by Roderick Ripamonti
How do I even begin to explain my last year? Jesus has rocked my world.
At the end of my university degree in languages, I had no idea what I wanted to do, in fact I’ve never known what career path I’ve wanted to follow. During my university years I dreamt of doing something crazy – maybe landing a role in a remake of the film, “Into the Wild” (where a college graduate throws away a lucrative future in law, to escape civilization and lives off the land in the forest in Alaska).
I’m from the Isle of Man but I definitely didn’t want to go to ‘the rock’. It was so familiar, so predictable, so…far from ‘the wild’. I looked at jobs in the buzzing city of London, and even got pretty far down the graduate recruitment schemes of some companies there. The eventual response was however, “You’re an interesting guy but we can tell your heart isn’t in this industry.” Disappointing for sure but at heart I knew they were speaking the absolute truth.
“Then one day something happened that changed everything, and set my wandering heart on a very new course.”
Then one day something happened that changed everything, and set my wandering heart on a very new course. I was training with my then university rowing team (another aspiration of mine was to be a part of a key team, a crew pulling in the same direction and achieving something memorable). Something wasn’t right though, I was training obsessively, and seemed to have some natural talent for it too, but despite all of that I wasn’t really getting anywhere with it. Then one day (the one day) I lost my temper over something minor and lashed out, I threw my oar out of the boat and accidentally hurt a teammate in the process. I was mortified – I had been a believer in Jesus since the age of 6, what was I doing? I was supposed to know better, behave better. I could suddenly see it, my life for what it really was – I was living for myself, my wild dreams. I wasn’t building God’s house, I was building my own mini kingdoms and they had me going nowhere … fast. Thankfully Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret and God met me there at my point of need with fresh grace and a new passion to run hard, for Him and with Him.
“I made a flash decision to do something, anything that would mean I was back on God’s building team.”
I made a flash decision to do something, anything that would mean I was back on God’s building team. I started serving in my local university church on the setup team and then contacted Jonathan, my pastor back home at Living Hope Community Church with this question, “I need to go to Bible School, pronto! Which one should I go to?” His reply was, “come back to the Isle and do our internship!”
I was desperate to follow God’s call, so I overcame my reservations about the Isle of Man’s lack of wild appeal and a little while later began my year as a Living Hope Community Church intern.
That was just the beginning – over the next few months it just kept getting better! I couldn’t get enough of Jesus’ presence, devouring large chunks of the Word daily, memorising portions at a time. Praying started with just 10 minutes a day, but the prayer times left me thirsting to pray more. I started worshipping with a new abandonment … it was all so wild.
The year however was not just about ‘highs’ in God. It was also a time of deep revelations from my Father – a big one for me was understanding that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for now, today and not just ‘yesteryear’. God had to break through my intellectual barriers to bring me into more. I asked, and God answered (and healed me physically in the process).
I had also struggled with depression over a long while, depression where you often wonder if you are really one of the elect and not just wasting your time in futility. Here too the Lord through Scripture healed me of my doubts with these words being key, “to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” and “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” What joy in having the Spirit of adoption as a son!
What is God doing in my life right now? A lot to be sure.
“Christ is enough …”
I am delighting in the Lord, and He is giving me the desires of my heart (which now line up with His desires). I finished my, “Year of Your Life” year and came onto the staff team at Living Hope Church, a new and great adventure as I seek to run into all God has for me, our local congregations and into the nations.
Christ is enough, he’s leading me by his Spirit and together, starting on the Isle of Man, we are going into the wild!
Roderick (Rod) Ripamonti is a Bath University graduate and the second eldest of five brothers. A mid 20’s adventurer with a thirst for the wild outdoors and keeping fit. A new staff member at Living Hope Community Church, he is involved with overseeing the current year of your life students and the Bible School. Rod is also a proficient linguist with Spanish and Italian being two of his great strengths.
Photo – Roderick on the right, baptisms at Douglas Beach, IOM.