Two years ago today, I left Northern Ireland and moved to live in Glasgow, Scotland. I initially moved here to study for a computer science degree at the University of Glasgow, and now I am working with Christian Aid as a Youth Advocate Volunteer. In the space of two short years, so much has changed in my life. I’ve been in a reflective mood recently, so thought I’d take some time to share with you some of the things I have learnt over the past few years.
I found a hunger for justice.
God has broken my heart time and again for the poor and the marginalised in the world. It started in Glasgow, being challenged to love the people around me – the homeless guys, the Big Issue vendors, the drunks, the people I previously tried to avoid. Jesus in his most distressing disguises, as Momma T would say. I was challenged to really know them – not just throw a few quid at them. I’m still learning… I fail regularly. But, one of the dreams I have is to be missed by the homeless guys more than by my church. It moved wider through things like leading the social action group at uni, and wider still through Tearfund and other organisations. Now I have the privilege of working with Christian Aid to encourage & inspire young people to get involved in issues of justice & poverty.
I discovered that I’m a good photographer.
I still hesitate to call myself a photographer sometimes, it’s taken a long time to become more confident in saying that. Yet, I know I have some kind of talent in photography. One that will require lots more hard work to refine! I had a conversation with a very gifted musician friend of mine recently about how absolutely terrifying it is to put something you’ve created out there, for everyone else to give their two cents on. There are always those moments of criticism and negativity, no matter how good your work is. It was refreshing to hear those words from someone so successful. It’s exciting to see the doors that are opening up before me now, with a few potential trips in the next 2 years to shoot for charity and mission organisations.
I found community.
I joined an amazing church, and plugged into a housegroup. I met some fantastic people through university courses, CU and general bumping-into-people-randomly. I discovered that I have more influence when I blog than I thought I did. I learnt what it means to love, and to be loved. I learnt that I can only know myself as deeply as I allow myself to be known. I’m so excited by the people who surround me in this city especially, who challenge and inspire me to be more like Jesus every day. Thank you!
[More to follow…]