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Dion's story

Follow Dion as she embarks on her Inspiring Leadership Programme


Dion is about to fly to Jamaica and we will be following her story. 

Dion1Hi, my name is Dion-Marie White aged 21. I am a graduate in Religious studies combined with Theology. I am going on the Inspiring Leadership programme to explore my possible calling into pastoral and creative ministry. I have always been a creative person, I dance, I write poetry and I used to play the violin. I would love to inspire others especially young people to use their gifts as a form of ministry and worship to God. I also have a heart for vulnerable women especially prostitutes. While at uni, I was often asked if I am going to become a minister. I always said "NO!" but as time went on I felt God was leading me and calling me to work with women as mentioned. So prior to graduating and the Inspiring Leadership programme I got involved in women's groups at my uni and set up a Purity group which is now a year old. It started with 12 young women and now I have 23 so I trust God is going to continue to mould these women into mighty women of his Kingdom. I am looking forward to the Inspiring Leadership Programme despite being anxious. However I am excited to see what God does and how my life will be changed for the better but ultimately for the betterment of his Kingdom.

Visit the information pages to find out more about the programme
 

Below are a selection of posts from her journey. Also, follow her on Instagram

27/3/17

Hi Everyone! Hope you are well I know it has been a while. So since the last time I sent an update God has really challenged me to "Be still and know that he is God". It is something some of you may have heard before or something you try to practice. For others it may mean taking time out to reflect and be at peace with yourself. Now although this sounds serene and perfect in reality it is quite different. For me it was about finding time and space between my usual activities with various organisations and churches; as well as within and outside of my interactions with my new found friends and family. However there have been days that are less hectic where I may be filing some paperwork or putting together some Sunday school booklets. These days where time and space to "Just be" are more easily available I have found to be my biggest challenge. I am often consumed by a feeling of low productivity and questions about what more I could be doing. I often become so caught up in what I am not doing that I forget to be truly present in that moment and that specific task. The struggle between being and doing is something we all have to constantly wrestle with. It is also something that once aware of we should Intentionally try to find a balance of it in our lives. Although I am not quite there yet, I have taken the first step in acknowledging the tension. The second step is to now fully embrace each moment as it comes. To appreciate the silence, to trust God is talking to me through that and to be attentive to the spirit. In this I also hope to be moved into further action or to truly just "Be still and know that he is God". Until next time... Blessings, Peace and Love. Xx

8/3/17

Hi all,

It has been a busy and reflective past two weeks and couple of days. It is also my 3rd month here in Jamaica so I am half way through this amazing experience. I pray for new blessings this season of Lent and hope that you all find this update encouraging as part of the Baptist family and God's creation at large. Last week, from Wednesday the 22nd to Sunday the 26th of February, we celebrated the 167th General Baptist Assembly in Montego Bay. It was a week filled with bible studies, workshops, missionary trips to troubled communities, and a general meeting about logistics and all that adult boring stuff. There were also some great services at the end of each night as well as an open air service and concert in Falmouth square, Trelawny. The theme for the Assembly was "Living the Sacrificial Life" which allowed space to reflect on ourselves individually as Christians, but also together as Baptists here in Jamaica and worldwide. The main highlights of the Assembly were the workshops I attended and the mission trip to a troubled community called Norwood. One of the things that I felt led to pray for during the trip was the children and I ask that you join me in continuing to pray for the children of Jamaica because the future belongs to them. Also, this is the third time in the history of the Jamaica Baptist Union that a female has been elected Vice President and first time that a female clergy, Rev. Karen Kirlew, will serve in that office. As a female and advocate for women empowerment and sisterhood, this was an immensely proud moment.

