When I was 15 my family packed us up and moved us to Michigan. It was a difficult transition for a teenager. I had always lived in North Idaho, I had many friends and those that were part of my extended family. It was very hard to leave everything I had ever known. I grieved it as most teens would by acting out. But the reality was it was the best thing my parents could have done for us. And slowly but surely (over the course of 12 years) I grew to love the Midwest as I had North Idaho. Of course there were many difference about the two places. We had traded purple/blue mountains for the emerald green and gold of farm land. We had left the quiet small town for a string of moderate sized cities. Exchanged living by what day brought to living by the clock. Both places had their attributes despite their sharp cultural and landscape differences. We also traded small town hospitality for the much more populated and busier life style. Don't get me wrong people in Michigan are nice. But their are some cultural differences when you move to such a population. One distinct difference was that because I had lived in such a small town before, were everyone knew everyone. The idea of making friends was rather daunting. Thankfully, I had many cousins in Michigan to start off with, and slowly but surely I carved out a small niche' of close friends. I even found the love of my life, but it did take time.
So, when we made the decision to pick up and move across country, and start a new life - the life we always dreamed of out west- I thought I knew what was ahead of me. I knew we would be o.k. that in time we would all love it as we had our old home, probably even more because we would be living the life we dreamed. I thought in time we find friends, and be accepted as members of the community. But, it would be over the course of years.
We prayerfully asked for a smooth transition out here, prayed about the job, I prayed that Kyle would be welcomed, I prayed that Colton would have kids to play with. I prayed for a good church. But I skipped friends for myself. I thought; I will make friends in a few years, there will be somebody as new as me eventually. I'm good at keeping up with old friends anyway.
But, God in his faithfulness had other plans for me and our family.
The first week we were here it was evident that this community was different from any I had ever encountered before. Mr. & Mrs. H themselves were unlike anyone we had ever met. They took us under their wing immediately, introducing us to as many people as possible, involving us in community events and making sure we felt welcome. I will be eternally thankful to them for their hospitality. We had never encountered employers who cared about more than the day's work performed before, it has been a great blessing. But, what was even more amazing was the blessing of this community. That as we where introduced, and involved the community seemed to have open arms for us as well. I have never so quickly felt welcomed. I know I have a lot to learn yet about the way things are done out here and the people who have called this valley home for generations. But, because this community has been so kind my fear of making a cultural flounder has greatly diminished. There are even people here that only after a month-and-a-half I can call friends. God is so good and beyond faithful.