It has been a year and a half since we left our beloved home church in Zurich. And after an emotionally stressful church-hopping here and there — I had been in this phase before as a young Christian in Manila — we’ve finally found a new church in Bern (see photo above).
We’re relatively new in this church. We know basically nobody there, except for my Taiwanese classmate in German class, who goes there “to hear Holy Spirit-inspired sermons” (her words). But she has no more time to integrate in the church community due to her busyness as a homemaker and Mandarin teacher. She just comes and goes.
I miss two things now: first, my Sunday School commitments in my former church in Zurich; second, my Filipino cell groupmates, some of whom I had become really close to.
Although my Sunday School assignment in Zurich involved only taking toddlers to the toilet — I was the “CR girl,” being the Sunday School teacher’s assistant — and preparing/serving their drinks, I know God honored my indirect participation in teaching young minds to love God and His Word with all their hearts.
Much as the head of the church’s Sunday School wanted to assign me some real teaching tasks — she told me I could really write great lesson plans — she couldn’t; I’m not fluent in Swiss German. In fact, I don’t know how to speak Swiss German at all.
It was a bit frustrating at first, considering I’ve had lots of experience in this field. But somehow, God assured me all throughout my Sunday School duty, when I was struggling with deep feelings of lack, that my seemingly ‘menial task’ was as good as doing the work of a Sunday School teacher. What was important was the personal motive behind doing the volunteer work, whether I was doing it for Him and Him alone, or only for myself (note: this sub-topic on motives deserves a separate blog post).
Meanwhile, as a member of the church’s Filipino cell group, I was afforded the chance to come up with fun ice-breaker activities and to lead Bible-based discussions based on sermons preached in Sunday services every now and then. I did some cooking, too (amazing, really). We took turns preparing dinner for a group of 18 or so every Monday night. I truly enjoyed this experience; it filled my otherwise weary migrant heart with joy.
Zurich is very far from the Swiss town we live in. By train, it takes us two hours to get to our Zurich church from our home, one way.
This geographical distance was the main reason why we had to leave the church against our will. Plus, the twice-a-week long trips to and from Zurich cost us our health –dearly. In the end, we had to bid good-bye to our leaders and co-members with a heavy heart, after four years of active involvement.
At any rate, I’m glad — relieved even — that after a long search, we’ve finally found a new church nearer to our place of residence, where we feel comfortable (doctrine and worship style).
And so, the life lessons continue. We really don’t know what’s next; we just hope and pray that things will pan out, according to God’s perfect plan.
(Note: This blog entry is cross-posted on X-Press Files, my personal blog.)