Tuesday, 22 September 2015

first sunday at southampton. - family away from home.

they say that the first weeks of uni are a blur, so i'm desperately trying to document all that's happened so far, and the blessings i've encountered as i try to settle in.

sunday morning was a particularly foggy one; i hadn't seen that much fog for so long as i've been having late rises everyday during my summer break. much to my surprise, i was quite awake despite going to bed so late last night - perhaps it was the adrenaline or nervousness of settling in. the flat was silent and as i put the kettle on for my morning cup of green tea, i was scared it would have an earthquake effect on the entire flat!

snapped on my walk to church

 as i left, a new girl was just moving in, but after a quick hello, i went about to navigate myself to church. i could've easily taken the bus, however i felt the need to get away from all the traffic and business, and find quietness with God this first morning in Southampton. i quickly met up with jenny, who i'm incredibly blessed to meet. i was linked to her via our mutual friends back in london, and she had just graduated this year so is now working, and was looking to settle at a church too. Christ Church was immediately a very welcoming place - perhaps because i knew i belonged to God's family and it was my true home. the service was different to what i was used to - it was much more family orientated and more stand-up sit-down with their many songs. i was surprised to see 'jesus saves' make it on the song list as it was always a fun song back in london - it certainly brought back many memories to when i used to jam with my brothers and sisters after church. the sermon was particularly relevant to me, and spoke very close to my heart; i don't think i had been so engaged with a sermon for a very long time, and i'm really glad God was able to speak to me through this speaker. he spoke of looking towards the future, which, though most people see it as positive, is not always, unless it is a future in heaven. we should shift our attention to the true future - the kingdom of God, the new heaven and earth, and prepare for this by submerging into God's words and spending time with him. as the speaker said, the more you spend time with a person, the more you become like them, just as you may become more like your partner as you spend more time with them.

after the service, jenny and i grabbed coffee and immediately many people approached us and started talking to us. i got a chance to meet other fellow christian freshers which was a huge relief to me and it was great getting to know everyone, and being welcomed once again into a christian family. jenny and i decided to grab lunch at the town centre, west quay, and meet up with jake, a guy who went to my church back in london. we toured around the city centre quite a bit before stopping for lunch at a pub restaurant for a good ole lamb shoulder sunday roast. needless to say, it felt like family away from home and i was so thankful for this time spent with these two people. it was also obligatory to snapchat our friend james back in london, as he paired us all up in southampton - well done him!

weird seeing these green bins with southampton printed on it, rather than the black ones in london!

i got back to the uni campus after that and met up with jan and lottie to chill in their bedrooms and catch up quick. i then went back to my room for a quick shower and then proceeded to walking to an event held by christ church that evening - pizza and pudding night.

they had an evening service at 6pm, however i arrived after they finished and joined them to walk to the pastor's house. though a little awkward at first, i grabbed some pizza and started talking to other christians and  finding out more about them. what i didn't realise before i started uni was that everyone would be asking you the same 5 questions over and over again - your name, your course, where you are from, whether you are a fresher, and whether i've met my flatmates yet. i might as well write a sign and put it around my neck! the pastor grouped all the freshers in the living room and gave us a welcoming student talk which i really enjoyed. he spoke about how as we settle we are setting ourselves new routines, and the importance of placing God into it. it was much easier to mingle at this point, as everyone was relatively settled and you could distinguish who else were freshers. i managed to speak to the pastor, and then to a second year student who shared how she was very homesick in her first year. we exchanged Facebook details quickly before i left for the evening with a large group of people who also lived in my halls. after a good chatty walk back, i had a quick phone call with mummy and caught up before skyping loksze until 2am.

needless to say, it was another long day and i'm so thankful for every bit of it. reviewing my day allows me to see all the blessings from God and it amazes me how even when i'm alone, he is still there and i'm constantly surrounded by my family away from home.

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