Dear Ignite Family,
I am writing to you from our 8th floor apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, 10 minutes from Central Park and complete with walk-in wardrobes. Sounds very glamorous altogether, doesn’t it?!
The reality is nearly as glam – I am sitting in a smelly Serve the City hoody, reflecting on the past three months since we arrived in New York, thinking they have probably been some of the most challenging of the past few years. As many of you know, we were given just 6 weeks notice before moving, and scrambled to get everything ready and pack up our life. For the first month, we stayed in an Airbnb, then moved into a hotel, before finally being able to move into our unfurnished apartment where we slept on an air mattress and Matthew entertained Norah in empty rooms for 3 weeks. But we are set up now, and deeply thankful for the blessing of a home. For however hectic our lives are, or however much we move, we have come to know that a home is a safe space to show love, to pray, to rest – in other words, to experience some of God’s greatest gifts.
Work has been both an incredible privilege and an incredible challenge. For the first few weeks it was extremely busy, meeting women who have fled Afghanistan, preparing Minister Coveney for debates in the Security Council, negotiating Ireland’s position on gender issues. The war in Ukraine has impacted on everything that happens in the UN, and tragically has also meant that other situations which need attention are being overlooked. And as some of you know, one of my colleagues died very suddenly in March, leaving the whole team in shock.
Matthew went from minding Norah one day a week in Ireland, to being a full-time stay-at-home dad. He has been absolutely amazing, meeting Latino nannies in the library and making friends with stay-at-home moms in the parks. And he has managed to ace his psychology degree, which he has been tipping away at behind the scenes.
We spend our weekends discovering new parts of the city, meeting new people and trying to settle on a church (For those interested, we’re between Hope Church, which has a more Ignite-vibe, and Redeemer, where there are hundreds of kids Norah’s age).
As we continue to settle and put down some roots, my prayer is that we would find a community of faith where we feel we can grow and serve, and friends we can really bond with. Maybe you’ll join us in that prayer.
We think of Ignite often, and are ever grateful for the grounding you have given us. Looking forward to seeing you when we’re home in July!
Love, Fiona, Matthew and Norah