As I may have mentioned before, we are living in a community of students from Bible college, and one of the things we do is share meals together. In summer we had weekly barbecues together at the big grassy backyard of some of the houses. In winter we have 'Winter Dinners' which we organise with a roster to take it in turns to host or be guests, and hopefully by the end we have a chance to have dinner with each family.
I love having these chances to get to know the other families we're living with, meet their children and just spend more time with them outside of college. I particularly have enjoyed the winter dinners because they've given us a chance to get to know people in a more one-to-one way (even though it's always more than just two people at dinner), and spend more time with their children (if they have children). This is much more in my comfort zone than the big barbecues were. However, I hope that by getting to know the people we live with a bit better through the winter dinners, I'll feel more confident in talking to people at the bigger barbecue group when daylight savings comes back.
The winter dinners are also great because they are a more convenient opportunity for spouses who work to join in with this aspect of the community life. The summer barbecues started at 5pm, which is way too early for someone who finishes work at that time to come along. Mind you, some of our winter dinners have started at about that time because of families with children, but this time is always negotiable. Sometimes, if you can't make it to an early dinner the children will eat first, but the parents are willing to wait until we can all have dinner together.
After dinner we've played board games, shared birthday chocolates, watched the settle-the-baby routine, learnt how fun beanbags are for small children, got tips about college, had requests from children to put them in their pyjamas and much more. We've learnt that anything within a child's arm-reach will be touched, and that parents are very quick on their feet. We've also been thankful in at least one way that we don't have carpet underneath our dining table.
I've just loved sharing life together in this way. Living in community like this with other college students was one of the reasons we chose to come here and it has been one of the highlights of our first five or six months of college. It has made moving interstate so much easier than if we lived somewhere all by ourselves.
Living here in community with other Christians is just one small reason why I love being a Christian. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family, and it really does feel like family.