When we applied for our gap year, we were expecting to be helping with camps, school lunch clubs, traveling to offices and much more. This is what we were hoping to do and is what we were planning on doing with our year, however, God had a different vision for our year. Instead of traveling around the country helping with different events, working in the SU offices, or staying at a centre – we have had to do most of our gap year from home! While this was disappointing, throughout the year so far, we have experienced God’s provision in a way in which we would not have learnt if it had not been for the current circumstances.
We are now halfway through our gap year, and there is a lot to reflect on. We have grown, we have been challenged and we have learned to trust God more. Even though most of what we were excited for has not been able to happen, it has still been a great year with many experiences that will stick with us for a long time. This year has helped both of us grow in our faith and in our confidence.
Throughout the year so far, we have led at many different events. We have both led at Go-Conference and Equip. Laura has also led at day camps and at a school SU group – which was a great experience considering most SU groups were shut at the time. At the start of the gap year, both of us were very nervous about leading at these events. However, as the year went on, God has made us more confident in leading. Now when we lead at events, there may still be some nerves, but we are able to lead – thanks to God helping us grow throughout the year. We have both learnt so much about leading events and small groups.
We have not only grown in confidence, but in many other areas too. In Laura’s placement, there has been a lot of uncertainty. Due to the nature of her placement, it involves a lot of in person work and sadly, a lot of that has not been able to happen this year. Plans have been cancelled, and this year has shown how plans can change suddenly. While this can be frustrating, Laura has learnt to trust in God more, and to be more patient.
Steven has helped with the IT for a few events, such as the SU Staff Conference, and through this he has been able to get an insight into how these events are run.
We are both on the planning team for Encounter, which is a prayer event for young people which is organised by young people. It has been interesting to learn how these events all come together. We also worked on a video guide for the SU Day of Prayer that was held on January 21st – which we both recorded and then Steven edited the video together (see picture above). There is a lot more to write about, but we have both been amazed at God’s provision throughout the year. There was a time around about a year ago when we were wondering if we were going to be able to do our gap year or not due to the COVID-19 restrictions. God, however, provided a way for us to do this gap year, and we are very grateful to God for that, and our supporters who have made this year possible.
Jesus says in Luke 12:22 (NIV), “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.” Jesus goes on to describe how God provides for all of nature and makes the point that if God provides for all of nature, then surely we should not worry because he will provide for us. This is exactly what we have found over the first half of our gap year. We have learnt to trust in God for his provision and he has provided wonderfully – in all the opportunities he has given us throughout this year.
We were both excited to go to Ukraine as part of our placements. The trip, however, has had to be postponed to 2022. While this is disappointing, there is going to be an online Ukraine club that we will be helping with over the next couple of months. This should be a good experience for us both, and we are grateful that God has provided something in place of our Ukraine trip this year.
Going forward, Laura is currently planning a Spotlight West event, which will be to help encourage young people in their faith. Steven is continuing his comms and IT work, helping with video editing and much more! We are grateful for everyone who has supported and prayed for us during our year, and we hope that God will continue to be with us as we enter the second half of our year.
Steven Randall and Laura Barber,
Gap Year 2020-21