Strengthening Old, Down Under - Snapshot from Ben Hewitt. Alumni Apprentice
I had the privilege of serving as an apprentice from 2008 - 2010, two years that I can say sincerely changed my life. At 15 shortly after I'd become a Christian, I remember looking up at my minister in Bangor, Co. Down, and thinking, "Gee whiz, that would be the worst job in the world. Lord, anything but that...!" Well, after two years as an apprentice, I had tasted full time Christian ministry, in a wonderfully supportive and encouraging environment, and I knew that this was where God was calling me. I wasn't sure what it would look like, but I knew He'd sort things out!
I finished in Dublin and moved to Melbourne, Australia, just in time for my wedding to Suja. We'd met at Trinity College, but her family was here in Melbourne so that's where we headed. We married in December 2010, after which Suja started working in a local hospital, and I had a year of varied employment - as an office temp, then an English teacher, with a little bit of hockey coaching and gardening on the side. I was then invited to take up a youth ministry position at our local Anglican church. I accepted, and stayed for four years whilst also starting theological education at Ridley College here in Melbourne. During these four years, the minister at church, and several older, wiser Christians encouraged me to pursue Anglican ordination, so I did. Meantime, there was the small matter of our children arriving: we had two boys, Jacob in 2012, Caleb in 2014, and our little girl, Talitha, in 2018. Itching to finish my theological education faster, and accelerate towards ordained ministry, I resigned from my youth ministry position in 2016, to go full time at theological college. That set us up for three difficult, but very rewarding years. There were long hours of study tied in with ministry placements, and a little paid work to make ends meet. Thankfully, God provided at every turn, not least through the incredible support of Suja and both her extended family and mine.
I was ordained a deacon in February 2019, and offered a job in the same church I served as a youth minster previously. I'm excited to be back in full time ministry, convinced that the model I learned at ICM, born out of 2 Timothy 2:2 will serve the church very well indeed. I'm so grateful for my time at ICM, not least for the faithful people who taught me to teach others. I hope Irish Church Missions knows the value of its work, and holds fast to its commitment to raise up men and women for gospel ministry. God used my time there to change my life, and no doubt He will for others!