INTRODUCING is a blog series introducing you to some of the members of Redeemer. You will meet some of them through their fact file, their life story, or their faith journey.
My name is Dan and I’m a 2nd year biomedical science student at the University of Essex. I’ve lived in Colchester and been a part of redeemer church since October 2017.
I’m originally from Brighton, grew up in a christian family and attended Emmanuel Church (formerly CCK) from the young age of 0. The exact moment I was saved is a bit hazy to me, I was around 6/7 years old, just got home from church and I told my parents I wanted to become a christian, so we prayed and that was that; I’ve been living faithfully and faultlessly ever since. Jokes aside, Christianity has always been a part of my life, and so I grew up never considering God wasn’t there.
It wasn’t until my later teens, from when I was 16-18 where I felt quite distant from church and my faith. I’m quite shy, self conscious and socially awkward, and I found the church youth group quite clique-y, so it was hard for me to fit in. This caused me to look at the church as a whole in a negative light, I remember often saying I loved God, but not the church. I was constantly looking for problems the church had and asking difficult and controversial questions, just being a general stick in the mud, before eventually leaving church youth and became disengaged at Sunday services. Around this time I started to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I wasn’t paying attention in my studies and distracted myself a lot with computer games. During my second year of A-levels I was in denial about how depressed I was, considering it normal to have anxiety attacks every week over homework. In March of 2016 I got officially diagnosed with d&a and was put on a waiting list for treatment. I barely passed my a-levels, but was still offered a place at Essex university as my back up offer, which I deferred for a year, as I was expecting to start cognitive behavioural therapy, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to uni. During that year I started to slowly see how God was turning things around for me; I gained a new hobby in baking, which led to a great opportunity of getting to go on a catering course in France for a term. I was getting better at talking to people and feeling more confident in myself, I was welcomed into a social group at church and stopped seeing church as an obligation. Summer of 2017 I went to serve at Newday with some friends and was able to see how widespread God’s love was, yet know he also specifically wanted me in house. I got baptised in August and came to Colchester in October.
The last year has had it’s own struggles, and d&a is still something I struggle with on a regular basis, but after getting stuck in with the Christian Union and with Redeemer, I’m starting to see a positive growth in my walk with God and I’ve found some great friends who support and encourage me. I’m now the events and evangelism coordinator for the CU, which if you told me that would be the case a year ago, I would have laughed it off and probably very quickly left that conversation. I’m excited and very nervous for what the coming year will bring, but I’m encouraged in the fact that I know there’s people in the church and CU who have got my back, and most importantly, God is always around just chilling and cheering me on.