• St Aldates Youth

Testimony Tuesday // Tom

Hello wonderful youth! As I come to the end of my year here serving at St Aldates, which has been such an honour to see how God’s been working in your lives and in my own as well. I’d like to share how God changed the trajectory of my life. Many of you will know that I was a chef before I came to serve here at St Aldates and I’d like to share my experience of that with you.

When I first entered professional kitchens I soon found out that it was nothing like I was expecting, in some good ways but also in some bad ways. The feeling and atmosphere of stress was tangible in the kitchens. The heat and fast paced nature of the job meant it was extremely hard for me to stop and take time to pray. I was also working shifts which meant that attending Church became a struggle.

Throughout my life I have found it hard to share my faith with my friends/colleagues. I used to be a very shy person and anything that I thought would affect my friendships or relationships with people I suppressed. That included my faith. This was me attempting to fit in, not to be set apart like Jesus calls us to be and I quickly fell into bad habits. I started living a bit of a double life. “Work Tom” who you wouldn’t be able to tell was a Christain and “Home Tom” who would hide the fact that he was living this double life and appear to be living his life for God. This exhausted me.

There were aspects of my work life in which I did try and live out for God. I would try and be as helpful as possible and I would try and “Love thy neighbor” as much as I could. But I didn’t give the reason behind why I was doing it. I felt like the environment in the kitchens was so dark that I couldn’t even try and shed some light into it, but don't be discouraged to go on to be a chef or work in the industry! The industry is desperate for Christians to go in and change the culture. I actually loved the job in itself. The cooking gave me so many avenues to express myself in food.

At the time I did have one passage in the Bible that I would hold onto which is in 2 Samuel 22:2-6;

“2 He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior from violent people you save me. 4 “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies. 5 The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 6 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.”

For me this passage is a great reminder that whatever I’m going through, God is there for me to find my shelter and safety. And that he has saved me.

Back in May 2019, I was made redundant and I was in a place of not knowing what to do next. But I had more time on my hands and started attending Church every week again. I applied for the internship at St Aldates after my older brother, who was an intern last year, and my dad encouraged me too. I ended up helping lead my church’s youth group at a Christian youth festival called Newday in the summer of 2019.

Whilst I was there God really opened my heart to what he wanted for me in my life. As I looked around at the youth group, I was helping lead, all worshipping God, I felt God stir up the passion in my heart to see young people love and worship God. To see the next generation become disciples, to become children of the living God.

Then I ended up here at St Aldates. Learning so much about God, how the Church works and about my passion for youth work. God turned my life around from a place where I felt like my light was dwindling to a place where I feel like I can shine brightly again.

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