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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

22/5/17

Hi my lovely friends and family, My time in Jamaica is coming to a close and so I have found myself considering "What next?". In between working with the churches and working at the Women's Centre, I have had time to reflect on my purpose and calling. I have had time to look back on everything that I have done in the last 5 months and evaluate my strengths and weaknesses.

To really search deeper for what it is I want to do in the future. Although I am still not 100% sure what it is specifically, I am sure it is somewhat of a missionary. Yes my faith plays a large part in why I want to help others, but I don't want to just preach and save souls. I want to serve and to love others simply because Jesus loves me. Of course I would love people to become Christians, but I want my interactions with others to be about unity and Sisterhood/Brotherhood first. To show others that we are all the same, the only difference is our circumstance. One thing I have realised personally is that I only want to love and be loved. I know I am loved by God and my friends and family but not everyone has that privilege. Therefore somebody needs to show others and share with them that love; so that they can receive it and go on to truly love others. Now this may sound too idealistic and somewhat of a Fairytale. However having experienced what I have so far and trusting I can and will experience much more... I know first hand life isn't sweet roses. I expect the journey to love others to be hard. To be emotionally draining, physically straining, spiritually testing, mentally challenging... But it will be worth it.

I always knew from a young age (I am 22 now) so from when I was in single digits... That I was born to stand out. The only thing was I stood more in the shadows hiding and in the corners crying. I never want or wanted to stand out in the sense of being centre stage or in the spotlight. However I have learnt that when you stand up and say "I want to make a difference"! People expect to hear about, see and feel that difference. This does come with some degree of attention and spotlight but its not for or about me. It's really about how God has nurtured and used me. So in that regard the spotlight is really on him and the lives changed through my interactions with others. So as I spend my final month here in Jamaica, I will be sure to start looking ahead to how I can serve God's people in the places others might not be so willing to go. My mission is to be of service with my entire mind body and soul.

May my mind be for the lost, May my ears be for the deaf, May my eyes be for the blind, May my hands and feet be for the less abled, May my voice be for the voiceless, May my heart be for the heartless and may my presence be of comfort. I challenge you all today no matter how old or young you are to ask yourself "What is my purpose?" and to see if you are living it and if not to do something about it. If you do not know, I suggest changing your environment for a few days/weeks/months if necessary. Really give yourself time to explore and engage in different experiences; to discover who you are in this world. Until next time, I leave you with these words from Marianne Williamson: (See attached image) Peace and Love, Dion-Marie White x

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5/5/17
Hi Everyone! Hope you are well, thank you for following me on this wonderful journey. It is almost the end of my time here in Jamaica but it is not my final destination. One thing I have learnt in life is that as one door closes another one opens so I look forward to what is next.

These last few months I have been assigned to Ocho Rios, a country parish in Jamaica. My main focus has been working with the circuit of churches especially with its women's groups and young people. I have had the opportunity so far to minister in adult Bible class, present workshops at youth conventions and dance as part of church services; as a ministration to God and the congregation. The other very important thing I have been up to while here, has been working at Ochi's Women's Centre. The Women's Centre is a school for expectant and teenage mothers. The school provides holistic care including: parenting classes (for both parents), counselling sessions, the opportunity to learn mandatory subjects and do the required exams, skills training and much more. The girls are also fed breakfast for those that need it and lunch is provided. There is also a nursery where their babies are well looked after.

My role while at the Women's Centre is to shadow and assist the on site social worker. I am responsible also for their mid-morning class/activity and devotions before lunch. My first class/activity was about Positive Affirmation and is something I believe the girls found enriching. However on reflection it is something I think we all need reminding of sometimes. So my challenge for you all is to speak positively to your friends, family and even those you do not know. The Bible speaks of there being death and life in the tongue; and if you are a Christian or not, I am sure you all know how much words can affect the course of our lives. Two of the most powerful words, depending on what you put after it is "I am". So may we all see each other as equals and stand to say and live life with the idea that "I AM my Sisters and Brothers Keeper". Until next time.... Peace and Love, Dion-Marie White

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21/4/17
Hi everyone! It seems as if time has literally flown by but here is another update for you all. I am in Ochio Rios for my last part of the journey here in Jamaica I arrived safely yesterday. I am trying to rest up though as I am recovering from the flu. I look forward to all that Ochio Rios has to offer and all that I get to offer to the church circuit and the community.

Although I am sad to have left Kingston, I have left with everyone in my heart and I am grateful for all the love I was able to give and receive. Here are some of the highlights of my time so far:

Assisting with the disabilities class at YMCA (Young Men Christian Association) really helped me to know that the work I do back home Is not only important but valuable!!! Its also something I truly am passionate about and called to do. Also a visit to Jacob's Well (a home for Jamaica's most vulnerable women... All with some disability whether physical or mental or both.) This was a very moving and enlightening experience; it really cemented for me, what I really understand being a Christian to be about. It is about serving and blessing those who have been rejected. Loving those who have nobody else to love them. Now of course there is more to Christianity, but this is the one thing I can say makes full sense to me. It is something I feel deep inside, and something that I was given a heart for.

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Overall though I have had a wealth of experiences and been to various places uptown, dowtown... Seen the rich the poor, the Beautiful and the not so attractive. I have also experienced Jamaica's social side and seen that they have so much talent!!!!! As a woman of Jamaican Heritage I knew this already but to experience it first hand was truly a beautiful thing!! we are intelligent!! we are vibrant!! We are gifted!! We are fearfully and wonderfully made!! I have always and will always be proud to be Jamaican!! So to conclude, I challenge you to explore your identity/heritage and see what it can teach you. If possible go to that country or seek raw and authentic links to your identity/heritage. Although like anywhere, Jamaica isn't perfect... I am grateful to have experienced it for myself because the image they paint in the media and in general is nothing like the real thing. I also encourage you to embrace somebody else and their identity/heritage. We are all one in Christ let us share and love eachother for our differences, similarities, perfections and flaws.

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So until next time, Peace and Love, Dion-Marie White xx


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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