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 - 3. Saffron

In this episode, I am interviewing Saffron, our Church’s apprentice. Listen in for her thoughts on creativity and using our gifts to serve God.

Transcript (Auto-generated)

Welcome everyone to the Sister's Studio Podcast.

This podcast is aimed at Marlene had got sovereignty in each of our lives as women.

At encouraging 1 another via our stories.

My name is Sophie, and today I will be interviewing Safran.

Hello, everyone.

Welcome to Safran.

Can you first of all tell us a little bit a little bit, sorry, about who you are? Sure.

So I'm Safran Smith.

I am in Kingston right now, and I'm married to Tom Smith.

We got married last July, during lockdown, which was quite exciting.

And currently, I'm a ministry trainee at Cornerstone Church in Kingston.

Nearing the 2nd year of my, yeah, apprenticeship, which is crazy, but that's where I am at the moment.


Thank you.

And, obviously, we're going to be talking a little bit about your story and how you came to know, the lord Jesus Christ.

And so I would like us to start with, what your family, circumstances are like and what your childhood was like.


So I'm from a family of 6.

I have 3 older sisters, which was fun.

I guess, yeah, this 1.

Yeah, and a mom and dad.

I grew up and was born in Ipswich, So that's where I was born and bred.

I went to school, college, yeah, up until I was 18.

I lived there.

I'm from a mixed background.

So I've got a dad from Iran.

My mom's British.

So that was quite nice.

Growing up with mixed cultural backgrounds, and we tried to observe, like, a lot of that and protect it in our family, which is really nice.


Can you give us an example of things you would do that would be, I don't know, from these cultural backgrounds? Yeah.

So, we would have a lot of Persian car my family love the Persian carpet.

So we'd often sit on the floor to eat as well.

So my friends would come around in school, and we'd have dinner, and it would all be laid out nicely on a mat on the floor.

So everyone would have to sit cross legged, to eat, which was I I just thought it was normal.

And then my friends came around and they were like, what? So, yeah.



That sounds quite relaxed.

It sounds lovely.

And, did you have any exposure to the gospel as a child or not really? So my mum is a Christian, and as I as I was a young child, actually, my 3 older sisters each are trusted in Jesus, and I saw that happen.

And I noted it as it, even though I was very young, there's quite a big age gap.

But it was primarily through my mum and my sisters that I I heard about Jesus.

They would read the Bible and sing songs to me as a young kid, and they would take me to church.

That was primarily where it came from.



And what's about Chitat? What does he believe in or not believe in? Yeah.

So, it's tricky.

There was because he's from Iran, it was he came from a Muslim ground.

But when he came to the UK, he rejected that faith.


And since then, as I grew up, I saw him go through various phases of different religions, things like Buddhism, Hinduism.

I remember going to a a conference when I was child with all my family, and it was a Chinese meditation religion following a lady called Qinghai, where they would wear her necklace around there, chests.

And it was strange, actually, as a kid, seeing the my mom trusting Jesus and have a constant faith and my dad constantly changing different views, but never, yeah, never accepting Christianity.

I see.

And, what did you think of God as a child as a result of that mixed background? Well, it's nice actually reflecting back on it now, as a slightly older person.

And as a Christian, that the lord really protected my, I think my even my mind from hearing all these different things, that could have affected us or even my 3 sisters, quite negatively, and and different yeah, thoughts and ideas about the world were planted in our minds, but it yeah.

Amazingly, the lord deflected them and protected us.

But it did it it did affect me growing up.

I remember different parts, growing up and hearing things like you're being brainwashed or this is this is your mom's faith, and you'll you'll find out when you grow up that this is all fake.

So I was challenged a lot as a kid and I remember just, yeah, shutting myself away crying and and just, like, hating the atmosphere, which now I look back on and I see how god has used but at the time, it was hard for her, yeah, for a young baby Christian.


So when would you say, if there's a precise date, let's say, when would you say you came to understand really what the gospel is? When I was 6, I have a very clear memory, of understanding all of a sudden, very simply, that I was a sinner and that I was separate from god, and that Jesus was the only way I could come to know god and be his friend again.

I didn't understand all the other things that came with that, but it was the holy spirit opening my eyes as a 6 year old.

And I was at my granddad's house, and I remember pulling on my mom's clothes saying, I wanna become a Christian and follow Jesus.

She was overjoyed and we prayed together.

And I actually it's interesting.

