This is it. My last Transform article, and I have to say, it feels very strange. Especially being at home on Tuesday in the middle of the day! A few weeks ago and my head would’ve been full of the things I needed to do to get ready for the Hub. I can’t quite get over how quickly this year has flown by. Packing up my desk, finishing last jobs, and reflecting on the year gone by ends up getting quite emotional. This year has come to a finish and wow, what a year it’s been.
Getting involved with many different types of ministries this year has been truly exciting. There are so many aspects to church life and getting the chance to be involved with so much of it has been an amazing privilege. Before starting Transform I was already volunteering at the Hub and Discoverers for the children’s ministry so I was looking forward to being able to work alongside Matt, our children’s ministry leader, in the planning and preparation. Co-leading on Sunday mornings, leading 2 dance options at the Hub, dramas and leading one of the teaching groups at Holiday Club, and running assemblies at different schools. It’s safe to say there was always a lot going on with kids work! But I loved it. Getting to know the children even more and seeing them grow was really incredible.
A fairly new area for me, though, was becoming a youth leader. It was also fairly new for the youth as we had the launch of HRY (Holland Road Youth) this year, so it was a pretty exciting time for everyone. I’ve absolutely loved being part of the youth team. One of the areas I have enjoyed the most has been discipleship. I’ve been able to meet up with some of the girls in our youth to help and disciple them. It was always a really fun time at the youth, whether at Encounter worshipping God or throwing pies into leaders’ faces. Through all these times God has been really working in my heart, leading me to want to carry on working with young people.
Another area is my photography. I’ve had a great opportunity to grow and learn in my photography, to use it for God’s work and have so much fun using it. At the end of this article will be some photos for you to enjoy!
Another huge highlight of the year for me was our mission trip to Ethiopia. Trying to put this trip into a few words is proving to be quite difficult. I’ve never had an experience like it before and it blew me away. My heart grew. God spoke to me in so many ways. I got to meet some of the most incredible people. And I saw the need. Oh, how much need that city has! I felt God working in me, opening my eyes to his world. And opening my eyes to what role he had for me in his work.
I also learned that to an Ethiopian child I have big, yellow hair (wasn’t sure whether to take it as a compliment or not?!) Attached at the end is a video I created as a highlights video of the trip. Feel free to watch it to get more of an idea of what we did and what it was like out in Ethiopia.
As part of Transform we also got to join in on a training programme called Impact. Many different leaders taught us a variety of subjects ranging from the Old Testament, Church History, to the Trinity, Ephesians, and much more. I’ve loved being able to both learn and get to know an amazing group of people over the year. It’s given me the chance to gain confidence in speaking in front of people, in preparing blogs and mini sermons, and in my knowledge of the awesome God we have. We also got the chance to go to Center Parcs as a big training week with many other Impact groups from around the country. This was an amazing week filled with teachings, healings, breakthroughs, deepening of relationships, and of course the really fun water slides!
This year has given me so many experiences and opportunities that have been so close to my heart. One of them was being able to work at Holland Road itself. I was involved in designing the verse for the year, making and editing a variety of videos, writing articles, organising and co-leading teams for Hope, cutting and laminating, helping in the kitchen at Tadpoles, chatting to people at the Friendship Centre, speaking at the Tuesday Afternoon service, and working with a brilliant group of people who are ever so loving and supportive.
Reflecting on the year I can see how much has happened, how much has changed, and how much God has been working in me. That’s why I found it so hard clearing up my little desk. It’s a place I loved to be, with all the pretty decorations I put around it. Packing it up marks the end of this season. But of course, also the beginning of a new one. In September I am starting at Sussex University studying Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice. It’s a scary change. Going back into education after a year out. Will I enjoy it? Will it be worth it? Will I be able to make friends? Will I grow? Will I be a great light for Jesus? It’s funny; I seem to remember wondering similar questions last year about Transform. God is good. He is here, guiding and helping me. I don’t need to worry about those things. I am secure in him! As he promises:
“Remain in me and I will remain in you” (John 15:4)
Ethiopia highlights video: