Sister Stories - Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sister Stories

This podcast encourages us to reflect on how the Lord has grown and moulded us into becoming more like Christ.

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S1 - 6. Caitlin

In this episode, I am interviewing Caitlin, who is a fine art graduate and a former Relay worker for UCCF. Listen in to hear about her journey and God’s provision and providence in her life.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the sister stories podcast.

This podcast is aimed at marveling and god's sovereignty in each of our lives as women.

And that's encouraging 1 another via our stories.

My name is Sophie, and today I'm joined by Caitlin.

Hi, guys.

Hello? And so thank you so much for joining us.

First of all, Caitlyn, can you tell us a little bit about who you are? Yeah.

I'm Caitlin.

I am from up north.

We can tell a little bit.

You can tell from my accent.

But I wasn't born there.

I was born in South Africa, and moved to England when I was 5.

And I have and then I moved to Kingston for university around 4 years ago, and I've been going to Cornerstone for 4 years.


There's a bit about me.

And, what do you do at the moment? So I've just recently finished a job, as a relay worker, working alongside UCCF, the Christian unions, to help and support students to spread the gospel in universities.


So Great.



And so, obviously, today we're going to get a a bit into, your story and how you came to know the lord Jesus Christ.

But I would like us to start with your family background how you were brought up, what your childhood was like.


So as I said, I moved to moved from South Africa, and my immediate family and actually a lot, most of my extended family are all Christians.

Not normally nominally, if that makes sense, which Praise god I praise god for.

I'm very glad about.

And, very blessed to have family.

So my parent my parents, brought us to church every Sunday for as long as I can remember.

Grew up, going to a church, in on the Whirl, called Lifechurch, and Yeah.

My parents were like, it was interesting because it was like, when I was home, I was being brought up as South African.

And when I stepped out the door, I was being brought up in England.

So, like, it was really weird, just childhood, And I think when it also went, especially when I was, like, young, I think I don't remember much of my childhood.

But It was kind of difficult, after moving to England.

And I think when you go to school kids realize that and don't and don't deal well with, different, let's say.

So it was kind of it was great.

Like, I love my family and my parents brought me up great and loved me, but it was difficult, got bullied a bit.



Just when when was it that you moved to the UK then? How old were you? I was 5, so it was, like, 17 18 years ago.



So, yeah, I was trying to realize Yeah.


So I've been here for a while.


I'm 23 now.

So I and that's why I sound British and all that, but, yeah, it it's, like, interesting because when you brought up by people that are from a different country, it really has an effect on you and obviously my all my family are in South Africa.

So and we used to visit them all the time.

So, like, although I am, I sound British and look it, I I do have have a strong affiliation with my South African culture inside because my parents are, and I was born there and all my family there.

So Yeah.

That makes sense.



And I wonder what what was it like? Did you go to church? How high exposed were you is the gospel from that young age? Yeah.

So, as I said, I've been to church, every almost every Sunday.

And like Christmases and Easter, for as long as I can remember.

And it was a great church, like, the church, my parents still go to and have gone and we've gone to and have gone to since we moved to England.

Is a great church.

Obviously, all churches have difficulties and ups and downs.

And I think through the years, my parents have seen that, but I I've I've been brought up to know and understand who Jesus is and who god is.

And Also, thankfully, my parents have, been amazing in not assuming we've always been Christians because that's not what they believe, but being open to us to approach them with any question and any confusion that we might have.

So that and not be scared, like, not us not be scared to approach them about it.

So And, and yeah, like, I think that's a big, that's been a big deal in my growing up in that family and in going to church and stuff.



I think, yeah, that's definitely quite supportive, isn't it? Yeah.


Very helpful as as it teenager and Yeah.



And can you tell us a little bit how it was for you afterwards in your in your teenagers maybe? And as you progress through life.

Did you carry on going to church? What was your relationship like with going to church and and that kind of thing? Yeah.

So basically, I think, as I've mentioned, like, school wasn't fun.

Did not enjoy it.

Worked hard, but didn't have many friends at school, but, I've always had, good friends at church.

And I think that's a big thing when you're a teenager, you can well, you're starting to figure out whether this is something you believe and not you've not just inherited from your family.

