taking opportunities that will help to grow. Such activities include learning how to just be and to take to time to just be still, which very difficult for me as I am someone who likes to always be doing something.
Some of the opportunities that I have taken back include, Messy church, Café Church, Living nativity – live performance of the nativity story, up at East Soar Farm, re-establishing a bible club at the local primary school, taking part in the church services including reading and preaching. Those are the opportunities that have required me to be physically involved doing stuff. Others have required me to delve deeper into different aspects of Christian belief, tradition and outlook. I have written a reflective study on the Rosary and of the philosophy of the Virgin Mary in regards to the Catholic Tradition, that was one study the other was on Mary of Magdalene, with disprove the fact that she was not a whore. There is no evidence that she was Biblically and non-biblically. It was all rouse by Pope Gregory the Great.
It has certainly been fairly busy the last few months and that is not including the Study days with the South West Ministry Training Centre in Foundations in Christian Ministry and working part-time between the Winking Prawn and Salcombe Coffee Company.
Over the next 8/9 months I am really looking forward to seeing and experiencing the way that God is going to move in my life and the direction in which my life will take. I hope and pray that I will be given more opportunities to grow and spread my horizons to found out who God wants me to be and how that will look. I am certainly in an exciting time of my life and who knows where I would be now, if I had not taken the risk of applying for a year in community.
As always every blessing to you,
Your Brother in Christ,