Today we decided to try a new church.
We've been searching for something multi-cultural for a while, as we have hope to adopt internationally and trans-racially in the future we wanted to immerse ourselves in other cultures so our children view a diverse society as normal and right.
I've been searching on Google for over a year, trying key words such as "multicultural" and "diverse" but came up empty each time. A week ago I suddenly had the idea to try "international" instead.
Best thing I ever Googled in my life.
Bournemouth International Church.
We emailed the Pastor, Joshua Han and found they had a group on Facebook. I joined and we took the leap of faith and went today.
When we arrived, we were all a little nervous but headed towards the church anyway. When we got to the door, we met some people going in. I asked if we were in the right place for the Bournemouth International Church and we told that we were. Hallelujah!
We went in and sat down and were immediately greeted by one of the Elders, Osimar. He introduced his family to us. We then met Joshua and lots of other people too. (Forgive me, there were so many faces and names and I am deaf so it was hard to hear what a lot of people said!).
When the food was ready, we all went into another room and had lunch together. It was a lovely Punjabi curry with rice. It was so warm and spicy, and slowly got spicier. It had several levels of heat, it was amazing. It was the first time I'd eaten curry on a Sunday!
We then met John, another of the Elders and a few other people who joined our table.
After we'd eaten we headed into the church, and about 30 minutes later the service started.
Another of the Elders, Derek was leading the service and invited any visitors up to the front to introduce themselves. I was really nervous, as was Charles. Bess and Phillip just took it in their stride! We were given a gift of some chocolate after we were applauded by everyone. It was beautiful.
After we sat down the congregation were invited to welcome each other and greet each other. I was hugged and kissed by so many people! It was amazing. It was like I'd been away from home for many years, and I was being welcomed back by my family. It was like coming home. I was nearly moved to tears. I felt very loved, and very special. God was most certainly in that room, He was telling me, "This is where you belong, This is where you need to be.". I felt whole.
The service continued with some singing and then the children were asked to go into Sunday School. Charles needed a nappy change, so we nipped off for that and then joined the group of children who were similar in age to him. He was a little excited by it all, and didn't want to sit and do craft. I think he was a bit overwhelmed by all the love in the place and needed to blow off steam. He did the craft though, listened to a bible story and sang some songs.
Then one of the Mums came in and we sung happy birthday to her daughter Lindy. We all had some cake, and chatted to each other about Frozen and our children. Motiwe (Lindy's mum) and I got talking and hit it off. I hope I've found a friend in her, she seems like a really lovely person.
Just after that, Phill and Bess came into the room with everyone else and we had tea and coffee. It was lovely to chat to everyone a little more and have a cup of tea! These days I rarely get a *hot* drink, it's usually luke warm by the time I can sit and drink it!
Charles was having a ball playing with some of the boys. It was beautiful.
We are just amazed by all the love and hospitality shown to us and can't wait to go back next week.