We hear story after story of alumni whose involvement in Just Love has profoundly impacted them as they enter the working world. Here are just a few of those.
If you’ve got a story about how being involved with Just Love has impacted you, let us know at [email protected]
David Lawrence | Oxford | 2015
‘As a cynical student with lots of opinions about all that was wrong in the world, becoming involved with Just Love in my first year at Oxford gave me an opportunity to turn my scepticism into something far more useful. It also gave a community of friends who were willing to challenge me, inspire me, and help me to think practically about pursuing God’s justice.
I’ve always loved politics, and since graduating I have worked on political campaigns at a local and national level, and after working as a Parliamentary Assistant to a Labour MP, I now work for an NGO focused on trade policy. It means a lot to me that there’s now a whole group of Just Love graduates working in politics and government – in fact, there’s a whole group of us! I’m excited by the potential for a committed group of young Christians praying for and supporting each other, to bring a lot of hope and light into our political system.’
Henry Silva | Durham | 2017
‘Without Just Love at uni I am pretty sure I would have spent the whole three years in a student bubble. But because of Just Love I spent evenings and holidays volunteering at a local charity working with adults facing multiple barriers to employment. The locals I now call friends have taught me invaluable lessons and getting to know them is the best thing I’ve done at uni. Just Love helped me to realise I was passionate about something I hadn’t even fully realised I was passionate about: seeing prisoners and ex-offenders forgiven and set free.
Since graduating I have been working as a support worker with Handcrafted, a charity in the North East working with adults with diverse issues, including addiction, ex-offending, unemployment and family breakdown. My work involves some pastoral support and a lot of encouraging guys from difficult backgrounds to keep taking positive steps forward in their lives. I am hugely happy to be working in this sector – but it’s incredibly unlikely I would be doing this had it not been for Just Love.’
Izzy Steinegger | Oxford | 2016
‘In 2013 I arrived in Oxford with all my bags, righteous anger at injustice but not knowing why I was there. I quickly found the separation and yet close proximity between the endless homeless people on the streets of Oxford and the elite painful and deeply concerning, and so immediately got plugged into the Just Love Homeless Outreach and anti-human trafficking events. Working with others to see Jesus in the lives of those ignored, I was developed into someone who had a better foundation to help people effectively and not just burn out. And most importantly, I gave up my ‘saviour’ idealism and bowed down to the Saviour who can truly bring beauty from ashes.
Since leaving University I have spent the past year learning and working alongside missionaries around the world who shine Jesus in the most unjust and vile situations. From working with those who lost their homes in the Nepali earthquake, to bringing joy into the darkest of government orphanages for the disabled in Thailand, to worshipping with the persecuted church in Myanmar, I have seen that Jesus is beautiful and he calls each of us to pick up our cross and follow him.’
Naomi Grant | Oxford | 2016
‘I came across Just Love at the end of my first year of university when I was struggling with faith and when my confidence had been knocked by the intensity of Oxford. Meeting this bunch of students living out their faith in real and tangible ways, I was completely captivated by Jesus and the life he calls us to. Just Love has a knack of developing leaders that is really quite extraordinary, and so I graduated with not just a holistic framework for understanding God’s justice but also a new confidence about my own strengths as a leader. Just Love equipped me with a bold vision about how I could seek justice through my career and helped me think deeply about what a politics of the kingdom looks like.
I’m now working in Parliament for Stephen Timms, the MP for East Ham. East Ham is an incredible and diverse part of London, but it also has the highest rates of overcrowding and homelessness in the country and sits at the very sharp end of the hostile environment policy. I’m doing some postgraduate study in social research alongside this in the hope of better analysing these issues and shaping policy in the future. There’s now a big group of Just Love alumni working in politics who’ve been an invaluable source of support. In what feels like a hugely politically turbulent time, they make me so excited about the future.’
Jonathan Kemp | Oxford | 2017
‘When I first arrived at university, I had some vague sense about things in the world not being quite right, but no strong convictions. That soon changed. Just Love was a major part of my life and transformed my perception of how social justice fits into God’s mission – I realised that God’s kingdom is not a hazy hope of heaven, but an invitation to every human to join God’s vision to reconcile all things on earth now too. When I first started my degree, I assumed I would settle down in England, get a good job and enjoy the intellectual challenge of physics research (with things like electricity, water and a reasonably comfortable life a given).
I have friends doing fantastic work for God in physics research in England, but I realised that this was not where God wanted me. I did a Masters in Engineering for International Development, specialising in solar energy, and am now working for an NGO in Malawi as their Technical Manager. I’m most excited about our project that is piloting a community-designed solar irrigation pump that can be built and maintained without physical external resources. While communities believe that they must always rely on outside help, dependency cripples sustainability. I have seen that communities can move out of poverty when they are treated with dignity, given the opportunity to use their creativity and take responsibility to find their own solutions.’
Molly Kemp | Oxford | 2017
‘When I came to Oxford, I loved Jesus and I desperately wanted to see change – but I neither connected the two nor had any confidence in my ability to pursue the latter. It was through getting involved in Just Love, that a passion for justice became interwoven with faith and I gained confidence in my giftings and God’s ability to use me – which went to turn life upside down because it suddenly meant that deciding to spend my whole life in places overlooked by society would be an adventure with God rather than a frightening daydream that I could never be brave enough to chase. After graduating, I moved to Bradford.
I work for TLG and I’m part of an Eden Team – doing incarnational mission in a deprived area. I have no doubt that without Just Love I would never have chosen to come here – but I also think without being involved in Just Love it would be a thousand times harder to sustain. Life in Bradford is often exhaustingly tough and the friends I made from my Just Love group and other groups across the country are the first people I call when it all goes wrong and I’m in need of prayer, supportive listening and wise inspiration. I genuinely think my life would look very different, probably less challenging but also a lot less fun, gritty, real and doable, if I hadn’t been involved in Just Love.’
Miriam Lee | Oxford | 2018
‘I arrived at uni in 2015 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after returning from teaching missionary kids in Nepal. I was full of enthusiasm to live for Jesus but wasn’t really sure where to place that energy. I discovered Just Love when I unintentionally fell into helping organise an anti-slavery campaign towards the end of first year and did not look back. Through involvement with Just Love, I have not only been equipped to make kingdom-building life choices but I also see God’s heart for people and the planet in a more holistic and beautiful way.
I have recently moved from working for Christian charity TLG to the corporate world of Deloitte. Although some may see this as a ‘step back’ in terms of my ‘justice journey’, I am really excited to see how God uses me in the world of Audit. Through the training and community I’ve gained through Just Love I feel confident that, wherever I work and live, I can prayerfully seek God’s heart for justice and courageously participate in his glorious plans to restore the whole of His creation. Bring it on.’