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The ‘year in mission’ goal

Sports and exercise therapist Ethan Mpozembizi says he has seen the hand of God working in his life. Now, he is ready to serve God by serving others.

Ethan Mpozembizi was studying Sports and Exercise Therapy at Coventry University when he decided he wanted to devote more time to mission work. “I had done some missionary work before starting my studies,” explained Ethan. “I want to use my knowledge of exercise therapy for treating injuries and injury management in the mission field, so it was a no-brainer when the One Year in Mission and Service course came up. I heard about the course at a North England Conference event in 2018. Pastor Dejan Stojkovic, the Trans-European Division’s Youth Director, was doing a presentation. He said, ‘The One Year in Mission and Service course – give a year to God!’ That was it for me.”

Ethan wanted to become a professional footballer when he came to the United Kingdom from the Democratic Republic of Congo as a child. “I played football for the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club Academy as a teenager,” Ethan proudly declared. “However, I thought, if I can’t be a footballer, I would still like to be around the game as a physiotherapist or refereeing or something. That’s what inspired me to study Sports and Exercise Therapy at Coventry University.”

It was not long before Ethan took a step back to take stock of his life, realising that, as he puts it, “God was calling me to something bigger than myself,” and “it was during that period that I saw the hand of God working in my life. I found myself drawn to people doing mission work and evangelism. I decided to take a gap year from my studies to attend the PEACE (Practical Evangelism and Adventist Christian Education) programme in Wolverhampton. Surprisingly, when I informed the university about my intentions, they told me they would officially recognise it as a placement year instead. So, I attended PEACE, studied about God, did evangelism, and at the end of it all, the university told me, ‘Ethan, you’ve graduated with honours and a year in placement.’ I’ve never known anything like it, telling my university I’m going to preach, and hearing them say, ‘Yes, go ahead! And, by the way, we’ll help you with finance and everything you need.’ That was a miracle!”

One of the modules Ethan enjoys most in the One Year in Mission and Service course is cross-cultural ministry. “The classes are amazing,” said Ethan. “The content is valuable because you learn about different cultures and religions. Sometimes you want everybody to see things the way you do, but you discover that people from other cultures see things differently. So, you have to ask yourself, ‘How do I minister to them?’”

As he reflects on participating in class with theology students, Ethan says the experience has been “an eye-opener”. “Even though we don’t have to do assignments like the theology students, we are not treated differently in class. It is as if we are studying for a degree in theology because everyone takes part in discussions. It is easy to think, I’m going on a mission trip, so why do I need to learn things like theology, Hebrew, and Greek? But you need to understand the gospels if you are going to share the gospel with people.”

Ethan is preparing for the next stage of the One Year in Mission and Service course, the mission trip, which he describes as “the practical side of things”. “The mission trip may vary in length depending on your commitments after the course,” explained Ethan. “The organisers are quite flexible with the time you spend on the mission trips. There’s not a maximum or a minimum period. Also, you don’t have to go straight away. You can defer it to the following year if you want. The amazing thing is the Trans-European Division makes sure that you’re sorted in terms of food and accommodation. All you have to do is get to your destination. I’m going on a mission trip to Cyprus to work with a church doing community outreach. I want to get involved in Bible study groups because I enjoy teaching the Bible. I plan to leave this month [May] and spend four months in Cyprus. I’m looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned into practice. God willing, I will be back here [at Newbold] in September to begin Biblical and Pastoral Studies.”

Looking ahead to the mission trip, Ethan says he is ready for the challenge. “I am excited to see how God will work through me. My mission trip contact in Cyprus said something that has stayed with me. She said, ‘You can’t go through the water and expect to remain dry.’ In other words, the experiences we go through in life change us. So, I would say to anybody thinking of doing the One Year in Mission and Service course, this is an experience that will change you, and it’ll change you for the better, by God’s grace. If you’re looking to do something for God, there’s no other way but to serve Him.”

Ethan Mpozembizi Profile Photo

Ethan Mpozembizi

One Year in Mission and Service Student

Ethan Mpozembizi enjoys working with people and has participated in mission projects in Hungry, helping young people learn English, and Malaysia, sharing the good news about Jesus in local communities.

Connect with Ethan directly at: [email protected]

If you’d like to learn more about our One Year in Mission and Service course, contact us at [email protected]