Shunita and Joel reflect on why they joined Message Academy and share some of their highlights so far.
Before I came here I really wanted to be more open to what God has for me. I wanted to learn to step out of my comfort zone and be tested and challenged. I was ready for the next step of my relationship with God and found that this place could offer me that.
It’s been both challenging and rewarding in loads of different ways. The number of people who we’ve met and worked with has been incredible. I’m grateful for all the new experiences I’ve had and being able to share life with all sorts of different people.
One of my favourite experiences has been working with projects for disadvantaged people in deprived areas. We get to spend time with people, eat with them and join in lessons with them. I’ve loved just being alongside them. It’s such a blessing to serve people who are homeless, and be able to show them kindness.
One time we were on the streets giving out teas and coffees and we met a man who was homeless, but he was also a Christian.
He started praying for us and prophesying over us. I just thought, ‘wow, that’s incredible’. This man didn’t have anything but at the same time, seemed to have everything because he had Jesus in his life.
I’d love to take everything that I’ve learnt this year back to Wales with me, and maybe start something or be a part of mission over there. I don’t know what that looks like yet but I’m just going to trust God with it.
I was praying about the next step in my life and someone sent me a link to the Message Academy. When I went on the website I knew that God was saying, ‘This is where you need to be, Joel’, and now I’m here.
I love how practical the course is. We’ve had lots of placements where we only find our feet once we’re there. It’s been cool for me to use my music background to reach young people. When we’ve helped in youth sessions, singing with the kids is a really nice way to build trust with them. When we’ve then given a gospel message, they’re more open to it.
It’s amazing to go on outreaches with the mission bands, seeing how they use music as their way in before boldly sharing the gospel.
A key highlight has been watching myself change. I’m definitely more confident now in sharing my faith and I care more than I used to. My heart breaks for the people I work with. To have this year to completely focus on God has set me up for the rest of my life.