Joining Sion Community was one of the most spontaneous things I’ve ever done (let’s face it, pretty much the only spontaneous thing!). Aside from trusting that it was where God wanted me, applying for the foundation year (very!) late on in my final year of uni was a risk for me, as it went against my usual approach of planning every detail of my life months in advance. But that risk hasn't let me down, and has proved to be the best decision I’ve ever made! I could list an infinite number of reasons to apply, but here are just a few of the things I’ve appreciated the most about the year…
1. Meet ‘you’.
I’m pretty sure I’ve learned more about myself in the last 6 months than I had in the previous 21 years! I’ve discovered gifts and passions that I didn’t know I had. I’ve also discovered struggles I didn’t know I faced, but I’ve realised there’s no better place to deal with them than in community, surrounded by people that love me.
2. Surprise yourself.
Living this crazy life for Jesus is thrilling, but unpredictable. Every mission is different from the last, which often means pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones, but there’s never a moment that we don’t have the rest of the team as a safety net. The great thing about that is being able to look back at the end of the week with the satisfaction of realising you’ve actually done things you thought were physically impossible. The year is intense, without a doubt, but the key is to embrace the challenge, let go of fear and see where Jesus takes you.
3. Be part of the family.
One of my favourite things about living in community is that we see each other as brothers and sisters. Having grown up with one sister and no brothers I absolutely love being part of a bigger family in Sion – and as we’ve got to know each other better it’s felt more and more like that’s exactly what we are! I love that there is such a noticeable effort to make sure everyone is valued and included, and that time is set aside specifically to share our thoughts, our hearts and our lives with each other in an atmosphere that makes us feel completely comfortable to do so (especially within our smaller ‘sisterhood’ or ‘brotherhood’).
4. Feed your mind.
Did you know that Dolly Parton’s birthday is the 19th January? Nope, me neither! Living with such a diverse group of people means we pick up new random, fun facts every single day. WIN! But joking aside, the formation and teaching that the foundation year offers is absolutely fascinating! There are a huge variety of speakers, topics and teaching styles which will give you a far better understanding of your faith, as well as enabling you to grow in spiritual, intellectual and emotional maturity.
On mission God moves, and when God moves nothing stays the same: not the school, not the students, not us! The transformation we see in the lives of the students and teachers we meet is incredible, but what’s even more incredible is the transformation I see God work in my own life every single day. The youth foundation year is an opportunity to encounter God even more deeply, and to grow infinitely in your relationship with Him.
Esther Rich is currently on a Sion Youth Foundation Year. For more information or to apply please click here.