LFS Introduces…Jay, a DNAer

Please introduce yourself, and give us a brief summary about what you are doing just now?

I’m Jay, and this year I am really excited to be doing a gap year (even though I’m older than the average person doing one!) I am really pleased to be working alongside and with some wonderful people who are passionate about God and His plans for the world.  The organisation that is providing me with training is called DNA and through them I am on placement for the year with Oldmachar Church in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Can you tell us more about DNA as an organisation?

This is what DNA says about itself “DNA is unique! We will provide you with a life-altering “hot house” year through which you will be radically discipled in the context of church for a life of service to Jesus and being an agent for His kingdom.” It has been existence for about 20 years and is all about helping people maximise their potential in God, in their service but primarily in becoming as much like God wants us to be as we possibly can.

What does your year with DNA look like?

Busy!  In practical terms I have a lot to do this year, I have lots of jobs around Oldmachar, my placement church, I do their admin for them, that is something I have been doing for some time now and I love but I also help with a music group for toddlers, a community outreach coffee shop, visiting older people in the local nursing him, providing meals for homeless people through the Bethany Trust’s Haven project and other things too.  Also, 2 days a week I study various theological topics, I really enjoy this part, I have read so many interesting books since the year began and the work I have to do on them makes sure I get the most out of it all.  My favourite piece of work so far was a worksheet I did on “Apologetics”.  On top of that I have weekly meetings with my discipler who helps me work through anything God is doing in my life at that point and helps me get the most out of my study time etc, these have been a huge blessing to me, the year wouldn’t be nearly so effective if these meetings didn’t happen

Has it been everything you expected?

Yes, and no!  I have known a few people who have done DNA years in the past and so I had a pretty good idea what I was letting myself in for but at the same time God has taken me to places in terms of my character and heart that I didn’t think He would, as the year goes on my calling in God’s Kingdom is becoming much more obvious and it is not what I was expecting at all!! I love this year, the chance to be this focused on God and all He is and does is proving to be an amazing privilege and I can’t wait to find out what work God is going to do in me each day!

What has been your favourite thing about your year so far?

My favourite thing has been realising just how much God loves me and that it is not because of anything I do but just because He wants to.  Quite often in DNA teaching blocks we hear the words “Nothing you can do will make God love you more, nothing you can do will make God love you less” and I love that, I love that His love is that unconditional!  This is one of those concepts that I would always have said was true but now I not only know it but I feel it in my heart, in my gut, in my soul!

And what has the most challenging thing been so far?

One of the most challenging things for me has been that before my DNA year began I had been out of work with illhealth for a long time, several years, and so the change of pace has taken quite some getting used to, especially when the year began I ended up with lots of colds and bugs and it really took its toll on me, I am pretty good at diary management but all of a sudden it became a necessity rather than a luxury, I feel like I haven’t spent nearly as much time with my friends since the year began and I miss them, I found that really tough.

Who do you have supporting you? How do they support you?

I have many people supporting me, some of my family and my friends in particular.  The support me in prayer, this year is tough and because it has so much potential to have amazing results for God it is open to all sorts of attack, prayer is essential when doing this and so when people agree to do that for me it is appreciated greatly, I really can’t emphasise how much it means to me.  The other way that people support me is with finances, the year will cost me about £2700 in fees and I have had to buy some books for my studies too, many people have blessed me hugely by allowing God to use them to send some money my way, when I started this year I had none of the money, and so far I have paid 2 of the 3 installments of my fees in full and on time, God is great and so are the people who are sensitive to Him when He guides their giving!

What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of taking a year to do DNA (or something similar)?

Be prepared to do anything, let go of yourself and just go with whatever happens, let God do what he needs to within you and don’t be afraid!  Be ready for it to be hard, very hard, but exciting and rejuvenating and a huge blessing and a foundation for the rest of your life!

If people wanted to find out more about DNA how could they do that?

The first port of call would be the DNA website – www.dna-uk.org – it has loads of articles from past and current DNA trainees about what the year is about and also some pieces from people on the leadership team of DNA talking about it and information on placement churches and all that.  If people then decided they wanted to know more there are free DNA open days, some in Aberdeen in Scotland and others in Bromley just outside London, where you get to come along to one of our teaching days and find out exactly what it is all about, I went to one of these and it answered any doubts I had about the course and the people who run it!

If people wanted to pray for you, what would you like them to talk to God about on your behalf?

I would love if they would pray for God to keep on working in my life, for health, as I mentioned I have been plagued by colds and bugs and they just get in the way and for the remaining part of my fees to become available.  Most of all I would love them to thank God, on my behalf, for being faithful to me and for being with me and for using me in His Kingdom!

Thank you so much for sharing with us Jay! We will be praying for God to protect your from germs and keep you in good health and provide for all your needs as you continue in your discipleship year with DNA.


2 Responses to “LFS Introduces…Jay, a DNAer”

  1. 1 Jay Brownlee February 9, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Hey Laura! Thanks SO much for this opportunity to talk about my DNA year, I am just home from a DNA training block so I couldn’t read it till now. I’m gutted at all the typos, especially as I did proof read it!!

    Honestly though, I am so passionate about all that God is doing in me and through me as a result of doing DNA and so I am really excited to share that with folks that might not otherwise hear!!



  2. 2 David February 10, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Jay – great to read what God’s doing in your life and what you’re doing for His kingdom.

    Laura Anne – thanks for thinking up this great blog idea 🙂

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