I started living away from home at 19 years old for uni & I am profoundly indebted to those who provided affordable accommodation.
The late Mrs Choi gave me reduced rent. She had other boarders in her home & I remember having to use the toilet in the backyard (the toilets in the house were for girls). Winters were hard! But she always left some soy sauce chicken wings for me, probably because she took pity on my sad diet.
The Li family adopted me like one of their son. They gave me one of the largest rooms in their house & allowed me to use their amenities. Yay for not having to brave the cold after a shower! I even often found new tubes of toothpaste next to my toothbrush. The minimal rent they charged barely covered what I was offered. Such abundant generosity.
Then there is Hurstville Anglican Church. I need to thank Alistair and their wardens!
The picture above is actually the room I slept in. There was no air con back then & the windows don’t open. I didn’t realise that was a problem until sherilyn asked me “how did you allow fresh air to come in?” Too late. I was about to move out. I had no idea that was necessary.
This one above is the living room which I eventually turned into a second room. Lots of university essays written in this space. Mayer’s “Where the Light Is – Live in LA” concert accompanied me many nights. Bible studies were held in this room. So much joy.
This last one is the kitchen. It’s where I perfected bacon & eggs on a tray in the oven. Lots of stove top coffee was made. I also learned to use the slow cooker to make meals to reduce electrical cost.
These were formative years. God was doing things in my life that I’m still trying to understand. If I could do it all again, I would try to work less & rest more. Balancing studies, ministry, relationships, & 2-3 jobs was not spiritually, relationally, & physically healthy. I stopped to smell the roses, I missed out on major relational developments, & a sort of arrogance grew within me that overflowed from bitterness. God by his grace is undoing a lot of that & forming new loves & habits.
These aren’t cathedrals, but they were nevertheless sacred spaces of formation.