Starting out in a new place can be intimidating. Everything is unfamiliar, everything is different. Things you take for granted you have to relearn, like where you get your milk, where you catch the bus, and where you do your laundry.
Take it from someone who knows. I moved to York last September from the States. A new country, a new city, and two suitcases. I didn’t even have toilet paper in my bathroom. I had no idea where to buy food or shampoo or how to get to town. I was jet-lagged, exhausted, and a bundle of nerves.
Sitting in my new flat I thought, “This was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. Why did I think I was going to be brave enough to do this?” That moment when you realize that you have nothing and everything in life is grace from God, because on your own, you are scared and have nothing, not even toilet paper.
When everything is in flux and changing, you experience a roller-coaster of emotions. Homesickness, anxiety, fear of the unknown, excitement as you meet new people, worry as you wonder what they thought of you. In the flux it is so important to get grounded, get stuck in.
I went to St. Michael le Belfrey after my first week and realized how thirsty my soul was, how much I had missed the community of the body of Christ in the church, how much I needed to worship God and thank Him for his faithfulness in the transition to York, and how much I needed to hear the Word of God preach truth to my soul. The Belfrey was not like the other churches I was used to, but I felt that I could really learn and grow here. Don’t be afraid to try new things, to be out of your comfort zone. Find somewhere where your spirit is at peace, where the Word of God is preached, where the Gospel is never taken for granted, and commit.
I know that three years sounds like a long time to be in York and you might think that there is no rush to find a church or you can just hop around, and "church shop” but I really want to encourage you to get plugged in sooner rather than later. God did not create the church to be a flavor of ice-cream, if you don’t like that one, just keep trying until you find one you like. There are no perfect churches, and there are no perfect people. But there are churches that model life in relationship well, and you do not want to miss out on that, relationship with God, relationship with other believers, and relationship with the world in mission.
I was so blessed by getting plugged into the student life at the Belfrey. My Belfrey Group quickly became my family away from home. And my prayer is that you get stuck in and find a family at the Belfrey too.
Monica Godfrey is a Student Forgee who came to the Belfrey while pursuing her masters in modern literature at York Uni.