Old and New

Hello there! As Liz mentioned, my name is Lauren and I will be interning with the community this summer. I am so pumped for what’s in store, and can officially say that it’s been one whole week here in London and I’ve cherished each day!

While I have had time to experience some typical London adventuring (Shout out to Liz for the grand tour!), we have pretty much hit the ground running as the summer is such a busy time for MH. Monday marks the beginning of a trip to Devon with the TI (Transformational Index) team, where they will brainstorm and discern what the next steps are for that project. At the end of the week, a charming group of new American friends (whoop!) will be joining us for a Learning Lab—and they are in for quite the treat! We’ll keep you posted on these goodies so you can feel informed or pray alongside of us!

Perhaps I will share with you some “highlights” from week one… Though I daresay distinguishing them is quite difficult as there are no low ones! The first day I arrived, my friend Shannon McLaughlin (she and Shannon Hopkins have endured many a name confusion like champs) and I got off the plane from studying in Ireland, expecting to say goodbye to one another as I was beginning this internship and she was going for a holiday jaunt. However, Shannon H. welcomed her to join us for the week at any point she wanted, and I am so thankful for having a familiar face around my first week here! Below is a picture of Shannon M. and Liz as our “royal racontour” (Not sure if she would appreciate the pun, but she can always punish me I suppose!)

Liz giving Shannon and I the classic London tour

Liz giving Shannon and I the classic London tour.

That same first day, Shannon H. pointed us in the direction of “The Wapping Project,” a lovely restaurant and art exhibit down the corner from her flat in Wapping! Some ridiculously sumptuous chai ice cream was consumed and the first English cup of tea sipped, and then we explored the re-purposed building (it used to be an old factory, and cogs and wheels are everywhere!) and the art within. I sat at the top of the building and looked out over the Thames River, noticing a Tennyson poem someone had hung on the wall next to me. It became so apparent that London is a fascinating, unapologetic blend of the old and the new, married and yet distinct, like the sea and the shore brought together by some greater Tide.

The theme of old and new continued to abound as I went to aid Andy S. and T with their new home- weeding the garden of seemingly-plant-like green to make room for true plants… Washing windows that many have peered out of, that their darling son Jacob will now see some of his first sights through.

Another afternoon was spent with the Shannon(s) pilgrimmaging to Shannon H’s old flats and hearing the stories of each, what dreams were held within, what glories were seen. Something I noticed about her first flat in Bow, is that it was the home for the London Matchgirls’ Strike of 1888, a serious incident of justice in the city. This flat for Shannon was another incident of justice, for women in particular: the birthplace of The Truth Isnt’ Sexy campaign to change the conversation around human trafficking. This flat in Bow had held both old and new… with dreams for match girls and prostitutes. The Lord is so evident to me in this city through little details like this to the big, beautiful things that result.

Shannon H. explaining the Match Girls' Strike at her first flat in Bo.

Shannon H. explaining the Match Girls’ Strike at her first flat in Bo.

I believe that God is a God of old and a God of new, that He sees our pasts fully and yet invites us each day into something more fresh and beautiful, made for that day alone. It is my prayer that while I’m in this old-and-new kingdom of sorts that I and Matryoshka Haus as a whole will recognize His story among it all, and live it, and love all the sweet souls along the way. I wish you all a happy day, and stay tuned!

Introducing Lauren!

Every so often, the London Matryoshka Haus community has the opportunity of sharing life with someone who has offered to work with us for a short period of time. Lauren Turner is our latest intern and will be in London for the month of June, playing a key role in our forthcoming Learning Lab with Bent Tree Church later this month.

While she’s with us, Lauren will be sharing some of her experiences on this blog, so it seemed only fair to introduce her first…

So Lauren, where in the world are you from?
I’m from the fine city of Austin, Texas but currently attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why have you decided to come to London and what do you hope to do while you’re here?
I decided to come to London for a lovely collision of reasons! Shannon Hopkins has been a close friend to our family for a long time, and I continued to hear about her adventures and work in London and always felt drawn to it. Also, for a while I have felt the Lord place a love for the UK in my heart (everything about it, even including Doctor Who!) as I have found a need in myself to focus on spiritual poverty versus physical poverty, the latter of which I have spent many past summers working with. All of this seemed to kind of do a little dance altogether and the Lord provided a way for me to come and serve the MH community. I hope to do just that, as well as track down Benedict Cumberbatch in an entirely non-creepy way! 🙂

What are you most looking forward to about your month with us? 
I am most looking forward to getting to learn about community from all of you lovely, varied folks. I want to see how God changes hearts through His people sharpening one another, ideas being born of conversations and “oh really? me too!”s. I want to be a servant to MH as well and bless the work that is being done in the ways God uniquely appoints for each day, one at a time.

How can we be praying for you?
Thank you kindly for asking! Well, I have a terrible tendency to get quite lost… And this city is certainly an opportunity for that sort of thing! As silly as it may seem, prayers for a sense of direction would be wonderful. I would also love prayer for a teachable spirit, a heart completely open to the Lord and to you all… I know He brought me here to reveal new things and I pray that I won’t get in the way of those!

So look out for posts from Lauren over the next few weeks and do keep her in your prayers as she experiences the wonders of our city and community!

Lauren on Wapping Beach

Lauren experiences the London sun on Wapping beach.