As I said in my previous post, I was invited to an event with the church I attended last Sunday. Last night was the night. And things went almost exactly how things normally go for me - not as I planned. (Spoiler alert - it ended up being a really fun night!)
The event started at 7 and I live about 20 minutes away from where the event is so I plan to catch the 6:40 bus because I see it as being better to be a few minutes late rather than a few minutes early to new events…because I’m some sort of genius. I can hear a bus go by my apartment and realize that I missed the 6:40. Ok, I’ll have to catch the 6:50. Time to kick it into high gear and get to the bus stop. I honestly don’t even know what I got hung up on but I end up seeing my bus go by as I am walking to my bus stop…guess I’ll catch the 7. No biggy, right? So I catch the 7 bus and I swear we hit eeeevery single stop and eeeeeveryone had to pay cash because noooooobody had a bus pass. The bus ride took foreeeever. Ok maybe I’m being slightly dramatic but I was starting to feel “not so good” about how late I was.
I get to my stop and it’s 7:22 and I only have a couple blocks to walk. Now keep in mind, I don’t know the vibe of this event but my brain somehow convinced me that there would just be music and mingling. Reality hit as I walk in the door - there’s someone speaking (Swedish of course) at the front of the church and everyone is sitting in silence listening until I walk in, try to find a table and find all the chairs full. This time, I’m not exaggerating - there were no open chairs. So what do I do? I plop down next to the sound guy. No joke, 2 seconds after I sit down, a different lady takes the mic and asks “does anyone here not speak Swedish and require an interpreter?” Not a single hand goes up…except mine. From the back of the room, I embarrassingly raise my hand and I’m sure my face was flushed. To make it better, she announced over the mic “just one?” and starts walking towards me. As if they weren’t before, now every single person is looking at me. She hands me the small radio I’m becoming familiar with and explains how to use it, not knowing I had visited previously on Sunday. She told me that I could have her seat - located at a table in the front of the room. A nice gesture but another awkward maneuver finding the free seat as the group is now mid-prayer.
I find my seat as the prayer ends and apologize to the girls at my table for making a scene. They laughed with me and said it was no big deal. One girl, I recognized. She was one of the girls who invited me to have coffee with her after the service last Sunday. The night was filled with games including speed dating, charades, and a fast interview where the words “yes” and “no” were not allowed.
The games were even funnier because the interpreter decided that since I was the only one who needed help, she would sit next to me and translate directly rather than over the radio. So she was trying to talk as quickly as possible to fill me in while the whole room was laughing. After the games ended, the pastor gave a sermon and I had my trusty interpreter with me the entire time. Her voice was louder than a whisper so it was slightly uncomfortable that during the pastor’s silence for emphasis, the interpreter was leaning towards me to translate the message for me. It was a great message, though, fitting in perfectly with my situation.
The pastor, Stephen, talked about when Jacob fled Beersheba. God spoke to Jacob; He told him that although Jacob felt alone, God was with him and that he would always be with him. About 80% of the congregation is made up of students at this church so Stephen emphasized that we often see our school years as a mid-point in our life - something that we get through before we can do other things. We think “well, once I get done with school, then I will do this/that”. But instead, we need to think about what God is doing in our lives right now because wherever you are in your life, He has a plan. He has a purpose for every minute of your life and for every step of the way. The message definitely hit home with me as I’m in a time of my life where I’ve been feeling alone. Do you think God reads my blog?
Have a great weekend everyone!