Besides the Assembly, I would like to share with you, my desire for us all to think more deeply about the theme of sacrificial living. In life, we make many sacrifices but how many of them really cost us something. Mother Theresa said, "A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves". In light of this, I went on a week fast after the assembly but had to break it midweek as I got the flu. Immediately after getting ill I then went on a hike to the Blue Mountains with some of the ministerial students here this past weekend which was definitely a sacrifice. I was not only under the weather and feeling weak but the weather in the mountains was not great, also once we reached the peak it was freezing cold. The climb was also very steep and rocky and the air made my chest feel tighter than usual but it was an experience I could never forget.  It was also not just a normal hike it was another opportunity to reflect on the theme of sacrificial living. It was also a time to reflect on the Creator and his creation and to just appreciate and embrace nature in all its glory. I want to now use this opportunity to challenge you to take a few days out to fast or to be one with nature. Visit a local park, go on a retreat, go camping, camp in your garden, go on a hike, go to the beach or a nature reserve/woodland area. Use that time to not just be outdoors but to think about how you feel in that environment and allow yourself to be open to revelation or epiphany. I hope that this is something that you find worthwhile and transformative. I definitely feel transformed after the last couple of weeks and days leading up to now. Until next time, peace and love.

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20/2/16
Hi everyone! I know it has been a while since the last update but I am very pleased to be sharing more of my journey here in Jamaica with you all. The first thing I am sure some of you are already aware of is the work I have been doing with women and vulnerable groups who are marginalised, abused, abandoned and violated in Jamaica. I had the honour of meeting 2 beautiful young women who had survived sexual abuse as children. They came to share their story at a woman's leadership convention about HIV and AIDS , as well as gender based sexual violence. I was deeply moved by their stories and inspired by their growth and transformation. As part of the convention, we were put into denominational groups to create an action plan based on all we had learnt during the 3 days. In addition to the one created for us as Baptists in Jamaica and Worldwide... I also created a personal one where I am responsible for doing something in response to the issues we had been discussing. One of the things that was already in motion was the "Black Thursdays" movement. For those following on my Facebook account, you would have seen my posts from the last 2 Thursdays regarding 'taking a stand for this cause'. #STOPTHEVIOLENCE against our girls and women! Of course we can and should pray for violence of all humans to stop; so I ask if you could do this please and make "Black Thursdays" a day to reflect, pray or start a campaign of your own.

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The second thing I want to share with you all is the children's ministry that I started last Saturday, making today our second week. As I am staying in the "marriage and family" quarters on campus, there are a few children as my neighbours. They are such lovely children, mainly young boys aged 1- 13. During my time here I noticed just how hardworking and amazing their parents are to be going to work, training as ministerial Pastors and still finding time and energy to raise their children and look after their home. As part of the community and an Aunty to 2 nephews, I felt led to do my part. I was always told it takes a village to raise a child. I started the ministry with the youngest boy aged 1 and decided to do some free painting. After about an hour or so, the other children were eager to paint also. We had so much fun together painting on paper, the trees, the ground and I even allowed them to paint on my apartment. If it didn't rain, I think we would have been painting all night. The children didn't want to stop as it is something they do not do often but is something that they really enjoy. In fact, last Sunday at church two of the children ran up to hug me and asked if I was doing painting that evening. I am hoping to keep it going every Saturday and to include Bible stories/lessons so that they have something to reflect on in the week. I am asking for you to pray for consistency as weekends can easily get busy and that the children are blessed by the ministry as much as it is a blessing for me to be a part of.

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The final thing I want to share with you all is the Jamaican community of Boys Town/Trenchdown. It is a community with so much potential, especially cricket wise. It is also the place where Bob Marley spent a lot of his time hanging out. I was able to experience some of the Beautiful land and people that Boys Town had to offer this week just gone. I met some of the lovely children at one of their schools and some young people training in hospitality and civil service. Like most places I have visited though, there is a lack of support and resources but some organisations like YMCA are doing their best and making a difference. They also own part of the land for camping and other activities for the youth but due to funds it needs renovating and is something I will definitely be praying about. Overall, I am just grateful for every experience and every person and community that I am able to embrace and be in the midst of. I feel as if this is a home away from home; especially as my ancestral roots are here. As I end this, I want us all to reflect on this notion of family and community, not just where we were born and grew up, but around the world and places we visit. God's love and family is for everyone...it is everyone. "Love thy Neighbour" (Mark 12:31) let us reflect on these words and love each other Intentionally and actively remembering that our little bit can do a whole lot for someone else. Blessings and peace, Dion-Marie White xx

