September 14, 2015

I have accomplished one of my biggest goals in life: I live in England, I study the word of God and I live a missional lifestyle. The last two facts were not involved in my goals, but as one says, "God works in mysterious ways". In case you missed that whole part of me being Christian, oh by the way: I'm gay and I believe in God, I believe in Jesus who died on the cross for our sins to be forgiven. "Now how does that work out" you might ask, the bible clearly says that the homosexual act is an abomination?!?

Well, because I believe that we're all made in God's image and that He is the one who has created us; I won't go to hell, I'm not sick, God doesn't hate me... On the contrary, I am a beloved child of the living God. God is perfect, He doesn't make any mistakes... That's what I've been told at least, so why would I be an exception? Why would I be denied a spot by His throne in heaven? I do respect that we all have different beliefs and values and that we can't agree on everything... But, I think we can agree on that: loving another human being is not a sin, whether they are of the same sex or not. Just because I have a different sexuality than you, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still able to serve God in any way, my sexuality is not a disability.

Moving on (If I offend anyone, know that I say everything with love)

I live in the north, in a city known as Sheffield, in South Yorkshire. I moved here with my two friends Marilyn and Samuel, us three studied at the same community college last year, Glimåkra community college in Sweden. We arrived at Sheffield train station at 12.40 the 14th of September and had nowhere to live, what we were aware of. outside the train station we met up with Jenny, who studied the same thing last year as we do now, and her friend Jess. After a small amount of time we were informed that: Sam and I were to live at a British couple's house little bit outside of town, and Marilyn 5 minutes from our church to be. This, because none of us had applied in time to the school and, therefore, we didn't know that we were supposed to have arranged with a house in beforehand. So, for two weeks, the three of us had to stay with some of the extended family of the church until we found a house of our own.

Regarding Sam and me, we moved into a house up in an area of town called Crookes, with 4 other guys: Jack, Stuart, James and Thomas.
Regarding Marilyn, she moved in with two other girls from our programme: Mary and Rachel.

Oh, you may be wondering what I'm actually doing here? ;)

Well, I study leadership and, I volunteer, at St. Thomas Church Philadelphia, the name of the programme is FORM: Leadership, Discipleship and Mission. We have 3 periods of classes on Tuesdays, the first one being: bible studies mixed with teachings on how to become a great leader in faith, as the main focus. "Encounter God hour" is the second thing on the list: here we get to meet with God on a more intimate level. We sometimes get to pray life over different kind of world crisis and other times exercise different ways to connect with God. Mostly, and foremost, we reflect and pray about how we ought to respond on what we think God wants to tell each and every one of us. Last but not least we have something called "Huddle", in my huddle, there are four other guys, both from FORM - year 1 and 2. During these sessions we reflect, respond to, on today's teaching: was there anything that stuck out to you in today's teaching? This is something that we call a "kairos moment". Something we've felt God is reminding us about: a burden, a good or bad habit, something He wants to challenge us in etc. We basically talk about our feelings, burdens, challenges and where we at in our relationship with God.

Alongside that I, as I mentioned before, volunteer as a youth worker. On Mondays, every other Wednesday and Sundays, I co - lead three youth groups with a huge youth organisation called Forge Youth team.

For those who know me may see me as a very energetic and extroverted person, but while working in these youth groups I've acknowledged: I'm more of an introvert than I thought.

God really wants to challenge me this year, especially regarding the insecurity I have in a big group of people I hardly know or share the same interests with anyone. But one thing I've learned from two of my co - workers, these three months, is that: as a youth worker, I've got to be able to find a way in which I can relate to every young person. Meet them where they are, on their level: to create a relationship, communication and a safety... Be someone that they feel they can rely on. The youth clubs are supposed to be the young people's sanctuary, mainly because some of them live under tough circumstances. It's hard at times to be the leader they need me to be, I know that I'm still in the process of becoming a leader.... But, I just don't want them to feel lost or disappointed in my presences just because I can't be, or say, what they need in that very moment. I must admit that I've had moments of weakness where I've doubted my position and the purpose of me living in England, doing what I'm doing. But because I have such a wonderful bunch of colleagues, and my Form - Family, I keep on going, this is where God wants me to be, and to do, at this moment in life.

I have never felt so much at peace as I do know... except for last year when I toured Sweden with my Gospel Choir Reliance. I've become so much closer to God and my identity in Christ... Life is kind of good now.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord, praise the Lord"

- Psalms 150