So which is a really important, season of life to go through.

You need to evaluate that, but I think also having friends at church really helps you to continue to be stuck in, and engage.

But, yeah, like, teenagers were hard, start, like, I think around the age of 14, 15, I started struggling with depression, so that was hard.

And although my parents loving didn't completely understand that from a from that perspective, but have grown to understand it more.

And yeah, church church was really supportive and and and also around that age, we 2 youth leaders had just joined our church and were youth leaders and were really amazing.

So and I think that was such had such an impact on me and many others that are still going to that church.

So, yeah.




A mixture of things.



That's amazing.

And, I mean, definitely a testament to these youth leaders and Yeah.


The work they put in.

I'm sure.

And I wonder so, obviously, you were exposed to the gospel from a young age.

I wonder whether there was a time for you where you made it your own, and it really became something that you would define yourself, but I really.


Do you think there is a time like that, or was it a more gradual process? And I think Yeah.

So, like, I think my knowledge of who god was and who Jesus was was has all has been there because of my upbringing, which is why I thank god for my upbringing on my parents.

But my, love and acceptance and trust in Jesus as my savior.

And as my lord of my the lord of my life happened quite suddenly when I was around, I think I was around 14 or 15.

I think I was 14.

I I just was quite all of a sudden convicted of my sin and not only my sin, but, like, how my nature is bent on sinning.

Like, I I can't help but want to sin.

And also, I can't save myself from that and prevent myself from being bent on bent on sinning.

And I had almost like a crisis of, oh, no, I'm not a Krishna.

Like re I think you have to realize sometimes when you're growing up in a Christian family that you're not a Christian just because your parents are or just because you go to church.

And that's really important to realize.

And I all of a sudden realized that and all of a sudden realized I wasn't saved, and I couldn't save myself.

And I was, since I needed saving.

And, thankfully, all the teaching and, all the, yeah, teaching and the scripture that I'd grown up with reminded me of the only 1 who could save me, which was Jesus, and I I I specifically remember praying, on my bedroom floor, for god's horrific give me and Jesus to save me.

And then that Sunday, I spoke to, the youth leader, her name's Fiona.

I spoke to her and just asked her to pray with me.

And I became a Christian and Wow.

And then around around a year later, I got baptized.

That was great.


That's amazing.


And so you were saying that you struggling with depression, and I wonder whether finding these this anchoring in Christ provided some answers to that, or how did how did that did that bring you some comfort? Or I think I think, yeah, it did.

I mean, I still struggle with depression.

I'm not gonna hide that snot something I'm necessarily ashamed of.

I think it's it this is the thing is I think I can't imagine struggling with it.

Without knowing and loving Jesus.

I'm knowing the purpose god has given me.

I think and it's something separate from my feelings as well.

It's the gospel has nothing to do with what I've done or feel or my strength or whatever.

So and I think, for those struggling with depression, it that's really helpful.

Because, it it's something completely separate from yourself that you can go to and and, be reminded of that is completely objective.

It happened.

Jesus died on the cross and runs again.

He loves you.

That's it.

Like, you can't doesn't matter how you feel.

That's true.

So, I think that's really helpful when you're, like, in the trenches of it.

And there's this amazing book that actually I've read recently.

It's called, when darkness seems my closest friend And it's by a guy called Mark Menal or Menal or Menal.

I don't know.

I don't know how to pronounce his last name.

But he, I mean, he's he's a pastor, and he he's like, all of us and started struggling with depression and middle age and, he writes amazing.

He puts it into words what it's like to struggle and also know the hope you have and, like, that the tension that there is with that.

I found that book really helpful.

So if anyone else wants to read it, you should.

I'm sure you can find it.


That would be really helpful.

So yeah, I think for all of us, whether we struggle with depression or or other things, it's always helpful to remember that that reality of god loving us, as you said.



Like, outside of everything else that may happen in our lives.

And I think that's really it provides that stronghold in that anchor.



Stronghold and anchors.

Great words that are very help fall to refer to.


I'm sure that was probably quite a comfort to you in Yeah.

