An Open Table

Mollie writes… 

Since leaving my home in Australia last year and moving to London, I have felt a spectrum of emotions. I prepared myself for all the standard homesick symptoms, but on reflection I have been surprised by how contradictory my feelings are. I am settled yet restless, connected but lonely. In many ways I feel I have conquered this big and boundless city, but a sense of insignificance also filters through. Where do I fit in this puzzle of a place?

The process of establishing myself in London has led me to review how I value and understand community. I transitioned from the leafy suburbs of Melbourne to the bustling borough of Hackney. The landscape and dynamic of the city was more intense than I had expected. All I can say to sum it up is a sensory overload – this is both exhilarating and exhausting!

It has been a relief to establish a number of different friendships, most recently with the incredible people of Matryoshka Haus. My kind housemate extended an invitation to me to attend their weekly community meals held at a home in East London. I’d heard great things about what Shannon and the team were doing here and abroad, and couldn’t wait to spend the evening with others who had a passion for community service and social innovation. I was not disappointed by any means! The night was filled with lots of laughter and genuine conversations.

These dinners have helped me make sense of the wonderful chaos in London. It is really refreshing to hear about how others are living life in such a positive and pioneering manner. For me they are very much a source of encouragement and motivation. It is a safe space for strangers to become friends, and for people from all corners of the world to share their ideas. Most importantly, all who visit the Matryoshka Haus dinners are warmly welcomed and get to experience true hospitality. I always leave feeling relaxed, cheerful, and inspired. During the routine and mayhem of the working week, it is so reassuring to know that there is always a spot for me, and anyone, to sit at their table.

MH Thursday MealWe always make an effort to tweet a photo of our Thursday meals. Unfortunately, that means we don’t have any decent photos of Thursday meals! 

Gathering at Chateau Duffy again

It’s been a year since our last trip, but tomorrow sees the start of Chateau Duffy #5! In fact, a few of the crew are there already, but most arrive on Saturday for a week of hard work and good fun.

Chateau Duffy April 2013Chateau Duffy the day we left it last year, complete with new, concrete floor.

This trip has been so highly anticipated that it was fully booked last autumn. (Although, in true Matryoshka Haus fashion, some have dropped out and others have seized their places.)

What’s brilliant about Chateau Duffy is the way in which the team reflects the way in which the community has changed and grown since the last trip. So this year we have people who have only been part of the community for a few months; new partners; a Texan from the Learning Lab (lovely Brendan); and Californians met during Matryoshka Haus’ trips there last year.

The Texan crewEric, Carl & Regina en route from Texas to Paris.

While we’re there, we’ll be celebrating Easter together, which is always a very special experience – it’s up there with Thanksgiving as an important occasion to be together as a community.

There is a plan – there will be more pointing (much more pointing) and work may begin on the house next to the barn – and we’ll let you know how we get on.

In the mean time, if this makes you keen to join in the fun, you can register your interest for the summer trip here.

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.