“Until the age of seven I lived in Azerbaijan as my parents were working out there running a training college. The beginning of my childhood was spent going to an Azeri school and spending my time running around wild with my Azeri friends. After ten years of living there my parents decided that life was becoming too difficult for us in Azerbaijan. There were lots of issues around mine and my sisters’ education and the Azeri government making it more and more difficult for foreigners to live in our town.
Returning to England and settling into life in London was very hard for my whole family. My parents specifically went through a time of deep sadness due to an uncertainty about work and social life. My sisters and I experienced culture shock, I was in every way an Azeri girl, I spoke the language fluently and had only spent time in England over the summer holidays. With the initial excitement of moving wearing off, London started to become very alien to me as I started a new school. I can remember feeling angry towards God for taking me away from my home and my loved ones in Azerbaijan who I still cherish and miss to this day. I did slowly settle in to my new life as I got older, but the idea of “home” will always be a little uncertain to me.
My faith didn’t develop for a number of years, although I continued to go to church every week. When I was thirteen I started going to a youth club once a month, there was a talk about making the decision to walk alongside God. I felt motivated to make the step and I encountered the Holy Spirit during the worship after the talk. I truly felt the overwhelming and unconditional love of God for me and decided to give my life to him.
My faith will always be a huge part of my life as it shapes so much of who I am in the same way that growing up in Azerbaijan does. I still wobble in my faith from time to time and wonder if this Christian life is for me. But I am surrounded by brilliant people at home in London and the wonderful Christian Union at UEA who keep me rooted and grounded in the love of Jesus.”
- Ada Tahira Jones, First Year, Occupational Therapy