Xplorers graduate from mission gap year
News Release: 07 August 2012
Church Army's Xplore gap year students have gathered together to mark their graduation from the programme, which has seen them take part in mission placements in Romania and the United Kingdom.
Peter Coombs, Stephen Whitten, Phillip Stewart and Becka Stewart (pictured left to right), celebrated with friends and family at the Wilson Carlile Centre in Sheffield, along with Xplore leader, Neville Barnes.
Xplore, which is for 18 to 25-year-olds, has seen the students spend six weeks in Romania working with some of the poorest communities in Europe. On returning to the United Kingdom, they have then received mission-focused Bible teaching while completing practical placements with Church Army Evangelists.
Stephen, who has been based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said: "It has been great working alongside Evangelist, Kevin Metcalfe, and getting involved in the children's work on the Bloomfield housing estate. I've also done a lot of practical outreach in the community helping people with their gardening, painting and clearing rubbish. Through all of this I have had the confidence to pray with people and share my faith."
When reflecting on his time in Romania and at the Warwick Gates Centre of Mission, Phillip said: "My time in Romania was challenging, but it really taught me how to serve as I helped the community by building footpaths and fences. It was also great to live in community with the other Christian volunteers. I have also grown in confidence and now wouldn't think twice to knock on someone's door and invite them along to church!"
Next year, Peter and Phillip will continue with the Xplore programme for a second year, while Stephen will study Environmental Science at the University of Ulster. Becka hopes to begin a counselling course at college in Wolverhampton.