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4/2/17
Hi again!! This Monday will mark my 3rd week here in Kingston Jamaica. I am amazed at how, even in such a short period of time, I have had much to reflect on and be grateful for. I want to share with you how I ended up with a really bad allergic reaction. It took the form of eczema in its worst state. I usually experience rashes and bumps all over my body, but not like this. Although unpleasant and uncomfortable due to the humidity, I am well in heart and mind, even if the adjusting process hasn't been plain sailing.

So besides not so great skin conditions, I was busy again this week from being at the JBU office and participating in theological lectures at UTCWI. One of the main highlights was when I went to work at Woman Inc, where I had the privilege of going to the Jamaican Houses of Parliament. I observed an important discussion about changing laws on sexual violence against all people (women, men, children, LGBT and other vulnerable groups). It was very enlightening and I was happy to have attended with a supportive organisation. However, it really broke my heart to hear of the many cases of sexual violence and abuse taking place all around Jamaica on a daily basis. So much so, that even in the doctor's office, people were talking about it and asking God to intervene. Especially for the young girls over here. There is still hope though, one being that I get to work alongside organisations that are doing amazing things to make a difference in regards to these issues.

There was also more rays of sunshine to come as the week ended with a lovely intimate birthday celebration, as I turned 22. (3/02/17). I will forever remember this birthday and appreciate the ministerial students here, who put something together for me. So up unto this point, it has truly been a rollercoaster of a ride, but I am grateful for every new day and its challenges. To summarise, I recall an image I took during the week of a Butterfly (see photo) I am reminded that no matter what stage we are at in our journey of life, we are always evolving and blossoming from our cacoons and comfort zones. That being said, I look forward to updating you all again soon. I end this now with a devotional word for us all to share and reflect on. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to him be glory both now and forevermore". (2 Peter 3:18)

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27/1/17
Hi Everyone, This is my 11th day in Jamaica (27/01/17). It is taking me a while to adjust to my new environment however during this time I have made some great contacts. I am staying at the United Theological College of the West Indies. The students here are lovely and dedicated to their calling into church ministry. I have had a few apointments that have taken me away from the campus. Many students have wondered where I disappear to so frequently but I am happy to share with them my purpose for being here. One of these has been to work at the Jamaican Baptist Union (JBU) office and intergrate with the staff. The JBU's annual Baptist Assembly is soon approaching so there is a lot to do. I have also met with the head of Y.M.C.A. I was introduced to the young men on their programme and helped with their class of 5 adults with special needs.

Today was an interesting and productive day where I met with the head of Woman's Inc. Whilst there I recieved loads of information about the amazing work they do. Thier primary aim is to work with women within the society but they also focus on vulnerable groups, the marginalised, abused and the discriminated. So it has been an eventful couple of days and I look forward to working more closely with these organisations over the following months. One thing that has been on my heart in the midst of this is the lack of resources and funding available to these organisations. I invite you to stand with me in prayer for resources and funding for the Y.M.C.A and Women Inc. I also invite you, if you feel led to perhaps do some research into how else we could help them. The most moving thing for me has been just how much these organisations have achieved with what they do have. I am humbled by their immense faith in God through all their challenges and successes.

I will now conclude with this quote as it sums up my entire experience so far: "Believers who are in humble circumstances are in a high position. We can find joy in that." I pray God continues to keep us all humble as we work in his name to help, encourage and uplift our brothers and sisters worldwide.

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Instatgram posts from the first few days
Dion on Instagram

16/1/2017


Today marks the official first day of my journey. I am feeling well equipped for my departure today, having had a wonderful time at church with my friends and family at the weekend. We shared words of encouragement around some snacks and cakes. Sunday morning service was also an uplifting experience. I was prayed for and presented with a stylish Bible/handbag to accompany me, on this exciting new journey.

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9th January 2016
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