A Place to Sleep

This morning in church one of the elders asked me how I was settling in. I immediately responded, “It’s so good to be home.” But I still need to sort a permanent place to sleep. Let me take you on a little journey of how I found a place to sleep for the past several weeks.

It all starts with this family living in Kenya who moved to Germany many years ago. I distinctly remember a conversation with David not long after my accident about how he’d learned to ask for help living in Kenya as he encouraged me to bless others with the opportunity to bless me when I needed help. That particular conversation wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when David and I were catching up back in February and I told him I was moving to New Zealand. David’s been in Scotland the last several years, and he mentioned he’d met someone there who’d moved back to the North Island a while back. He texted Danyell that I was going to be moving to Christchurch only to discover her family was relocating here as well.

I met Danyell and her family two weeks ago, and immediately felt I had wonderful new friends. Her three tiny, high energy kids are adorable and already love me which is super fun, and I loved the rich theological conversations I had with her and her husband the first day we met. They knew I was praying for housing, and on the day I courageously closed the door on the wet shower option that was super expensive and far away, Danyell texted me that she and her husband were willing to be a stop gap for a few weeks after I left the motel if I didn’t find anything. Wednesday afternoon, she picked me up with all of my stuff and helped me set up in their home. Her kids were super excited to show me the bed they helped to make for me.

We were chatting on the way from the motel to her house about how God had opened up three new leads for me to follow just that morning, and while the Friday option didn’t work out, the house I saw on Saturday has unfolded to be another awesome God story. Turns out that a family in the neighbourhood next to Danyell with a connection to one of her good friends had heard from two different avenues of someone connected to RCC looking for accessible housing – so she sent and email to the admin saying they had a fully accessible home and were looking for renters.

It’s a unique situation as the couple is living in an accessible cottage next to their accessible family home where their two adult daughters with disabilities have support workers come help them ease into independence. When I went over yesterday and heard about their TCK adopted kids and the missionary background of the British/Kiwi couple, the worker on duty told me a bit about her life as an MK with three passports (NZ, Aussie, and US) and various cultural experiences. This family even has another daughter no longer in the home who has a nut allergy, so they were completely willing to adjust their kitchen to my needs temporarily.

To be honest, I’m overwhelmed by their generosity. I also know that that is not fair to ask for long term because they specifically crafted their initial search for a flatmate to be looking for “someone who enjoys eating Asian food.” The other reason this is not my ideal long term situation is the 45 minute commute into work each day. Really, that’s not the end of the world, but my heart is to live in a neighbourhood much closer to where the church is long term. Today, though, I’m celebrating how God has opened this door, given me one more step to take in faith, and shown me that he has provided for my needs. And I’ll be able to fully unpack my suitcase nearly five weeks after packing it up and moving out of my apartment in Germany.

This morning’s message at church was on intimacy with God, and Jairus used the Lord’s prayer with context to preach. He emphasised that God knows are needs, but asked if we trust God enough to ask for him to meet them. He actually had a lot of really good, encouraging points, but I was holding on to that “what do I need right now, God?” question as I went into the conversation with this family today about whether or not it would work for me to live with them mid-term. In the moment, I was also able to celebrate how God has met every need along the way the past three weeks – including the week with my new friends via connections in Scotland.

Every night I’ve had a place to sleep that has meet my needs. The Lord has provided generously other details I didn’t ask for like new friends to get to know and opportunities to see the body of Christ functioning through supporting me. While I asked for the permanent place first, I’ve seen God show up in ways I could never have noticed and found new connections that would not have come up otherwise because God moved me to some temporary stops along the way. I’ve often talked about how I wouldn’t trade the experience of disability because of how much I’ve learned about Jesus along the way through suffering and inconvenience and all sorts of things that only happened due to the wheelchair. Similarly, while I look forward to a future perfect house situation, I’m very much at home right now – which is what I communicated to the elder this morning.

“It’s so good to hear you say that,” he told me warmly. This guy was part of my interview process, and I love how welcome his family has made me feel already. Another woman who was involved in my second interview happened to gift all the youth leaders with nice coffee at youth group on Friday night. The people here are so kind and generous, and I love being a part of community here.

As I wrap this up, the four year old has come to join me, and she would like you all to know she has “heaps of pretty clothes.” She’s also one of the sweetest, most compassionate, adorable kids I’ve ever met. She also wants to share that there’s lots of beautiful trees here; you can tell why we get along so well. (She also picked the stock photo and said she liked the house with a pool so she could some visit me someday.)

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