Why I Came To Stay In England: Christian Community

Sep 10, 2014

“JESUS Army training opportunities are great chances for young people to experience community, find God, and be part of the Jesus Army story God is writing, even for a short while.” says Anja.

Anja Bertschinger, 25, from Switzerland, is spending a few months at Anthem, a Christian Community house in Northants. She speaks of her experience:

“I come from a Swiss Christian family and am the youngest of five children. When I was five we moved into a Christian community. Community life is all I’ve ever known. I learned a lot as a child and was led early into a relationship with God.

“At the end of last year, I decided to move away from the community to learn about responsibility for myself and my relationship with God. The leader of the community is a friend of Trevor Saxby, a leader in the Jesus Fellowship, and recommended I come here in England for a while before I live on my own. I thought it was a good idea: it would help prepare me for life on my own and also give me an experience of a different kind of community.

“I am intending to return to Switzerland to do a secretarial course and then find a job in an office. Ultimately, I would love to work as a missionary, but I want to do whatever God tells me to do.

“So, my training months: what do I do? I often spend time with my mentor, Vanessa. I share what I am doing and raise any questions I have. The relationship is mutual, not one-way; Vanessa also shares with me. Once a week I see my pastor, John. I ask for his wisdom and guidance for my life. He is a man of God with a great life experience.

“I realise the more self-initiating I do, the better, during my stay. No one pushes you. I am responsible for my training months. I have to ask, to initiate.  It’s not just about people giving to me.

“If I want to be involved it’s easy. I volunteer at the community’s food distribution centre and work at the community-owned business, Goodness Foods, twice a week. I have one day free each week: I’ve set it aside to find more of God.

“It is a great opportunity to share life and to live in a community house like Anthem. I feel at home; they’ve become my family and it won’t be easy to leave them. I’ve found new friends, whom I love and share life with.

“These months in community have given me a chance to talk, to hear people’s testimonies and learn from people. The daily life here is focused on God and that has helped me. There has been time to ask questions and receive answers – both from people – and God!

“I’ve had time to be with God and my faith is bigger and stronger now. I’ve got to know God better and trust Him more. Seeing how people live here has made my faith more certain: God is alive and His ways are the best for us!”