Safe and sound abroad
Five months abroad not only improved Céline’s language skills. Living with a New Apostolic family and being part of the congregation in far away Canada also enriched her faith.
She had graduated from high school. Now what? Should she take a year off from school and maybe take a language course abroad somewhere before starting university? This wish took Céline Landmesser, then 19 years old, from Switzerland to Canada for five months starting in September 2015.
“My guest parents and siblings in Canada are an open, cheerful family. They gave me a warm hug and welcomed me with open arms and kind words. I felt at home right from the start and felt very close to them,” Céline says.
At home in the family
What was your life in Canada like? “I left the house, which is situated in Metro Vancouver, early in the morning to go to language school. On completing my language certificate, I had a month-long work experience at a travel agency. The only time my host family and I really were able to spend together was in the evenings. At supper we always talked about what we did during the day,” the young Swiss woman remembers.
Were you ever homesick, so far away from your family and your friends? “My hosts never left any doubt as to my being part of the family for when I was with them. They immediately included me in all their activities so that I hardly ever felt alone. They really looked after me and I really felt at home, which helped me to forget my homesickness. For me, feeling comfortable and safe abroad means being able to forget your homesickness for a while and feel secure and at home where you are. It means protection, warmth, nearness, and peace, and being able to let yourself go and relax,” Céline says.
At home in the congregation
The congregation in Vancouver welcomed me with open arms too, and I sang in the choir and joined the orchestra. The warmth of the members and their open and friendly manner in which they included me in their congregational life will always be a wonderful memory,” Céline says about her time in the congregation.
The young woman was received with the same kind of warmth and friendliness by the youth. With them, Céline was able to experience her faith in a special way when she joined them for a project: Feeding the Less Fortunate. “We served homemade food and distributed clothes that had previously been collected by the members of the congregation to homeless people in downtown Vancouver. Seeing the happy faces of the people made up for shivering in the cold. Many asked why we were doing this and asked us about our Church. We were able to speak with quite a few about our faith,” Sister Landmesser reports.
“I experienced the congregation as one big family in which everyone supports each other. Often after a Sunday service the members get together for lunch to strengthen their fellowship,” Céline says.
Céline started her trip back home with mixed feelings. “On the one hand, I was excited to see my family again. On the other hand, I had to give up many things which I had fallen in love with: my second family and a new country I was just beginning to discover. And I had got to know myself in a different way,” Céline adds.
Back in Switzerland, Céline began to study tourism. “I hope that I will have many contacts with people from all over the world in my future profession and be able to show them the beauty of Switzerland and inspire their enthusiasm.” Céline’s home congregation in Switzerland is Meiringen, where she is an active member. She loves to sing in the choir. She has gained confidence and says, “I know now that I can do anything. I know I can always rely on the help of my family, the brothers and sisters, and our heavenly Father.”