My name is Millie, I am 18 years old and grew up Stoke-sub-Hamdon with my parents and my younger brother Noah. I have just finished studying English Literature, Film Studies and Sociology at Strode College in Street, a great couple of years in which I discovered many things that I am passionate about.
I have attended YCC since I was 14 when I joined the 15+ youth group, and moved from the church my family attended to begin coming to YCC regularly. I was (and still very much am) fascinated by the incredible amount this church does, the amount of lives it changes, and how much love people pour out into others. I became more and more involved in the youth group, found all my closest friends, and the constant input from the youth leaders brought my wavering focus back to God. I began to realise that these people were interested in who I was, and who I wanted to be, and loved me for that. This was something very absent from my friendships at school, and it took a long time for me to accept it and believe it to be true.
Very quickly The GateWay became my favourite place to be, and any opportunity to be involved further I immediately took. I joined the youth band and realised that worship was something I had a huge amount of passion for. I was encouraged to step out in my giftings and not hide them, but use them to glorify God. My confidence grew immensely. I discovered that I was capable of leadership, and was supported and encouraged to step into that. I took on more responsibility in the youth group, began leading worship and volunteering in Livin It Large. I had become almost unrecognisable to the timid and closed off person I had been when I arrived.
In the summer of 2014 I dawned on me that I had no plans for after college. I didn’t feel ready to move straight to university, even though that was something I definitely wanted to do. I started looking at gap year projects in the Toolshed at Soul Survivor, and felt completely overwhelmed by the choice. I knew I wanted to serve the church, and I knew God was calling me to worship, but I had no idea how to put those ideas into action. Create was suggested to me at this time, but as much as it sounded great to me I felt like I would be choosing the safe option, staying close to family and at my church where I felt loved and supported. I decided that I definitely had to leave, go to a city somewhere and ‘be independent’. I started looking more seriously at some worship training gap years, and even auditioned for one, but nothing felt right. Doors were closed one after the other, and I was devastated. I knew God wanted me to serve the church and grow in worship, so why wasn’t anything working out for me? What was I doing wrong?
A long phone call with a friend finally clicked things into place for me. I felt like the reason nothing was working out for me was because I wasn’t done in Yeovil yet, and the reason no gap year project felt right was because everything I was looking for could be found in Create. I realised that even though I had been pursuing so many other avenues, YCC and Create had been a niggling thought in my head for months. The more I stretched towards this idea and talked it through with those close to me, the more I discovered how many people had had Create on their hearts for me and how right it actually felt.
I am incredibly excited to be here this year. Every day it hits me how much I love this church and the people in it and how amazingly big their hearts are, and I could not be more thankful to have been blessed with such an inspiring church family. I would not be the person I am today without the constant support, love, encouragement and challenges given to me here, and it is a privilege to be serving the church that has done so much in me. I am constantly stepping out and growing and that is all because people took the time and energy to say ‘I have faith in you’. I hope that this year I can serve others in the same way, and see the same transformation in the youth of this town.