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My Real Life Has Begun

Submitted by Bethany on Tue, 09/01/2020 - 10:00

A day that I have long anticipated is finally here. At the end of last year, I wrote about waiting for my real life to begin

Well, as of today, I think I can officially say my real life has begun! Today is September 1, 2020, the day I officially start full-time ministry in the Methodist Church in Britain. 

I've been dreaming of this day for a long time:
     - I started applying at the end of 2018 after living in Wales for the first time that Autumn and falling in love with the place, the people, and the particular way church is done here.
     - In July of 2019, I officially passed the interviews and was invited to serve pending a good match being found in the stationing process (matching me with a circuit of churches.)
     - In February of this year, I received word that I had been matched to the Newport and Lower Wye Circuit and would be based in Monmouth, Wales and surrounding areas.

It has been a long winding road to get here, often fraught with frustration and piles upon piles of paperwork, but in the end, we made it, and it is everything we dreamed of, anticipated and more. 

Our new home, the manse (aka parsonage aka church provided housing) in Osbaston (just outside of Monmouth) is incredible. The kitchen was remodeled just before we moved in and it is a dream kitchen - beautiful cabinets with soft close doors, plenty of storage, a gas hob (stove) and electric oven (the best of both worlds), and even a peninsula where we can fit 2 barstools! We have four bedrooms and a study for my work, so we have plenty of room for visitors whenever travel becomes a thing again. Our back garden is beautiful and we hope we can keep it looking as good as what we have inherited. The church provided us with some much-needed furniture including a living room set, a dining room set, and two beds so we are ready for guests already! 

It is amazing to me how much this place already feels like home, and I don't mean just the manse itself. The main street in Monmouth is teeming with local businesses, charity shops (my favorite!) and restaurants/pubs. It's amazing to me how much more life there is in this town of 10,500 people than in the town of 25,000 we left behind in Iowa. The surrounding countryside is absolutely stunning with rolling green hills dotted with sheep and cows. Every time we bike or drive around I am absolutely floored by the views! 

We also quite enjoy Newport, the closest larger town to us. There are two cinemas (movie theaters) there and both are Cineworld theaters which has one huge advantage - the Cineworld Unlimited pass. For a mere £18.40 a month (about $25) we can see literally unlimited movies - multiples in one day, any movie as many times as you like, and it gets you 10% off snacks and drinks! Yesterday we saw three movies in one day in an attempt to make up for a summer (and really, the 2 years previous) of not getting to see movies at all. We plan to start reviewing movies again as well so keep an eye out for those! 

What I love right now is that it feels like we are getting the best of the lives we had before travel (seeing movies, living in a home we love, working in ministry, etc.) combined with the best of our lives from travel (new adventures, experiences, people, etc.) all in one amazing place. And if I get itchy feet or the travel bug again we have all of Europe to keep exploring practically at our doorstep! 

I just wish someone would invent teleportation already so I could see our family and friends back home more easily and more often. Then I would truly have the best of everything! 

One of you get on that for me, okay? 

It feels a bit weird to be so happy and hopeful in the midst of everything going on in the world, but I am truly grateful for finally arriving at this new start and finding it to be everything I hoped it would be. 

I pray you are finding happiness and hope somewhere in the midst of all this, too. 

XOXO, Bethany