St Andrew's Methodist Church in Harlow were blessed to have a 'Time for God' volunteer. Hannah arrived in September 2019, but sadly her time was cut short by the Coronavirus Pandemic and she had to return to Germany in March 2020. Hannah writes ...
"I look back on countless great moments with you!"
When I had to leave in March, I wrote a small letter to you, but I didn't want to say goodbye without a proper review and even more important without saying a huge thank you to all of you again!
I'm home for around four months now and I can tell you, I still didn't process much of what had happened since the start of my year back in September. It is unimaginable that not even one year ago, I didn't know any of you. I can remember how I clicked through your website, looking at faces I didn't know, seeing a church I didn't know... And within no time, it became a home — you became a home!
"What would you say, was the biggest highlight of your time in England?" Maybe you can imagine how often I hear that question at the moment. And it is so difficult to answer!
I loved my weekly activities as much as the special events! Sunday Club, Youth Groups, Bible Studies, Women's Fellowship, STARS, Friendship Group, Coffee morning as well as the Youth Service, the 65th anniversary of the church, 3GENERATE, the Christmas Fair, the Christmas party, and so on. The time flew by like nothing and it is incredible how much I've experienced in a rather short time. I'm so glad for the possibility to stay in touch with you digitally and especially for the Youth Groups to take place online.
Through all of that, I grew in faith, experience, personality and much more. Step by step, I could tick the boxes on my "bucket list" for the year and even though I had to leave early, my goals and dreams have been more than fulfilled!
Of course that wouldn't have happened without the support of so many people. I would like to say a special thank you to some of them. To Helen, who I was in regular contact with even before I came. She would always listen to me and answer my questions. And I even stayed with her for the first ten days. To Blair, who wasn't only a great supervisor, but even my host together with Ann from January to March and it was the same with them, I knew they were always there for me, so my third thank you goes to Ann. And of course I want to thank Margaret T. too, who I stayed with from September to December. I can only repeat, what I've said already. She always had an open ear for whatever I wanted to tell her.
There are so many more people I want to thank, but I can't name all of them. Thanks to those who would have had me to stay with them, those I worked together with, those who invited me to have dinner with them, those who took me on trips, those I had great conversations and lots of fun with (children and adults!) and a special thank you goes to the youth of the church again for being open to my ideas and giving me so much back. I have the feeling, words are not enough to show you how grateful I am!
That's what I meant. I can't choose one highlight from all of that. However, I think maybe it actually is easy to answer the question of my highlight... It was getting to know all of you, spending time with so many wonderful and inspiring people, who welcomed me with open arms!
Probably it is interesting for you to know what I will be doing next. It's time for me to start to go to university. My courses in Osteopathy start in the middle of September in a small town called "Idstein", which is near Frankfurt. And I will be living in a shared flat for three. Of course, I am looking forward to my new chapter of life, even though that means saying goodbye to you...
It makes me sad to write those final lines, but I'm so grateful at the same time to have experienced those months with you! And one thing is clear: They will have a special place in my memory forever — you will! And one day it will be possible for me to come and visit you!
With best wishes from the bottom of my heart and God bless, Hannah xxx
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St Andrew's Methodist Church, The Stow, Harlow, CM20 3AF
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