This week see’s the end of my tailored internship with Oasis Church Birmingham and the beginning of my now full-time work as a fundraiser. A lot has happened in the 12 months that I’ve given my time to the church. When I began last August Britain was still securely within the EU, Obama was still President of the United States and Oasis Church called Edgbaston Cricket Ground home. A year on Brexit is happening, Trump is… well… happening, and Oasis has moved across the road to a new home whilst we continue the adventure of finding a building to call our own. One of those things is not quite like the other but it’s fair to say that I didn’t expect any of them to happen!

It’s been a year with a lot of changes for me and a lot of time for personal growth and reflection. I decided to do the part-time internship because I didn’t have a solid plan post uni but knew that I wanted to stay on in Birmingham and make it my home. I hoped it would set me up with a solid foundation in my faith, in myself and in my future plans. A year on, I can safely say I feel more confident in my identity as a follower of Jesus, in my abilities and gifts, and in my future career thanks to the time spent within Oasis.

It’s been a privilege to work alongside the guys in the office; to be encouraged and built up by them when I’ve often doubted myself. From seeing how they lead and care for others I have been pointed again and again to Jesus the gentle shepherd and the unconditional love of God the Father. From working with the youth I have been challenged to step up and disciple others whilst knowing I’m still very much a work in progress myself- and that that’s okay! From working with the students and 20’s I have gained experience in hosting and preaching during meetings. And from being present for the church move I’ve seen how amazing it is to be a part of a community that is so up for an adventure; an adventure that isn’t defined by the walls we inhabit but the people who are uniquely placed there.

I expected to learn a lot about God during the year and I definitely have grown in my knowledge of the bible, my love for Jesus and my relationship with him. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d learn about myself. From how I’m wired to why I think and feel certain things about myself and how to increasingly realign my emotions to God’s truth. This year I’ve learned to trust in and lean on God as a Father more than I have ever before. I’ve been challenged and tested and at times felt like I was coming apart at the seams a little. Yet God has hemmed me in and stitched me back into my identity as his daughter; secure, safe, loved and accepted.

Thankfully, I’m sticking around in Birmingham and with Oasis for the next few years as I take up leading the Youth in September. It is with a very grateful heart and happy soul that I reflect back on my internship and look forward to what’s ahead.