Introducing a new face at JustUs: Chris Hege

Where would I be, if there weren’t some adults who invested their heart into my personal development? They cared for me, saw my potential and encouraged me to grow as I was trying to figure out what this life is about. Life is a gift and we are all meant to explore the beauty of it. Each one of us is alive for a reason. As I am still on my journey of exploring and designing life following the footsteps of Jesus, I realized how important it is to have people in my life who supported and challenged me on this road.

So here I am in Vancouver starting my job as the Elevation Program Manager at Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited. I am excited to be part of this organization, working with youth in a cross-cultural context. In my personal development cross-cultural experiences have been very influential. Growing up in a big family in Germany who always had an open house for people from all over the world, I became curious about different cultures. It was my dream to live in a different country making my own experiences one day. It was after Highschool when I packed my bags and volunteered with the Mennonite Central Committee in Vancouver for a year in 2011.

It was the beginning of a story that now is continuing. It was in Vancouver that I discovered my interest in pursuing ministry.

Back in Germany I started studying theology. 6 years later I ended up with a Master of Arts degree in Theology. Studying has been a challenging time. Yet every year was worth it. Specializing in Missiology I learned about the history of Mission with its positive and negative aspects, while I was also able to learn lots about the concepts of culture, communication and contextualization. My highlight of studying was a field trip to Nairobi, Kenya, to learn about African Theology and its contribution to the world wide body of Christ. My western concepts of theology, faith and God were challenged by the complexity of the different cultures and yet enriched by its approach of the connectedness of life, society and faith. Learning alongside people from all over the world in a different culture has helped me to learn more about the way I think and believe. Studying theology in an environment of visible brokenness displayed by poverty and injustice, helped me filling some of the key concepts of the Christian faith like justice, reconciliation and restoration with more meaning and relevance in my life.

“We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again.” Jamie Tworkowski Click To Tweet

During my studies I have learned that one of the core messages of the Gospel is new life. I love life. Life is a great gift, that is meant to be enjoyed and still lived responsible. Yet, In our world we are faced with a lot of injustice and destruction of life. God’s plan of reconciling the world to himself implies saving us from this destruction by restoring our brokenness and creating new life in us. My heart beats for youth to experience new life and the joy that comes with it. It is a great joy to see young people shaping their life purposefully and investing it responsibly into the lives of others. To say it with the words of one of my favourite writers Jamie Tworkowski: “We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again.” It is my hope to see new life bursting out in the lives of youth, as they discover who they are and what they are called to do.

This is why I am here, working with Youth Unlimited, to pour myself into the lives of young people and help them to grow and make a difference in their life. Life is so much more beautiful when shared. Just as other people have poured their time and love into my development, I want to share my love and experience with youth from vulnerable backgrounds. Let us go out there, spreading the love and investing our lives into the next generations until we are called home.