I write from a desk. In an office. My desk, in my new employer’s office. Crazy.
It’s 5:12pm and I’m the last one to leave, taking a bit of time to write this before I head off for basketball practice. It’s again been too long since I’ve written — I just looked up the date of my last post and was astounded to see that over a month has passed. And what a whirlwind this last month has been.
The stories would take much to long to relay in this form — but I’ll try and give you the highlights. First, status update since so much has changed since my last post: I currently live in a flat with one other (soon to be three other) flatmates in the middle of downtown Belfast, Northern Ireland. During the day I work a 9-5 for a firm doing grantwriting, project management, and marketing-type things for nonprofit organizations throughout Northern Ireland. I then shed my business-casual for cut-offs and basketball shoes and, every evening and most weekends from here on out, coach or play basketball. In the cracks, I’m still working on my own entrepreneurial projects, helping Basketball Northern Ireland develop a coaching training pathway, and getting involved in a local Vineyard church. Since I wrote last, I left Ukraine, traveled through Germany, closed up shop in Edinburgh, and ferried over to Belfast to start life over again.
So much has happened — and yet it’s all also so new that I’m not even sure what else to write at the moment. However, the one thing I do want to share is the God story of how He has provided in huge ways over the past couple weeks because it’s hugely encouraging to me and I hope it will be to you too. I’ll give you the cliff notes version here and you can ring me up for the unabridged edition if you’d like.
I arrived in Belfast on September 11th and was graciously hosted by my contact here in Belfast that had helped hatch this whole scheme. She runs a basketball club here and town and, when we had first conversed back in February, immediately envisioned me coming to Belfast to help develop young female coaches for and within the club this season. Her invitation was the catalyst for this life step and, now with feet on the ground, we began to explore what that could actually look like.
However, there was a bit of a snag. My impressions of the volume of work and the opportunities to support myself while living here seemed a bit different than what I encountered when I arrived and it quickly became apparent that other pieces would have to fall into place, and quickly, for me to make this work. Word of a job opening had crept through the grapevine to my host and she suggested I reach out. It was for a position that I was interested in and that required a marketing and communication/writing background, which I had. Problem: for a full-time position like this one, candidates with only six months left of their visa duration aren’t exactly ideal. They granted me an interview but the response seemed tepid. At the same time, a search for permanent housing wasn’t yielding much and my host’s daughter would be married in just a couple weekends — they needed the space I was currently occupying to be able to host large numbers of international guests and I needed to figure out what life was going to look like. These facets all converged into a very stressful few days in which I thought to myself, “God, I must have heard You wrong in coming here to Belfast — I don’t see any way of making this crazy idea work.”
And just like that, (literally, in one day,) God’s hand began to move. The machine roared to life; the cogs finally gave way and began to turn. A connection of my host’s who works with a nonprofit basketball organization here in town was also looking for a quick move and needed a flatmate. We met and enjoyed instant good conversation and synnergy — she then got word back later that day from a landlord she had rented from in the past about a property he had just made available that was located centrally enough for us both to be able to easily get where we needed to go. Then, the very evening of the day I gave what felt like an unsuccessful interview, I received a two-sentence email saying that the firm by which I am now employed would be interested in hiring me full-time.
I am still blown away thinking about it. At about 11am that day, after the interview and before dragging myself dejectedly back to the house where I was being hospitably put up, everything looked quite hopeless. Housing, work, transportation, and more loomed like insurmountable obstacles. I told God I was giving up on the whole thing. I have a list in my journal of plan b’s. I should frame it. And by that evening, real, concrete solutions were well underway — a viable life literally formed up around me like a bamboo forest.
Not to say everything has been peachy since then. There have been days when I still wonder what in the world I’m doing here. But small joys and quiet blessings keep me smiling and moving forward — when the sun shines; when I meet awesome people at church; when I’m offered a ride by a gracious friend that keeps me from having to walk a couple miles in the rain; when the heat works, and when our awesome landlord drops by space heaters when it turns out to need servicing. Life is absolutely full of good things — let’s learn to watch for them. And I hope this story of just one instance of God absolutely coming through in supreme fashion is encouraging to you.
About to head off for the gym, but hopefully I’ll be able to write more soon. Until next,