Give it a Year

In June 2015, I was standing in Edinburgh Airport holding my one-way ticket to New York to work at the summer camp I had worked at for the previous two summers.

The only difference this time was that I wasn’t planning to return at the end of the season.

I had just finished my four years at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a Bachelor of Music, and I was looking out of an airport window, seeing a plane that was going to be the start of an unknown adventure. I had known that I had wanted to do this since December the previous year; God had given me a clear and defining peace about not chasing the world of work just yet…but chasing Him.

2 years and 4 and a bit months later I am sitting at the “intern desk” in St Paul’s Church, Ealing. I ended up being away for 13 months after leaving; I spent some time working in the USA and travelling around the country before spontaneously ending up in YWAM Queenstown, New Zealand. That time I had away was one of the best years of my life; God used that time to grow me as His daughter, sharing with me wonders of His world as well as breaking off the hardened parts of me that I had tried to not let Him see and then since, building me back up again. I came home a truly changed person, far more outgoing in my faith with Jesus and desperate to follow His dreams for me. I ended up staying in my home town for the next year working in a restaurant…something I definitely didn’t plan; it was a frustrating time of searching for my place in the world. It was then during this season of restlessness when I got the distinct thought from God that He was saying, “You need to spend time with me”.

The present climate and culture the western world lives in stresses the importance of chasing your dreams: go to university, or don’t, have a career, or don’t, have a family, or don’t, but whatever you do, make sure you are happy.

The pursuit of happiness is something that the millennial age strives after.

However, when you follow Jesus, I believe that your life’s pursuit is not after happiness but after him; it is only he who can truly satisfy that deep hunger and thirst that every human being longs for. The New Wine Discipleship Year believes just that, encouraging, empowering and equipping young follows of Christ to grow as disciples of Jesus. During the DY year, you will go deeper in your relationship with God, serving Jesus and his kingdom, experiencing the true adventure that is to pursue life as a disciple of Christ.

After my time with YWAM, I knew that I had become far closer to God than I had ever been before and so the thought that God wanted more time with me was perplexing at first. Yet, as always, the words of God became very true for me; I felt a growing need to spend time at His feet, more than just my quiet times in the morning – I needed to give Him a year. At the age of 23, turning 24, my mind and heart fought, my mind saying, “I should be in full time work, I should have my head down to finding a career” yet I knew that this was a call to obedience. A call that was up to me to answer.

I chose to do the Discipleship Year because of what it stood for: a year of discipleship, a year of growing closer to God, a year of learning to conform to the image of Jesus Christ, to learn more of how to follow Him completely and wholeheartedly.

Choosing to take the year could become the stepping stone for your future; through the relationships you build, the teaching you receive and living as a servant of Christ, I believe that DY can set you up for entering the “real” world, the world of work, as a follower of Christ.

Doing this at my age, being at the edge of the DY bracket, could be seen as someone who is “procrastinating life”. However, God has shown me that what I am doing in DY is obeying the One who has complete priority in my life, over whatever the world tells me I should be doing. After university, we start to search for the place in the world where we feel we are meant to be, but the lesson I’ve learnt is that we should instead search for the One with whom we know we are meant to be. I have chosen to follow Him, the One who lead me here, to the New Wine Discipleship Year, to continue the renewal process that is learning to be a disciple of Jesus.

Hannah Donald is on the New Wine Discipleship Year at St Paul's, Ealing.

Fusion Team

The vision of Fusion is to champion and catalyse church based student movements that see the student world reached and transformed by the gospel.