Arriving at Hjälmargården for the first time it was difficult to comprehend that everyone around you belongs to the same group/ network of churches.
Everyone. Being unique. Bringing with them their own ‘suitcase’ of family, ethnicity and culture. Everyone. Having their own path to take at their own pace. And yet, every single glance that caught yours, every voice you heard uttered or every hand that was gently placed on you in prayer. Everyone. Every hair, skin and eye-color under the sun. Also belonging. Together.
The diversity has always been something I’ve appreciated with the New Life churches. And to experience it this closely and openly was refreshing. Being a former YWAMer it didn’t feel all that ‘unusual’, but having spent the last two years in a city where these kinds of churches are close to non-existent, it made me feel tremendously grateful that I get to be a part of this network.
This to me is New Life.
My first experience with New Life was a short internship with the church planting team in Göteborg in 2008. A lot has changed since than. Some people have moved on, and it was such a great experience to get to meet a few of those again at Hjälmargården. Still, what was perhaps in some strange way even greater was to know that this specific group (of people), which is neither too big nor too small, is ‘your’ group. That these are the people that you pray with, laugh with and share your life with. That in the midst of all the people that was there; great and wonderful people, this is the group of individuals in which you see the future happening together with. This is /these people are your own community.
My Sweden experience has been a bit of a boomerang journey. While I was doing my internship in 2008 I once said that I could ‘never imagine moving to Sweden.’ Which was possibly the Norwegian in me talking. And yet, now I’m here! After close to no contact for about 2 years I visited a close friend in Göteborg last summer. While I was waiting in her apartment in the church for her to come home from work, I experienced this sense of ‘home’. There was nobody else there and there was nothing to prompt it in any way, so it can’t have been merely circumstantial, and for that I’m very grateful!
My hope, goal and dream are to be able to create a more permanent home. I’m longing to settle, to belong somewhere. Having a ‘home’ within a church-community is such a precious thing. It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint it when you don’t have it, but it gets even clearer to see it when you than do. This IS my home! Life is a journey that keeps turning in unpredictable ways. This is my new start at a life in Sweden, as well as a new start in life in general! And with serious fear that this may be considered as too cliché: How I see people here live life; individually yet at the same time together, is to me is life in a way that I would want to live it!
written by Malin Tangen