I don't remember anything else as a 6 year old or from my childhood that much.

But it seems like god has protected that memory, so that I can, yeah, look back at it and know that I'm secure.


That must be quite a precious memory in your minds as well.


And, how was it with your sisters as well? How did your relationship develop after that? Or How did you grow really in your faith? Yeah.

As well.

I'm so thankful for them.

They were, Yeah.

Just in their example, and it's amazing to see their faith blossom.

They trust in Jesus and he He's clearly there rock.

And and looking up to that as a young Christian, it impacted me a lot.

And I see as a great blessing, from a from a mixed parent background to have 3 sisters that, pray with me, and they check out how I'm doing.

And am I reading my bible? And, so, yeah, that's a great blessing.



So We all know, actually, if we know you that you have a very special relationship with dance, can she tell us a little bit about, where that comes from? And what has what that has meant in your life.



So I started dancing when I was about 5.


I didn't go to any classes, but my older sisters all were really into hip hop dancing.

So naturally, as a little kid, I'd come home from school, and they would say, right? Get changed.

We're gonna, we're gonna teach you a dance.

So at first, I don't think I really liked it because I was, force into it, and we'd have to do shows with my parents and stuff.

But as I grew older, it became a real, a passion, And it would be quite a, I think a a thing that I just did on my own.

I didn't go to many other classes and dance with others, but I remember just having a room in the house, and I would I would just dance, and it would I think it sprouts from my love of music, it feels like I'm embodying the music.

And then it grew.

I did it, as an a level, and then I, took it to university.

But there like, at 1 point, I remember coming to, a point in my life where I was thinking, okay, I wanna pursue dance but I also wanna share the gospel.

And I genuinely thought those 2 don't go together.

So dance is maybe it's becoming an idol in my life, so I need to lay it down.

And that was really, like, a a big thing for me, because I didn't want it to to hinder my relationship with god.

And I knew that the world had twisted dance and made it something into yeah, into something that was perverse.

So I was challenged as a teenager of what what am I gonna do? So I remember just saying, okay, I'm gonna lay it down, like, really upset, really, yeah, finding it difficult.

But saying god, you you have to come first, and I'm gonna let it down.

But praise the lord, he raised it back up while I was in Southeast Asia, the most, yeah, unexpected of things.

And Yeah.

And since then, he's shown me how to use it for his glory, it's still a tight rope of, yeah, being careful when but it's amazing to be able to reflect his creativity and through it.


And I don't know if you can give us an example, but, Is there maybe a show that you've done or or a specific dance that you've done where you feel that would really reflect that? Or Mhmm.

You can describe that a little bit.


It's it is a difficult thing to articulate.

But at university, for example, we were given a very broad speck, to do a dance based on it was an exam, based on just something political, something that was, yeah, present in the media and things like that.

And I remember thinking, oh, like, how can I use this, yeah, to to point people to Christianity or even just be a witness And it's such a hard crowd because pee like, you feel like you're just an odd you're you're an alien Yes? In this performing field.

And I remember, coming across a release international magazine, and it was all about persecuted Christians.

And I was so moved by that because I was reading stories of Christians in the other side of the world standing for the gospel in, yeah, yeah, and they might be killed for that.

So I ended up doing a piece about, the persecution of Christians And it meant a lot to, yeah, for me to be able to use that, but also for the teacher and my my peers to see, the importance of it and stuff.

This is, yeah, praise look.

That's really interesting.

And I think it's really important for all of us to see how even our passions or, our skills that might feel like very far away from the gospel actually everything is related to the gospel and to god.

And that's that's amazing to hear that.

I wonder looking back a little bit at your family situation, how your relationship with your dad was, especially after your you turned to Jesus and became a Christian.



It has been very up and down.

I mean, praise the lord that he he was okay with me going to church.

I I did a year mission trip abroad, and, I was wondering and kind of scared about what he would say, but he seemed just completely fine and favorable.

And he, looking back now, I see how the lord has used him to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, because I would be challenged, like, why do you be how can you believe in a god of love when he flooded the world and and just constant questions like that? And as a Christian, I would get so angry inside, and I'd be like, oh, like, I don't know what.

Like, there's so many things I can't answer.

And it would cause me to cry out to the lord and and recognize, yeah, who I am.

And I also had to figure out, like, why do I believe this? So, yeah, growing up and being challenged by someone so often, cause, yeah, really does strengthen your faith.

