Friday, 15 June 2018

A Small Piece of Heaven...

View from my window
I was thinking today about writing my blog post and realised that I haven't really taken any photos in the last two weeks so I will apologise in advance for the slightly random nature of the choices I've made. When I went to All Nations college last year one piece of advice I remember is that I should take photos of everything that interests me when I first arrive because after a while it will just become normal. I think this process has started to happen!

Anyway, I realised that I should do something quickly about it and decided to take a photo of the view from my bedroom window. As you can see I have a great view of mountains and forest. When I sit at my desk and work it doesn't feel like I'm in the middle of a city!

As I was taking said photo my flatmate walked past the door and decided it was a good idea to take a photo of me taking the picture... I promise I wasn't falling out of the window! I am so grateful for the flat I have been provided with. I've properly unpacked now and feel for the first time that I have a place to call my own. (Yes that is a Welsh flag on my desk chair!)

Me taking a photo from my bedroom window
It's taken a couple of weeks but both my flatmates have also managed to move in now. We decided early on that we wanted to be a witness to our neighbours and to get to know them if we possibly could. We knew that if we waited too long it would become strange to introduce ourselves so we decided to use the opportunity granted us by being new to knock on some doors. We followed the directions of the Slovene as to what was culturally appropriate and took a plate of nice biscuits and a packet of coffee to two different neighbours. We first attempted it a few days ago with the flat opposite. A family lives there and we (when I say we, I mean my two flatmates) spoke to the youngest son who is probably in his late teens. He took the plate but it hasn't been returned. We're not sure if it will be now but it's very rude to go and ask for it back again.

Taking gifts to the neighbours
We decided to try again today with an older lady who lives next door. She seemed so pleased to meet us and invited us in to talk with her for a while. She seems to be very lonely and I think will be grateful for company. I would love to be able to communicate with her but for the moment I am dependant on my flatmates for that. The neighbour has already been back today returning our plate and with it a whole load of cherries. Please pray that this will be the start of a fruitful relationship with her and that we can be a blessing on her and her family who seem to visit fairly often.

Thank you to all of those who have been praying for me over the last couple of weeks as I've been trying to sort out my paperwork for residency. I went last week and started the process but I didn't have all the paperwork I needed. I went back again this week and it seems that everything should be fine. I will need to go back again but I don't envision any problems. I've applied for residency for two years. I don't know how long I'll be in Slovenia yet but if I stay for another year then I won't need to go back. It also means that whatever happens with Brexit I'll have legal residency in an EU country so there'll be no problems with me staying here through that time.

This last week has been a very busy time for me. I suddenly had a lot of meetings to go to which has been great but also tiring. I had my first Ministry Training session last night. It was a really helpful time as we're starting to look at 1 Corinthians and the roles of those in ministry positions and the rest of the church. I've also heard back about a language tutor and hopefully those lessons will start soon. I've signed up for a course at the university of Ljubljana in October but this will help me over the summer months.

You're probably wondering why I entitled this post A Small Piece of Heaven... as I haven't mentioned anything related to it. I thought I would save this story for last. The American organisation Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru for short) has quite a presence in Slovenia, at least six people come to my church and I know that there are others going to different churches. Anyway they arranged for a group of 40 students to come for about a month to run different mission activities. They have attempted to spread them around the different churches but we still had 14 at church last Sunday. They doubled the size of the congregation! Normally my church has headsets for interpretation but they had been forgotten, instead the students, plus me, were sat at the back with an interpreter in the middle speaking loud enough for all of us to hear. In addition to this we had a small group of people from Indonesia. I'm not exactly sure what their connection to the church is or how long they are in Slovenia for. Fortunately one of the Slovene members studied Mandarin at university and so interpreted for them. I don't know what language they spoke but not all of them understood Mandarin and so they were also interpreting between themselves. I hope you can begin to picture the scene, the preacher at the front speaking in Slovene and at least three other languages being spoken at the same time. Added to this, yes there's more, REC has no creche so small children usually sit and play quietly (ish) at the back. We seemed to have more toddlers than usual and so banging was added to the noise. It was a crazy scene but one I wouldn't trade, a small piece of heaven with people of all ages from 3 continents speaking 4 languages all praising God together!

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