Hey! I'm Jono :)
It is now just over a year since I moved from Cape Town to Birmingham to come be apart of this wonderful Church community and oversee the Young Adults Ministry.
So I thought it would be great to give you all an update!
I often get asked why did I move from Cape Town to Birmingham?
I was attending the church David and Tania were leading back in 2005. My working-holiday visa was about to end which meant I'd be returning to South Africa. Just before I left, we had a baptism service and I decided to be baptised by David which was a great way to bring that season to a close. On the flight back to SA, I knew there was unfinished business here and that God would call me back. I had no idea what or when that might be, until during lockdown i had one of those moments where a switch changed in my heart. I knew it was time. So I contacted Dan and I shared what was on my heart and God was definitely working us into alignment. I had no idea David and Tania were transitioning into a new church that wanted to introduce a fresh focus into Young Adults. They also never knew that I'd been serving in that exact ministry for the past 12 years. So we spent a few months praying about this potential step and it was pretty clear that God wanted me to join the team on this exciting journey!
What Have I Been Doing Since I First Arrived?
God's been doing some awesome stuff this last year. I've been involved in getting the Young Adults Ministry up and running. The YA ministry is for anyone between 18-35. We didn't actually have a group when I arrived, but now we're up to 45 people which is really encouraging. It's not just a group of people, this is a very special group. The way they love one another, the way they love Jesus, the way they serve is so inspiring to me. God's timing is crazy too. I was on my way home one day in May last year, and one I got off the bus I just needed to walk through the park and i'd be home. About half way through the park I noticed a guy being mugged. It took me a couple of seconds to realize what was happening but once I realized, I managed to get there and scare the people away before they did some proper damage to him. These guys were on drugs so it could've ended really badly. That was all God. I wasn't even meant to take the bus home that day, or so I thought. That guy is now a really good friend and very loved member of the YA group.
Like I said before, this is a very special group and if it wasn't for this group, one of the guys in it probably wouldn't be alive today. We know how important mental health is and having a loving group where people can support one another is huge. If I compare the place that guy was a year ago, to where he is now, it's amazing. Love is everything. He's becoming more and more aware of just how loved he is. Discipleship is very important which means I do a lot of one-to-ones which normally happen at Costa. Luckily I love coffee.
On a Sunday you'll normally find me behind a computer or camera. I've never done sound & media before, but as soon as I arrived Dan got me involved straight away. He taught me a lot in a very short time which was great and we now run the media team together. It's been such a fun team to run and we're always looking for people to jump behind a camera or do lyrics so if you're keen to give it a go, come grab me after the service.
What Is The Vision Going Forward?
Simply to see the young adults pursuing Jesus and being set free by the blood of Jesus. I know that can sound like a very 'churchy answer', but with the challenges we all face on a daily-basis, the only way to find rest and growth is through drawing nearer to Him. And the best way to do that is together. We currently have a Young Adults prayer and worship evening once a month and a monthly social which is great for people to invite friends to. We also want to start doing Young Adult retreats, weekends away when the weather gets a bit warmer.
Partner With Me :)
It's been quite a process moving here from Cape Town. The cost of all the legal stuff like visas and NHS insurance, to the practical stuff like finding accommodation and figuring out which buses to take, to the hardest element which is leaving your family and friends. Those who know me, know that my friends mean everything to me. Luckily, video calls are a thing these days, so that's made it a lot easier, as well as knowing God's called me here! I've made so many incredible friends here too which is such a blessing.
For those who don't know, I'm here as a volunteer and that wouldn't be possible without the love and support of people sponsoring me. It's a partnership that has allowed the Young Adults Ministry to become what it is today. I'm currently being sponsored £200pm which I'm extremely grateful for, but with the cost of pretty much everything rising over the last year, that £200pm isn't going as far as it used to. I've been using a lot of my own savings to cover food, accommodation, travel, coffees for Young Adult one-to-ones and the usual everyday expenses. I've been happy to make that sacrifice (I wouldn't be here if I wasn't) but my savings can only last so long. Especially with the exchange rate. The South African Rand is very weak compared to the Pound. It's R22 to £1. So being here definitely comes with challenges.
If you feel called to partner with me you can create a standing order or give as a one off using the bank details & reference below:
Account Name: Jonathan Briedenhann
Account No: 35232497
Sort Code: 04-00-04
Reference: 'Jono Sponsorship'