And it's like when the church is persecuted, the church grows.


And even though at the time it's painful, you look back and you're like, oh, like, god strengthened my my faith through a person who doesn't believe in him, so, yeah, he works all things out.


It sure does.

That's that's really interesting how someone who's maybe a little bit antagonistic can really push you to explore and actually know exactly what you well, Yeah.


Exactly what you believe really.

Yeah, it's the same when you look at apologetics and you try to find defense for the phase 3.





And so you are now in Cornerstone, obviously.

So you've somehow made it from it switched to Kingston.

How did that happen? So I never wanted to come to university.

That was not the plan.

But I was in China, actually, and I, was experiencing just different missionaries, out there and, living with them and and seeing life and stuff.

And they said to me, a university degree is so valuable, in this kind of context, because you're you're allowed to work there.

And so that caused me to think, okay, am I being stubborn just rejecting university? But at the same time, I'm not really interested in anything that is worst do doing a degree for.

But then I realized working in a university in China that there's so many opportunities to share the gospel with students when you're alongside them rather than over them.

So I thought, okay, why not? Let's get alone and go to university.

So then while I was in China, I remember looking for courses that's due dance, this is very sparse.

Especially that allow urban styles, not just ballet.

So Kingston popped up as a very diverse course with lots of styles.

So I just went for it, and then found Cornerstone.


Amazing too, and now we have you with us.



Now, obviously, the last year has been quite something.

For all of us.

And, we've all had different experiences.

Now, you started working for Cornerstone 2 years ago, as you were saying, how did this 2 years go? And especially how was it throughout, lockdown last year? Well, Yeah.

The lord has taught me a lot about him and myself in the last 2 years.

And I see it as a real privilege to have 2 years of your life being able to, really dig into scripture, and be taught and maybe broken down first and then retort, like, how how we can teach the Bible and expound it, faithfully to other people.

So that has been such a blessing doing call hill and and workshop.

And also the opportunity to meet with people and share the gospel, especially people that have never never heard of Jesus.

And the 1st year was yeah, was great for that because I was able to go into the university, and meet people outside it and talk to them and invite them to stuff.

And then, there's an, yeah, amazing stories of god, like, bringing people into my life through that.

And then the second year happened.

And it it was difficult.

I had to spend 6 years, at 6 years.

Hopefully not.

6 months in Bracknell, away from Cornerstone.

And it felt really odd, and I was wondering what was going on, why why in Yeah.


It was a lot.

It was hard.

But I understand that he had to take me away from all of the busyness and duties to just steal my mind and remind me that I only need him, and I don't need to try and busy myself up to prove myself.

So, yeah, that was it was useful, but I miss church in Cornerstone and Kingston.

So the 2nd year since then, has gone very fast.

And I've been able to be involved in lot lots of different ministries that I wouldn't have probably if there was no lockdown, and met people too that I wouldn't have without lockdown.

So praise the lord for that.



And, whether any challenges in this year for you in lockdown, especially I know you got married as well, in that year.

So Yeah.

What's where the change is and the challenges in that? Well, our our original marriage, they, was cancelled.

So and then a house we were gonna we were gonna get also fell through within, like, the space of a week or something.

So there was a a lot going on, and it really did challenge a and our dependence on Jesus, and actually showed me that I was depending on myself for a lot of it.

And then throughout, yeah, the 6 months in Bracknow, I also recognized my, my proneness to be selfish and sin and Yeah.

A lot of that, which is exhausting.

But he has shown me that he's supreme over all of that.

And and how much I just need him.

So, yeah, he knows, yeah, what it was used for.



Lastly, if there was any, advice you would give to maybe younger Christians what would you say to them? I I think the most impactful thing for me or piece of advice actually came from, Paul Washer.

I was watching a a sermon.

And he said, put your life at Christ's disposal every day.

Because that's the only thing that's gonna matter on your deathbed.

Did did I use my life, for Christ? And was it at his disposal? And that was a massive challenge for me and something that, each day I battle with, and So that would be, yeah, a piece of advice I would pass on to others, and praying every day.

Lord, what do you want me to do today? Who do you want me to speak to? What do you want me to say? Where do you want me to go? That is yeah.

It's wonderful to see what god can do with with you when you are willing.

So, yeah.


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

It was great to have you today.

That's all for this episode of sister stories, everyone.

But we'll see you again next time.


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