Reflections on Week 1

Today's Photo: PM

One week ago I moved from Chicago, Illinois to Stewartville, Minnesota! And what a week it has been. I have had many adventures and opportunities to meet new people and visit new places. In many ways this part of Minnesota is very similar to the environment where I grew up in Iowa, so it does feel a lot like going back to my roots.

It is a very family-oriented community (hence many questions about my marital status and mass confusion about why I'm not married yet). Small towns are really more like extended families. And in the past week, it has been quite awe-inspiring to see how the people of the congregation nurture and care for one another in ways both large and small. One of my favorite aspects of the Christian faith tradition (at its best) is how it can bring people together in a way that increases opportunities for the Holy Spirit to do Her work.

Do I miss Chicago? Yes. Of course I do! Things I miss the most: my neighborhood walks, the statue of St. Thomas, the amazing crab rangoon, THE PEOPLE, and 107.5FM (my favorite dirrrty hip-hop station)!

But, even though I miss Chicago, I still feel quite sure that God paved the way for me to come to this new place among these new people and become their pastor. Lately I find myself missing Southern Illinois a lot, too. A lot lot lot. But, I bet in not too long, I will love Minnesota in the same way I love Iowa, Chicago, and southern Illinois, and I will find it impossible to imagine leaving. I do have a tendancy (for better or for worse) to get very attached to people and places. So, I am sure I will be stuck to Stewartville and its beautiful inhabitants in no time.

Since I said the things I miss about Chicago, I'd like to share some things I LOVE about southeastern Minnesota: cornfields galore, the fact that everybody waves hello, lots and lots of fantastic elderly people, a plethora of oldies and country radio stations (I guess I will give up my hip-hop for awhile), a Dairy Queen and a Pizza Ranch and a Kwik Trip, a great view of the stars, and the quiet of the night.

Have a great weekend, friends. I hope you are finding lots of things you love about whatever space you find yourself in at this moment.

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