The Inside Story // Mana

27 September 2017

You Belong Here

 

I remember my first Sunday in Hillsong Copenhagen. I was sitting down during the service, surrounded by a welcoming atmosphere. Pastor Thomas was passionately preaching the Word to us, talking from Ephesians 2:19 – “You Belong Here.” This was the moment that I instantly felt that this place would become home.

On that Sunday, I happened to get connected to the team that I was keen to get involved in – the Communications team. Ever since then, the Communications team has been my beloved creative family far from home, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration  to say that the team became the most influential part of  my Copenhagen time, in church as well as outside of church.

I am from a big city in Japan. No one in my family is a Christian, however I became a believer during my second year of my BA degree in Russian studies. The decision has brought a brand new life to me, as well as the impact that  serving on a team has had on me. It was in serving in church that I found my gift in design and creativity, which I had never been interested in before. I literally fell in love with it. As I moved  to Copenhagen to start my art studies, my priority was always to meet great people. That‘s why I kept coming to church every Sunday, although sometimes it took some courage. I knew the church was the best place to meet the best people in this city!

My favourite conversations of all time that I have had with people from outside of church were when people frequently asked me why I was so happy. My teachers at art school even told me that I was too happy to make artwork since many artists tend to get inspired by darker concepts! The teachers have no idea that the reason is because I carry a different perspective – filled with purpose and hope. The answer is that I know Jesus. I believed that he had an unimaginable plan and had placed me in Copenhagen so that I could be his hands and feet and to be a blessing to people around me. The question from people about my joyfulness always led us to a deeper friendship and to talks about church.

One of these people  is my lovely Danish friend who now attends church every Sunday and she’s very excited to start a new season in Hillsong London, as she will be moving there for studies in the autumn. As I came to this country alone and now loving Copenhagen thanks to the church, I am sure that the same can be the case for my friend as she moves to London.

On a side note, a couple of weeks ago I had my parents visiting me for a week. It was lovely, but on their last day, my mum’s wallet got stolen. The incident could have ruined their stay, but I refused to let that happen. So I brought my parents to the Summer Street Party that church arranged, even though they are not Christians. I did this simply because I thought church would be the only place that could make them calm and happy again. It surely worked and after we left there, we went to a beautiful park for a walk and started talking about something that we have never talked about before – my faith and how church has been playing such a great part in my life since I moved here.

Looking back at my first visit to Hillsong Copenhagen a year ago, I cannot believe how much I have grown and changed since. I have been given a new dream, that I  never even would have dreamt about before, God has touched my heart and I have seen my friend’s life change, which I‘d always prayed about. Not only that, but serving on a team with world-class creative people who have helped develop my skills has also lead to a new job for me. How beautiful is this! I could never have asked for anything better than all the things I gained by being part of church here!

 

– Mana, 22 years old, Osaka, Japan

 

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