I've been camped out for most of today, since my insides wanted to be on my outsides. We did manage to take a good walk and do some driving around. I had to get out of the house, I was experiencing Cooped Up Syndrome.
Yesterday was exactly two years since we moved to Missoula. August 1st. Our first day here. I remember it like it was yesterday. We stayed at the seedy Days Inn downtown the night before. We drove our Budget-with-Jetta-towed-behind caravan to Union Square, our new apartment. Matt went to pick up our amazing friend, Baker McKonly, from the airport, who flew in for the day solely to help us move in (can you believe that??), we moved in, we had lunch at Rocky Mountain Grille, we very, very sadly said goodbye to Baker at the airport, and then we went back to our half-moved in apartment.
We didn't know one single person. Not one. We were 19 hours from the closest people who knew us. The first few days felt very adventurous. We completely moved in our apartment, explored Missoula, and met a friend at a coffee shop who introduced us to some churches in town.
But then the newness wore off. And we were lonely. Matt and I are the epitome of Social, and not to have approximately 15 people to call at any time to hang out with hurt our hearts. But since we are who we are, we threw ourselves into anything that could possibly involve meeting new people. We visited multiple churches, we went to Dinner Out at the Park (and salsa danced in front of about 500 strangers), we approached complete strangers at coffee shops just because they were reading a Christian book (ok, only one person).
And we prayed. We prayed for friends and a church. Finally, nearly four long weeks later, there was a culmination of answered prayer and persistent effort. We visited Christian Life Center and met what would become our closest friends, Chris and Gloria. It started like this: "Hey, good to meet you guys! (from Chris) What are you doing for lunch?"
That's it. Nothing earth shattering. Just a simple invitation to lunch. I remember the exact date. It was August 26th, Matt's birthday. My heart hurt so badly because nobody in our new town except me knew it was my beloved husband's birthday. But the Lord had a gift in mind - friends that would be closer today than we could have ever imagined then.
Maybe a simple lunch invitation is the only thing holding you back from a great friendship. Maybe a little (or even a lot) of prayer and effort and determination to make friends, to find a church, to develop a community.
These two years have flown by and they've been truly great. The Lord has multiplied our family here. It would take me a long time to begin to even name them all. Thank you everyone here for going out of your way to befriend us and include us in your family.