New to the City – Suzie Berndt

Continuing in our “New to the City” series, Suzie Berndt shares her experience.

“I will just cut to the chase – these past 2 months of living in San Francisco have been the most unrelenting test of my faith thus far in my life.  When I moved out here, I became fixed on the idea that, I would, by God’s grace, land a job, be able to go back to Arizona to get everything I left in storage, be in a new apartment with my then-roommate in the Haight, and would be more or less “settled.”  But after a month, I was still jobless, my roommate had decided to move to Orange County, I didn’t have another apartment, my stuff was still in Arizona, and was far from the lifestyle I had envisioned as “settled.”  I was, however, provided for.  I grew closer to the families here with the church plant in the process of being open with them about my circumstances.  I found a sublet through the middle of August in an incredible part of the city.  I started getting interviews, and developing truly awesome friendships through random and various encounters.  I learned how I had wrongly put stock in how I thought moving to San Francisco would pan out.  I was sad, frustrated, and distressed at how God didn’t make things work out the way I thought He would, which I justified by the truth that He’s the God of impossible things.  People told me it was going to be hard moving out here, but, as I discussed with a friend the other day, it’s a lot easier on the outside of it to romanticize about how “hard” San Francisco is going to be, until you find yourself looking at the $300 remaining in your bank account, being rejected by jobs you interviewed extremely well for (according to my interviewers themselves), and being asked by a friend how he should tell the church he’s attending that he’s a Christian gay male.

So now, on Monday, August 6, I don’t have a job, nor a permanent place to live after August 15, nor definitive answers for the scenarios I just shared (and faced within this last week).  But I do have, today, on Monday, August 6, a bed to sleep in, food in the fridge, clean clothes, amazing friends, an unbelievably supportive biological family and church family, and a God who hasn’t gone anywhere or altered His plan for me this whole time, His nature, nor His faithfulness.  Two months and one week after moving out here to help with Redemption, I have learned in a very real way that God allows our circumstances to be quite unexpectedly bleak in various (and even frequent) seasons of our lives to show us who we’re truly putting our trust in.  He pretty much uses every aspect of my life to point me back to Him daily.  He’s still taking care of me in this city that I am confident I am supposed be in, and very much want to be in, and He will continue to do so, in ways I can’t possibly create myself.  I’ve learned to be both patient and steadfast in these trials, and persistent in prayer, so that I can learn to love and serve this city faithfully and selflessly.

Please pray for Redemption in San Francisco.  Pray for strengthened partnerships among churches in the city, and for God to change the heart of a city that is very hurt by and cold toward Christians, namely in the LGBT community, historically speaking. There’s so much more to share, but for now, thank you so much for your prayer and support.”