My earliest memories of Christmas were a mixture of joy and sadness. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, where celebrating Christmas meant wearing bathing suits, eating barbeque shrimp and steak, spending the day around the backyard pool, and of course, the excitement of opening presents!
Before I set off to Swansea, Wales to further my studies, I had researched a number of churches to attend. While I knew about Singapore communities in popular destinations like Sydney or London, I didn’t know of any Singaporean Christians in Swansea. I asked around for recommendations, but didn’t receive any. So my search continued on Google.
After graduating from Bible college and seminary, my husband Andrew and I stayed in touch with many of our friends—people with whom we dreamed of and prepared for ministry.
Within a matter of years, however, many of our friends had left ministry indefinitely.
I looked around at the unfamiliar faces in the congregation, and then back to the front of the church, where the pastor had been preaching for 25 minutes already. I had grown up in a church where a sermon was called a homily, and it was 15 minutes at most.
At the moment, I find forming friendships in church quite challenging. Moving to a new city, as well as health issues, is probably part of the reason. I also have trouble connecting deeply with people at church, even though I join small groups, volunteer for service, and participate in church events.