Without volunteers, CEF wouldn’t be able to do the ministry that it does. Each year we normally have a number of people volunteering in our National Office in Belfast. Sometimes this is in the form of our intern programme, sometimes it’s a university placement, or just someone interested in helping out. Over the past year James, Peter and Naomi were with us in the office. James and Peter were with us every Friday and Naomi did a two week placement in January. We thought now that their year is over we would give you an insight in to them and the ministries they were involved in.
1. Who are you and where do you come from?
Peter: I’m Peter Cooper. I’m 21 years old and I live in Dungannon. I study theology at the Irish Baptist College (IBC) in Moira.
Naomi: My name is Naomi Beckett and I have just finished studying to be a primary school teacher at Stranmillis University College. I live in East Belfast.
James: My name is James Chambers and I’m from Anahilt (just outside the city of Lisburn). Random fact: I have had type 1 diabetes from the age of 15 months!
2. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a Christian.
Peter: I grew up in a Christian home, my dad was a pastor and so I was at every church meeting there was. I was sent to many children’s clubs and it was at one of those clubs that I had a realisation of my sin and my need for a Saviour. I prayed and asked for forgiveness of sin and became a Christian. I was 5 years old at the time and I truly believe God saved me. From that moment on God began to work in my life and I started to understand more and more about what Jesus did for me on the cross.
Naomi: I grew up going to church with my mum (Park Avenue Free Methodist) and attended the Sunday School and JAM (Jesus and Me) clubs. When I was about 5, I heard at JAM about Jesus and His great love for me and how He died so I could have peace with God. I came home that night and trusted in Jesus to be my Saviour.
James: I was brought up in a Christian family and sent along to every Good News Club and children’s meeting at my local church. From a very young age I heard the gospel and at the age of 6 after an evening service at my church I came home and I gave my life to the Lord. Since then I have been learning more and my relationship has been growing stronger with the Lord. I am now involved in my church youth committee and Dromara JYC.
3. Have you a favourite Bible verse and why?
Peter: John 10:28, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand”. As Jesus speaks, He brings a promise to all believers, that the salvation and eternal life we have will never be taken away. This promise from Jesus has helped me throughout my life and continues to provide hope and comfort. I know that God has saved me, and the Holy Spirit has sealed my hope for the future.
Naomi: Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths’. It reminds me that God is in control in every situation and I can rely on God to guide me through life as He has a plan for my life.
James: Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the lord, and in the power of his might.” This verse was one that has helped me through a whole lot of struggles as it reminds me that I can depend on the strength of the Lord and I don’t have to do anything alone but I can rely on his power.
4. Were you part of any CEF ministry last summer and how did it go?
Peter: I was a leader at Mid-Ulster Junior and Inters Camp in Portstewart Primary School. The two weeks went really well. As the young people heard about Joshua during the meetings they were challenged and encouraged. My favourite part of the week was having quiet time with the young people. Spending those moments in the Bible and then praying with them encouraged me so much and I learnt a lot through them.
Naomi: During the summer I was involved in Livingston Momentum, North Belfast Junior Camp and Belfast CYIA. Each opportunity to serve was so different; from going into schools, being in a camp setting and teaching about God in a green area outside. All the teams went really well and I had the opportunity to teach children memory verses and Bible stories about Joshua and Jesus, narrate a play and have fun with the children.
James: In the past I have been at many camps and weekends with CEF but I recently did the Summer Outreach Training Course (SOTC) and it was honestly one of the best experiences I have had at a camp. It was intense but so beneficial as I learned how to effectively teach the gospel to children. I also was a camper at Retreat at Castledaly Manor in Athlone. It was an amazing week praising and learning about God as well as getting to know other Christians my age. If you know Colin Hylands, you’ll understand that I was tasked with the jobs he was unable to handle.
5. Why did you decide to spend time with CEF during this year and what were you doing?
Peter: I decided to spend the year with CEF as part of my placement with IBC. I have a heart for children’s ministry and a love for CEF, who have been so influential in my life. I learned more about the organisation as a whole and what goes on behind the scenes in the organisation of camps, JYCs and GNCs. I also learnt how to be more effective in children’s ministry in my own context.
Naomi: I decided to spend time with CEF as part of my alternative placement with Stranmillis. This is because God has put a desire in my heart to share His Word with children and potentially be a missionary in the future. During my two weeks, I spent time in the National Office, assisting at Good News Clubs and had an opportunity to see GNC training for a church starting out in children’s ministry.
James: At Training Week I was impacted by the ‘Urgency of the Gospel’ class and it left me thinking that there was something I could do. Ruth Nelson recommended the CEF Intern programme to me. After Training Week (and with lots of prayer) I sent off the intern forms and just prayed that if this is what God wanted for me I would be accepted. In the office I was doing general administrative work as well as some Youth Challenge work too.
6. Is there anything we can pray for you about?
Peter: Pray that God will help me see and learn more about children’s ministry. Pray God will use me for His glory. Pray that I will grow in my faith and love for Jesus.
Naomi: Pray for God’s guidance in what he wants me to do long term after studying, and direction in which jobs to apply for next year.
James: Pray for courage and wisdom for being able to work with young people. Pray for guidance for what God wants me to do next year. Also pray that through camps and training weeks there would be more people challenged by God who are willing to share the gospel with children and young people.
If you’re interested in our intern programme, a placement, or any sort of volunteering with CEF, get in touch with us!