Hi, I’m Dewi Thomas, a former student and current employee of Nexus ICA – welcome to my first attempt at a blog!
My story with Nexus ICA started back in 2016 (more on that later), and over the years I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many great people, including many of you, some of whom I know will be lifelong friends.
One of the joys of this job is hearing all the different stories about the impact that Nexus ICA has had on so many lives; I was recently at a church event in Peterborough where I was touched to hear from several members of the congregation about the positive changes they’d witnessed in one of their young people who had studied here several years ago!
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share a bit about my story and how God led to me to study at Nexus ICA – I promise to keep it short! In good preacher fashion I’ll try to sum it up in four alliterative points:
My mum (mam) suffered from cancer for several years before she sadly passed away from the disease in January of 2006. She worked as a nurse before giving up her career to raise my sister, brother and me, and when we reached our teens, she went back to work at a nursing home. She was truly an incredible woman – hard-working, dedicated, compassionate, caring. Some studies suggest the youngest child has a special bond with their mothers – the youngest can be viewed as the weakest, so the mother compensates (or even overcompensates) for this. As the youngest, I’m inclined to agree, though of course I know mam loved us all equally and the whole family were massively impacted by her loss. For me, losing that bond was the most painful and difficult thing that I have experienced.
(hu)miliated by Rosacea
Just a couple of months after losing mam I began suffering with a skin condition. It took almost four years to diagnose this as Rosacea – an incurable condition which affects people in different ways. For me, it manifests as a severe burning sensation usually on my cheeks, nose, and neck. It’s an incredibly embarrassing and rather painful condition. For years, it was an affliction which crushed many of my hopes, particularly those of becoming a professional musician – how could I play in front of large audiences when I was too embarrassed to even spend time with my friends? For several years I became quite reclusive because I was so embarrassed.
My dad was a Church of Wales vicar. He was retired by this point of the story but up until I was 18, he had been working in Bala – a picturesque town nestled in the mountains of North Wales. He had encouraged me (or insisted!!) that I attend church up until he retired. I believed that what he taught was the truth, but it wasn’t until I began going back to church in late 2010 that I made the decision to follow Jesus. Very quickly, this had a major impact on my life – I grew more confident, and the lethargy that I’d felt for so long after losing mam and suffering with Rosacea began to subside. I threw myself into church ‘life’, became part of the worship team, and started volunteering for various ministries. I especially enjoyed youth work, and soon found a job that I loved working as a teaching assistant at a school for young people with special educational needs.
Moving to Nexus ICA
One of the voluntary roles I took on was with Youth For Christ (YFC) – an international organisation whose aim it is to see the lives of young people changed through Jesus. I was at Soul Survivor 2016 in Staffordshire with a group from YFC when I met some representatives from Nexus ICA. Having dropped out of university some years before, it had been my intention to return to higher education at some point, but I’d struggled to find a course that I was passionate about. I signed up for an open day at Nexus and within two weeks, had enrolled onto the Popular Music and Worship course starting that autumn.
My time as a (mature!) student was amazing – yes, there were many hard times, but they’re all part of the experience and all part of growing. There are moments which stand out – the joy that I felt during the final performance with my third-year band, the thrill of attending NAMM in 2018, and an emotional University Gospel Choir of The Year finals in 2017 – moments I will never forget.
These moments only happen because of the incredible work that the staff, trustees and our founders, Dave and Kate have put in for over 25 years!! I am so grateful that all those years ago (before most of our current students were even born), they chose to be bold and obedient to God’s calling on their lives. They have constantly strived to uphold the values of Nexus ICA: adhering to Biblical standards, delivering person-centred education, building community, developing integrity and character, striving for excellence, and helping students to achieve technical expertise.
These values are at the core of what makes this such a special place, and why I was able to achieve more than what I ever thought I could. I loved it here so much that I stayed on to do a Masters!
2022 hasn’t been the easiest year – in May my dad passed away unexpectedly. I hope he knew what a great example he was to me – he had such a heart for God. He showed me what it was to be resilient and determined, and to rely on God in difficult times. I don’t know what I’d be doing if I hadn’t joined Nexus in 2016, but I am sure that what I learnt here made a big difference in coping and grieving after the loss of dad. I know that God is faithful, He is gracious, He is sovereign, He is good, and He is love! He has given me peace beyond all understanding this year.
So, as I come in to land, where does this bring me to? Well, I’m now working as Fundraising Coordinator at Nexus, and for anyone who has experience of fundraising you’ll know it’s a pretty tough job! There are days when it’s stressful, exasperating, even demoralising, but I am so passionate about the work God is doing here, my story is one among many of lives set on fire for Jesus in a new way, who are taking that fire to their families, friends, churches, places of work, and wider communities.
I love hearing all the stories from the lives that God has worked in and through because of the work of Nexus ICA. I wonder what stories will be told in the years to come…
25 & Beyond
Discover more about Nexus ICA’s boldest fundraising campaign ever, 25 & Beyond.
How can you support?
- Join us at one of our 25 & Beyond events.
- Donate to Nexus ICA’s 25 & Beyond campaign.
- Share Nexus ICA’s 25 & Beyond campaign and events with your family and friends.