When I applied for the Children’s Pastor position in Glenwood, Newfoundland, I didn’t even know where Glenwood was. I just knew that there was a need in this community and I felt a call to fill that need.
Moving from Paradise (20,000 people) to Glenwood (800 people) was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Not just for me but for my husband as well. I was fresh out of university, newly married, and had just started to get settled into my first apartment and new friendships. We are all called to something, but when God calls you to a place you’ve never been, a place with a population of 800 people, I can guarantee there is a struggle in your spirit.
During this time of struggle I couldn’t help but remember the part of 1 Samuel 15:22 that says “…obedience is better than sacrifice.” I was obeying a call that was completely out of my comfort zone and I was being thrown into the deep end.
I grew up in Corner Brook. Not necessarily a city but definitely not a small town. I loved going to the movies, going bowling, heading to the restaurants, and shopping malls. My next stop would be Tyndale University in Toronto, Ontario – now that’s a city! After I graduated I moved to Paradise with my husband. All I had known was a fast paced life. If I was bored, I could always fill up my time with something or someone.
Now God was asking me to give all of that up. All my comforts and pleasures for something bigger than myself, and I said, “Yes.” When I first moved to Glenwood, I wasn’t sure how I would adjust to living in a small town. After all, small towns in Newfoundland are just dirt roads and ski-doos, right? I wondered what small towns had to offer that cities didn’t. Well, it turns out there is a lot.I wondered what small towns had to offer that cities didn't. Well, it turns out there is a lot. Click To Tweet
To the pastor who can’t bring themselves to consider a small town church, to the person considering retirement in a remote area, or to those who think small towns are just dirt roads and ski-doos, here are five things I have learned about the benefits of small town living:
1) There is a strong sense of community.
I’m not saying that you can’t have a sense of community in bigger towns and cities, but when you live in a small town it’s almost unavoidable. Everyone becomes your friend, whether you like it or not. All of a sudden you care about people’s personal lives in a way that never have, because in a small town everyone looks after each other.
2) People will actually make time for you.
I find it’s often difficult to get together with people in cities because of the busyness. Since I have lived in Glenwood, some of the busiest people here will make an effort to check up on me and invite me over several times a month. Almost every week I’m invited for lunch to someone’s house. Unlike what most people believe, people in small towns can be busy, if not busier, than those who live in the city. It amazes me how intentional people in Glenwood can be about connecting with their friends and neighbours despite what their week brings.
3) You will meet some of the most genuine souls.
There is no such thing as a short conversation in a small town. People take time to get to know you. Click To TweetPeople here are always happy to talk to me and are genuinely interested in my life. There is no such thing as a short conversation in a small town. People take time to get to know you. They will ask you, “How’s it going?” Not only to be polite, but because they actually want to know how you are doing. If you are having a rough week or carrying a heavy burden, they are always there to encourage you or make your life easier, if they can.
4) You see people you know every day.
Almost every time I walk or drive through town it ends up taking longer than expected because I will come across someone I know – and you know we have to chat! Making your way through town will never be a lonesome venture. It’s pretty refreshing, and sometimes it’s the best part of my day.
5) You will meet the most generous people.
There are days when I’m overwhelmed by the kindness here. From people giving us food, wood, snow clearing, gifts, money, and words of encouragement, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. There is one lady who has given me a gift almost every month that I’ve lived here. Sometimes people will bake us bread, give us vegetables, and even give us free services that are usually quite expensive. I don’t know if I’ve ever found that kind of generosity in the city!
Rest assured that a small town will take care of you and make you feel at home! Click To TweetSo yes, small towns have dirt roads and ski-doo’s (the rumours are true), but they also have so many satisfying and life fulfilling qualities that you may never find anywhere else. Sure you will miss the movies, the shopping malls, your old friends and family members, but rest assured that a small town will take care of you and make you feel at home.