Knowing that your family as well was here to support you and Yeah.




I think that of I obviously I think I think also because I because I started struggling quite young.

I didn't actually know what depression was.

So I was like struggling, but then, like, I had never heard of that word or knew really what it meant.

So it was it was a bit of a it was a bit difficult in that way of, like, you don't have it's hard to find help or or describe to people what what you're feeling when, like, you're, like, young and you don't really know.

But, yeah, you're right.

Like, a family and, god.

And and Christians that great Christian friends that don't give up trying to love you is really helpful.


That's great.

And so, obviously, you're not in the north anymore.

You've been away to Kingston.


So, how did you come to King's costume for university? Yes.

I did.

So, I after finishing a foundation diploma in art and design, up north in a college, I applied for uni and Kingston, and came, in I'm trying to think what year it was.

Too far, I get confused with academic years.

Anyway, I came, like, around 4 years ago.


And, yeah, to do fine art, at Kingston.

And, yeah, it was great.

Really enjoyed it.

It was hard.

Any degree, I think anyone who does a degree finds it enjoyable, maybe, hopefully, that actually always odd.


There's a way to, yeah, some work involved.


Of course.


And so how is that how you came across Cornerstone.


So I I got involved with Christian Union.

I like I I think the first Christian Union, I went to it was like a just a barbecue near my halls, and the bar they couldn't like the barbeques I offered my oven.

And so it was a barbecue in my oven.

But, I, yeah, I met a few people that, came, and they mentioned that there was like a student evening, with free food, which is very helpful for students Yeah.

And intriguing.

And then also, like, it was just a q and a with the with Pete, the pasta.

So I took my friend that I'd made on my course and went and Yeah.

She wasn't a Christian at all.

I just enticed her with free food and and asked her to be my moral support.

And in freshers, I think, because students really wanna find friends, they'll do any things, which so it was great.

But I came to that student evening and, like, yeah, her people asking Pete loads things.

And I really liked how unapologetic and bold and straightforward he was with the gospel, and I thought that was quite refreshing.

So I came on a Sunday, and didn't stop.

So, yeah.


Well, we're glad to have you.


Glad to be here.


And so you said that you were working for the relay program this year.

How did that go? Yeah.

So so throughout uni, I got quite involved in Christian Union.

I I realized it was a really effective way of evangelizing.

I made great friends, lifelong friends, there, and also, like, see you really encouraged and supported me in getting stuck into Cornerstone.

So that was really helpful.

And I think because I saw how effective it was while I was at uni, like friends became Christians, of my friends of mine became Christians because of, I think, the support of the Christian union, I wanted to continue to help with that mission field because I thought because I was like, I've seen how effective it is.

I want to help.

I want to continue to evangelize and helped students who evangelize.

And so UCCF, the charity that supports Christian unions and students in Christians to evangelize have this thing called relay, which is a voluntary, like, graduation thing where you do it 5th, 10 months and you, like, come alongside a few seat Christian Unions, and just help and help equip them and support them in putting on events and evangelizing.

And you also get train training and you learn theology and, yeah, and you get support from other UCCF staff workers.

In order to do that, and that's what I did.


It's that's a long long winded ex explanation, but not many people know what it is.

And that's what I did, and I did it with the arts, students from art universities in Central London.

And it was a interesting year.

It was great.

I'm very glad I did it, and I think the students especially needed support this past year.

For obvious reasons.

Yeah, and it wasn't what I would expect it would be, but it was so much harder and so much better than I expected it was gonna be, but, yeah, it went really well.


And especially in this year of COVID and it's been quite a comfort to meet up with people and carry on these kind of relationships probably online.

Most of it, I would say.



A lot of the year was online.


What did you find was challenges challenging.


Or what did you learn throughout this year then? Yeah.

I found I found it.

I mean, that's the thing online is challenging.

Like, I started doing relay, trying to get to know students completely online.

That's very hard to do to get to know people online is really hard.

And also as part of as a relay, I was required to, like, meet at 1 to 1 with students to help disciple them and grow them so that they would be strengthened to evangelize.

And that was hard to even initiate when you're on a group call with a bunch of students.

