We’ve been here one week and three days, and I already feel as though we have more stories to tell than this little website could hold. We are learning so much about church planting, ministry and life here in New England. It’s difficult to explain just how full these last few days have been, and just how grateful we are for each of you and our Almighty God, but I’ll try to do my best!!
First of all, it’s important to clarify that I got the “all clear” from the doctor. After my medical testing came back negative, Rhett and I knew we could move to the Northeast in confidence, without a major stressor hanging over our heads. That was such a relief, and we are so grateful for the way your prayers made a difference in how we felt as we waited for test results. Thank you.
Secondly, our trip out here was pretty much as good as it could get! We had no major issues, and besides a detour 30 minutes off the highway to a semi-sketchy motel for the night, nothing was too inconvenient or surprising… I take that back. A twenty-six dollar toll fare was surprising. New England is full of toll roads.
When we pulled into our new apartment, we had a crowd of about fifteen people from the church waiting to help us unload our Penske! In quite the flurry, the truck was completely unloaded after only fourteen minutes! Josh, the lead minister at Movement, timed it for us. We were then able to talk with our new church family for a while and spend some time getting to know them. We felt so incredibly loved by the way they showered us with everything from home grown herbs to delicious local pizza to fresh flowers, gluten free brownies and numerous gift cards over the next few days. Movement, thank you. Thank you for welcoming us with open arms, trusting hearts and so much incredible generosity. You already mean the world to us.
Since then, we’ve been able to set up our little home, figure our way around (through lots of turning around), attend meetings and jump head first into the community. Our first day in the office, we were able to sit in on a meeting with a wonderful lady who recently decided to give her entire life to Jesus and get baptized. She and her family started coming to Movement after a literal sign got stuck in the bushes of her front yard! It was an honor to hear her share her heart.
Between several other meetings, soccer practice and games for Rhett, trying and failing to set up a local bank account (apparently proof of residence is necessary? I should have known), and unpacking lots of random boxes, we have also been able to share meals with so many gracious people from Movement. This has been a blessing for lots of reasons. It’s allowed us to explore our new home, to meet and get to know so many wonderful new friends and to not have to worry as much about cooking as we get settled in. To those of you that have opened your home, brought food over or shared a meal with us: Thank you so much. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality. We have so enjoyed spending our evenings with you, and we’re looking forward to many more!
Finally, we’ve also been able to start experiencing life in a small town between two larger cities here in New England. Merrimack basically runs into Nashua and Manchester, both of which are pretty big. On Saturday, we went to a community yard sale before crossing the street and attending a book sale at the library. Sunday, we drove into Nashua and had the most amazing time at an Egyptian Festival held at the Coptic church. We ate shish kabobs, rice pilaf, tabouleh and stuffed grape leaves as we talked with some new friends of ours who immigrated to the United States about two years ago from Egypt. They shared their experiences with us, growing up and living as Christians in a country where Islam is the dominant religion. We also shared a photo and swapped Facebook friend requests so we can stay in touch!
There are so many incredible things happening here. We have learned and experienced so much in these past few days! There is a significant need here for people who know, love and trust Jesus Christ to spread His Light and speak His name. Thank you for allowing us to do so. We couldn’t have made it this far without many of you, who have prayed for us, followed us and supported us in so many encouraging ways. Thank you. Jesus is moving powerfully to change lives in the Northeast, and He is using people like you and me to do so. Thanks!