The first week of being in a new culture has been interesting, to say the least. There’s always so much to adjust to— you really have to humble yourself and accept that you don’t know everything. One of the first times I tried to buy something with British currency was kind of humorous. I was buying a croissant and a water bottle and it cost two pounds. I hadn’t had time to learn all the different coins there were, but I saw a big coin that had a two on it— so I just assumed it was two pounds. I handed the cashier the coin and she just stared at me. I could tell something wasn’t right, so I took the coin back and handed her a five pound bill. When I walked out, I realized that I had tried to pay the cashier two pences instead of two pounds. I had to just laugh and remind myself that it would take time to get used to being in a new culture.
My first Saturday in Manchester we went to the Peak District to do a service project. A friend of the missionaries is helping with a charity that is starting a rehab house for women, where they can come to get over their addictions, get back on their feet and learn about God’s love for them. Different mission teams serving in Manchester from all over the U.S. went to help the charity out. Many projects needed to be done: building a fence, trimming trees, cleaning out the barns and painting the inside of the house.
The people we were helping were so sweet. When we would take a break from working, there was always tea and cake waiting for us, which was another cultural difference that took awhile to get use to. During breaks we got to talk to them and see the idea behind the rehab house. The house and farm used to be a drug farm and it got repossessed, so they were able to buy it easily. It was so amazing to serve people who were going to turn around and serve others.
It was a rainy Saturday in England, and I don’t think there was a better way to spend it. None of us came to Manchester thinking that we would be doing something like this, but everyone loved it. I overheard one of the ladies telling another that we were so heroic to come help out in the rain. Do I think what we did was heroic? Definitely not, but I do know that by giving up our Saturday, God is going to be able to use this house as place of comfort for people who might not know Him. Please join me in praying for this church to be able to finish the house so they can finally open. Pray for people who are going to be staying there – that God can help them break the chains of their addictions and that they may discover the love He has for them.
Kristen is a student from Texas A&M University in Commerce serving with Go Now in Manchester, England, this summer.