So, like, the online thing was an an ongoing difficulty, because I love also seeing people and being around people.

So, like, and I, as I think most people would understand and relate to Zoom's exhausting.

So That was quite that was really difficult, throughout the year.

That was very difficult.

And it was a relief to finally see students in person.

But I learned so much of god's provision and how needy I am for his provision and strength I am a I I struggle with pride so much and relay in so many ways.

I knew going into it in so many ways, god would challenge my pride, but I didn't know in what ways.

I thought it would be in in, like, finances and being self sufficient in that and and and can't be I couldn't be self sufficient in that, but actually It was in so many more ways that he challenged me and and broke down my pride.

And made me rely on him more.

And I think and I'm very grateful for that.

And I I also learned that I really want to continue to help support people evangelize and continue to work in that in that capacity.


So do you have plans for the coming year? What was going on then? Yeah.



It's fine.

That's fine.

I mean, it's not I mean, I've told many people, but It's not officially been, shared, shall we say, but it will be soon.

But, I am I've got a role to be a ministry trainee at Done Donald Church.

So, So, unfortunately, I'll be leaving Cornerstone soon.

I start, that role on the 1st September.


So very soon.

It's all happened quite fast because I at the beginning of, July, I went I went on holiday with my family.

And while I was on holiday, that was finally when I had a chance to sit down and properly apply for jobs and things.

And someone had, like, briefly mentioned, someone had briefly mentioned this, the the role that was opened at McDonald's.

And I looked into it and I asked someone who'd gone who'd done it quite a few questions.

I'd already, like, during relay, applied for different ministry roles, and didn't get them.

So I thought, Okay.

God, maybe it's time to apply for secular jobs.

I really want to be a ministry, but maybe you're saying right not right now.

So I applied for secular jobs.

I got a few I got an offer to yeah, I got an offer, but, for another job and then have the the interview for this and really felt good.

Like, prompt me, shall I say, to rely on him again, to put away my pride on my, my wants to be self sufficient and self contained and step out in faith to continues to serve him in that way.



We often need a little bit of a nudge.



It's a scary nudge, but I'm really, really excited.

I yeah.

And I'm also glad, like, I don't have to move away.

Like, I can still see people from corner doing and stuff like that, but I am really excited to, served on Donald.



I did not know about this.


I know.

I know.

I thought you would ask me and So I thought, oh, it's a nice little surprise from To the podcast.


And and so just to finish with, obviously, seeing your your journey as, born in Christian family, do you have any advice for people who might be going to church their whole lives and haven't really, maybe, committed to, to church or to Christ or as an adult kind of on the fence, really.


Anything you would say to them in particular? Well, so when it comes I I from that question I view as, like, 2 part.

Like, so for those for those that are on the fence about Christ, I'd wanna say invest time in exploring it because it's it's a life and death situation and decision.

Invest time in reading the gospels, maybe find a Christian friend that will read with you and you can ask any question that you don't feel nervous about asking because this it's a huge If it's true, it it's a life and death thing, and I believe it is true.

So you're on the fence about that, think carefully.

And but on the fence about getting stuck into church, Well, I think well, god has said that we are brothers and sisters.

If he is our father, we are brothers and sisters.

And we are bonded together for eternity.

So you might as well start loving them now because you're gonna have to love them for a very long time.

But also, but also, I think you grow so much if if you get stuck in and serve and Yeah.

And I think that's the key thing is church isn't a place you go to consume and listen passively.

Then you're gonna get anemic.

You're gonna become anemic.

You need to serve and you need to love actively to grow and to learn more of God's love.

And everyone has different capacity is everyone can serve at different levels and in different ways and have different gifts, but I think God has commanded us to love and serve 1 another.

And that's where you that's what you do at church.

And that's another thing my parents have been amazing in bringing me up with is they've faithfully served the same church for as long as I can remember, through hard times and through great times.

Because they love god, and they love his people.

So yeah.




We all part of 1 body, y'all.





Thank you so much, Caitlyn, for sharing your story with us.

Thank you, Sophie.

I've shared more than I thought I would.


So that's all everyone for this episode of sister stories, but join us again next time.


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