With our Together Weekend 2019 fast approaching we asked Laura Young (@lesswastelaura) to share her highlights from last year with us. Here's what she has to say...
I think it is fair to say that the Together Weekend 2018 was a pivotal moment for me.
The weekend was filled with some really interesting and thought-provoking talks, everything from fast fashion to zero waste, and explaining everything about the current campaign. These talks were incredibly inspiring, but also incredibly practical. Making tangible links between lifestyle, charity and consumerism to God, the Bible and living out our faith.
I would have to say the most useful part of the weekend for myself was the wonderful Ella speaking about ways she was living to reduce her waste. This is something I had personally embarked on not long before the weekend, and I found it comforting to know others, and other Christians, are doing the same. Not only this, but hearing for the first time how this links to living out faith, being a steward of this earth, and loving our neighbours affected by climate change.
At the weekend we also took the 'persona' quiz which highlighted some of our God-given gifts, and where this might best place us. I took the test and came out as a mobiliser. In a short message it told me:
"You are a mobiliser and you naturally gather people. You create change by speaking into situations and inspiring people with paths to a better tomorrow. You are a good communicator and people willingly choose to follow you.
You have the ability to inspire people to the things you're passionate about. These will often run deep in you as you practise what you preach. Movements of people create amazing change, if we're to end extreme poverty we need people like you."
And in the past year, I think it's safe to say it was pretty spot on.
This catapulted me into my whirlwind journey through 2018 and up to this present day. I felt God place a passion for this issue into my heart, and I have been advocating this ever since. It gave me the initial first step to connecting my academic environmental interest, personal lifestyle and faith, which has been invaluable ever since.
At the end of the weekend we created individual pledges relating to things we had taken away from the weekend, and I still remember mine one year on; use less, spend less, give more. This simple pledge inspired me to work towards a simpler and more environmental lifestyle, but also towards changing others around me, and even making change in organisations.
This year has been filled with speaking at schools, charities and organisation events. I have been pushing for big changes within my personal life, university, work and church. Knowing that my core beliefs and passion for the environment are so intertwined allows me to orientate my life for this cause. I have worked closely with Tearfund since, writing blogs about the issues I have researched, and giving tips as to how people can change their lifestyles for the better.
Since the weekend I have graduated from my undergraduate degree, began my postgraduate masters, and grown my personal environmental blog. God has guided me through what was a daunting year, opening doors in places I couldn't have imagined, and taken me places I didn't think were possible. A Together Weekend full of exploration and inspiration brought clarity to my path and showed me the possibilities for evangelism and advocacy for both our environment and our salvation. It enabled me to see how my actions and choices impact lives around the world.
I cannot advise going to one of these weekends more!
Together Weekends are for 18-25s passionate about changing the world, gathering to learn from leading voices in international development, sustainability, climate change, theology and more. This year we are having a day event on the 16th March in Edinburgh.